One mind boggling experience within the Twitter space is time differences between here in Australia and the rest of the world, most notably the UK and US.

It’s not uncommon for me to tweet or email my community and hear nothing back, only to wake up the next day with a handful of notifications.

Some time back I sent out a question to my email tribe where I gauged ideas for content that you’d like to see. One response I got back sounded right up my alley, quite fun and agreed to the post. I was asked to pen a piece highlighting the difference between Australians (Aussies) and Americans. There can’t be many, right? Or is there?

The differences between Americans and Australians

Aussies actually like Vegemite

There, I said it. That tangy, bitey, yeasty, thick black paste that’s a staple in almost all Aussie pantries, yep, we love it. Here’s the thing; those that have tried it often take a spoon full and eat it raw — no, no, no, that’s dog shit. There is a perfect ratio of butter to Vegemite that needs to be spread on a perfectly toasted slice of bread (not over toasted, the golden sweet spot type of toast). What happens is a glorious blend of melted butter mixed with swirls of tangy Vegemite that’ll give you hairs on your chest. Not really, but it’s damn good.

Aussies know a hot summer when we see one

I know the Texans out there will jump in and say they do too. Yes, you can claim the right too, but for the most part Summer in Australia is damn well too hot to handle, much like our accents. Hottest temps in summer generally sit around 45°C for days on end, peaking up to 47°C (116.6°F) if mother nature really wants to kick us while we’re down. To make matters worse, our country likes to charge us premiums for electricity so running an air conditioner is for a select elite group of proper folk.

Aussies play football without protection

Soft spot? I’ve seen some hard hits in the NFL but we think the blow is softened with all that latex filled cushion. Our football league, the NRL in Australia mosly began with Garbos (Garbologists – Waste Disposal Technicians – Trash Collectors) who took up the sport with a love for the game and for fun after work, with little pay. Now days Aussie football is filled with many over privledged men who don’t know how to treat people or cant drive without first being under the influence of alcohol (but that’s another story). And we don’t wear padding, or helmets, and we still tackle. Jus’ sayin’. Prime example of our toughness;

Australian’s can’t be fired from their jobs

One thing Americans have over Aussies is the ability to recognise the privledge in having a job. Aussies get fancy and take it for granted. It’s almost impossible to fire someone in Australia for a number of reasons; we have a bucnh of unfair dismissal laws, a heavily unionised workforce and contracts where the employee has many rights. It’s a good thing for reasonable job security, but it makes it difficult to remove underperforming workers without going through lengthy performance management programmes, excessive cuddles and a nice farewell party. And if you don’t land a job quick enough the Government will pay you while you look for work, study, suffer a wrist injury or claim you’re too sad and smoke too much. True story.

Aussie accents and sentences are cryptic

Anytime I’ve traveled or I’ve been around foreigners the guessing game around what my accent is leads to people thinking we are British. Seriously? Poms sound nothing like us, they sound royal and proper, we don’t finish words, or sentences for that matter, we change our birth names to end is -azza or -O, for example Sharon quite nicely becomes Shazza and Damian becomes a cool Dame-O. We refer to telephones as Blowers, conversations as Yarns and Flip-flops as Thongs. I know, that last one gets US folk confused everytime. We blokes wear thongs. Just to be clear again, a Thong is the Aussie word for flip-flops.

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Image linked from DeviantArt.com, full credit to to the creator.

Everything is bigger in America


The largest bottle of milk in Australia is 3L. And that hasn’t been around as long as the gallon bottles in America. Our mains are your Entré and your mains are our Christmas dinner servings.

If something looks like it’ll be too big in Australia, we’re quick to say how it will fail. We call it Tall Poppy Syndrome. Trying too hard? “Better not mate, you might fail”. Building something big? “Mate you’ll look like a show off!” Chasing your dreams? “You’re such a try hard”. Common convos in Australia.

A full list of Aussie vs American references

  • Conversations are ‘convos’. You’re welcome.
  • We refer to Gasoline / Gas as petrol or fuel.
  • Mobile is our version of cell phone.
  • Your ketchup is our tomato sauce.
  • Your marker is our texta (you know, Sharpie?).
  • America calls it college where as we refer to it as University or just Uni. College here is secondary school.
  • Fall is called Autumn here.
  • What you call Grill we call BBQ; it’s not Grilled chicken here, it’s BBQ’d Chicken.
  • You call it alcohol, we call it ‘piss’. Another true story.
  • You call them cigarettes, we call them ‘fags’. Heavily inappropriate and offensive to some so don’t ask why it’s called a ‘fag’.
  • Soda pop, pop or just soda is called fizzy drink here.
  • Alcohol is called piss, grog or booze down under. And when used in conversation, goes like this “Getting pissed”, “Get on the grog”, “Having a piss up”, “Drinking too much booze”. Sounds awefully slang and uncivilized when I tell it really. PS, I personally stay off the piss. ;)
  • Your candy are our lollies.
  • A Movie Theatre in America is the Cinema here.
  • An eraser is a rubber is Australia. But a rubber in Australia is also another word for a condom.
  • Trash cans are called garbage bins down under. “Chuck it in the garbage” is what we’d say, not “Throw it in the trash”.
  • We don’t “ride the Subway”, we “catch a train”.
  • “Give it a crack” is our way of saying “Have a go”.
  • G’day.

Other random observations

  • We don’t write checks / cheques here anymore.
  • Americans adopt things quicker and things become pop culture faster in America.
  • Twitter is still so confusing down under.
  • We don’t do summer camps.
  • Our school year starts in February of every year. And we don’t get the whole summer off.
  • We don’t have Thanksgiving (although I like the idea so I celebrate it).
  • Aussies are split in two with the concept of Halloween. But the idea is growing on us.
  • This post is centered around the ups of Americans and the downs of Aussies. Tall Poppy Syndrome?
  • We vote elections with pencil and paper. No electronic voting here. Someone decided ‘pencil and paperr’ is either safer or cheaper, or both, or, doesn’t know what an eraser is.
  • We use a kettle to boil our water in about a 1min. Yes, the privledge, I know. Thank god for 240V.
  • Our money is made from the same material as our council garbage bins – plastic. True story.
  • Christmas time is hot in Australia, no snow for us. And no aircon for many. Only ‘rich people’.
  • Many school classrooms in Australia don’t have aircon. Your arse sweats on the chair while you try not to fail math class.
  • Australia’s capital city is Canberra. Mostly politicians live there. Our most ‘popular city’ is Sydney. I’m confused why it’s not our capital city.
  • Mateship is big here. We will always help a mate. The word mate gets added to alot of senences; “G’day mate”, “How are ya mate?” “You’re right, mate!” Or just “Maaate!!!”.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Kangaroos aren’t actually everywhere. We don’t have them as pets and they don’t run along the Harbour Bridge.
  • Many of the world’s most deadliest creatures including spiders, snakes and marine creatures are native to Australia. Just last weekend I came across the deadliest spider in my backyard. Our zoos teach us how to capture them safely so they can be milked for antivenom production.

Overall we are an honest, fair dinkum bunch that are loyal to our mates.

Q. Have I missed any?

Say G’day.

Ivan.

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