Who’s nicer? Australia versus Finland

A big highlight to my third day in Austin, Texas was meeting the other people staying at the same Airbnb as me. In the room to the right was a couple from Australia who are doing a world tour after just graduating from college. In the room to the left, a man from Finland who had never been to the United States before, and came to Texas to visit his son at the university.

I got back to the house after my usual 10 miles of exploring that I wrote about yesterday, and just happened to meet the Australian couple when I arrived. These two were incredibly nice, cultured, well-traveled people. I struggled with understanding the thick Australian accent and acted like a typical American. For example, the man introduced himself as “Mock.” So I said, “Um… Mike?”

“No, Mock.” Then I said, “Okay, Mock.” I asked Mock how his name was spelled and he said, “Emmm-IIII-ahhh-key.” I stared for a good three seconds and then said, “Oh, Mark!”

After chatting about Australia for a wonderful length of time with these fine people, the Finnish man entered the house. I had a similar introduction with him. He introduced himself as “Villy.” So I said, “Um… Billy?” And he corrected me: “Villy.” I said, “Okay, Villy.”

Mark and his partner were getting ready to go out to dinner, and welcomed Villy and I to go with them. We went to Moonshine on 3rd Street, which was pretty good. I was incredibly happy that a great deal of our conversations were about higher education—I work in higher education, the Australian pair were fresh out of college, and Villy has a Master’s degree in education and was in town to visit his university-attending son. I got to learn a lot about higher ed in other countries, which is not something I was expecting to get on this trip.

Eventually, Villy brought up Donald Trump. He and the Australians concurred that American politics are highly entertaining. It was actually really sad that a person as hateful as The Donald is known globally. However, it does also mean he is despised globally—because the whole world knows how racist and terrible he is.

13310a1c-0cf1-4a19-97fb-49c302b6ce07After dinner, we went to a bar: Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar on Sixth Street. And holy shit that place was rad. There were dueling pianos. And a bar. And presumably was owned by a guy named Pete. The pianists were great, and occasionally a drummer and bassist would jump in. Their whole show was song requests mixed with very mild improv comedy in-between (and during) songs. At first I thought they must have had a list of songs that can be requested, but nope, you could literally write any song on a piece of a paper, give them some money, and they will play it. I was in total amazement that multiple guys knew what seemed to be every song, how to play the songs, and the lyrics. It was professional and awesome music, the performers were hilarious, and it was a great place to hang out.

So, between the folks I met from Australia, and the man from Finland, who was nicer? My heart tells me to say that everyone was equally great, but I told the Australians that I would be writing about them for my blog and have already connected with them on Facebook, so they are probably reading this and I am just going to say that Australia wins.

Villy will never know this transgression.