of prangs & puddings…

Now, before any Americans get bent out of shape, please understand that “prang” is Aussie slang for a car accident. Not being “highly educated”, like some others, I was unaware that in the U.S., the word “prang” could refer to crack cocaine. Like I said, they didn’t teach me that in school, so I had to look it up online. I guess the Internet is good for something.

Prang is an easier word to handle than some others, though. Thong, for example. Yes, Australia is one of the countries where they wear them on their feet. Just like flip-flops in the U.S., they come in many colors and varieties, and we went shopping for them in a surf shop, last weekend. However, though I understand what it means, I’m a little uncomfortable using the word in everyday conversation. I’m sure you understand.

While looking after my kids, though, I’ve taken to using the word “jumper” in regular conversation, as I might confuse them if I used any other. This refers to almost any piece of clothing that you use to keep worn, and wear over your shirt. While Americans wear sweatshirts, sweaters, cardigans, jackets, coats, and what have you, Aussies just wear jumpers. It’s a good thing for any guys visiting Australia to know, however, that in America, a jumper refers to a dress. Having just looked it up, I find that this is what some people refer to as a pinafore. Often associated with kids’ clothing, it’s a sleeveless dress worn over another shirt. It often brings to mind plaid cotton dresses worn over blouses, on cute little girls with pigtails. A good thing to know, whatever hemisphere you live in, don’t you think?

There is an entry for “eeny meeny miny moe” on Wikipedia… don’t you find that fascinating? But then again, I’ve discovered that kids don’t sing it the same way in every country, and there are numerous variations. Thankfully, Aussies don’t sing it too differently, so it limits the confusion. Down Under, you catch a “tigger” (changed from a more controversial word), instead of a tiger, and he squeals when you catch him by his toe. When I told my girls that in America, the tiger hollers, they cracked up… after they asked me what it meant. At first, I thought this mean that Aussies don’t use the word “holler”, but I’ve heard it since then, so I guess it’s ok.

Along the same line of this, the ABC song is about the same, except they sing about “haitch” and “zed”, instead of “aitch” and “zee”. For some reason, I find the “zed” odd, but maybe it was because I grow up on Dr. Seuss. All his rhyming books have the words rhyming with “zee”, so that’s a comfort. I read The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, yesterday, and felt so much better after reading it. Though I hear there are some word processors that are good at converting zees into zeds.   : P

Speaking of books, I wandered into the book store, this morning, and picked up a copy of The Magic Pudding: The Adventures of Bunyip Bluegum. I do remember hearing about this book somewhere before, as it’s an Australian classic, so I was delighted to get a copy for myself. No, don’t be worried, people, I’ve only bought TWO books for myself, since arriving here. I’m being very frugal in that area. So, I’m looking forward to reading about Bunyip the Koala, the sailor, and the penguin, and their adventures. Written and illustrated by Norman Lindsay, it has some beautiful illustrations. I’ll tell you more about that when I’ve finished it.

I also noticed (but didn’t buy) a copy of The Owl and the Pussycat, as illustrated by Jan Brett. So, if you’re a fan of Jan Brett’s work, check it out. I thought it was a lovely version of the poem. Also, I tripped over an audio version of The Little White Horse. I love that book! If you’ve never read any of Elizabeth Goudge’s children’s books, then you should. But the more interesting part, to me, was that on the CD, it mentioned that the movie The Secret of Moonacre was based on this book. Now, I have never seen this movie, but I’ve heard of it, in passing, as it stars Ioan Gruffudd (Amazing Grace), Tim Curry, and Dakota Blue Richards (The Golden Compass).

I think I heard of it, originally, when I was first hearing about The Golden Compass, but then I lost interest, having read that entire series. Don’t judge me for reading them. They’re very well-written, but the messed up theme is subtle at first, and I didn’t really catch the author’s insidious intent until halfway through the second book, or further. Ok, so I’m slow sometimes, and I like fantasy. I got caught up in it… and then the meaning hit me upside the head. Ugh. Anyway, I now really want to see The Secret of Moonacre, and if you haven’t read The Little White Horse (or perhaps, read it to your children), then do it. I think I read that the movie was directed by the same person who directed The Bridge to Terabithia.

Back to the slang, before I forget, I did learn a new word last week. Oh, by the way, I like to learn how to use these new words, but I don’t actually use them while speaking. Knowing that I probably won’t use them correctly or pronounce them right, I’d just be making a May game of myself. Yes, I’ve seen the YouTube clips with the idiotic American being given an earpiece to practice all the craziest Aussie slang imaginable. I’m not one of them. If there ever comes a time when I’m here long enough for that big of slang to come naturally, then that’s different. Otherwise, it’d be like listening to your parents try and talk like their kids (“Yo, bro, what up?”). Awkward. The only Aussie-ism I’ve really picked up and started using is “No worries”. And I’m still regretting teaching someone some Southern-isms, as they keep practicing them on me.   ; )

So, I heard the word “stickybeak” used in everyday language, for the first time, and promptly asked for a translation. Yes, I did actually say that, and my friends are nice enough to put up with my curiosity. A stickybeak is a nosy person, or you can “take a stickybeak”, meaning taking a look at something. It seems to be more of a derogatory term, but I don’t think it’s always said that way. My impression is that you could describe yourself that way, when you’re extra curious about something. If I have this wrong, corrections are welcome. I’m still learning.

After all this jargon and book learning, I just got back from the Irish Pub, where I met someone for coffee, this morning. I wasn’t aware that they opened in the morning, but it seems that they open at 10am for the lunch crowd, or those people like us that want cappuccino and dessert. I didn’t need any lunch after my mud cake. And I forgot my camera, so I didn’t get any extra pics of the front of the Pub or what I had to eat. I meant to bring it, really, but got sidetracked at the last minute! Spent almost 4 hours at the Pub (gotta start my Saturday off right), enjoying being with a friend and catching up on everything.

And I came home to continue doing research on the Qantas airline website, as I’m going to Brisbane and the Gold Coast, in a few weeks. Friends from Adelaide, who we originally met YEARS ago in Michigan, are driving up for the holidays. So, I’m going to fly out to Brisbane, and then spend 5 days with them! I’ll save the major explanations of these areas for later, but if you look on the map, you’ll see that Brisbane (rhymes with “Lisbon”, not “insane”) is the capital of Queensland, and is on the coast, not far above the border between QLD and New South Wales. It’s the third most populous city in Australia.

Not far south of Brisbane is the Gold Coast, an area known for its beaches, surfing, and tourism. I don’t know much else about the area, yet, but I’ll fill you in when I do. This will be my second time in Brisbane, but I don’t think changing planes and terminals there, six weeks ago, really counts. And since I won’t be working while I’m there, I should be able to keep everyone up-to-date with pictures and tales of what I’m doing and seeing. Should be fun! Since you can’t come and enjoy it with me, physically, I hope you enjoy it vicariously through this blog.

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