Posted by: dsduffy | April 23, 2009

Answers. Part 1

First and foremost, a request from my mom for this:

Cameron 4/09

Cameron 4/09

and this….1

Jake 4/09

Jake 4/09

And for one of my favorite family members, who had some great questions, here are my answers for her:
1. Are Uggs cheaper? I have not seen authentic Ugg’s yet, just the knock-offs at the markets. I will do some research on this one. If so, do you have any special requests? (I would be happy to send some to Kira!)

2. Are there Gap and Old Navy stores? NO. The closest thing is a store called Cotton On. But it is just not the same

3. Have you tried Vegemite? Yes. EW. Tastes like salty yeasty gooey yuck. Supposedly you have to be introduced to the taste as a young child, and most people eat it on bread with margarine (pronounced Margareen).

4. What do the residents think of Prime Minister Rudd? Hmm, I’m not so sure about this one. I don’t think they dislike him. I don’t pay enough attention, and now that you mentioned it, I am going to try to.

5. Do they have deli’s? Well, if you mean like deli counters like at the grocery store YES, but they don’t have all the same stuff, NO Boar’s Head, obviously no American cheese, no pre-made salads. And as for deli’s like the restaurants, NO. They do have cafes that will make sandwiches like that, but not as much variety as we are used to. What I would do for a turkey sandwich from Short Hills deli!

6. Are crocs popular? Yes, but mostly with the kids. The more popular shoes are Havaiana’s flip-flops (called thongs here)

7. Do the movie theaters run US movies? Yes, but they are released here much later than they are in the US. And while we’re on the topic of movies, I went last week during the day and one ticket was $16.50! Outrageous!

And for Kristi, what I love about Australia:
The location. Everything is so close. Maybe it is because I have never lived this close to a major city before, but I just love that everything is so convenient.
It is clean. It is amazing how clean things are, even the bathrooms! Besides the graffiti, Melbourne is one clean place.
The people are so friendly. I am not sure if it is because they think I am a tourist, but nevertheless, they are all very nice and helpful. Melbourne is very kid-friendly. Where I am used to “shhh-ing” my kids all the time in public, it is not necessary here. I never get dirty looks if my kids are crying or are loud, or are not acting like perfect angels at restaurants. Kids are allowed to be kids, and not expected to act like adults. Imagine that! During school holidays, there are so many activitiesand programs for kids, there is always something fun to do with the kids.
The abundance of cafes. This could also be a city thing, but this is something I just love.
The architecture. It is common to see a “period” home right next to the most modern home you have ever seen. And it just works. The mixture of old and new, blendingof different styles is something I’m not used to, comingfrom a neighborhood where the only difference betweenhouses is the color of the siding, or the location of the garage. And even some “period” homes keep the facade original but modernize the inside. Also, along the freeways, you will see a bright yellow post coming up from the ground, suspended in midair over the roadway, Art! And along the sides, instead of boring old concrete noise barriers, there are colorful stone walls, mixed with bright colored glass walls. Or a bright blue and green bridge – imagine that, Art. That would never go over back in the US, people would be up in arms over the use of their tax dollars.
And finally, simplicity. I don’t know if I can explain this well, but I feel like I am not over-run with STUFF. And maybe this is because we didn’t bring all of our stuff with us, it is sitting back in storage somewhere (hopefully somewhere, since we just found out the original place just went out of business) There aren’t super size bottles of shampoo, or economy boxes of paper towels. You can buy 3 rolls and just get more when you run out. And the selection at the grocery store, I probably complained about it, but now I appreciate the fact that there are only 6 salad dressings to choose from. It makes my life easier. Simpler.

Please feel free to ask any more questions, I have been suffering from writer’s block lately, or maybe I have become lazy. Sorry!



  1. Every single thing you said here is so “spot on”– see I’m turning Aussie too.

    And I haven’t even tried Vegemite– but my four year old loves it- it cracks me up.

    • You haven’t tried it yet?? (you aren’t missing anything) but you have to at least try it once. I cannot believe that your son LIKES it!!! A true Aussie boy 🙂

    • You haven’t tried vegemite and you only just tried tim tams? What’s wrong with you??

      Word of advice… stick to the tim tams, pass on the vegemite.

  2. Ohh the yellow sticks by the highway. I don’t get them, but I guess they’re something to look at. My first day in town my friend took me around to see all the “pointless art” in Melbourne.

    Much of it is a bit odd, but it’s much better than trash.

    I haven’t tried vegemite yet either, but my friend from the States is coming next month… figure I’d make her be brave with me!

  3. I read an article about UGGS- aparently that has always been a generic name for those type of boots. Then some American company put a trademark on it and made it illegal for anyone to use the name “UGG” even in Australia. A lawsuit followed and the company lost. So, here in Australia, UGG is still a generic term for sheepskin boots. I don’t think you won’t find the American branded version here.

  4. Thanks, I loved reading the post. This simple healthy lifestyle you speak of is exactly what I want for my boys. I will miss the all the shopping, I mean I am an American. I think I bought out the Gap today, in fear I would never be there again. But living on Maui the past 12 years has taught me living with less things and more nature brings you closer to truly living in the present. It is a gift.

    Question: What type of clothes are you wearing this time of year? Jacket?

  5. Great post! So cool that people actually asked you some questions. 🙂

    To answer Kristi’s question above (and I’m in sydney)- Saturday I was in jeans and a tank top and I was hot. Today I had jeans, a sweater and a full blown jacket when I went to the store- and I was cold. Then when I came out of the store, I had to take the jacket off.

    The weather can’t make up its mind here!

  6. LOVE LOVE LOVE the pictures of the boys!! They are so super cute and getting so big. Thank your mom for asking for more pictures. More, please!

    You definitely don’t appear to have writer’s block…your blog is always fantastic! Keep it up!!!


  7. Tried the Vegamite … not horrible, but not good. Had to try it before I left AU. Must definitely be a developed taste. Yes, to the tim tams … they are the best!

  8. This is what I learned living there about Uggs, like someone else said pretty much. Uggs Australia is an american compnay started by an aussie who brought the “ugg” style boots over to california and then got very rich. You can find ugg style boots anywhere in oz, markets, target, cotton on. The thing is they are really mainly only used for slippers, check out aus target and they’ll have boys simpson style ugg boots. Ugg style boots are very aussie and been around for a while, popular with the surft crowd but a very common slipper. I tihnk the only people who wear them out though are the age of my babysitters, otherwise they are really for your home! Or at least that’s what I have gathered

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