3 annoying questions only new

3 annoying questions only new arrivals to Australia ask

There are three questions that new South African expats who arrive in Australia inevitably ask. Back in SA the answers to these questions accurately suss out a person’s social standing, but in Australia they’re a no-go.

3 annoying questions only new

So tell me, what does your husband do?

I cringe, because I know, it is not that they mean to be so… so South African, (even though they think they are not), it is just that their frame of reference has not changed yet.

I am not defined by what my husband does.

There are three questions that immediately give away a brand new South African expat in Australia.

In South Africa the answers to these questions accurately suss out a person’s social standing. But in Australia, they are a no no.

There is a very different social class structure amongst most of the Australian population.

And what you do does not matter mate. As long as you have a job, earn money honestly, and take care of your family, you’re alright. Your Australian neighbour could be a doctor or a garbage truck driver, and it does not matter in the least.

The question is, are you okay with that?

Where did you live in South Africa?

Don’t ask me that question so that you can tell me you lived in a fancy estate with a private security guard in Waterkloof. It is pretentious.

What car did you drive in South Africa?

Are you for real?

Look, I get it, You are making small talk. You are trying to figure out who is who and how you fit in. It may surprise you that you find your place somewhere unexpected.

When you come to Australia, the playing field is levelled in a way it never was in South Africa. South Africans in Australia discover a bit about ourselves and others. Something beyond privilege and status. We all have the same need for safety and freedom, and love and acceptance.

When you get to Australia, why not ask people who they are, what is important to them, and what gives them joy?

For my part, what your husband does is not important to me. I am not married to him, and it will not make me like you more or less.

May you experience Aussie mateship even amongst your former countrymen. May you find friends here that you would not normally be friends with. May you discover yourself in this great land, as so many of us seem to have done.