deird1: Buffy and Giles looking at each other (Buffy Giles)
[personal profile] deird1
Believe it or not, there are many things in your house that you've probably never realised are different anywhere else. When I went to Germany, I was fascinated by lightswitches, of all things. And it took me a week to figure out how all the windows worked.

So...


The Powerpoints

Our powerpoints (not "outlets") are different to yours. They also produce a different voltage.

They look like this:


What you do is, you keep it switched off (like the socket on the left), plug your appliance in, and then switch it on (like the socket on the right).

If you're bringing over any electrical stuff, remember to bring an adaptor with you.



The Toilet

Your toilet might be in the bathroom, or it might be in its own teeny separate room. In the latter case, both the room and the object are known as "the toilet". Hence, the conversation "Where's Mike?" "Oh, he's in the toilet." makes sense even if Mike is not literally swimming around the bowl.

Our toilets have less water in them than American toilets. You tend to get a small quantity of water sitting right at the bottom of the bowl. If it's getting close to the rim, it means the toilet is blocked and about to overflow.

Every toilet in Australia is a "dual-flush" toilet. You use the "half-flush" setting if your toilet visit didn't... *ahem* ...cause much disturbance in the force. And the "full-flush" setting if you need something more substantial. There's not really a single way that loos will indicate which setting is done with which button - you pretty much have to figure it out as you go.



A Couple of Kitcheny Words

It's not a kitchen counter; it's a kitchen bench.

To clean the bench - or the floor, or the front of the microwave, or whatever else you've got lying around - you'll need a cleaner of some sort. Much as "Kleenex" has become a generic word for "tissue", one of our generic cleaners has inserted itself into the Aussie vocabulary: if someone asks you to hand them the "spray-and-wipe", they're talking about a bottle of cleaning product which you spray on the bench, and then wipe off again.

(People here don't really use "Kleenex" as a generic term. Just by the way.)



Oven Temperatures

...are in Celsius. Not Fahrenheit.

Quick guide to Aussie temperatures, coming right up...


0 degrees - freezing. Literally.
10 degrees - cold morning
20 degrees - nice day
30 degrees - nicer day
40 degrees - TOO HOT TO MOVE
...short intermission while we switch from weather to food...
100 degrees - water boiling
180 degrees - moderate oven
200 degrees - standard oven
220 degrees - hot oven
300 degrees - you're going to burn the roast




Watching TV

There used to be five TV channels (ABC, 7, 9, 10, and SBS). These days, with the advent of digital, there are more - but still all run by the same companies. This is why you can have channels "7", "7 digital", "7TWO", and "7 mate" - none of them actually on the 7th channel. Weird, but you'll get used to it.

DVDs here are region 4. But most DVD players can be unlocked to multi-region, if you know how.

Also - we do not have Netflix or Hulu. Overdose on them now, while you can.



The Mail

I get the impression from movies (and The Sims) that, in the US, if you want to send a letter you put it in your own letterbox and lift the little flag. Is this correct?

Here, you have to go and find a giant red post box.



Putting Out The Bins

Rubbish is collected on a weekly basis. In most suburbs, there will be three separate bins:
- the standard bin
- the recycling
- the green bin

If you're in a flat, you probably won't need to worry about the green bin, but make sure to separate your rubbish from your recycling.




Questions? Comments?

Date: 2013-06-28 10:22 pm (UTC)
beer_good_foamy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] beer_good_foamy
So your outlets are designed to look like the killer from Scream?

Edited Date: 2013-06-28 10:24 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-06-28 10:30 pm (UTC)
slaymesoftly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] slaymesoftly
Didn't know some of this - in spite of sometimes daily conversations with C through the years. I knew about outside temps, but not that ovens read differently (although it makes sense, obviously, just hadn't occurred to me). You can get mail picked up from your personal mailbox if you have a flag and the mailman comes to you. However, mostly you put mail in a box located somewhere convenient or in front of the post office. I think the putting mail in the box and putting up a flag is a rural thing for people who don't live near towns. but I wouldn't swear to that. Have had a PO box for the past 38 years. :)

Ok - trash and recycling, yes. But what is a "green bin"?

Date: 2013-06-28 10:54 pm (UTC)
slaymesoftly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] slaymesoftly
Ah, that makes sense.

Date: 2013-06-28 10:35 pm (UTC)
redsixwing: Red-winged angel staring at a distant star. (Default)
From: [personal profile] redsixwing
Well, you -can- put your mail in your own box and lift the little flag, but you run the risk of anything sensitive being stolen/tampered before the mail truck gets there. *sigh*

I bring all my mail to the central office or a drop box anyway, because mail fraud is sadly an issue. (And I'm in a very rural area, too, can't imagine this would work better anywhere with more people.)

I like your guide, though I doubt I'll ever get used to the sadface built into your power points.
Edited Date: 2013-06-28 10:39 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-06-28 10:38 pm (UTC)
lizbee: (DW: Amy)
From: [personal profile] lizbee
Also - we do not have Netflix or Hulu. Overdose on them now, while you can.

Unless you have a VPN and an American credit card! Or, in my house, a VPN and a kind American friend with an unlimited streaming Netflix account.

(Apparently Netflix accepts Australian credit cards these days, but we haven't tried that out yet.)

Date: 2013-06-28 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Well, while you do not have Hulu as such, you have Firefox and the anonymox extension with which you can pretend to be in the US, and then, hey presto, you too can have Hulu. Works for me, for sure.
(And I've always thought Australian powerpoints look very, very sad.)

Date: 2013-06-28 10:51 pm (UTC)
velvetwhip: (Archy the Cockroach)
From: [personal profile] velvetwhip
The Mail

I get the impression from movies (and The Sims) that, in the US, if you want to send a letter you put it in your own letterbox and lift the little flag. Is this correct?

Here, you have to go and find a giant red post box.


Back in California, it wasn't like that, but here in Idaho, it is. Of course, in California, mail was often stolen (our local postal truck was emptied several times one year by a gang of thieves) so smart folks dropped off their important mail right at the post office.


Gabrielle

Date: 2013-06-28 11:40 pm (UTC)
brin_bellway: forget-me-not flowers (Default)
From: [personal profile] brin_bellway
Deird: If you're in a flat, you probably won't need to worry about the green bin
[...]
Green bins are for garden waste. Like chopped-down branches, or hedge clippings.


What, only for garden waste? Not food? In Canada, people in flats (and those with tiny yards) are about the only people who do need to worry about green bins. We have our own compost heap, so we have very little use for our green bin. (We use it for turkey carcasses and that's about it.)

Anon: Well, while you do not have Hulu as such, you have Firefox and the anonymox extension with which you can pretend to be in the US, and then, hey presto, you too can have Hulu. Works for me, for sure.

Oh, really? I've never found anything good enough to fool Hulu. Good to know.

Date: 2013-06-29 01:40 am (UTC)
zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeborah
In New Zealand the green bin can have both food scraps and garden waste. Just not cabbage tree leaves because they're too tough for even the industrial composting machines...

Date: 2013-07-01 03:52 pm (UTC)
beroli: (Default)
From: [personal profile] beroli
There are green bins in Northern California too, which work the same way.

Date: 2013-06-28 11:43 pm (UTC)
petzipellepingo: (us flag by eyesthatslay)
From: [personal profile] petzipellepingo
I get the impression from movies (and The Sims) that, in the US, if you want to send a letter you put it in your own letterbox and lift the little flag. Is this correct?


You only have the little flag if your box is on the street, if it's attached to your house as mine is - you can just leave the letter sticking out of the box and they will pick it up while on their route.

I actually knew that about the toilet being walled off from the other bathroom appliances, I believe it saw it on House Hunters International.

Cooking

Date: 2013-06-29 12:18 am (UTC)
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)
From: [personal profile] vass
Our food measuring units are different too.

A US tablespoon is 15mL; an Australian tablespoon is 20mL.
A US teaspoon is a third of a US tablespoon; an Australian teaspoon is a quarter of an Australian tablespoon. So, weirdly, a US teaspoon and an Australian teaspoon are about the same size, 5mL.

A US cup is half a pint, or 236mL.
An Australian cup is 250mL.

We don't use ounces, we use grams or millilitres, depending on if it's dry or wet. A 14oz can of beans is a 400g can of beans.

7-Elevens do not sell alcohol or bullets.

The only 24-hour supermarket in Melbourne is the Coles on Glenhuntly Road in Elsternwick; other Melbourne supermarkets generally shut at 12 (for Coles or Woolworths) or earlier (for independents, although some Woolworths have now started shutting at 11 in the winter months.)

Your best source of Asian food ingredients is your local Asian grocery: they'll be cheaper and have a better range than the supermarkets. Look for wherever there are lots of actual Asian people shopping. (This applies to a wide range of Asian countries.)

Your best source of Mexican food... nup, this is Australia. The closest you're going to get (apart from restaurants, and not a whole lot of them) is Old El Paso in the supermarket.

Vegetables and meat. Your cheapest source is what we call a 'market'. I think in the US that's a 'public market'? A large, open-air place with lots and lots of stalls, and definitely not a farmer's market (over here those are ridiculously expensive.)

Electric kettle: the quickest way to boil water. Yes, quicker than the stove. Yes, quicker than an electric kettle in the US: this is a consequence of our voltage being different from yours. The kettle boils faster here.

Drinking water: your tap water should be safe to drink, and depending on the pipes in your house and the level of chlorination in your area, quite likely tastes good too. Give it a go before buying a case of bottled water or a Britta filter.

Date: 2013-06-29 12:41 am (UTC)
lizbee: (Avatar: Aang and Momo)
From: [personal profile] lizbee
Converting US recipes to Australian was a profound trial before I became confident enough to do it by sight.

7-Elevens do not sell alcohol or bullets.

I literally dream about the convenience stores in Japan. So cheap! Such good food! Such ... adequate booze!

Also, Australian supermarkets don't contain pharmacies. Those are separate stores in their own right. (I was blown away by in-supermarket pharmacies in North America!)

Date: 2013-06-29 01:06 am (UTC)
lliira: Fang from FF13 (Default)
From: [personal profile] lliira
In the U.S., things are drastically different from state to state. All our electrical outlets are the same (as far as I know), but whether alcohol is sold somewhere and when is another issue. Also, among other things: whether recycling is available, whether someone is allowed to shoot you for no real reason, littering laws, age of consent laws, liquor laws, whether you're allowed to turn right at a red light, whether u-turns are allowed, and, of course, restaurants. Some things, like liquor laws, can even depend on the county you're in. Do things like this differ in Australia like this?

I've never seen a 7-11 that sold bullets :P. Not in Michigan, even in the U.P., not in Virginia, not in Florida, and certainly not in New York City.

Date: 2013-06-29 01:19 am (UTC)
lizbee: (DW: Dalek victory!)
From: [personal profile] lizbee
Australian laws generally differ by state rather than county, and we don't have as many differences, but yes.

(The big difference, as far as I know, is road rules. Also, Queensland has very strict laws about smoking in public places, whereas here in Victoria, I walk through a cloud of smoke to get to work every day.)

There are also a few towns and regions where alcohol is banned outright. As recently as the '80s, there was a whole suburb of Melbourne with no pubs. (They've made up for it since.)

Oh, and marijuana is legal for personal use in the Australian Capital Territory. Which makes for fun search warrant transcripts. "Yeah, we found a lot of stolen property and some cannabis. You can have that back, by the way."

Date: 2013-06-29 07:43 am (UTC)
immer_am_lesen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] immer_am_lesen
I never thought of our powerpoints as looking sad? I think they would need a downturned mouth for that...the foreign ones that have a round circle at the bottom, they look surprised. :-)

Also, our 'drugstores' are called pharmacies. If you ask for a druggist or drugstore here I think people might be concerned...

Date: 2013-07-03 04:14 pm (UTC)
eleanorjane: The one, the only, Harley Quinn. (Default)
From: [personal profile] eleanorjane
Also, our 'drugstores' are called pharmacies

Or chemists. I'm not sure if this is a regional thing, but everyone I know would be much more likely to call it "the chemist's", even if the shop itself was called "Such-and-Such Pharmacy".

Date: 2013-07-03 08:08 pm (UTC)
immer_am_lesen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] immer_am_lesen
true- pharmacy/ chemist. I usually say 'chemist' when talking about the local one, but have noticed a lot of the ones in town will have 'Pharmacy' in the title on the buiding. :-)

Date: 2013-06-29 08:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jl_in_the_lane.livejournal.com
It's because our powerplugs are much safer, because 1) they are insulated, and 2) have an earth wire.

http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity.htm

Whereas US plus, according to that link are 'among the most dangerous in the world'.

As for sockets being PERMANENTLY ACTIVE, that just gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies.

Date: 2013-06-29 08:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jl_in_the_lane.livejournal.com
Argh, spelling fail - 'plugs'.

Date: 2013-07-01 11:25 pm (UTC)
frayadjacent: Buffy looking to the side in black and white (Default)
From: [personal profile] frayadjacent
Thank you for this! Heh, Seattle's bins are just like Melbourne's, even in color. Though we can put food waste in the green bin as well, and the city has started putting "green bins" (we generally call them "compostables", though they permit things like meat, which you wouldn't normally put in your own compost heap) in public places all over the city, and they're all over my workplace. So I will feel very strange throwing my food waste in the rubbish bin!

Yeah, I had the mailboxes with flags growing up in rural and suburban areas, and my parents still do. But many apartments, in Seattle anyway, don't have that option -- your personal mailbox is only for the carrier to drop off. If we left a letter in ours the mailman would ignore it. But there are big blue boxes all over, so it sounds similar.

I've heard Australian Post offices have all kinds of shopping and stuff? Like they're a one-stop errand-running shop?

Heh, the light switches are going to take some getting used to. :D

It didn't occur to me till I saw this post and comments therein that my cookbook will be useless. Even if I can convert temperatures in my head, I'm not sure how to handle the different measurement systems! Good to know that's a thing I can leave behind. Though I will dearly miss it.

(BTW, a nice Celsius-Fahrenheit conversion to keep in one's head is that 16 C = 61 F.)

If you're bringing over any electrical stuff, remember to bring an adaptor with you.

Oh, are they not sold in Australia? I was hoping to save a bit of luggage space and buy them there. I also figured that was the best way to ensure I'd get the right kind!

I have another home-related question. I've heard a lot of vague things about extra bills/fees on top of rent, particularly related to water? And that they can be extremely high? Can you tell me more about that? I mean, in the US renters typically pay for heat, electricity, phone, and internet. Sometimes we also pay for water/sewer and garbage service, though often that is included in rent. This adds anywhere from ~$100/month to many hundreds per month if you have cable television and smartphones and a whole house to heat.

Thanks again!

Date: 2013-07-02 02:58 am (UTC)
frayadjacent: Willow looking amazed, text says "ooh shiny" (!Thumbs up)
From: [personal profile] frayadjacent
And they usually have lots of little random things that... kinda don't fit into a specific category. You'll see. :)

Hee! I'm excited about all these fun random little things that will be different. It's so good to talk to you about Australia, because on my own I'm either 1. stressing about moving, or 2. feeling guilty for abandoning my mother. It's nice to be reminded that it will be a fun adventure.

The middle three (water, internet, electricity, gas) will each cost me around $100 every three months.

Oh! That is similar to or cheaper than what I've paid for those services in Seattle on all counts. Excellent. (Well, except that right now my landlord lets me use his downstairs' business's internet for free.)

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