Category Archives: America

Australiana with a dash of Americana

I’ll start off with, no football game is complete without a nice brew and some buffalo wings. Yesterday, it was the Australian Rules Football (AFL) Grand Final (GF) aka their superbowl and we were all gathered to watch it. Hawthorn Hawks vs. Sydney Swans. Now the thing about AFL that should be mentioned is that it is primarily played in Victoria but other states have teams in the league. Victoria is footy country whereas New South Wales and Queensland are rugby country. So I’m guessing most of Victoria was devastated to see Sydney in the GF over one of their other ten teams. Even more devastating was that Sydney won yesterday. Tears everywhere…unless you were a Geelong fan as their natural enemies are Hawthorn so you were happy to see them go down, if it wasn’t by your own hands.

Watching the game at an AFL viewing party is very similar to watching the superbowl at a superbowl party sans the wings, coors light/bud light, red cups, great commercials and an awesome half time show. Wait, what am I talking about? An AFL Grand Final is nothing like the Superbowl.

Tips to improve AFL Grand Finals:

  1. Add some glitz and glamour to your coverage.
  2. Get better advertisers, especially during commercials.
  3. Bigger and better halftime show (sorry The Temper Trap, as much as I love you, you were a bit out of your element there?).
  4. Note to self: Always bring buffalo wings to a viewing party. The only redeeming factor of sports bars are buffalo wings (disclaimer: I don’t eat meat, but I make an exception when it’s American inspired).

Venturing out onto the streets after the party, we milled around looking for an adequate bar and as a last resort, went into The Kodiak Club. To my surprise, it was a bourbon bar and you know what that means! America! Little fact: Bourbon is American whisky brewed in Kentucky. And what do you know, they had a late night kitchen and what was on the menu? Buffalo wings and all kinds of fatty American treasures (i.e. mozzarella sticks, sliders, grilled cheese) and so many American and Mexican beers to make you squeal like a little school girl! They even had some Canadian things to make it all so North American (mooseheads and smoked maple syrup).

So all in all, the night turned out even better than I expected. Got my Australian fix with the AFL Grand Final and also got my American fix with the buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks and Sam Adams. Thank you Kodiak Club for making an American feel at home in this strange land of koalas, kangaroos and AFL.

And now I’ll leave you with photos of the buffalo wings that made my night, the last seconds of the GF (boys are not too bad on the eyes)and the best commercial of the game.

(This is just one of the many great commercials featuring Rhonda, the safe driver. See below.

Tagged ,

Getting an edumacation…

In total, I’ve lived in Australia for 1.5 years in the last 3.5 years and there are definitely a few things I’ve learned. I know you’re probably saying ‘Wait, Kristine’s over there to learn? We thought she was just hemorraging money via drinks, traveling, and shopping (more or less true).’ For all you non-believers, I’ve compiled a list of all the things that I’ve learned during my time abroad (or at least remember).

1. If you’re clumsy off a bike, then you’re clumsy ON a bike I know how to ride a bike, just not well. How does that work? Easy. I fall a lot. Thank god for helmets…I should really wear knee guards but I don’t think that’s acceptable for a 23 year old, right? My last fall was more embarrassing than usual. How, you ask? Well, imagine me coming to a stop and managing to fall off my bike as I was trying to get off. Is that even possible? Yes, I have my scars to prove it. What’s worse? The look from the dude who was walking toward me as I did it. Shaking your head at a total stranger should be outlawed.

2. Disco nap. How did I not know what these were called before? If you don’t know, they are naps you take before you gotta haul ass to get to a disco. lol. Going out here is so diff from home and sometimes I don’t come home until 5/6am, meaning, I need lots of energy to make it through the night. Red bulls, monsters, and V’s are okay but nothing is as satisfying as a disco nap to keep me nice and refreshed before a night of going out 🙂

3. Doing things with people is overrated. Shopping alone, watching movies alone, dancing alone, eating alone, traveling alone, drinking alone…you name it. There isn’t one thing that I haven’t done where I didn’t have to do it alone at least once. And you know what, it’s awesome. No one to rush you, to judge you (maybe on the drinking alone part…but you don’t know them), or to force you to do something that you don’t want to do. Awesome.

4. American-isms or just Kristine-isms? I’m not saying I’m a weird, but there sure are a lot of things I do that are unique. The two biggest things are probably my facial expressions and they way I pronounce/emphasize things. Now, I don’t necessarily know all of them but I have been asked numerous times by my Aussie friends ‘Do all Americans do that or is that just you?” That is HA-larious.

5. Every Australian actor that has made it in Hollywood was on Neighbors or Home and Away.

6. Americans rule when it comes to donuts, among other things. Lol, not that I really needed to go abroad to learn this, but my travels has just reinforced it. First of all, american donuts are bomb. Australians seem to believe that good donuts = jam donuts. Psh. They are rudely mistaken. Good donuts are bready donuts made by Cambodians, am I right?

7. Always carry an umbrella or jumper. Melbourne is the city of 4 seasons in one day, no joke.

8. Never read the Herald Sun, unless it’s for the quiz. One of the most right-wing and conservative papers, the Herald Sun spews more than a lightweight college freshman. Unfortunately it is one of the most read newspapers in Melbourne, so you have people actually listening to Andrew Bolt, among other spew-writers. Bleh.

9. Australia is the largest continent by area where everyone drives on the left side.

10. The coffee here is boss. Coffee snobbery has taken a new level here in Melbourne. Back in the 1980s, Melbourne underwent a massive city revitalisation project where they took back the streets and coverted dingy alleyways into beautiful laneways, boasting over 300 cafes. Two coffees a day is now typical for me. Don’t talk to me before then.

11. Summer festivities rock! From music festivals like Meredith to Falls, or outdoor cinemas, Melbourne is great at organising outdoor events during the summer months. Any day of the week you can entertain yourself by going to the night market at Vic Markets, to a movie at Moonlight Cinemas, or to Symphony in the Park! I’ve never known another city to be so dedicated to summertime activities as Melbourne and I gotta say, other cities should adopt their approach fast! and are great blogs for all the happenings!

Well I’m sure I’ve learned more, but that’s all that my little brain can write at the moment.

Tagged , ,

American holidays down under?

I wonder how ex-pats celebrate their holidays abroad…especially if the holiday is ENTIRELY foreign to that host country. Fortunately American television (god bless Hollywood) has infiltrated enough countries that I don’t have that problem. Naturally the best holidays to celebrate that aren’t typical in Australia are Cinco de Mayo, 4th of July, Halloween and Thanksgiving! Celebrating it here really makes you think about why you are celebrating it…whether it’s just to get drunk and eat candy or to celebrate our Independence (What up England?) or to give thanks and enjoy a nice meal with your loved ones (and to eat pumpkin pie).


4th of July aka America’s Birthday – There’s nothing as American as apple pie…tru dat. Celebrating America’s birthday was awesome…aside from the fact that it was freezing winter! No fireworks, but we did have sparklers (note to self: sparklers burn holes in furniture…) Eating burgers, mac & cheese, and apple pie, what a better way to say ‘I love America!’ It was kinda strange celebrating with the Aussies, since they are still under the British crown…legally. Yay America for beating those redcoats out!

Apple Pie!

Halloween – Messy messy night…what turned out to be a relatively innocent party turned into mayhem. I guess what do you expect when it’s halloween? We had mummy and goblin cakes, ghost lollies..oh and plenty of booze. Quite a good showing from the Aussies, who really have only been celebrating Halloween for the past few years. The most typical question I got asked about Halloween was ‘What should I wear…should I go as something scary?” My response: ‘No, didn’t you see Mean Girls?” lol. I try to block out the rest of halloween since it was pretty traumatizing…let’s just say it involved me pretending to sleep while others ran around naked in the house…god, how have we not had the po po called on us yet?

Turkey Day! – Trying to explain Thanksgiving to others is a pretty strange thing. The origins are quite horrific…I recall msot of my elementary school days the teachers telling us that it was the first meal shared between the pilgrims and the American Indians…a peaceful meal. It wasn’t until later on that our teachers actually began to tell us what it really signified…the overtaking of America. What a shame. But despite the bad origins, it has evolved to become a nice meal shared between loved ones and that’s how I explained it to the Aussies. We had everything from turkey to green bean cassarole to pumpkin pie! Unfortunately they don’t sell canned pumpkins (imagine the looks I got from Aussies when I asked them about it…it looked something like this O_0) so I had to make it from scratch. Not too shabby, it turned out all right but not as sweet as I had hoped. Oh well, next time! Celebrating Thanksgiving abroad really makes you thankful for all the loved ones you have back home and all the new ones you’ve gained in your travels. I’m so incredibly fortunate to have met so many great people and to reatin my friendsships back home 🙂

Haha, why do all my holidays involve food? Oh well. I was a fat kid in another life, I won’t deny it.

Americans down under!

Something I’ve been waiting for since I first arrived in Melbourne finally arrived! The Americans!!! Amanda, Michelle, Michelle, Sarah, Kirsten and John all came to visit a couple of weeks ago. We spent 4 crash course days in Melbourne experiencing all things Melbourne, from cafes in laneways to hidden bars to dirty hipsters. We went around all the happening hoods and stayed right on Flinders Street in a sweeeet apartment! Day 1 was pretty rough…everyone was experiencing jet lag and their first taste of Melbourne winter…chilly! We explored Fitzroy, the CBD, Collingwood, Carlton, and Brunswick. I was definitely cracking the fun whip to get everyone going to prevent them from succumbing to the jet lag and to make sure we saw as much as possible. Our goal was to stay up at least ½ hr more every night…considering they only made it to 10:45p the first night!

We were able to do a day trip out to Phillip Island to see the Little Penguins (aka Fairy Penguins)…smallest penguins in the world. Our party bus was pretty sweet…nice astro van to haul all the kids ☺ We managed to make it out of Melbourne and I will have to admit, Amanda was the best choice for a driver despite her choice in radio stations (Bruno Mars is never okay). I’ve never been out to Phillip Island myself so I didn’t know what to expect but we were able to see wallabies (aka wombats), koalas, black swans, kookaburras, and penguins. As awesome it was to see everything…it was FREEZING! How painful to sit there and wait for the 20 penguins…though I did get to perfect my penguin walk. Pretty awesome and realistic as everyone will tell you, haha.
The rest of the time was a blur…as we rushed through the last bits of our Melbourne itinerary…hitting everything from Victoria Markets for souvenirs to souvlakis in the CBD to kangaroo steaks at the Napier to laneway bars. How sad that the only kangaroos that we saw…were on our plates! Oh well, I’m pretty sure everyone agrees that they were pretty freaking delicious ☺

As we packed up our bags and headed to Sydney, the sun finally came out in Melbourne and everyone saw Melbourne live up to its name of having 4 seasons in one day! Our trip to Sydney was spent enjoying the Sydney Harbour as we stayed in the YHA – The Rocks. We did the Sydney Opera House tour, which was awesome and gorgeous! I would totally recommend it, though seeing a show there would probably be cooler. We also saw Bondi Beach, despite all the protests from Michelle and Amanda (and their stupid beach song)…you can’t go to Sydney without seeing the most famous beach of all! It was a cool and windy winter day at the beach but a lovely sight overall…nice and relaxing time for our whirlwind trip. The last night in Australia was spent at the Rugby Union game: Australian Wallabies versus South African Springboks…which Australia totally killed! Rugby + hot men + beer = the perfect way to end our trip! I’m pretty sure by the end of the trip, John was over us objectifying men! I’m surprised he survived the trip with all 6 of us girls! Goodonya mate!

But alas…all things must come to an end ☹ Saying goodbye to everyone at the airport was difficult…more difficult than when I first left in February. I’m very blessed to know that I have wonderful friends back home who are willing to come all across the Pacific to visit…if only for just a week. It was a teaser of what I have back home…great family and friends. I can’t wait to be back in the states for Christmas knowing that I’ll get to see everyone again. Love you all!

Battle of the Nations!

America! vs. Australia!

Now, obviously living here in the land down under, I can’t but help make comparisons between the two great nations: America and Australia. Even funnier, there are so many things that we have in common! So many equivalents and so many differences!

1. Funfetti v. Fairy Bread: There is NO comparison, let’s be real. Funfetti wins all.

2. SUVs v. Hatchbacks: Hatchbacks win, no question. They’re quicker, more fuel efficient and absolutely adorable. Plus you don’t look like a total tool driving around in these.

3. American hipsters v. Australian hipsters: Now this is a tough one. I just don’t know. They both dress like bums (but actually pay loads to look like that), wear their ray ban waifers like nobody’s bizness, drink coffee at 3p and talk about life.

4. Vegemite v. Peanut butter: no contest, but if you ask any Aussie, they LOVE their vegemite (most can even sing the song) and ask any American, PB is boss. Since this is my blog, PB wins. And just for kicks: let’s enjoy this video…

5. Koala bear v. Grizzly bear: Tough choice because they are equally cute and equally vicious though I’m pretty sure most people can outrun a koala. And yes I know, a koala is not a bear…it’s a marsupial but they just look so similar! But I would say the koala wins on cuteness and loses on stinkyness whereas the bear wins on terror.

6. Tim tam v. Oreo: Oooooh, yea hands down tim tams win. Sorry oreo…as much as I like to dunk you in milk, open you up and lick all the cream filling (that’s what she said), tim tams have some sort of magical chocolate mousse inside that makes them irresistible. Here’s a video to compare (I hope you realise that this is NOT me in the video…it’s a random asian girl on youtube lol)

7. Australian beaches v. Californian beaches: Hmm, considering both Victoria and California experience cold currents (Australia gets the circumpolar current and California get the Alaska current) they both lose on water. Victorian beaches don’t have as big of a longshore as CA, so CA wins on this front. God I miss Santa Monica and Venice!

8. Australia Day v. Independence Day aka America’s Birthday: Duh, America wins. No further explanation needed.

9. Australian Football League v. American National Football League: AFL wins hands down…considering the fact that these men are HOT, fit, and did I mention hot? They wear short shorts that show off their amazing legs. Oh and I should probably mention something about the game right? Yea well here’s a video to show you rather than me pretend to explain the rules of the game. They make NFL players look like pansies.

Well that’s all that I can think up atm, too lazy to write anymore but this list will probably get updated quite a bit once I get more time.