Saturday, October 25, 2008

Your Questions Answered Part 7

Hooray! We've finally made it to the last set of questions. This little series of posts seems to have gathered its own momentum and now I'm considering making it a weekly occurrence. I'll get back to y'all with the details soon.

In the meantime, we've got ibbabs97's second set of questions to get to. Here's all the other things she needed to know:

1. Do you find that most people over there live close to their families? Do many of your friends have large families that are near by?
2. Do they have the same fruits and veggies as in the US.
3. As I am watching the news here tonight they are showcasing a girl playing football. Are there any girls that play or allowed to play Aussie Rules Football?

With no further ado:
1. Do you find that most people over there live close to their families? Do many of your friends have large families that are near by?
One of the first things I began to notice about Melbourne when I first arrived, was how most people here seem to have very tight networks of friends and family. Breaking in to social circles here and making lasting friends was certainly a challenge in the beginning. I think there are several reasons for this:

a) Australians don't tend to be as transient as Americans have become. Most of the people I've befriended here in Melbourne, grew up here in Melbourne. They went to school here in Melbourne and in most cases completed University here in Melbourne. I'm always amazed at how close people remain to the neighbourhoods in which they grew up. They may be married with their own children and have their own homes now, but they are usually just down the road from their parents or their old neighbourhood.

b) With that kind of geographic proximity to your roots, you'll find that people remain friends with their old school mates and their Uni mates and see these people regularly. What this means is that their social calendars are generally full and their friendship circles complete--not only that, but within these circles, people have known each other their entire lives. Try and crack that nut open! It's a tough one.

So to answer your question more directly ibbabs97, yes many people here live near their families in fact you'd be surprised at just how close. With a large population of European and Mediterranean immigrants you find there is a huge importance placed on the extended family here and these families often operate as their own networks within the community.

To illustrate my point, the Handsome Australian currently resides 5km (or 3.1 miles) from his childhood home. Our daughter takes her swimming lessons in the same pool where he took his swimming lessons as a boy. His friendship group consists of people he knows from school or Uni. When his family has a gathering, you are looking at a minimum of 30 people. When he's not spending time with his friends, he's catching up with his large extended family. That's a very typical situation here.

2. Do they have the same fruits and veggies as in the US?
I'd say on the whole the fruits and veggies are the same. I often feel like the fruit and veggies we get here seem to be fresher than what I often see on offer in the USA. I'd say the bulk of fresh produce is actually grown locally although we do get some items, like grapes, imported from the USA during the off season here in Australia.

3. As I am watching the news here tonight, they are showcasing a girl playing football. Are there any girls that play or are allowed to play Aussie Rules Football?
Yes, ibbabs97 there are girls that play Aussie Rules. I think it's very much like the USA here where girls are allowed to play up to a certain age and then are discouraged once they start to mature a bit. There is a program called Auskick which is the organised form of Aussie Rules for kids. You'll see plenty of girls involved in the Auskick teams. The Handsome Australian's young cousin plays Auskick and there is a girl on his team and she's one of the toughest players on the field. She's just amazing to watch. There is no professional league that I am aware of for women here though as I believe there to be in the USA.

Even if they aren't playing Aussie Rules, the women here in Melbourne are huge fans of the game. You will find some females who are more passionate about the footy than some guys you'll meet. The girls here really get into it and go to the games to support their teams. People here seem to be raised on Aussie Rules and it starts as a family affair and then as people grow up, they've established these fierce loyalties to the teams their families have supported all these years. I think that is one of the main reasons why so many women follow the sport.

Thanks for your questions ibbabs97. Hope these were the answers you were looking for.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you had a built-in set of friends when you arrived, with your husband's old friends. It would be tough to break in those decade-long bonds.

Although I am glad to be experiencing the expat life, a part of me has always wanted to live in my home town, a mid-sized city in Illinois. If I hadn't met my husband, I might have returned to central Illinois after graduate work in DC. My family still lives there. Strange to think of the lives we *might* have lived, eh?

Where would you be if you hadn't met your HH?

kjh said...

There are most definitely leagues for girls/women to play Aussie Rules in Australia. The Victorian Women's Football League (VWFL) has been around for 20 years and each state has a league.

We even have women's Aussie rules in America ( and we're bringing a team over in 2009 to play teams in Sydney, Cairns, and Melbourne!

Nathalie said...

Yes, we do tend to stick close to family. I know in Germany a lot of people leave home to go to uni in a different city and then many don't go back to their hometown. I found that hard to understand as I miss my family so much when I live so far away from them (usually overseas). I didn't know that us Aussies weren't the norm :-)

suzinoz said...

stilllifeinbuenosaires--I like the question. I have no idea what the answer would be. I think I would probably have gone back to Texas, but I know I would have gotten itchy feet at some point and headed overseas again. Really I have no idea.

kjh--Thanks for the info about girls/women playing Aussie Rules. I never knew there was a women's football league.

nathalie--Aussies and norm in the same sentence? Yours is a culture unto itself. =)