BLOG: Katie Stengel checks in from Australia

Katie Stengel is currently on loan with the Newcastle Jets in the Westfield W-League in Australia. She'll be back for the 2018 season. While in Australia, she's blogging for and will check in periodically. Enjoy!

(Nov. 5, 2017) - What’s up y’all .. or should I say g’day mate to try to be super Aussie. In all honesty, I haven’t heard anyone actually say g’day or shrimp on the barbie (shrimp are actually called prawns in the land down unda).  But Australians do use many funny words that I’m tempted to add to my own daily repertoire.

These include: 

-arvo meaning afternoon
-heaps meaning a lot
-keen meaning wanting to/like (as in “I am going to the beach this arvo if you’re keen to join)
-boot meaning both cleats and the trunk of your car
-reckon: means to think 
Anywho, I’ve come to appreciate the Aussie slang, and although I feel like an imposter when I use it, it’s pretty fun to try. Aside from the “language barrier” and the v attractive accent, I’ve found that Australians are just like Americans. 
They love some good smashed avo with poached eggs, especially when you get the cafe that manages the perfect amount of poach-iness where the yolk spreads nicely all over your toast. This yields the best Instagram Boomerang shot to brag to all your followers just how delicious your brekkie is (oh yeah, brekkie is the hip cool Aussie word for breakfast; definitely an avid brekkie user and go-er to-er). I have found that the presentation of most meals, including the quintessential smashed avo, is just as much more important here. Chefs seem to take extra care as Salt Bae sprinkles the right amount of spices to create the most aesthetically pleasing plates. 
They spend all summer getting as dark as possible at the beach. This is the biggest plus for me (besides soccer obvi) to come here for the offseason. I get to avoid the whole cold weather nonsense Bostonians call winter. I am not built for it and didn’t know it was possible to drive in it until recently. (Thank you 4-wheel drive!).
Australia is currently in their spring season, heading into summer, so there’s ample time to spend at the beach. My goal is to come back as dark as possible so as to maintain a tan through preseason when the sun is nonexistent. I have learned that there is a minor ozone issue here, and I am a huge advocate for safe skin care. So about 27 percent of my paycheck goes to sunscreen (let’s not even get into how much I “invest” on food). Even with several applications of sunscreen with zinc (hello game changer!), I still manage to fix my ombré tan. The farmers' tan is real up near my shoulders and stomach, but then as you move distally, man do my knees and legs get dark. So my goal is to be a nice dark EVEN color. Won’t happen, but hey I’m experiencing some incredible beaches in the meantime. 
Australians are big into sport! Now let me throw you a little disclaimer: when Americans hear that they think, “me too, bro!” However Aussie sports are a wee bit different. They prefer cricket, rugby, horse racing, and, of course, soccer. I have found that many appreciate American sports and follow along with the NFL, NBA, and NCAA playoffs, but ask them about baseball and they are inclined to change the conversation to anything more exciting like how fast the grass is growing. (See my latest World Series tweet for future evidence) You can’t blame them for not following because America’s pasttime is just overlooked by the Melbourne Cup. I am thoroughly looking forward to getting some swanky dress and obnoxious hat to watch that race. The entire country essentially shuts down to partake in various activities all revolving around that horse race next week. I’ve also asked my host family to allow me the honor of watching a real live rugby 7s game, the cricket big bash, and hopefully a Womens AFL game. No those are not made-up events. Those are real sporting events that this country enjoy as much as we get into March Madness. I’ve had to Google search to get more info about them, so I encourage you to do the same. Or, tune back in to the next snippet of my Aussie adventures to learn more about Aussie sports, food, and beaches. 
I should probably talk about the soccer aspect, too, but we’ve only had two games, so I can’t give you an adequate screenshot just yet. Thanks for reading though! Til next arvo.

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