Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ozzy! Ozzy! Ozzy!

It feels as though Americans love Australians. In the time that we've been living here, I don't think I've received a single negative comment about my nationality. They don't always guess where I'm from correctly, and it's not uncommon to be mistaken for a Brit, but there's always curiosity.

Maybe their excitement at meeting an "Ossy" is because Americans like to be so externally positive about  everything. Maybe it is or isn't genuine.... I don't care. I choose to feel the love. And not point out that actually, we say Aussie like "Ozzy". As in Ozzy Osbourne.

It's refreshing to have strangers go all gushy when they learn I'm Australian.

You see, a good chunk of my twenties was spent living in England - mostly London. Over there, Australians really are a dime a dozen. We are everywhere. You only need to spend one trip on the London Underground to hear a nasal, uprising intonation cut through the carriage's air. Over there, we're not special.

The pub I worked at, many moons ago
For a while, I was the ultimate cliché: an Aussie bar maid. I enjoyed meeting such interesting - albeit drunken - characters. It was fun. The only downside was when the more arrogant/classist barflies made ignorant references to my background and sneered such gems as "You Australians are all from convict stock." and "Australians 'ave such 'orrible accents." Quite charming.

Eventually, pulling pints lost its shine, and I decided it was time to find a line of work which would challenge me more. Teach English to foreigners? Why not?

Well. The comments I heard about that. "Oh, you fink you're gonna teach English proper, eh?" and "You can't teach them foreigners English - they'll all end up with Australian accents, innit!" Sometimes I wondered who would really benefit from language lessons.

It doesn't sound like it, but I actually had a great time in England. Made some great friends, met some amazing people, saw some incredible places (did I mention how I loved being so close to Europe?). For the most part, people were lovely... but rarely excited about meeting yet another Australian.

Here in L.A? Sure, there are plenty of Australians around but I guess people aren't living as densely as in London. You have to listen a little harder, a little longer, in crowded places to hear our accent. Just the other day, a woman exclaimed, "Wow! You're from Australia? Wow! I've always wanted to go there. I just love your accent - it's adorable!" ...I could get used to that.


  1. Yep, my experience is that Americans love an Aussie. And hell, what's not to love? Our accent IS adorable....nowhere else has the soyme koynd of accent as us. We're different, unusual.

    Never been to London. It's a weather thing.....

  2. London weather is poo, no doubt about that - took the wind out of my sails after a while. I remember it as kind of an extreme version of Melbourne weather (bar those +40º days) ;)

  3. I was amazed by how interested Americans are in you the minute you open your mouth. They just love it.

    To tell the truth, I loved THEM. And I know this sounds so crap but the guys are really chivalrous and not in a sleazy way. I was an unaccompanied female the first time I visited in 1999. Most blokes don't look at me twice here but they knocked themselves out for me over there. I didn't care what the motivation was ... I was lappin' it up.

  4. Ha! They treated you like a lady rather than a silly tart, huh? ;)