This morning I wrote about symbolism and things that typify Australia. Now this of course all depends on who is thinking about the place and what it means to that person. There are numerous images of Australia that are presented in the media, but of course, there are many more that mean something to individuals who were born there, live there or who have moved away and now live in other parts of the world. In fact, many that were on the list would make NO SENSE to people who have not grown up there.
Then again, there are also symbols that are so ingrained in every fibre of an Australian’s being that they simply forget, aren’t aware of or just take for granted. That isn’t their/our fault, it’s just part of culture. We don’t realise that the everyday things we do are sometimes fascinating for those who aren’t familiar with them.
The other day as I was sitting on the streetcar in Hiroshima, going to work, I was flicking through Pinterest looking for funny Australian memes that were familiar (thus, comforting) and would make me laugh. One photo that came up in my search was a shot of a TV screen of ‘Sunrise,’ the number one most popular morning television program in Australia. It was advertising a free hotline for homesick Aussies that they could ring to listen to familiar Aussie sounds. I SHIT YOU NOT PEOPLE!
Now firstly, it struck me as interesting that travellers got homesick. I’ve never been homesick in that situation because I knew I was going home. Then again, I do know what homesickness feels like and it’s the worst. My second thought then, was, is this for real?
I thought I’d give it a go on Skype and see if it actually was true.
Why did I ever doubt an Aussie? Of course it’s fucking legit! I guess I must have been out of the country for long enough to not be entirely sure when someone is pulling my leg or not. That’s a situation that needs rectifying ASAP!
Anyway, I was smiling to myself pressing numbers on the phone to hear different noises and noticed that people watching me were also smiling at me smiling. It was a nice feeling.
The accent on the hotline alone is enough to make you feel happy, but the sounds they’ve chosen are not only perfect, but make you feel as though you’ve never left the country. Things like the waves at Bondi Beach, or the crowd of the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). Then of course you have the hilarious ones that annoy you at the time, but become something you wish you had appreciated more because you now miss them with a passion that is almost ferocious in intensity. Things like tinnies (beer cans) being put into the wheelie bin by your neighbour and then the bin being rolled out to the front lawn for the garbage truck to collect it. Things like your neighbour’s lawnmower being started on a fucking Sunday morning when everyone is trying to sleep in, or best of all, the voice of the Centrelink (employment benefits etc. of the Australian Government) office operator when you’ve been placed on call… indefinitely. The funniest thing about that last one is that the voice and indeed the message hasn’t changed since I last rang it five or so years ago.
Yep, this wonderful hotline came out in mid July of this year and was created by Travel Insurance Direct. I would encourage all Aussies who are travelling/live overseas to ring it and have a bit of a laugh. It will make you feel better and it will make you appreciate what you had and indeed, what you do have now. For all others, give it a ring anyway… you’ll learn something about Aussie culture and definitely something about us Aussies and our sense of humour.
1800 STRAYA (why would it be anything else?!) 1800 787 292