“See you later buffhead”
By Alice Lu
This is one of the many phrases I get the pleasure of hearing at my internship. One of my colleagues is the definition of your chill, hip, and rock star 1960s father. Every time I’m asking him a question about agency purchasing, he launches into his life wisdoms and his colorful rants. If there’s one thing I appreciate in this country, it’s the honesty of people regardless of age to say exactly what’s on their mind without holding back. Another thing is their patience to explain everything to you and really dedicate all their time to pay attention to you. In the USA, I feel like adults just give you a short summary and are too busy to ever fully explain or answer questions without making me feel bad for wasting their time. After spending six weeks here, I find myself using common terms like “No worries”, “Cheers”, “Brekky”, “Mackers”, “Keen”, and etc. I used to be afraid of sounding like I’m making fun of the colloquial language here but now it’s become more and more natural sounding. For those who are wondering, buffhead is an enduring term to call a mate who you think is an idiot. I just love how it’s the fatherly figure of the office calling everyone that rather than the younger ones. To be fair though, they do retaliate by calling him “Old man” every now and then.
He said to me today, “it must be a huge culture shock for you to be here because of the language” and I told him, “it will be a bigger culture shock when I go back to the states.” The language here has made its mark on me and pretty soon I’ll be a regular speaking aussie. The slang is UK and New Zealand influenced in my opinion and because of that it has a more chill and sophisticated sound to it. When my roommate told me someone said they think American accents are beautiful, we both agreed that person was crazy. American accents can have such a unsophisticated or uneducated sound to them sometimes and there’s a reason why “Mean Girls” or really thick southern accents are probably one of our biggest stereotypes.
I’ve learned a lot of old Australian phrases from my colleague, now if only I could remember all of them. Then I could be an American transformed Aussie when I return.