Aussie Notes: Brisbane and the Fine Art of Saying Thank You

by misslampa

I love being here. But not because of the usual stuff Lonely Planet tells you about. (Well, some of that, too. But more on that later. You can read about those things on other blogs anyway.)

So if you’re looking for a grand tour of Brissy and its tourist and even not-so-touristy spots, you’re in the wrong place, sorry.

Otherwise, let’s proceed.

1. I love the fact that people – locals, especially (I’m assuming it’s because they know the drill) – greet the driver once they get on the bus. It can be anything, really. Hey, Hello, How ya doin’, buddy?, Good day, Good evening, or a simple smile or nod. Students do it, too, and I think it’s great to grow up in a place where common courtesy is literally quite common.

2. I love it more that they say thank you before they alight. Even if they have to shout sometimes because they’re getting off from the middle of the bus. And the drivers shout back with anything from “You’re welcome” to “Anytime” or “Happy Weekend” or “Enjoy your day.” (There were some grumpy ones too, but in my experience, they’re more of the exception than the rule.) As mentioned in my About page, I am a big, big fan of the fine art of saying thank you – regardless of whether someone’s paid to do exactly what they just did for you. I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of these short exchanges of “hi” and “thank you” between Brisbane’s bus drivers and the commuting public, or at least not for the mean time.Ü

3. And most of all, I love being in an international house of sorts. I have some fellow Pinays a few doors from my room, a Thai next door (soon to be replaced by a Tanzanian, I was told), and people from Chile, China, the US, and Thailand living upstairs. Because of this set-up, I speak in at least four languages on a(n almost) daily basis! It’s just the usual “Buenas Tardes” and “ขอบคุณ” (pronounced “kap-kun-kap” or “kap-kun-ka,” depending on the gender of the person you’re thanking) apart from English and Filipino, but I am thrilled nonetheless.


Our Thai housemate made Tom Yum for my fellow Pinays and me earlier this week. We found the soup too hot but still, lucky us!


Two evenings ago, the father of the Chilean girl was running around in circles in the kitchen and was obviously looking for something. He doesn’t speak English and I wanted to be considerate so I asked, “Cuchara, Señor?” To which he replied, “No, tenedor.” So I got him a fork from the dish rack and he smiled at me. I thought that was the end of it, but a second or two after, he called out, “Gracias, hija.” And just like that, I felt like the hundred hours I spent learning Spanish back home was worth it – because I can recognize it when someone’s thanking me in that language.

My housemates have told me that a Canadian has already brought his luggage earlier today, and just this evening, my fellow Pinays and I met the (cute) French dude who might move in next week. I found myself saying “Bonsoir.” His eyes went wide and he smiled and said, “Bonsoir. Yes, very good.” My friends and I were in the middle of dinner, so he wished us a good meal by saying “Bon Appetit.” And then came my turn to use my favorite word, so I went ahead and said, “Merci.”

Of course, living with two fellow Pinays allows me to say my favorite word in my most loved language of all. =)) Hay, I must definitely get into the habit of using salamat whenever I can.

And you will, Donna girl. You absobloominlutely will. :-))

4 Comments to “Aussie Notes: Brisbane and the Fine Art of Saying Thank You”

  1. i think you’ll achieve your linguistic ambitions there :>

  2. Ang saya-saya! I’m so happy for you =)

  3. Thanks, Jose and Gian. :-)) Pray that I don’t drown in paperwork, okies? :-))

  4. I now realize I made a mistake with the short bit I wrote about Thai. It’ s kap-kun-crap (male) or kap-kun-ka (female), depending on who’s doing the thanking, and not on who’s on the receiving end. Sorry. :-)

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