It’s been over 6 months since I first set foot in this country. Thinking back on what I was expecting Australia to be like when I first arrived I can’t remember much else than having heard that phone contracts were supposed to be super expensive and that wifi could not be found everywhere. I didn’t give the weather much of a thought, but I guess I figured it was going to be nice and sunny – all year, I don’t know, maybe? The temperature dropping down to 6 degrees last week definitely proved me wrong.
After half a year in the country there are a few peculiar things that I find kind of… interesting. (Ridiculous? Hilarious?)
Coffee frenzy. Although they say that Finland has the highest coffee consumption per capita world-wide, coffee back home is nothing compared to coffee around here. I am no expert, and, to be honest, not very familiar with the coffee drinking culture back home (I’ve heard it’s changing), but there’s no doubt of the fact that here it’s a complete different world. It’s art, it’s science, a matter of life or death as the barista has the power to either save your day or straight up ruin it. To me, coffee used to be filter coffee that when brewed by myself every so often could be mistaken for tea as it was almost transparent, that’s how weak it was. It might have been Juhla Mokka (the standard mass produced filter coffee that can be found in most households back home), but that was the coffee that I had at breakfast, my favorite meal of the day, and it was good. I mean, had I ever even heard the word flatwhite before coming here? I’m pretty sure I hadn’t.
Here, however… filter coffee is only up and coming and people’s orders can, and most likely will, look something like (and everything but) this:
”Large soy capp with two sugars, ¾ full.”
”Strong soy latte with half a sugar, extra hot, please.”
”A large ¾ full weak latte, half hot water, half almond milk, in a takeaway cup.”
”Weak long black with a side of skim milk and a little bit of honey.”
It took a while not only to get used to but to get confident with taking orders like this as one had to get it right for the barista to be able to make it right. The barista, by the way, is a hero in this country. Their (coffee) memory is incredible. ”Just the regular for you today, [insert name of customer]?” (Unless it’s already made for you by the time you walk in, that is.)
My memory, on the other hand… I thought it was visual, but working in hospitality has proved me wrong 100%. I completely suck at remembering faces and table numbers, but that’s another story.
Disproportionate gratitude. As we’ve all heard, Australians are super nice and friendly. What I’ve also noticed, however, is that the majority is not only super nice but also unbelievably appreciative of the little things, may that be coffee, food or why not a sunny day. At work, when cleaning off tables once the customers have finished, it is no rarity to receive comments that might come across as massively exaggerated and praising.
”How was the food today?”
”Oh it was beautiful, absolutely gorgeous. Thank you so much.”
(…”Could I have a large soy capp double skim flatwhite in a takeaway cup with two sugars, please?”)
Jajajajajaj. I can’t even begin to count all the laughs Laure and I have gotten ourselves on the topic, seriously. We’re talking entertainment on a high level here. A complete opposite to home, though, I feel that it could do us good to get some of the Australian optimism to Finland, too.
Middle-aged men in Lycra. Also known as mammals, as I’ve been told, middle-aged men in Lycra are not an uncommon sight in Australia, especially not where I live in Bronte. Cycling seems to be a massive thing here, huge. Every so often you’ll see them swoosh by in a flock, up that hill that you are struggling to even walk up. They show up at the café looking like they’re about to hit Tour de France, their bikes parked along the terrace while they’re enjoying a cup of coffee or a milkshake or whatnot until it’s time to bike on.
They arrive in a group, they leave in a group, they bike in a group. Mammals.
What is this sport?!
Oh, and don’t be surprised if you bump into someone in the grocery store who seems to have forgotten their shoes at home; they haven’t. They left them there on purpose. In Australia it’s a thing to leave your shoes at home when you’re going to the supermarket or to pick up that takeaway coffee of yours from your local café.
Young people, especially guys, seem to prefer to stay barefoot as much as possible, but then again, why the hell not?!
”Welcome to Australia”, as stated by Dylan last November when I had just arrived in Perth and was wondering where his shoes were on our way to Coles.
What a peculiar world we live in, don’t you think?
Forever intrigued (can you hear the laugh?),