Thursday, September 15, 2011

Odd Aussie Customs: Sooks and Socks

For the record, sook is actually a word.  A sook is someone who sulks.  Obviously. 

In New Zealand and Australia that is.  Apparently derived from old English/Scottish.  In the midwestern U.S, it is apparently used to call cows in from pasture.  Whatever.

Picture found next to the word 'sook' in the dictionary!

Amazing what you pick up at Friday morning tea.  (Amazing that folks are actually reading my blog, especially given my lackadaisical writing habits lately.  For you, I chose to do this today rather than clean the fridge and bathrooms as planned.  A hardship, I know.)

The other English/Aussie terms that are tough for an American to come to terms with mostly have to do with articles of clothing and car parts.  (A robot, for all you South Africans, is obviously just a secret code you people have to identify eachother.  The rest of us call them traffic lights.) 

Although she can be a love too!   (Look at that view!)

A bonnet is the hood of a car, not something to put on a baby's head.  A boot is the trunk of a car, not...well you get the point.  But we HAVE had to point and pantomime to learn that a tow-bar is a hitch and a float is a trailer. 

A ute is a pick-up.  Apparently not invented by Ford after all, just enlarged and Americanized.  (IF that is a word, it HAS to be spelled with a zee - not a zed - and certainly not with an s.)  You aren't a true Aussie unless you own a ute.  And yes, here in Queensland you can tie your dogs - mostly cattle dogs, sheep dogs and Staffies -  in the back.  Although new seatbelt laws prohibit you from doing the same with your children. 

Staffies are pit bulls.  No matter what you call 'em.   But I'm not saying that to the bloke in the ute with the "Fuck Off.  We're Full." sticker stuck on the back!

We've already been through the bathing suit, bathing costume, togs and cossie fiasco.

Aidan proving that the word 'sook' is gender neutral.

Jumpers are sweatshirts.  Tennies are sneakers.  Sports articles are different too, but somehow self-explanatory.   I believe they call sweatpants 'joggers?'   Or perhaps those are tennies too.  Hmm.  It seems that the same rules for understanding a foreign language apply to learning Aussie English.  Listen to it in context and make an educated guess.

Also realise that Australia is the only place in the world where grown men have no problem abbreviating long words into cute-sounding abbreviations.  Chrissy for Christmas.  Mossie for Mosquito.  Maybe because they've grown up in places like Toowoomba and Indooropilly that sound like Disney-Land amusement parks anywhere else.

Luke and Padme flanked by two "Ritter"

Important to remember that a cooler - to hold your beer, preferably Australian - is an Esky. 


Football is either soccer, rugby, Australian rules or, in last place, that woosy game the Americans play with padding.  But you call it footy.  And still sound like a man.  As in ' Have you got an esky for the footy tomorrow, mate?' 

Rugby is either league or union.  I believe the league is the one I like, lighter builds, more like touch-football.  Union are the guys with no necks.  Who play other guys with no necks from South Africa and New Zealand for some trophy noone else in the rest of the world has ever heard of.  Not to belittle it.  It's big.  Just tucked into the lower right hand corner of the map.

Rugby cool with or without the proper footwear.

I believe I might be getting the hang of it!

Enough to correct the twins when they come home from school sounding out B...B...B... cookie!  (Biscuit in English, Bikkie in Aussie - as in "Throw some bikkies in the esky for the footy, mate.)
Or L...L...L...candy!  (Lolly)

I gotta love a country that not only calls McDonald's "Mackers" but uses the abbreviated form in it's advertisements.  When in Oz.

Aidan pitches.

So that the vocabulary isn't at all as difficult to accept as this thing with the socks.

First off, you can STILL spot my boys as the only ones wearing socks with their sandals.  Honestly, I am trying to break them of the habit.  Secondly, you can spot them as the only ones WEARING sandals, with or without socks.  Barefoot is best, saves loads on footwear too. 

This winter I saw a barefoot teenager shopping with his mother.  Who was wearing Uggs.  With shorts.  Not only do we have the climate you can do that in - winter boots for cold toes at the same time your hot-blooded teenager is running around half-naked, but we have the attitude for it too.  Whatever.  They're your feet.

A bit nippy for all but the German-blooded!

I love it here.

The only thing the German in me absolutely, positively cannot deal with is the kids running around in their socks.  Outdoors.  Playing footy.  Of any variety.  Put on shoes or take off the socks.  It's so simple. 

Also apparently an outrageous request.

Noone else gets it.  What's the big deal?  Their feet are a bit chilly maybe.  (THEN PUT ON THE SHOES!)  Once again, we have that rare climate where one COULD run around in socks - grass is dry, dirt is dry, it's fairly warm.  The snakes and spiders not half as prevalent in the suburbs as one has been led to believe.

Matthew swings.

If you ran around in socks in Germany you'd end up with mud.

So that my poor kids are the only ones barefoot while the Aussie kids have socks on.  Honestly, who needs to add that to the laundry pile?  Buying new ones every week just isn't an option for this all-too frugal German mindset.

Call me a sook.  A sook about socks.  And I still love it here.

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