Thursday, July 30, 2009

Things are different Down Under

Let's face it, the Handsome Australian and I are raising a multicultural family. Not only do our children have one Australian parent and one American parent, but they have an entire extended family that is Lebanese and well, there are the Texans on the other side. Yes, a very rich heritage indeed. Given the various influences on their language and diet, I think our children move between these worlds (as I like to think of them) quite seamlessly. They've been lucky enough to be surrounded by a very interested and involved network of family and friends--each one imparting the best bits of their culture to our little sponges. Their vast knowledge of these various worlds came to light recently when their American cousins came Down Under for a visit.

We've been fortunate enough to make annual trips back to the USA since the birth of our first child five years ago. So fortunate, in fact, that our daughter made her sixth trip to the USA just before her 5th birthday. This means that our children have had significant exposure to all things American, and more so, all things Texan. Our daughter figured out long ago that Americans use different words for some things than what we use in Australia. When she is in the USA, she does a good job of converting her vocabulary so that she can be understood by her American cousins. Such a good job in fact, that I don't think her cousins really picked up on the fact that things in Australia are quite different to the way things are in the USA. Lots of words are different, food is different, weather is different--it's all really, really different.

When our Texan cousins came to visit a few weeks ago, I watched as my daughter acted as their unofficial tour guide in this strange and wonderful land. I overheard things like:

My girl: "My Dad's going to take us to the Milk Bar to get an icy pole."
My nephew: "What's an icy pole?"
MG: "Oh, in America you say Popsicle. In Australia, we say icy pole."
MN: "Y'all call Popsicles 'icy poles'?"
MG: "Yep that's right. We do. We also call ketchup 'tomato sauce'"
MN: "Y'all do?"
MG: "Yep, we do. We say a lot of things differently here."
MN: "Why do y'all say those things differently?"
MG: (Authoritatively) "That's just the way they planned it."

Yes, I never said she understood the reasoning behind the differences, I just said she recognised the differences.

It was really fun to see Australia through the eyes of a five year old American boy for two weeks. This kid has a lot of Texas pride and was making constant comparisons between things here in Australia and things he knows in Texas. Australia came out ahead in two areas--my mother-in-law's freshly squeezed lemonade was, "better than my Mommy's lemonade" and the bacon from our local deli that the Handsome Australian fried up one morning was, "better than Houston bacon." Other than that, he pretty much resolved that we should just move to Texas because things are generally better there.

His most surprising observation, after watching my toilet training two year old run around pant less for the good part of two weeks, was, "Mommy even the penises are different here. They are pointy." His mother just quietly agreed and left the whole circumcision discussion for another day. Ah yes, things are different Down Under.


KLS said...

Cute and funny!

Annelise said...

I will come back and comment later because I am currently in a training for work and am not supposed to be typing, but...I BUSTED OUT LAUGHING at the naked observation! Comic gold!!
Your little princess is amazing, but you know this already.
Thanks for making me laugh in a very dull training.

suzinoz said...

Thanks guys! Glad you had a laugh. It was very funny. Kids do say the darndest things!

Life is good! said...

funny, funny. i love listening to children talk to each other, i learn so much!

~ Jan ~ said...

Cracked me up...haha! :D

suzinoz said...

Life is good-thanks for stopping by. I love listening to the children talk to each other too. It's endlessly amusing.

Jan-Glad you liked it. Am I right in saying welcome back to Australia?

Nathalie said...

Briliant! Children are just amazing, none more so than your smart, little girl.