Where's That Accent From?
|Bored Koala awaits your riveting travel stories|
I've given the answer more times than I can count. In it's summarised version; I was born and raised in South Africa. I moved with my family to Australia when I was in high school. And after I finished university, I flew to North America where I have lived, on and off, ever since.
Unfortunately, what usually happens next is that the conversation heads in one of two directions:
1. The new acquaintance asks me whether I know that one other random friend they have from Australia/ South Africa/ Any foreign country.
The answer is always 'no'. Just because I'm Australian does not mean that I know your Australian friend, Wallaby Sheila, who was living in Darwin back when you visited in 1987. There are 22 million people in Australia, mate. And frankly, Wallaby sounds like a bit of a tosser and I doubt we'd be friends.
2. The new acquaintance takes me, unwillingly, on a detailed trip down memory lane to that one time they visited Australia/ South Africa/ Any foreign country.
If you ever do this to someone, please do not also unleash upon them the one stereotypical, potentially offensive cultural anecdote you've picked up about their country, such as; "You're from South Africa? Do you know Nelson Mandela?" Unsurprisingly, no. No, I don't. Or this classic, which I've heard more than once; "You're from Australia?" (and then they always launch into a horrific Aussie accent for the next part) "That's not a knife mate! This is a knife!" Was that a thirty year old Crocodile Dundee reference? Brilliant.
When I find myself in the above situation, and if I have time to spare, I like to go ahead and add to the detrimental lack of foreign knowledge by offering up incorrect facts such as; "Did you know that vuvuzelas are used to lull babies to sleep in South Africa? They find the deafening blasts very soothing" or "Most people aren't aware that the Sydney Harbour bridge, erected in 700 BC, was built primarily for koala use. Yes, koalas and wombats, actually."
And in case you were wondering: No, we do not ride kangaroos in Australia or giraffes or lions in South Africa to get around. And yes, I do think that it would be awesome if we did.