Cultural Differences: Australian vs. American ‘ideals’

My kid doesn’t eat that.  My kid can’t eat that. 

American kids consume an extraneous amount of pizza, chicken fingers, burgers, and french fries.  If you go out to eat, most American kid menus don’t include a salad option or non-fried meat choice.  I’m so used to parents saying their kids don’t like a particular food.  I understand that, I do.  I do not understand only allowing your kid to eat pizza and chicken fingers while gulping chocolate milk.  My parents didn’t do that.  Yes I fought with them on it, but I had to eat what they made, eat PB&J (which if you have enough of these you get tired of), or starve.  My parents weren’t as accommodating to my food preferences as I see most parents are to their children today.  I was the eldest and it seems they were more lenient with my younger sister when it came to food, but more frequently than not, we were told we had to eat what was made and it wasn’t usually junk.  You can imagine my surprise then when my husband and I dined out at a restaurant in Australia.

Check out the menu:

kid menu australia

That’s right, lamb.  LAMB!  I was amazed.  Perhaps it is in the preparation.  Americans too often enjoy bland food.  Kids want it deep fried because that adds flavor Americans know.  When we add variety and incorporate spices or flavors to excite the palate, maybe American kids will eat more than the five item: chicken finger, burger, french fry, pizza, chocolate milk repertoire.  Good job Australian parents, good job.  I was impressed that lamb was on a kid’s menu.  I want my kid to eat like that.  I’ll make every effort to ensure she does have a varied, nutritious diet.

The finest brewed cup

best brew australia

Dark Americana.  Oh I miss this brewed delight.  Most Americans like pee water for coffee, at least the ones I’ve encountered.  We water down a dark blend with obscene sugar or milk amounts.  Thankfully, every day we spent in Australia and New Zealand, I was able to enjoy the strong, robust flavors of the tall, espresso-like brew.  Espresso is usually served small.  This cup of coffee was the size of a normal American cup but with the strength of a delicious espresso.  I wish I could find the equivalent here.  I haven’t been able to.

Starbucks comes close.  Dunkin Donuts coffee is so weak and tastes like pee and gasoline thrown into a disposable cup (no, I’ve never tasted those items separately or together, but I just imagine a horrible taste and that’s what comes to mind).  Sorry husband, you lose this debate (I can’t take your palate seriously when you suggest MREs for dinner in a non-emergent situation).  Now dear, don’t argue and please help me on this quest to discover a brewed American cup on par with what we uncovered in Australia and NZ.  *sorry tangent.  this debate has existed for quite some time in our marriage*

A Taboo Subject: Sex

Americans are so touchy, pun intended, when it comes to the topic of sex.  Perhaps it is our Puritan roots, but we are really prude when it comes to the subject.  Growing up my parents and secular friends called me prude.  I think I’m pretty moderate when it comes to the topic of sex.  I discuss it but think it should be done in an appropriate, non-grotesque manner.  My current sphere acts as if it should never be mentioned, that sex is something we know happens (kids are present) but should never be discussed except when it comes to recent laws, God, and self-identity.  *I shake my head*

Prostitution is illegal in this country.  (Sex trafficking is awful and is a social justice issue I am passionate about raising awareness for.  However, there are women, rare number I’m sure, who do want this lifestyle and a woman should be allowed to choose her profession.  Force or coercion is a different subject and not a topic I am addressing here.)  However, in places like NZ, it is legal.  I can’t remember if prostitution was legal in Australia or not.  Regardless, the casualness of brochures in Australia regarding the topic was surprising to my American eyes.  See below:

need it be said Australia

Notice how the brochure states that massage shall not be a sexual service in this instance.  I have never seen a brief statement like the one above on massage advertisements in the USA.  Is it another culture’s ease with discussing such a topic?  I’m not sure, but it would be insinuated in the US.  You would never outright state it; at least I’ve never seen anything saying it so flippantly.  (Is it flippant?  I don’t mean carelessly…I just mean it seems that there wasn’t any hesitation on stating such a thing as it would be done in the states.  Wow my grammar was horrible in the preceding sentence and I’m not sure how to remedy it to clearly get my point across.)

Anyways, there were several other slight differences and vast differences I noticed between cultures.  Culture shock keeps many people from traveling.  I enjoy cultural differences and think these differences can help broaden our perspective and make us more rounded individuals with better, more loving character traits.  It is when we travel, overcoming our fears of the unknown, uncertain, and vastly different that we are molded into more understanding, more compassionate, and more intelligent individuals…not always, but more often than not.

*I seem to be anti-American here.  I am an Army wife.  I am grateful for the freedom to speak against my government, be employed as a female (even if we still have to overcome earning 70 cents to the dollar that a man makes), and to make choices which are often not afforded to individuals like those in communist countries.  However, I am also not naive to think that God only likes our culture, that we are a people without sin, or we are somehow superior to other cultures.  America has a lot to work on, just like other cultures.  We are all fallen and fall short of God’s glory.  America isn’t any different when it comes to sinful natures and please don’t mistake my frustrations with American culture as being against my country or my birth roots.  I have resided here and am better able to see the flaws in the system.  I’m sure we excel where others fail and vice versa.  These are just some differences that amused me, made me excited for Australians, and baffled me (not good or bad way).*

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2 Replies to “Cultural Differences: Australian vs. American ‘ideals’”

  1. Cool comparisons! I especially resonate with the children’s food– I’ve seen parents bring chicken nuggets to other people’s houses because their kids won’t eat anything else. We had to eat what my mom made for us, we didn’t get chicken nuggets every single night (and I’m grateful now for that!)

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