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An A-Zee of Differences of Living in the US vs. Australia

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So why this blog? There are quite a few entertaining ones on this topic already that I love reading.

And to my mates that know me well, why am I blogging exactly 3 years after I emigrated from Australia to the USA due to a rather long distance love turned to, well, wanting it to be short distance?

Well, this is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek guide of an alphabetis(z)ed listing of differences, from tiny to large, of relocating to, living and working in the US vs. Australia.

Each week or so, I’ll add a brief post of a difference, starting with A and systematically representing each letter of the B through to Z. So by week 26, give or take, I would have covered A through to Zee. But any Aussie who has lived in the US and vice versa knows there are a million more idiosyncrasies ūüėČ So if there is a modicum of interest, I’ll add to A, B, and so on and so forth…

Beginning this on my 3-year anniversary of living in the US, as I feel like I know enough to blog at least a few reliable things after living, working, and traveling in this country which has not yet ceased to amaze me and amuse me with its diversity and beauty.

Largely aimed to be helpful for Aussies who are going to the US whether for just a decent holiday (aka vacation) or to live for awhile, and vice versa.

Or just for those that are curious. Just hope curiosity doesn’t kill the cat.

Enjoy ūüėČ

DISCLAIMER: This blog compares my limited life¬†experiences from 2 cosmopolitan Aussie cities: Sydney (Australia’s often-mistaken-for-capital city) and Canberra (the real capital city) – to another neat city: Orlando, Florida.

I have travel(l)ed a fair bit in Aus and in¬†the US (see ‘About Me’).¬†I’ll try to be accurate. But let’s face it, it’s still hard.¬†US and Australia (esp. US) are both massively culturally diverse countries – living in one city or state can have a few significant differences from another.¬†

So what I write may be completely irrelevant to your locale. If I’m totally off base about something, feel free to comment or contact me.¬†But do keep in mind the context, so plz keep it civil ūüėČ

B is for Bread

Your average loaf of bread and bun tastes a little sweeter in the US!

I first discovered this difference when I visited my then-boyfriend for the first time; unexpectedly jarred when I took my first bite of American-style bread that deceptively looks the same but tasted sweeter.

To read my story on how I dealt with my first-world-problem of sweet-tasting bread, read on. 

Want to get to the solution? Scroll down to the summary.

Hipster businessman during lunchtime bream

When I first moved to Central Florida, I experimented with buying different brands of bread loafs from the supermarket; particularly ones screaming, “No High Fructose Corn Syrup!” and “No Added Sugar!”

But to no avail. They all tasted sweet.

I could bake my own bread like how other Aussie bloggers recommend, as well as my friends from Bulgaria.

A few months later after I moved, my sister-in-law’s then-boyfriend (now husband), invited us to his family’s Christmas Eve feast. I almost wept with joy when I tried their homemade bread… savoury!

His parents and I bonded over the bread we missed from our motherlands, and his father explained that is why he took up baking their own, encouraging me to do the same. He offered to give me lessons. I told him I would take him up on that. New Year’s resolution.

But I’m lazy.

So I continued to just deal with the bread in the store.  I was finding that English muffins, wraps, and flatbread tasted the same as those back home, but I was hard pressed to find a loaf of sliced bread which tasted less sweet.

I settled on Sara Lee’s Delightful¬†– (who knew Sara Lee has a bread line? – only her desserts and cakes are available in Aus) – because it’s only 45 calories per slice, and hey, that is delightful. But still oddly sweet.

But after coming back from Australia one time for vacation, I was homesick for the toast I had enjoyed back in Sydney for the past month.

So I finally caved in to try an organic bread loaf that was on sale.

I had been eyeing Eureka! Organic Bread varieties in Publix (supermarket chain in Southern US) for a while now and had been curious. But resisted buying it till now, because of course being organic, it is more expensive Рover a dollar more than non-organic varieties.

I tried it, trying not to get my hopes up.  It could have organic sugar thrown in, right?

But no, it does not. I was in heaven.

eureka-product-grainiac-both
Photo credit: eureka! Organic Bread

It tasted just like the bread back in Oz.

I excitedly told my husband about my new discovery and encouraged him to give it a go. He liked it a lot too.

I started switching it up between our regular loaf of bread and eureka! Graniac when that was on sale.

Until my Aussie-bred taste buds couldn’t take it any longer. I began buying organic each time. I was hooked.

I tried¬†Dave’s Killer Bread, another organic brand when that was on sale once, and I like that one too – even more so as the slices are thinner, resulting in fewer calories – but my husband found it “too¬†organicky.” Whatever that means? So I compromise and stick with the¬†eureka!¬†brand.

I was having an issue though. I’m not used to organic, and the bread was becoming moldy way before we could finish the loaf. It felt good to be eating something so natural… not so good to be throwing away money. ¬†I learned to deal with that by moving the bread from the bread bin into the refrigerator – that keeps it for a few days longer.

Sure, organic bread is a little more expensive than the regular varieties.

But sacrifice one Tall Macchiato from Starbucks each week, which does taste the same, and you’ve made up the cost difference and then some.

Summary:

  • Regular American bread loaves (even if it says ‘no added sugar’) = sweeter taste
  • American Organic bread = Australian-tasting regular bread
  • American brand English muffins = Australian brand English muffins

A is for Acetaminophen

I first discovered this difference years ago when visiting my then-fiancé in Orlando. I came down sick with a bad cold and headache.

To read my drama of trying to resolve my cold, read on.
Want to get to the point? Scroll down to the summary.

panadol

I sniffle my way down the Cold & Flu aisle in Walgreens (major US pharmacy chain – ¬†after that I got the pop culture reference in Big Bang Theory S3: E3 ‘The Gothowitz Deviation’), looking out for a paracetamol-based product, as in Aus, paracetamol is an active ingredient for several pain-killer and cold and flu products – Panadol, also available in other countries, is a big one.

I find ibuprofen products like Advil but I prefer paracetamol mixed in with a decongestant. But all I see jumping out at me in the active ingredients of the myriad of brands are Acetaminophen, Acetaminophen + this, Acetaminophen¬†+ that…

tylenol
Tylenol‘ by Mike Mozart is licensed under CC BY 2.0

What is this strange, American drug? It has to be some kind of equivalent to paracetamol I figure, “Tylenol” which features Acetaminophen¬†sounds a lot like “Panadol,” but to what extent? I have side-effects to some over-the-counter¬†meds, so I’m wary of trying…

I connect to the free Wi-Fi and Viber msg my graduate-pharmacist-sister:

“WTH is Acetaminophen?”

She messages me back:

“Acetaminophen is Panadol. Lol.”

Ohhhh ok.

I stock up on acetaminophen-based products like Tylenol and Alka-Seltzer Plus that help me survive the rest of the visit (I was hoping Alka-Seltzer tastes like Lemsip – to me, it tastes awful! Theraflu, which I discovered on my next trip, is similar).

And I sign up for a free Walgreens rewards card, wondering why on earth my fianc√© didn’t sign up years ago. Compared to the Aussie pharmacy chains at the time, their points-based system looked awesome.

***

Summary:

  • Paracetamol = Acetaminophen
    • Panadol = Tylenol
  • Lemsip = somewhat similar taste = Theraflu
  • Ibuprofen = Ibuprofen.