27 January, 2014

Musk Lifesavers and Cross-Culture Fun

I had an intriguing coffee date with a couple of American friends who are almost the same age as me. It all came about because I wrote this on Facebook the other day:
I usually edit my words according to who I'm talking to, but recently some Australian phrases came out: "tough bickies" and "he's going to shout us coffee" (granted the second one was to an Australian, but "he" was an American). Maybe I'm just getting ready to go back to Australia in June?
They wanted to know what "to shout" meant and I explained that the person who's "shouting" pays for the food/drink purchases. One of them offered to shout us a coffee, so the three of us met this morning. (It's the first time I've ever gotten a free coffee because of something I've written!)

As we were using an Australian word for the reason for getting together, and it was the day after Australia Day, I volunteered to bring along some Australian fare. I would have loved to bake something, but it was quite a full weekend, so I limited myself to bringing some special chocolate and lollies that have been sent to us by friends in Australia.

The chocolate Freddo Frogs were consumed happily, but the Musk Lifesavers were much more of a culture shock. I've had this reaction before when I tried to share this favourite Australia treat with a Japanese friend. She couldn't eat them, they reminded her of the perfume of personal products, like deodorant! Interestingly, the Americans had the same reaction (although they did persevere and finished their Lifesavers). It turns out that this is a distinctly Australian-New Zealand sweets flavouring!

What got even more of a reaction was when I Googled "Musk" after they wondered where this perfume/flavouring comes from. Wikipedia has some interesting things to say. Let's just say we were hoping that the flavour used in Lifesavers is synthetic! Here's a blogpost that gives more details, possibly that you want to know!

Cross-cultural living is so fun at times!

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