As some of you may know, I come from America and living in Australia. My husband and I have lived here for 3 years as missionaries and plan to stay long term. In the time we’ve lived here, I’ve been through culture shock, seen my parents separate and divorce from afar, started a house church, and started my own business. It’s a peculiar process, moving overseas. When I first arrived, every difference between here and “home” seemed to scream at me and make me feel alien and unfamiliar. Over time, the volume of differences has quieted, and in this time of pregnancy, God has blessed me with a deeper love for this country and our lives here that I didn’t have before. Nevertheless, I want to share with you some of the differences that are fun that you may or may not know and what my pregnancy experience has been over here. I hope you don’t mind bullets, ’cause they seem to be my thing lately.
- The words and phrases. This is probably the most well-known difference. Rubbish=trash; “How you going?”=”How are you doing?”; “Give it a go”=Go for it. “Good on you”=Good for you. Capsicum=Green, red or yellow pepper. Icing sugar=Powdered sugar. Petrol=gasoline. These are just a few examples. The differences range from everyday things like this to musical terms (which I’ve had to relearn since beginning my piano tutoring over here), to obscure slang that not many people use.
- The measurements. Centimetres, not inches. Kilograms (kilos), not pounds. Grams, not ounces. Kilometres, not miles. I still have a hard time converting certain things. Should’ve paid better attention in school (but I couldn’t have dreamed I’d live in Australia then).
- Spelling. You might notice sometimes that I spell things a little differently, if you’re really into that kind of thing. Tyre, behaviour, metres, colour, foetal, etc.
- Expenses. This is a not so fun one that I had to get used to. Everything is more expensive over here, usually double the price. Did your groceries cost you $60? They would cost around $120 over here. Petrol (gas) cost $4/gallon? Then it’s probably $8/gallon over here. Income is generally higher over here (age based minimum wage; $15/hour for teens), but taxes are too (up to 40% income tax). The income sort of evens things out, but it’s still hard to live here with out both of us working full time. We see the cut in income as worth it, though. Because at the end of life, our time with each other and family will be more important than what kind of car we drove 50 years ago.
There are a lot more differences, but these are the most obvious that you would probably notice straight away (right away) if you came to visit. As far as pregnancy goes, I will tell you what my experience has been so far, and you can tell me how different it is to your experience if you’ve been pregnant or are pregnant. I have gone with a private midwife from the start of the positive test. I did recently switch, but to another private midwife. My experience so far has been very “hands off” from the midwives. This country seems very open to allowing me and my husband to choose what’s best for us and the baby with out a fight. I have the choice as to whether or not to take the glucose intolerance test in a few weeks. It’s totally up to me. No force or pressure for any ultrasounds that I didn’t specifically want (I’ve only had one and will only have had one if all continues to go well). They are not worried if I am not worried, and vice versa. Obviously, if something abnormal comes up, I will ring (call) them and find out if it’s anything I should be concerned about. What I like about my new midwife is that she has a lot of knowledge about alternative medicines and ways of doing things.
As far as people interaction goes, I imagine it’s not much different over here to America. I have had a lot of rude comments (“You’re big for how far along you are,” “Are you sure there’s only one baby in there?” etc). Only one belly rub so far (which was weird, by the way). I have also had a lot of lovely comments (“You’re glowing,” “You look beautiful,” etc). People here are like they would be in, say, New York or New Jersey–very forward and upfront and not necessarily realising they might come across as rude. So, I try not to think anything of it if they say something rude, because they most likely don’t mean it the way it sounds.
So what about you? Wherever you are in the world, I’d love to hear how your pregnancy or previous pregnancies have been different to my experience. Leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.