I can’t help it.

I am trying so hard to think positively down here, to appreciate what’s around me, but the Aussies make it pretty hard because they do some completely ridiculous things.

Having recently moved, I’m without Internet service at home for a bit til we figure which company will rob us the least. Cause down here, you can’t just get simple, unlimited service for like 40 bucks a month. No, here, you sign contracts for everything, including meted out Internet service. The best deal around is 50 gigs for 50 bucks (25 gigs during normal hours, and 25 gigs during hours in which only junkies are awake), which is really 25 gigs for 50 bucks, with a minimum one-year contract. Oh, and if you break said contract, you’re still liable for the monthly cost! Out-freakin‘-rageous. Same goes for mobile phones and land lines. But mobiles are a two-year minimum, so if you exit early, you could only WISH for a measly $150 cancellation fee like in the States. No, you exit early, want to change providers or leave the country, you’re liable for the whole schebang. Brilliant. For big biz.

Here’s more bang-your-head-against-the-wall stupidity:

  • Some public places have a little wall-mounted air conditioning unit that is trying furiously to keep the place a nice, dehumidified 70 degrees…but the same places have no front doors in summer…it’s all alfresco, all the time. Ohhhhhkayyyyyyyyyyy.
  • Some have air conditioning, but if the sun isn’t shining, they don’t put it on, despite the fact that it’s summer and there’s 98% humidity. Go figure.
  • The country is crying out for “skilled workers” aka, educated professionals. Yet they still give 15- and 16-year-olds the choice to drop out and work then, or continue to grade 12. Tell me, how many 15-year-olds are going to choose school over the chance to quit?
  • There’s an epidemic rate of young, single mothers. Yet the government pays about $5,000 a baby, and provides welfare, medical coverage, and unemployment. Hmmm.
  • Cursing, boobs, and gore are fair game for public TV here…they don’t hold the sex back for cable payers only. Check out Underbelly, which is like The Sopranos for Aussies, but on public TV. We’re talking f-bombs, killings, and T&A from 8:30pm. And they wonder why their teens are so ill-bred, so aggressive, so promiscuous, so intoxicated, so violent, so offensive.
  • They pay virtually everything weekly. WEEKLY! No wonder why they don’t have time to legislate the pregnant teens better. Everyone’s too busy paying their bills. Can you imagine paying your mortgage, utilities, rent, phones, Internet, what-have-you…every. Bloody. Week?
  • The concept of “The customer is always right” does not exist here. Want something on the menu, but with a slight variation (like can I get that gyro meat on a salad?)? The answer is a clear and definite NO. They don’t customize and they don’t improvise. Or is that improvize and customise? Geez.
  • As if grams, kilos, milliliters, and metric bullshit isn’t complicated enough, the Aussies don’t use their conventions consistently. In print, some refer to height measurements in centimeters, others in feet and inches. And telephone numbers are all over the map. Sometimes they appear as 0411112222, sometimes 04 1111 2222, sometimes 0411 112 222, and believe it or not, there are still different variations I’ve seen. It’s completely nuts.

But, again, the one thing I can give this big, wild island is the preponderance of excellent, inexpensive wine and champagne. So when all of the above starts to really get to me, we scrape our two-dollar coins together and buy a bottle for around $5.99, $6.99, and then everything seems juuuuuuuuuustfiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine for a time.

5 comments

  1. Posted by Florida Girl In Sydney
    Thu, 03/12/2009 – 7:06pm
    I just must be missing it somewhere here about what is going on with your visa–
    and yes, there is sooo much ridiculous stuff here– it costs me like 25 cents to call my husband’s cell phone from our home phone– what the hell?

  2. posted by V
    Fri, 03/13/2009 – 6:26am
    FL Girl…you’re not missing what’s going on with the visa….it’s not out there for public consumption. I’d love to discuss it with you as soon as I figure out how to get your email address in some private fashion. I’m thinking!

    I was telling my husband that I intend to show him your blog so he realizes that my difficulty adjusting is not unique to me, that I am not a high-maintenance primadonna. I think he has thought that, not realizing that my dissatisfaction with some of the things in Oz is really because many of the things I felt were lacking are just average and a given in the U.S. Sure, maybe I could’ve handled the way I dealt with it differently, but the fact remains that in the expat American blogs I’m reading, we all miss and complain about the very same things.

  3. I could go on and on, shaking my head in complete agreement of all of this.
    On and on, and on.

    The whole ” skilled workers” thing is giving me “the s**ts” as they do like to say. Kids with little more than a few years work history qualify for $60,000 jobs, and I can’t get a bite, even with a portfolio, uni, references, national management experience, citizenship. I’ve had to scale and edit my own blog lest my gripes are scaring recruiters. Yeesh.

    Onward.

    1. I so feel your pain here. I got ducked by every recruiter I reached out to, with the same kind of career chops behind me, and my blog was anonymous then, so it didn’t figure in at all. So frustrating, especially since in the States, I regularly get recruiters contacting me, even now. In my heart I felt like because I’m American, that was a strike against me.

      All I can say is keep trying…keep calling! See if anyone you know there knows someone you can talk to.

  4. Gosh that is so smart! I wish I had done that. I’m dumping mine off the radar for the time and anonymizing it a bit more and putting a second portfolio site up instead, I think and moving the .coms about.

    I know I can do this!

    Time to ‘toughen up! 🙂

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