Not sure what to do with Australians’ Amicability

Everywhere I go, supermarkets, educational settings, tax road centre, shops, people are so amicable and friendly…everywhere…People are particularly attentive to children, asking how they are in a very easy going way…

Last night, I went to the wine shop. I left my two oldest putting the shopping away in the car and popped in very quickly to the wine shop next door. Conscious of sibling rivalry and possible conflicts, I am quickly grabbing some bottles, 3 for $20…I am in a rush, don’t think about anything else…The shop assistant starts a conversation: “What will you do with the rest of your Monday night?” Completely thrown by this amicable question, I say: “I will go home and drink these babies, not all of it, but some of it”. He burst out laughing: “At least you are being honest”, and we laughed even more. The thing is I don’t know how else to react to such amicable behaviour by everyone around, so it looks like I am going for the quickest route, what comes to mind spontaneously, perhaps honesty…

This amicable behaviour everywhere goes a long way. The car broke down on a very tricky spot, where all the double carriageway traffic was getting backed up, a very dangerous spot, at the bottom of a steep hill. Children were at the back, wet from swimming in the sea and had little on, so they could not help. A woman got out of her car and said: “let’s get you out of trouble and push you up the hill a bit further”. She tries to push on her own with no success. Within minutes, 5 guys come out of their car and start pushing the car too. The traffic was able to move again. These guys all stay with us. We have a chat, what about next steps. I am a bit shocked, not sure who to phone, what to do, my husband is away in Paris. Three of the guys stay behind, have a chat. One says he has to go, but only lives around the corner and that if I have a problem to contact him. He gives me his business card and his address. I keep his card safely in my wallet. The other two guys say that they can stay with us for as long as we need to, take us home if needed. I borrow their phone (mine had ran out of battery). They initiate conversations with the kids: “where do you go to school”, “who are your teachers”, “is so and so still at that school”. Children have a chat…I am amazed, I think people are so amicable and lovely. On their own accord, children also reflected on this experience saying how they were amazed at people’s friendliness and amicability.

As my husband was going away, I had picked up a number of his colleagues’  business cards at his office’s reception desk so that I have contact numbers in case I needed help…It’s notorious that as soon as my husband travels abroad, something goes wrong…well, I am glad I had picked those cards because from the side of the street I was able to contact someone quickly to help with the broken down car…

This is where it gets funnier…A few days later, I present myself at the school reception to sort out some bills and ask questions about a few things. The school receptionist asks me to update the list of emergency numbers I had provided on the enrolment form…I say of course I have all of these numbers here and I write names and numbers in the appropriate places. During this time my son is standing next to me, not necessarily paying attention to what I am doing, looking a bit bored. In a glance, he then says “Maman, not that one, that’s the bloke from the street who pushed the car the other day”. The receptionist and I just burst out laughing, hysterical laughters to the point of crying…we could not stop…I was completely shocked, the guy had the same first name as one of my husband’s colleague so just thought it was his card…

Everywhere you go, people are amicable and also very helpful. Yesterday, at the tax road office, the officer had done all the registration transfer papers for me. We are just getting our heads around a new system, so he says “anything else I can do for you” so I asked questions about transferring driving licenses…again very helpful, answered all my questions in such a nice, pleasant and amicable manner…It goes along way because you don’t feel the need to be heard, or shout, or having to explain a problem over and over again, nobody is saying “sorry we can’t help you with that one”…

It’s so simple to be amicable..such an easy going way of living…Even though I am still not sure how to react to it all, I find it particularly pleasant and helpful…and I laugh a lot along the way! It feels healthy!



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