Friday, November 19, 2010

Mortal Kombat!

I hit a milestone today.

Today is the longest I've gone without shaving my mustache...in my life (since I started growing facial hair at least.)

On some days I feel like a manly and suave Don Juan. On other days I feel kind of dirty and that I should be on the lookout for INS. I guess they balance each other out.

Hello, Ladies.

Since I started working, my co-workers have only seen me as a mustachioed Asian/Latino...and I assume only good things can come from this for my professional career. In regards to my social life, I think it's a toss up slanted towards the negative since only one *cough* person has donated (THANKS GUYS!)

Anyways, though I've pretty much been on Australia's "nuts" since I've been here, after two months I think I can now list the pros and cons of living in America vs. Australia (subjective of course.)

FIGHT!

Round 1: FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

Income Taxes - Australia wins (taxes are lower)
Social Services - Australia (Universal healthcare, welfare program, superannuation better than USA) 
Military - USA (no contest)
Grants & Scholarships - USA
Education - Tie (Australia wins up til graduating high school, USA takes over for college and up)
Infrastructure - USA (More highways, better trains, faster internet)
Political Climate/Elections - Tie (Proportional representation, preferential voting, mandatory balloting vs electoral college, winner take all, no requirement to turn in a ballot)
Economy/Debt - Australia (Unemployment at 10% vs. 5%. US government and consumer debt is massive...in Australia you need to make at least $35,000 or $50,000 to even qualify for a credit card)

Winner: Australia by a hair, because of Social Services...

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!

Round 2: COST OF LIVING

In US Dollars...
Minimum Wage - Australia ($14.70/hr vs. $7.25/hr)
Median Household Income - Australia ($65,480 vs. $49,777)
Average Home Prices - USA ($185,500 vs. $418,734)
Average Car Prices - USA (Honda Accord: $21,180 vs. $34,717...Lexus IS-250: $32,145 vs. $80,000)
Mobile Phones - Australia (Phones and plans are cheaper, include international calls and unlimited texting, though data is capped)
Food prices - USA (Based on the Big Mac index)
Clothing - USA
Electronics - USA (New console/pc games are $100, computers/TV's are 10% more)

Winner: USA by a mile. The higher average salary in Australia doesn't offset the cost of buying a house/car, though it does for luxury items. If you don't buy a car and decide to rent, it's almost a tie...but still USA.

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Round 3: QUALITY OF LIFE

Average workweek - Australia (38 hours/week vs. 40 hours/week)
Average time off - Australia (Mandatory 30 days + holidays vs. 10 days avg + holidays)
Entertainment - USA (Movies, music, TV, sports go to America, festivals go to Australia)
Nature - Tie (Both places are great for camping, hiking, climbing, swimming, surfing, rafting, etc. America has the Grand Canyon and the Rockies, Australia has the Great Barrier Reef)
Food - Tie (So many good options in both countries, though I still miss Bacon and Chipotle...)
People - Tie (Nice people can be found everywhere, so can assholes. People on average are friendlier here though, but people in America seem deeper)

Winner: Australia. More time off and less time at work, with the same entertainment options as the USA outside of attending NFL/NBA/MLB/NHL games.

GOOD ON YA MATE!

Overall Winner: Australia. While the cost of living is more expensive in Australia, income taxes are lower, the economy is sound, there's universal healthcare, and you work less and get more time off here than in America. If you could picture America as an iPhone 3GS, think of Australia as an iPhone 4, an upgrade! Not too many Americans know about how awesome this place is because it's so far away...so I'm trying to get the secret out.

Celebrate!

To elaborate on why I think Americans are deeper, I think that we're more introspective. My perception is probably skewed since I'm still new here and getting to know people, so they may not feel comfortable speaking to me about "deeper" topics. I haven't had any deep conversations with any Aussies yet; people here are much more laid back and seem to like to have fun, so when you try to talk about something serious they clam up and offer no opinion...or they change the subject or make fun of you. This can be good or bad, I'm not sure which one it is yet.

I'll update with more later...

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