The State of Origin Rugby League match is played annually between Queensland and New South Wales. And although I've spent more years living in Sydney, I am an ardent supporter of the Maroons (Queensland). And this is because Brisbane was the place where all my adventures in Australia began.
In August 1999, I was offered the chance to work for Queensland Power Trading Corporation as part of the PwC team. I jumped at the chance and re-located to sunny Brisbane. Some of my happiest moments include:-
- Waking up every morning for a walk along the river to the Botanical Gardens, and back, before going to work. It's especially beautiful when the purple jacaranda trees are in bloom
- Lobster dinners (almost!) every weekend at Breakfast Creek Wharf for A$10 - and they come with free champagne ....aah...those were the days before I had to worry about cholesterol
- Watching my friend, Jenette, scream when a Chinese waiter unveiled the "phoenix claws" dim sum (a.k.a chicken feet) in Fortitude Valley
- Visiting Newstead House - Brisbane's oldest surviving residence - for the first time. It was a museum that allows visitors to touch and try, which was fantastic!
- Driving around in a cool Toyota Celica that I rented from Georgie, a colleague from QPTC
Best of all were the PEOPLE - Queenslanders are dinky-di Ozzies and proud of it! I quickly discovered that I needed to learn Strine after missing two meetings because I didn't know what an arvo was. It's Aussie slang for "afternoon". By the time I left a year later, my collection had expanded to over 100 phrases and here are some of my favourites...
- Free grog - Alcoholic beverages free of charge (good to learn in any language :-)
- Up Shit's Creek in a barbed wire canoe without a paddle - Hopeless situation
- Off like a bucket of prawns in the hot sun - Spoilt / Rotten
- Up at sparrow's fart - Wake up very early in the morning
- Technicolour yawn - What happens when you're drunk :-P
But please don't ask me the difference between a woos and a sook. I innocently asked this question at work one day, and set off a 2-hour debate which left me none the wiser.