Caning isn’t Singapore’s Only Outrageous Practice


The wildly drunk men on my flight leaving Australia shocked me. Not because they were drunk. Because they were drunk on a plane.  Folks, in plane-paranoid America, this behavior simply does not fly. Literally. You won’t be allowed to fly if even suspected of being intoxicated, especially to a level of belligerent disregard for all other passengers. But here these men were, clad in matching sports-team jerseys, standing around the aisles, shouting, laughing, and tossing back drink after drink. (Yes they were! Standing! In the aisles!!)

Other Australian things in which Americans do not participate:

When Being “Paid Out” is Bad


Australians actually say “G’day, Mate.”   With a straight face.

But you already knew that.

Over the course of a year, the common use of “mate” went from falling harshly on my American ears to rolling easily off my very own tongue.   I also started saying:

Skylark is Not a Bird


The Australian industry I worked in has its own culture and terminology.

At the top of the shock heap is the seriously overdone safety rhetoric and compartmentalization of jobs.

Safety requirements can mean hours between the start of the work day and the commencement of actual work.   Yes, even to do something really tiny, like replace ten plastic cable ties or change a light bulb.  

Australians Really Eat Fried Mice


The food and beverage vernacular of “Australier” (as many citizens say) has given me pause and lots of laughs. Things like:

    • “have a feed” — i.e. “We are about to have a feed if you want to join us.” Used for both a quick bite and a more leisurely, social dining experience.   For the record, you can also “have” a sleep — a phrase usually used in reference to naps.
    • “smashed it” — used in reference to ice cream or any other food that you more-or-less inhaled.
    • “Golden Gaytime” — everyone loves a Golden Gaytime.   It is definitely something most people “smash.”  

On Being a Hammer-Weilding Woman


In Australia, it takes two days of training, a thorough test, and a government “License to Perform High Risk Work” to be allowed to sit on a chair and watch another person fasten light fixtures to the ceiling.   Not even kidding.  

A Shark Did Not Attack Me


I thought broken glass caused the reflections.   Less than five minutes had passed since we navigated through the night to an FMG Exploration Drill Site and popped our tent up.   My quest, sans contact lenses, was to visit nature’s ladies room for the last time that day.

The closest approximation I could extract from Google Images to represent the glittering in the night.

The closest approximation I could extract from Google Images to represent my midnight view.

Flashlight in hand, I took a step.   The glittering pieces shifted, like a prism in the wind.   Curious, I plunged deeper into the shrubs and waist-high termite mounds.   I squinted into the darkness.   My attention vacillated between the captivating sparkles and slope-degree estimations (the female equivalent of finding the perfect tree).   My eyes landed on an adequate spot just as my brain settled on the source of gorgeous ground twinkles.

How I Became a Zombie


I know I haven’t written a blog post for months.  The material has been stacking up like you wouldn’t believe.

I consume most of my food in this trailer.  Don't know why, but work lunch is referred to as "crib" here.  We pack our "cribs" in the morning and eat them in a crib room.  But the time spent doing so is referred to as "Smoko" (smoke break) and lunch.  Okay, Australia.  Whatev.

I consume most of my food in this trailer. Don’t know why, but work lunch is referred to as “crib” here. We pack our “cribs” in the morning and eat them in a crib room. But the time spent doing so is referred to as “Smoko” (smoke break) and lunch. Okay, Australia. Whatev.

The thing is, I started this job that suits my all-or-nothing style.  However, it means I’ve been working 84 hours a week and living at a mining camp in the middle of nowhere since the end of July.  After four 84 hour weeks, I get one off.  Mostly I use that week to veg and escape to the Australian wilderness with my boyfriend where we find campsites with population: 2.

The view from the walking loop I do at camp every night after work!

The view from the walking loop I do at camp every night after work!

I’m happy to be earning money, but miss the lifestyle I’ve temporarily put on hold… the one where I have all the time in the world for family, friends, and friends-to-be.