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Not So Automatic Doors and Turkeys: Daily life in Brisbane

The past couple of weeks has been a whirlwind of learning about Brisbane and also myself. While walking the streets of South Bank or even running to a class I have found a multitude of differences between daily life back in America and everyday life here. So, here are the top six differences I have encountered while living in Brisbane.

1. Some sayings or greetings are confusing. “How are you going” and “what are you after” mean “how are you today” and “what would you like” not how are you getting to a particular place nor what are your goals in life. The confusion is real when you are standing in line to order food, and they ask “what are you after?” and you stare at them contemplating whether to disregard the question and just order fries or whether they want to know what you are after in life…”um, like my life goals?” Note to everyone everywhere, just order the fries.

2. Some doors are NOT automatic. Picture Allison and I standing in front of our apartment buildings door, waiting for it to open, until after about two minuets of walking up to it and then walking away, as well as some arm waving, someone reminds us we have to press a green button for it to open. It looks automatic. It works like an automatic door. We are lazy. The door should just open. Even worse we tried to get off the train and held up an entire car waiting for the doors to open by themselves (like normal trains do) until someone politely told us to press a button to open it. I mean try playing that off, “no I know I was just looking out the window, building the suspense…”

3. The bus system is confusing. Countless times Allison and I have missed our stop and rode the bus into the city. Where we had to search the transit website for what bus would take us back. I mean there are six million random numbers on the buses, and I genuinely did not realize there were inward-bound vs. outward-bound tracks. Give me a break I am used to the Gettysburg walking system due to it being tiny compared to here. Bottom line? Do some research before jumping onto a random bus.

4. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Money somehow mysteriously disappears when Sunday rolls around, and I check my bank account and realize, oh look! I’m broke! Seriously a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is fifteen dollars. FIFTEEN. Even worse Allison and I can’t cook so we eat out a lot, the food is NOT cheap my friends. So budgeting, although I have not figured it out, is probably a smart idea
5. Turkeys. Turkeys are everywhere. The University of Queensland is filled with turkeys bopping around and looking for food. Picture Allison and I walking along, probably lost, when the small bird, feathers puffed, SPRINTS in front of us and disappears into the courtyard. Then two minutes later there’s another one following behind us. Oh look and another in that bush.

6. People walk on the side of the road that they drive on. Here in Australia, everyone drives on the left side of the road whereas in America we drive on the right. You would not think that this difference affects the way foot traffic flows but nope once again, wrong. I was walking down the street, keeping to the right as I normally do, when I noticed that I would almost bang into someone every other step. I also noticed that it seemed like I was a fish swimming upstream while everyone else was going downstream, what was happening? After about the fourth day of this happening I slowly realized, duh, people, out of habit, walk on the same side of the street that they drive on. So I have slowly started to train myself to walk on the left side of the sidewalk and limit the number of collisions I have in a day.

All though these differences seemed intimidating and confusing at first they are now a part of my daily life. I enjoy the bus to school and even the friendly cluck of a turkey now and then while walking to class. Brisbane itself is beautiful, and our apartment is located in South Bank right on the river, where the avenues come to life with street vendors as well as visitors looking for some sun on streets beach. We have held koalas, figured out the bus routes, spent all our money, and even endured many Pokémon Go references from professors who just want to be “relatable” during orientation week. Now that I have become accustomed to Brisbane life, I cannot wait to travel around and explore different places surrounding the Brisbane area.

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