Meet the staff: Australian edition

May 14, 2018 in Appaman News, Appaman Style, Featured, NYC

We recently caught up with Australian staff members Ruby (Operations Assistant) and Sarah (Customer Service) to ask them all the questions we’ve been dying to ask about Australia. Ruby and Sarah have joined the team in our NYC headquarters in the last year. Have we missed anything? Anything you’re dying to know but have never asked? Ask in the comments section.

1. So guys. Are there actually dangerous animals everywhere in Australia, and will they kill you?

Ruby: Yes! Australian wildlife are notorious psychos, nobody knows why they are mad but they are. There are obvious culprits like snakes and spiders,  but even chill-looking animals like these wombats (see below) are low-key raging. I learnt this the hard way when I sent my little brother down a wombat hole after a rogue soccer ball when I was eight (he was five). He didn’t run into anything while he was down there, but apparently if wombats find you in their hole they will freak out and RUTHLESSLY attack. My parents didn’t speak to me for a week.

Wombat

Wombat, not as cute as they seem (Image: mrpbps/Flickr)

Sarah: Ruby is right. Wombats are huge and deceptively cute. We genuinely do have a lot of dangerous animals. However these animals aren’t hanging out in plain sight – most of them are tiny and very shy. Snakes are around a lot in summer – it’s kind of a practiced habit of Australians to loudly stomp when going through any greenery or grass because there are snakes around. I’ve seen my fair share but they aren’t aggressive unless you actively annoy them. They are SO not into people, as soon as they hear anything they will slither away into their little snake holes.  We also get a lot of spiders, it’s another classic Australian habit to shake out any shoes before you put them on; spiders love dark cozy places. Oh also sharks. Sharks are around a lot but they are genuinely not a danger to people as much as you’d think. They get a bad rap because like, one shark will bite someone once a year.  Most beaches have shark alarms and life guards, if one is spotted the alarm sounds and everyone gets out of the water (though honestly a lot of people don’t; if the surf is great surfers will just stay out or just straight up not hear the alarm). We also have shark nets that stretch across entire bays to protect swimmers, and helicopters that hover around and patrol beaches every hour or so (during peak season) to keep an eye out for sharks.

Great White Shark

This Great White Shark wishes you’d never seen Jaws; swears they’re not all like that (Image: Elias Levy/Flickr Creative Commons)

Attack Spider

Huntsman spider, no big deal (Image: darkday/Flickr Creative Commons)

 

2. Do you miss the beach??
Ruby: Surprisingly, YES (despite all the shark talk). Because I am descendant of the convict settlers who were shipped out from Ireland I am uniquely unsuited to all aspects of the Australian environment. The sun shoots straight through my pale eyes, designed for seeing through the Celtic mists, and gives me terrible migraine. No amount of sunscreen will stop me from burning in 0.5 seconds on a hot day and a day at the beach for me means full body suit and a tent. Also, some of my most traumatic memories focus around an Australian tradition called “Nippers”, a curriculum that proposes to teach children how to survive in the surf by throwing them in the water and hoping they are able to swim back to shore. Despite this I really miss it! Australia has so many beautiful beaches and such great surf that you completely take it for granted, I miss big salty waves!
Sarah: I never had to do Nippers, thank God. I’m actually from a beautiful beach town called Newcastle on the East Coast, and we have 5 of the best beaches in the world there. So I definitely do miss the beach (even with our local neighborhood sharks), the ocean and wide open green spaces. Also the proud Australian tradition of getting an unreasonably large serving of chips (fries) wrapped in paper from the beach cafe and sitting and fending off seagulls. Seriously once you feed a seagull a chip, they will bring 100 of their seagull friends and you’ll never know a moment’s peace again.
Sunday, Awesome Sunday.

Sarah left this beach for sunny NYC. (Image: Roanish/Flickr Creative Commons)

3. What are some fave Aussie designers or companies that you miss?
Ruby: I mainly shop vintage but Zimmerman and Lover both make beautiful clothing that I could never afford, Gorman is great. There is a beauty company I used to work for called Mecca that is like the Australian high-end version of Sephora, they stock brands like Nars and Hourglass as well as amazing skincare; their stores are beautiful.

SarahI feel like Ruby has designers covered. I also will add Bec+Bridge. They are two girls from Sydney and their dresses are awesome. Boost Juice is an Aussie juice chain that does AWESOME smoothies, and to be very specific there is a great pasta restaurant in Sydney called Italian Bowl that I think about always and miss way more than I should. 

4. Okay gotta ask – whats your opinion on Vegemite?
Ruby: Love it, wont hear a word against it.

Sarah: It’s fine! I never really ate it a lot, but the biggest mistake with Vegemite is spreading it too thick. The key is a lot of butter and a tiny, thin scraping of Vegemite.

 

5. Don’t roll your eyes, but how often do you throw shrimp on the barbie?

Ruby: Not that much! My family are more ‘lamb chops and veggies on the BBQ on Sundays’ type people.

SarahSame. Also I am literally allergic to shrimp (how unAustralian). We love barbecues and will have them all the time, anywhere and everywhere. It’s such a fun social tradition! Most public parks have barbecues in them, on public holidays and weekends parks are teeming with people who show up with coolers full of food to chuck on the barbie, drinks and outdoor sports gear (i.e. cricket gear).

another shrimp on the barbie

Traditional Aussie pastime or annoying stereotype? (Image: Ziv Pugatch/Flickr Creative Commons)

 

6. Thanks for clearing that up. Moving on – you use so much weird slang. Explain some of your favorite Aussie slang to us?

Ruby: There’s so much that is NSFW! “Cactus” means something is bad or not working, I will continue to use this term even though it only ever garners blank looks. (eg. “The PC is cactus mate”)

Sarah: Okay so I’ve actually compiled a list:

  • Arvo = afternoon eg “see you this arvo mate”
  • Brolly = umbrella eg “mate huge thunderstorm today, take a brolly”
  • Choc a Block = full eg “mate the subway was choc a block this morning”
  • Esky = cooler eg “mate chuck some cold ones in the esky”
  • Thongs = flip flops eg “mate you left your thongs in the ute”
  • Ute – utility vehicle with a tray at the back, eg “mate the plumber parked his ute across my driveway”

7. I will use all those words in a sentence today. Whats the most confusing thing that’s happened to you in New York (i.e. the perennial ‘how is Sydney different to New York?’ question)?

Ruby: Once I got over just how big it was and how long it takes to get everywhere (I didn’t realize Brooklyn was a larger land mass than Manhattan for instance) probably the bomb cyclone that happened the second week I was living in New York. I was stuck in my house without groceries trying to explain to my parents over the phone (who were literally sitting on the beach where we vacation as a family) that I couldn’t go out to find food because all I could see out my window was opaque blizzard. I had assumed everyone was exaggerating about winter in New York, they were not.

MTA at Work Through Spring Snowstorm

NYC subways become even more difficult during a nor’easter. (Image: Photo: Patrick Cashin / Metropolitan Transportation Authority vis Flickr Creative Commons)

 

Sarah: Everything Ruby said. Also subways. Oh my god subways. The first two months I was here, I don’t even want to think about the number of times I got the wrong subway in the wrong direction. Even Google Maps couldn’t save me a lot of the time, which really speaks to my poor sense of direction.  

8. You don’t look Australian. 

Ruby: I don’t take your meaning, these two people below are obviously from the same landmass:  (also, see answer to question two)

SarahWhat does an Australian look like?!?

9. Why do Australians talk about coffee so much?

Flat White

“Why are you so obsessed with me?” – This flat white. (Image: Marco Verch/Flickr Creative Commons)

Ruby: We are so far away from everything we have nothing to do other than perfect and debate the art of hot beverages. Australia is one of the only countries where Starbucks has tanked, we are convinced we can do it better! (I make no apologies, I miss Australian coffee every day).

SarahNo offense but we have the best coffee in the world, and people in Australia (particularly Sydney and Melbourne) treat coffee like a very serious art form. I really don’t know much about the science behind making coffee but whatever it is Australians do it so well. The milk is perfect and the beans are heaven. My favorite coffee in NYC is from Bluestone Lane, a company run by Australians.

 

10. What’s your favorite thing about living here? 

Ruby: Terrifying weather and questionable coffee are more than made up for by the intellectual culture of the city, the thriving arts scene and the opportunities that can be found amidst the chaos. I feel like every person I have met here is pursuing their goals. In New York there is a creativity, passion and ambition on a scale that I haven’t witnessed in any other city I have lived in or visited.

Sarah:  The people I’ve met! As cheesy as that is. People kept warning me that everyone in New York is stressed and mean, and I’ve found the exact opposite. People have been so warm, welcoming and kind to me – from the amazing people at Appaman, right through to strangers I ask for directions. Also I am a comedian, and the comedy and arts scene here is wonderful. So many opportunities and inspiring people. Oh, I also love the Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company. And Central Park.

11. And one more question – it’s basically always summer in Australia right? This make you uniquely qualified to discuss our SS18 collection. Give us a rundown of your favorite pieces.

Ruby: I wish  the whole collection came in my size because I would wear all of it. My pick of the girl’s pieces (if I have to choose) would be the Rainbows IOS Tank (it’s sparkly, c’mon!), the Paradise Romper (I can’t imagine anything more comfortable) and the Thalia Dress in Ba-na-na (I eat multiple bananas a day so this print really speaks to me). If I was tiny I’d also wear the Malibu Shorts (both colors, can’t pick); they’d be the perfect BBQ short because you can run around, play sport, eat, sit on the ground, wear them over a bathing suit, and nap in them.

Sarah: Honestly, as a lover of food I can’t go past the Burger Shirt. I love burgers so much and this shirt is incredibly soft. Also the Banana Printed Tee and basically any of the Spring Fine Tailoring. The Linen Mod Suits are such fantastic colors, and the built-in pocket squares are such a practical idea. As someone who loses things a lot I need built-in everything ie built-in phone, wallet, bag, lunchbox etc.