And then I casually mentioned that I’d never see the ocean, and everyone at work looked at me like I’d grown an extra head. Maybe also turned purple. And okay, I’m from a landlocked country, but I guess it is strange, considering how much ocean there is. And Melbourne is famous for marine stainless steel welding, according to the googling I did before I moved here, and everyone loves going to the beach. So their ocean is my snow: a thing that they know so well, but they can’t believe other people haven’t seen.
Okay, fine, let’s all laugh at the guy who doesn’t know what a snapper rack is. Honestly, the way they all talk it’s like they spend all weekend, every weekend at the beach. Everyone is given a boat by the government at age sixteen, and people are born with gills by virtue of being an Aussie. It’s actually not like that at all, especially in winter, and I know because that’s when I arrived. Everyone was huddling indoors like they were scared of melting in the rain, and I definitely judged them for that.
Now summer is here, my work friends have arranged a trip to the beach to ‘educate’ me, and I guess that also involves a run-down on marine stainless steel welding (history and current industry), the correct use of a fishing rod holder and how to identify all seventeen-thousand different species of Australian sea creature. That’s probably on the test for becoming a citizen, right before they push you off a boat and make you swim to shore to get your certificate.