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    Updated on 30 Aug 2020. Posted on 28 Aug 2020

    21 Answers For The United States About What Australia Is Actually Like

    For the last time, Australians do not ride kangaroos to school.

    by ,

    Hiya! My name is Isha and I work in the BuzzFeed Australia office. Over time, I've compiled a long list of questions I've always wanted to ask about my American colleagues. But I thought it was only fair that they send me a bunch of things they want answered about Oz.

    Side by side of BuzzFeeders Isha Bassi and Kelly Martinez; Isha's side is captioned "Team Australia" and Kelly's "Team USA"
    Isha Bassi / Kelly Martinez / BuzzFeed

    So here are all the answers I have for anyone living in the US who is wondering what Australia is really like.

    Shoutout to my colleague Kelly, who works in the BuzzFeed LA office and thought of all these questions.

    1. Why must Australians call cotton candy "fairy floss"?

    A hand holding spun fairy floss on a stick
    Getty Images

    Personally? Because it sounds more fun! Fairy floss looks very soft, delicate and pretty, as if it was crafted by some mythical creature. But, I did some digging and "cotton candy" was first marketed as "fairy floss" in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair. I guess the name sort of stuck in Australia!

    2. And do you guys really put beetroot on your burgers?

    3. How often do you actually see kangaroos?

    4. And if they're your national animal, why do you guys eat them?

    Julien Viry / Getty Images / Via, @culiarchi / Via

    Yeah, I can definitely see why eating something as cute and adorable as a kangaroo might raise eyebrows in other countries. But, the deal with kangaroo meat is that it's actually really lean and high in protein and iron. It's also considered more environmentally sustainable because unlike other proteins, kangaroo does not need to be conventionally farmed, which would require land clearing and the destruction of natural habitat.

    So, when you compare it to beef, pork or lamb, it does rank a little higher. Plus, it's commonly available throughout Australia!

    5. What’s up with frisbee there? You guys have national teams for it? Do you all like, go to frisbee games together?

    6. Are possums actually a big problem over there?

    An Australian bush possum holding onto a tree branch
    Getty Images

    What we first need to clear up is that Australian possums are VERY different to American possums. Ours are cute, cuddly (just look at those eyes!) and all kinds of adorable. They're definitely not a big problem, although they do sometimes cause a ruckus when they jump about in the trees or on your roof at night.

    7. And is Hungry Jack’s really better than Burger King?

    @celinesutikno / Via, @fatlikezac / Via

    Well, as we say in Australia, "the burgers ARE better at Hungry Jack's", so yes, yes they are.

    But honestly, I've never tried Burger King so I can't reaaaalllyyy compare. All I do know is that at Hungry Jack's you can get these delish crispy chicken burgers, spicy sauce and frozen drinks in a gazillion flavours with little bursting flavour pods (similar to the pearls you can get in bubble tea!).

    8. Why is your Internet sooooo slow?

    People think Australian culture is about mateship and and lamingtons and stuff but mostly it’s about having to turn off wifi and use data in your own home


    Also, the whole "this uploader has not made this available in your country" thing needs to stop.

    9. Do people actually say "mate" all the time or is that exaggerated in movies?

    Cody Simpson / Via

    Oh, no. No, no, no. It's definitely not exaggerated and there are even different forms of "mate".

    It could be a friendly "Hey mate, how's it going?" vibe or you could get smacked with a "Maaaaatteeee" — aka "wooooah, this thing is cool and by saying mate, I'm agreeing with you".

    10. What’s the deal with sausage rolls? Are they actually that good?

    11. Who is Mark Holden and why is him yelling “touchdown” a famous thing in Australia?

    Network 10 / Via

    I cannot believe you guys know who Mark Holden is. As an Australian, I would consider him to be very, very niche. But for those those who have no idea what I'm talking about, Mark was a singer who later became a judge on Australian Idol . Every time a contestant would deliver a particularly good performance, he would LEAP from his seat, swing around his arm and yell "TOUCHDOWN!".

    It was iconic and just such a big part of '00s Aussie culture.

    12. Why must you call breakfast "brekky"? In fact, why do you shorten so many words?!

    Two pieces of Vegemite toast on a plate; the caption reads "Mmm, Vegemite toast for brekkie"
    Getty Images

    Look, I don't know why we shorten words (it's quicker to say?), but Australians do love to do it and usually add an "o" to everything. Think servo (service station/gas station), bottle-o (a place where we purchase alcohol) and Davo (a common Aussie name).

    In the case of brekky, I think it's more fun than the posh-sounding "brEaKFasT".

    13. What is Oak milk?

    14. Do you guys even have fruit pies over there?

    Close up of mince pies on a cooling rack
    Getty Images

    We have little fruit pies called mince pies, especially come Christmas! But personally, I'm not a fan of them and would always get tricked as a kid into thinking there was actual meat in the damn things.

    15. Since Christmas is during summer for Australians, do people celebrate the holidays at the beach or something? Plus, is it awkward when "Let It Snow" and "Baby It's Cold Outside" comes on? Or do you not associate these songs with the holidays?

    16. Wait, voting is mandatory over there? How long do your guys’ elections last?

    @thefibrolife13 / Via, @d34rl34der / Via

    Uh huh, voting is MANDATORY for anyone aged 18 years and older and if you don't do it, you risk getting fined. Honestly, I still find it surprising that it's not mandatory in the USA.

    In terms of how long our elections last...uh...until a majority side wins when the votes are counted, I guess. Or maybe when there's yet another leadership spill because some politician has stabbed someone else in the back.

    But, what I do have to tell you about Aussie elections is that the best part about voting is getting a democracy sausage.

    17. Do people really walk around barefoot all the time?

    A barefoot man talking to some people
    Natalya Lobanova / BuzzFeed

    Not everyone does, but it is indeed a "thing" and...look, each to their own, but wear some damn shoes PLS.

    I say this because I saw someone walking barefoot in my local grocery store one time and they slipped on a spill and landed HARD (they were fine, but omg).

    18. Are magpie attacks a real thing people worry about?

    19. Wait, you start your school years in...January? How does that work?

    Schoolgirls from "Ja'ime Private School Girl" laughing

    Wait, when do you guys start your school year?!?!

    In Australia, we start at the end of January after the summer holidays — which are always the longest. Plus, it's the start of the year, so...makes sense.

    20. What’s with all the wine bags? Why do people drink beer out of shoes? Do you guys even use solo cups?

    @jackieleedressler / Via, @seshtees / Via

    Yes, people do drink beer — or really any beverage — out of a shoe. Doing that is called a "shoey" and, well, some people love it, some people think it's disgusting. In saying that, it's a teenage ritual that almost every Australian completes. You never forget your first shoey.

    As for wine bags, you have to call it what we do — goon. Goon is love, goon is life and all you Americans must visit Australia so we can play goon of fortune (look it up, I dare you).

    And yeah, we do use red solo cups, or just ordinary cups. I do counter that and say — what's with the red solo cup obsession?

    21. And lastly, I’ve heard you can buy food at hardware stores — is that true?

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