Aussie Slang Lesson Week 10: Long Black = Americano (for the coffee drinkers out there)

Aussie Slang Lesson Week 11: Tomato Sauce = Ketchup

My family arrived this week! My cousin, Allie, and my mom arrived a week ago to the Goldie. This week has been about showing them what my life looks like 9,000 miles from home!

Our first day (jet lag took a day), I took them to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Here, they got their first taste of Australian wildlife – touching a kangaroo and koala for the first time was magical, and even more so to see them experience that. They met Big Rudy (my favourite), and then we got to meet Freckles. Freckles is Big Rudy’s son. He is about 9 months old, so he is learning life out of the pouch. Despite his limited interactions with humans, he has already learned to roll on his back for belly pats.

Look closely and you can see a joey in this roo’s pouch!
Freckles and Big Rudy both have the freckles on their snout, so that is where his name came from.
He loves belly pats!
This is Ballew. Ballew was tired of photos (he had only taken 6 at this point), so he needed some eucalyptus to get through our photo.

After my classes on Thursday, we went to the sunshine coast for the night. It’s much more humid there than on the Gold Coast, but we spent the evening chatting and trying decadent desserts from an Italian restaurant on the water. Falling asleep here was special to me, because I could hear the ocean. Despite only being a 7 min walk from the water at home, there is some fabulous excavation going on right outside our building (only from October to December aka the time I live there). It goes from about 9:30-10pm at night to about 5am, so I hear jackhammers instead of waves. This was a pleasant change of pace.

Full moon on the Sunshine Coast from our balcony

The next morning, we were up early and driving over to the Australian Zoo, the home of the Irwin family. I have been following the Irwins since I was small, so in addition to seeing the internationally recognised zoo and icon of Australia, I got to see the Irwin family in person, which is a dream come true. Though everyone was excited to see these legends, I may have had a reaction that could be considered to some, over the top. I believe that it was valid.

Real tears when Robert Irwin ran out.
I think I would be a great addition to the Irwin team…

Their crocodile show was incredible, featuring Robert Irwin and Chandler, Bindi’s husband. They showcased the croc’s abilities as well as how crocs are not going to hurt humans far from the shore. Robert demonstrated this by sitting, then laying on the ground. The croc looked on for a moment before returning to the water, unbothered.

To make our day at the Australian zoo complete, we all picked animal encounters. My mom and Allie held koalas, and I pat a wombat. At the zoo, they take their wombats on walks. Each one has their own individual harness, and if they tire, they have a wagon to take the wombat back without it walking, haha. My wombat’s name was Ellie, and she is the youngest wombat at the zoo at 4 years old. Wombats can run up to 40km per hour for short distances, so if they decide to charge you, watch out. Ellie was scraggly and wiry but still felt quite soft. Wombats are also known for pooping cubes. We don’t know why they do that physiologically, but they believe it to be some sort of territory marker.

Upon returning to the Gold Coast that night, we met up with our friends from Sydney! They had flown in the day before and were spending the weekend with us, so the following day, we got to show them what we always do on the weekends: go to the beach. I took the guys surfing, and they were shocked by the intensity of the waves. Those waves were actually pretty good for us, haha. Of course, spike ball made an appearance, and all of my friends taught Allie how to play. The water has warmed up considerably, so it was wonderful to swim in the ocean as well.

On Sunday afternoon, we drove up to Brisbane to see The Lumineers. The concert was outdoors at a stage within the Botanical Gardens. A band called Hollow Coves opened for them. They are originally from the Gold Coast, which was a fun surprise. The Lumineers were spectacular. Some of my friends went up really close to the stage. Lara even held the lead singer’s hand for a moment! The weather could not have been better (though I did walk out with a few mozzie bites). There were low rolling clouds and a breeze that rippled over us. The Lumineers told us that this is the most people that have ever come to a show in Australia, so we like to think us 12 Americans that went pushed them over the edge, haha. If nothing else, we were part of that number. Seeing an American band so far from America was beautiful in many ways. Some of the lyrics they sang made me think about this semester away and this journey. For example, the lyric: “cause if we don’t leave this town, might never make it out” hit home to me. I am a homebody at heart. I love to lay on my couch and stay in my comfort zone, which is not a bad thing. But it is easy to become stuck and never push yourself out of that bubble, so I pushed myself to leave Holland, my home and go somewhere new. Now that I’m here, I want to try another new place!

When the concert ended, my mom, Allie, Emily and I got some ice cream to take back to the hotel. We also introduced them to the Netflix show: Wild Croc Territory. This has been a great watch as it takes place in Northern Australia where a group of people work to rescue crocodiles in the Bush.

Through all the excitement and fun of showing my family around the city that has become a home to me, it has made me reflect. Studying abroad is hard. Being over 9,000 miles away from your loved ones is hard. Dealing with time zone differences and communicating with them is hard. Missing their hugs and the relief their physical presence brings is hard; however, time goes fast. They are waiting for you, praying for you, loving you while you are away. Then all of a sudden, you’re with them again. I consider myself blessed that my family could come visit me and see the world I’ve created for myself. It’s something that I am proud of and am thrilled to share it.

Radiating joy.


Maddy B

Published by Maddy Baughman

Class of 2024 English and Language Arts Elementary Education Major TEAN Gold Coast, Australia

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