Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chicago, the bloggy friend hilarity edition

So I've already told you about meeting up with Sweeney and Lor and Penny at the 20SB Summit pre-party. This is the "Everything else that happened with Sweeney and Lor and Penny" edition. First and foremost, Lor brought me a box of Zebra Cakes.
Terrible photo courtesy of the sucky lighting in my hotel room

See? (If you're not aware of Lor's love of Zebra Cakes, click here.) OMG, exciting. Also, this was my breakfast a good chunk of the time because my hotel didn't have a restaurant and I was too lazy to find somewhere that served real food. Anyway, the Zebra Cakes led to the first of many Australian-American language differences.

Me: Ooooooh, Zebra Cakes!!
Lor: ZEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEbra Cakes. They're called ZEEbra Cakes.

Subsequent exchanges:
Me: I kind of want another bag of crisps...
Sweeney: Crisps??
Me: These things?
Sweeney: You mean chips.
Me: Noooo, chips are hot.
Sweeney: Those are fries. Fries are fries and chips are chips!!!

Me in Lor and Penny's hotel room: Wow, those ARE weird power points.
Lor: Power...points?
Me: *points* Those things? The stuff you plug electrical stuff into?
Penny: You mean an OUTLET?
Me: Apparently.
Lor: Ohhhhhhhh. I thought you meant like on the computer. You know, PowerPoint.

Walking through Grant Park (and totally stolen from Lor's post because I'm too lazy to write it myself, and which you should all read because it's totally awesome):

Me: Oh no! That bubbler is running constantly. 
Lor: Uh, you mean the water fountain? Bubbler! HA.
Me: Well... we called it a bubbler in primary school.
Penny: You mean elementary school?
Me: PRIMARY. It goes from grade one to...
Lor: You mean first grade?

While eating waffle fries at Navy Pier which tasted like Velveeta (again, stolen from Lor's post, only with the emphasis on tomato changed):

Sweeney: Maybe if we drown it in ketchup? Or salsa? Pass the ketchup.
Me: Oh, you mean tomato sauce?
Lor: NO. To-may-to sauce is the thing you put on pizza. It's... sauce-y, you know?
Me: No, that's tomato paste. 
Lor: NOOOOO. To-may-to paste is the thing that comes in a can and is paste-y.
Sweeney: You really have the best definitions. To-may-to paste: paste-y.

In the bathroom at the Summit:
Me: Oops. I nearly tripped over the rubbish bin.
Lor and Sweeney: RUBBISH BIN!!!!!
Me: I feel like I'm in the middle of that scene in Love Actually where they make him say random stuff... You know, "BOTTLE!!"
Lor: I'm going to use that every time I don't want to do something. "Do you want to go to the movies tonight?" "Pff. Rubbish bin." 

Other Australian pronunciations/words that confuse Americans?
  • Aluminium
  • Vase (rather than vay-se)
  • Arse
  • Cowbag
  • Queue
  • Bathers
On Sunday after the conference finished, Lor, Penny and I went and ate our body weight in Chicago deep dish pizza, and still found room for this:

It was delicious. On Monday morning, we trekked down to the Field Museum. We saw Sue, the most complete T-Rex in existence. We saw stone age artefacts. Taxidermied specimens. A man-eating lion. Lor and I sat in giant plastic cicadas. They were NOT comfortable. And we laughed hysterically in the dinosaur rooms. Why? 

Skulls with knobs on

This *bone* came from a gigantic dinosaur and you can touch it...

We're classy like that. Then we headed back to Lor and Penny's hotel to meet Sweeney. Cramming four girls and three lots of luggage into Sweeney's Mustang was an interesting experience!! From there, we headed to Navy Pier for a grand farewell to Chicago for Lor and Penny. 

We stopped to eat as soon as we got there. It was our last meal together, and we spent pretty much the entire thing in fits of hysterical laughter. I ordered a chicken salad wrap for lunch, which came with chips (sorry Sweeney, FRIES) or coleslaw. But there was also mac and cheese on the menu. So I asked for a side of that as well as my wrap. The waitress said that for like $2, I could sub in a serve of mac and cheese. 
Sweeney and Lor: (yelling) YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Waitress: *looks terrified* Okay then.
So all three of us were insanely excited about our mac and cheese. When it arrived, we each took a bite and then made this face:

Lor: Uhhhhhhhh... 
Sweeney: This is made with smoked cheese...
Me: It tastes like bonfire.
Penny: *snort*

It really did. Needless to say, we barely ate any of it. Lor's serve of mac and bonfire had been a lot bigger than mine and Sweeney's, so she felt the need to hide the evidence. In her sandwich. Under a lettuce leaf in Penny's salad. In the leftover waffle fries. IN THE SALSA. We could barely breathe we were laughing so hard. It was a bittersweet moment, knowing that we'd soon be going our separate ways, not meeting again for who knows how long.

After the lunch of hilarity, we wandered through the shops at Navy Pier, stopping to buy fudge, and to look at the stained glass museum (with added soundtrack courtesy of Lor singing 'Belle' from Beauty and the Beast). At the entrance to the pier, I left them to walk back to my hotel. I miss the bloggy friend bubble. Everything was ten times funnier in there... 

Oh, and? This crosses number 8 off my 101 in 1001 list - meet a blog friend in real life. It was a blast. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. Sweeney, Lor and Penny - I love you guys. Come to Melbourne soon. Kthxbai.

K xx


  1. Sounds like a really fun time :)

    I would love to meet a blog friend in real life, but they are all on dif continenets! (not just country, continent!)

  2. Sounds like you had the best time! I was laughing reading this post. Although... my English fiancée tells me crisps are crisps and I say there are hot chips and cold chips... now I've learned to call them crisps.

  3. Oh my, the language difficulties... at least it kept you all laughing!

    When I moved to New Zealand, I made the mistake of thinking that they spoke Australian with a funny accent. No, no they don't. I had a particular issue with idioms - "carrying on like a pork chop" caused great hilarity.

    So I'm assuming it will be quite "Flight of the Conchords" next week!

  4. It sounds like Australian English is far more similar to British English - with crisps, zeh-bra, primary school and rubbish bins. Though I do agree with the Americans on ketchup ;)


  5. It's so funny how many of these little things I forgot, like singing that one line of Beauty and the Beast over and over and over.



    When do we move to New Zealand again?


  6. @Celeste - most of mine live on different continents too, hence me making this most of this trip to the US!!
    @Lissa - I used to alternate between chips and crisps for the not hot ones. But spending the whole of last year with Sara calling them crisps converted me!
    @Kat - Oh my God, the number of people I've had say "Do you watch Flight of the Conchords???" since I got here is ridonkulous.
    @Emma - in my experience, MOST English is more like British English! Maybe it's because we were colonies for longer or something...

  7. This post was hilarious! Thanks for sharing your adventures. I cracked up at the line about Love Actually because I was thinking about that while reading the rest of the post :)

  8. Just as long as if they do come to visit you in Australia they learn to speak Australian and don't try to call chips 'fries', etc.

    Now I do call them fries, and when my Aussie brother-in-law tries to correct me (he hates any Americanizations...is that even a word?) I tell him that they're Fries because to call them 'chips' would be an insult to real chips, as in those you get from a Fish & Chip shop.

  9. Love the post Kirsti!!! I laughed my way through it!!!!

    I'm with Cap'n John's brother-in-law though...

    I hate AmericaniSations. (not AmericaniZations!!!)


  10. Hey just an FYI Wisconsin is basically the only state who uses the term " bubbler" for a drinking fountain. When I'm traveling people have no idea what I mean, so I'm with you on that one. Its cuz the kohler company which is a huge distributer of them is from WI and they called them Bubblers but apparently it didn't stick anywhere else!

    And because of this I am on a mission to go to the store and eat as many zebra cakes as will fit!

    P.s and we should all be calling them freedom fries (jokes!)

  11. @Jessica - seriously, I kept expecting them to ask me to say bottle and table and straw...
    @Cap'n John - at the Denver Museum the other day, the guy asked me if I wanted chips or crisps with my burger. It screwed with my head. And true - fries and chips are VERY different things!
    @Char - Americanisations make me cringy. I'm fighting the urge to buy a permanent marker and correct the spellings of 'colour' and 'flavour' and 'aluminium' on all the museum signage!
    @annie - it's nice to know that somewhere besides Australia calls them bubblers!! Zebra cake mission FTW.


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