Guess where I come from

Trip Start Apr 25, 2012
Trip End Nov 12, 2012

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Flag of Germany  ,
Tuesday, July 3, 2012

When people from other countries ask me where I am from, I like to play a little game that I call "guess". Most people will say Australia within the first few guesses, which is pleasing. The accent is so unique, and I am so proud of it. But some of the responses I get can be quite amusing.

The guessing game started from an incident that happened in Spain. In Mallorca there are lots of Germans. The Champions league final between Bayern Munich (Germany) and Chelsea (England) had recently been played, with Chelsea winning. Bayern are like the Collingwood of German football, therefore most people hate them. As I was walking through the streets of the German part of the island a drunken buffoon who had heard me speaking English stopped me and yelled “English!” Then he raised his hand into high-5 position and yelled “Chelsea!!” My response lacked amusement. I just put my arms out and yelled back “I'm Australian!!!”

The fact is in continental Europe the English are not so highly regarded. They are considered loud and obnoxious. I don’t necessarily agree with that generalization, but this is what one of my German friends told me. Australians on the other hand are considered very intriguing and interesting people, because we are so far away and people do not know a great deal about our country. I love the curiosity and I’m always answering lots of questions.

So I started the guessing game to try and filter out the ignorant. Thankfully there are very few who think I’m British. Most will say either Australian or New Zealand within two guesses. But I’ve had some classic responses. One girl said white Jamaican, and another girl actually said Antarctica. Someone even thought I was an Italian bloke who just happened to speak very good English. Apparently I look Italian now. But the best response I’ve had by far was from a girl in Iceland. She simply stared at me in amazement and said “you must be from Mars!”

Another classic response was from when I was travelling in Poland. I asked a girl to guess where I came from, and her immediate response was “you are from Melbourne, Australia.” I was stunned that she managed to guess the city and tried to figure out where she knew me from. As it turned out, word was spreading. Her roommate met me the previous night during vodka shots and told her all about me. Europe loves Australia.

Once it has been established that I am Australian, somehow the conversation almost immediately turns to spiders. I have no idea why, but our spiders seem to have developed a bad reputation overseas, especially in Europe. I keep trying to convince people that it really is a safe country to visit and that spider bites don’t kill anyone. Not everyone is convinced, but I never help my case by mentioning that you are far more likely to be eaten by a crocodile. After freaking them out with that they often will mention sharks, to which my response will have something to do with the jellyfish being far more deadly. I would like to apologise to our Tourism board, because according to everyone I meet, all the animals in Australia just want to kill you.

I will continue to write entries on where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to. I’ve tried to shoot some videos with my camera, and I’ve added some of the better ones. Have a look.
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