For some reason, I went to Australia thinking that it would be more like Britain than like America. I’m not sure why I had this in my head. A rational examination of history would suggest otherwise–both Australia and America were colonized by the Brits, and the key difference is that America formally has complete independence while the Aussies still have to deal with the indignity of Elizabeth being the Queen of Australia. It just sounds wrong, doesn’t it?
Much to my surprise and delight, I found Australia to be perhaps more American than British, but certainly somewhere in between. Following on the discussion I found today on one of the other expat blogs (you’ll see my comment which inspired this post) it seems common for Brits in America or Americans in Britain to find that they are not truly at home in either place. And for this, I recommend Australia.
Things about Australia that feel American:
- Friendly, outgoing people!
- Wide streets, lots of cars. Stop signs!
- Modern architecture. Detached houses. Large ground level parking lots/carparks.
- General attitude towards the Brits as stodgy colonialist bastards. (Admittedly, some American Anglophiles don’t share this view…)
Things about Australia that remind you of the British connection:
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Roundabouts (traffic circles)
- Little switches on the electrical outlets
- Cricket obsession
Walking through an Australian grocery store was very confusing for this confused US/UK expat, it was a mix of the things I miss from home and the things I find in my local Brit mart. Sure there are a few uniquely Aussie products thrown into the mix (Vegemite, Barbecue Shapes and TimTams, anyone?) but just like everything else I found, the supermarket was a mixed up mash-up of American and British products, leaning towards the American side moreso than the Brit. And I guess that would be my overall impression of Oz, it’s not dead in the middle but leans more new world than old world. So perhaps it’s the perfect retirement or vacation spot for all of us confused people who inhabit the ether somewhere above the Atlantic.