Cross-posted to Lost In Transit
So here's the biggest filthy lie everyone will tell you as a wide-eyed young Aussie backpacker about to jet off – that your novelty accent shall be a one-way ticket into the hearts and minds and underpants of every foreigner you'll meet.
It just hasn't turned out to be the case, simply because there's just too many bloody Australians in Edinburgh to ever be considered a novelty. Everyone knows that London is brimming o'er, but I never expected so much of Down Under to be Up North.
On any given bus trip, you're guaranteed to hear at least one other Aussie, usually chirping away on their mobile phones about their forthcoming trip to Turkey, mate. I've also encountered a hairdresser, two recruitment consultants, one boss, assorted shop assistants and drunken dozens in the queues for Fringe Festival shows. And just when I'd got used my Scots gym instructor yelling at us to "squat doun!" or to "poosh! poosh!" those barbells, she was replaced by a Melbournian with a rippling torso.
So for the most part, people over here don't even notice that you talk funny, let alone whip off their dacks because of it. The only time my accent has been seen as different, it has led to confusion and tears. I'm working at Geriatric Rescue again, where elderly people call if they've fallen and can't get up. Between their thick and wobbly tones and my horrible drawl, it's been a struggle. I try enunciating clearly, ironing out the harshness of my vowels. But it's not working too well. One creaky old man shouted in frustration, "I just cannae understand ya, hen! It's like you're speaking a foreign language!"
And then last week, there was a little old lady with strangely suspicious and accusing tones.
"Where are you from?" she asked, after I'd most kindly called her a doctor.
"I'm from Australia."
"Aye, aye," You could almost hear her eyes narrowing. "I thought as much."