12.10.2014

The Australians

Australians, and I count myself among that number (at least 50%...dual citizen), are the nicest people I have ever met. They are the kind of people that you want to be around all the time. Positive, funny, nice, happy, and accommodating. I am so filled with positivity after bring in Australia for over a fortnight.

If there is any criticism I have of Australians it is only that they are sometimes apologetic to a fault. They will say, "Sorry," for any perceived transgression on their part, no matter how minor. This is most noticeable in close quarters when the risk of jostling and interference is high. If an Aussie accidentally bumps you, they say, "Sorry." If they inadvertently cut you off getting into an elevator, they say, "Sorry."

The correct response to an Australian's heartfelt apology is, "No worries," or, "No worries, mate." This indicates that you have recognized the transgression as to be so minor that literally ZERO stress and worry has resulted from the incident.

The word "mate" translates roughly as "friend," although typically only used to address males.

Australians are always willing to lend a helping hand. When we first got to Melbourne the week of November 24, we took a lot of trams and trains. We'd be discussing a map or some location we were trying to get to and the locals always offered unsolicited help. I guess, technically, this means they were also eavesdropping on us, but it wasn't like we were discussing personal hygiene in public or something.

I speculate that Australians are brought up to have good manners. My dad offers circumstantial evidence for this. He is Aussie, and growing up my sister and I had good table manners and good grammar hammered into us. I used to get allergies as a kid that would stuff up my nose and so I had to breathe through my mouth. That made it hard to chew with my mouth closed because I had to open it during chewing to breathe. My dad just assumed I would always be a degenerate when it came to table manners. On this Australia trip, he was also giving my niece and nephew grief about table manners that went unheeded.

Most schools in Australia require kids to wear school uniforms, and even ties for the boys. I think this ingrains kids with a sense of formality and manners they take with them through life.

In any case, Aussies are superb human beings.

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