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.


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?

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