“That’s okay.”  We first heard this phrase 2 years ago in Newcastle.  We had arrived after dark and could find nowhere to settle for the night.  We had met a pleasant couple in Bali who lived in Newcastle and they had told us to call them when we got to Australia.  We were now in their hometown and stranded so we gave them a call.  They immediately insisted we come over for dinner and that we stay with them for the night even though it was a school night for their 2 young kids.  We felt impolite for crashing on short notice and were sure to be on our best manners.  “Thank you so much for dinner,” I said.  “That’s okay,” Jenny responded.  “We really appreciate you putting us up for the night,” I stated.  Brian replied, “That’s okay!”

“Crap, Nug, we are imposing big time.”  We thanked them in the morning before heading further south.  “That’s okay, come again any time!” they returned.  We were not sure if we should believe them.  Fast forward 2 years and we are hunting for apartments in the Gold Coast and Lennox Head areas.  Anytime we inspected an apartment we were sure to thank the person for their time… “That’s okay,” was always the response.  Realtors would not return our calls so we resorted to stalking them; we called each realtor several times per day and invariably reached their secretaries.  “Thanks for taking our message.”  Each desk jockey would answer “That’s okay.” We started to think that we were a pain in the butt to everyone here and should be apologizing for everything we did.  After a few more interactions at restaurants, retail stores and grocery stores we began to realize that “That’s okay” is the Australian equivalent of “You’re welcome” (which by the way is never used).

After almost 2 weeks of chasing our tails (apartment hunting and filling in lengthy applications) and getting repeatedly shut down we finally had 2 options simmering and were playing the waiting game.  One in Palm Beach had an especially unhelpful realtor, “Kiani” who had made us drive to the office 3 separate times and also fax additional information (each time, starting with our first trip there, she assured us that we had completed everything only to call us back several hours later to cheerfully let us know that the application required more info to process).  Nug was boiling by the end of our 3rd trip to Kiani’s office.

While eating lunch and discussing our options our phone rang.  “How ya going?  This is Kiani from Palm Beach calling to let you know that you have been approved for the apartment!”  I was almost too happy to tell her that we had lined up a place in Kirra earlier in the day and were going to go with that apartment.  There was silence for a moment before she recovered and said, “Oh, alright…thanks for letting me know.”  I couldn’t hold back my smile as I retorted with my very first, “That’s okay!”