4 February 2011 (Australia)
After 3,5 years of financial drought and lack of time (because of the renovation of our house) we finally could treat ourselves to a city trip to Melbourne. I want to tell you why I so enormously enjoyed it!
For me personally it felt like a kind of landslide to understand the Australian accent 100 times easier than the New Zealand accent. I know; probably my language struggle begins to be a pretty boring topic for you, and for me it’s quite annoying that I hardly can explain why I find language & personality are so tightly connected to each other.
But … apart from the certainty that there are way more serious problems in the world (really, I know, haha) the fact is that I have to cope this struggle and in Australia I experienced an almost physical relief because the bustle around me was no dense cloud of abstract sounds anymore. Without significant concentration I could pick up complete sentences! For example; listening to the people gossiping about their aunty on the seats behind me in the lunchroom … oh, the joy! Or the teenage girls in the tram discussing how they would approach their prey that night. It made me serenely smiling. It were fragments of lives that had nothing to do with my life, but suddenly now I was part of the same space, instead of being an almost deaf and dumb person in a separate bubble.
What also made me so happy was that people understood ME TOO!!! Usually without I needed to repeat my words 3 times! Of pure happiness I asked things on my own initiative! Just for fun! Without those questions were urgently needed! No deep conversations though, but you have to start in baby steps, isn’t it?
In New Zealand, when I asked for an extra sugar packet … without exception they looked at me like I’m hysterically yelling at them. Even if I pointed to the empty pot of sugar packets at the same time. Sometimes I almost choked of frustration!
Then what a relief to simply ask in the fitting room: “Can you bring me a larger size?” and the shop assistant kindly nodded and DOING it right away!!! Oh … those little things made me so happy last week.
I always have felt if I was the first person in the world by asking such an idiotic thing like a larger size, or a sugar packet, while requesting these questions in a completely logical situation. After all, I didn’t ask for a sugar packet just after a fire has broken out. And I didn’t ask for a larger size, just when I was lying down to undergo a gynecological examination.
Anyhoo … if you often experience that feeling of despair, then after a while it will affect your behavior. And if your behaviour is changing, it slowly infects your personality.
If I concentrate I can follow the news on tv in New Zealand. But a constant high focus is too much. I only can muster for things that interest me in a certain level.
I don’t know why other people pick it up so much faster. Probably I need more practice. To practice you need to talk to strangers. Ha … and THAT is quite unthinkable for an introvert!
But it remains a curious fact that I have much less trouble with the Australian dialect. Four years ago, I already had noticed this during our visit to Brisbane.
The above story is not the reason for our desire to move to Australia in the future. We miss the Big City. That doesn’t mean we made the wrong choice 5 years ago. At that time, New Zealand was the right choice. We wanted to leave the Netherlands, away from the crowds and live in a quiet area. Well … we did. Now we are five years further in life and have learned a few things. Perhaps we have changed too. We broadly moved to the right direction. Now we just need to do some fine tuning. Geographically-wise.