Another mental hurdle for me has been the use of the English language. I’m not talking about the (now) obvious ‘thongs’ for ‘flip flops’ or ‘ute’ for ‘truck’. I’m talking about me being at Mike’s Uncle’s house, trying in vain to control Elias who is running everywhere. Mike’s Auntie and Uncle must have said to me a dozen times ‘don’t panic, don’t panic, he’s fine’, and I kept thinking “I’m not panicked. why do they keep telling me not to panic. my voice is calm and even. this is not panic, they should see me panic”. In the car driving home it dawned on me that ‘don’t panic’ translates to ‘don’t worry’. Similarly, ‘no drama’ really caught me off guard. The first time Mike’s cousin told me ‘no drama’ I had been explaning when we might be able to join them for dinner. I immediately thought ‘do I sound dramatic? do I sound frantic or overwhelmed? why did he say no drama? I can be dramatic, and this is NOT dramatic”. I felt much better when later in the evening Roy said ‘ah, yeah, no drama Mate’ to Mike. Best I can tell, it is an innocent saying that translates roughly to ‘no worries’. Of course ‘no worries’ means ‘you are welcome’ and can also be confusing at times. But the longer I am here the more I realize that the Australians all seem to have hearts of gold and if they are guilty of anything it’s of being too lackadaisical with the English language. Maybe it comes from growing up in the beach culture. Maybe it comes from celebrating Christmas in a bikini and seeing Santa in his togs.
In Oz, Santa uses kangaroos to pull his sled which gives the caribou more time to rest for their turn in the northern hemisphere. Here are a few pictures of Elias and his cousin Kali making sure the ‘roos are well fed and energized for the work that awaits them on Christmas eve.