The ExPat Diary: First days as a Sydneysider

Well folks, after all of the packing and moving and stressing and additional packing, our first Sydney trip was great! We headed out on August 30th and just got back a few days ago. I can’t say that I was very nervous, or even crazy overexcited, I guess it was just kind of fact: I’m heading to my new city.

New city, new country, new wildlife!

And speaking of my new city, I do love it. The weather is fabulous, there is always a beach nearby, and for some odd reason 80’s music is constantly playing in the restaurants and hotels (a-ok by me!). I also caught the Dukes of Hazard on TV one day. Not that today’s Australia is stuck in 80’s America, but I sure did run into a lot of it. (P.S. I did enjoy the episode of Family Ties I watched there).

I missed you guys...sha la la la

We both brought over a huge suitcase in an effort to start migrating clothing over. Alex’s suitcase was neatly packed and perfectly organized and contained everything he needed. My suitcase was a mess, only two pounds shy of Delta’s weight limit, and filled with wonderful things that I had no need for.

It's not that I thought I'd need a pair of vintage Frye platform boots on this trip, but, well, they came anyway.

Somehow I made it through and was able to explore my new city and meet some new people. The differences aren’t vast, but they are present. There is the obvious: the steering wheel is on the other side of the car, people stand to the left and walk to the right on escalators. Doesn’t seem like a big deal until you’re 1/2 a step away from hopping on an escalator going the wrong direction.

This feels so wrong!

There are also more subtle differences. I’m told that Australians aren’t apt to send food back at a restaurant, or complain about bad service, for example. It seems like Americans are seen as brash, and in light of this bit of knowledge, I can understand why.

We all speak English, but there are differences there too (more on new lingo in a later blog). Australian’s put ‘u’s in interesting places (just like Australia’s buddies Britain and Canadaland). So words like ‘favourite’, ‘harbour’ and ‘colour’ look wrong but are right. ‘Organisation’ and ‘recognise’ are a few others that look odd to Americans, and make my computer’s spell check sad.

Sydney at night from Darling Harbour (that's 'harbor' for you folks at home)

I’ll give you one more new fact before I wrap up. I always took Australia to be fairly small. Well, not small, but at least smaller than the U.S. Well, guess what friends:

Roughly the same size, with a little less Texas and a little more Canada

The difference is that Australia has nearly 22 million versus the 307+ million in the U.S., but then again much of Australia isn’t really inhabitable.  But I’ll say this: what is inhabitable is just lovely, and I’m looking forward to exploring more.


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