When I first started this blog, I vowed to write about any and all that happened while traveling, and any traveler will tell you that it’s not always Instagram-worthy. I’ve received comments, texts, emails, etc. asking how my move to Sydney has been going and that everything seems so perfect and great and happy. While I am very much happy and everything really is great, there will always be a few bumps in the road. My blog isn’t about gloating on the everlasting joys of travel; it’s about showing the real side of taking risks and opening your eyes to a world that will never cease to amaze you. And as always, with taking risks, there will come adversities.
Before making the big move to Sydney, I really didn’t think it was going to be that big of a deal. Friends and family asked if I was nervous, and to be completely honest, I wasn’t. In my eyes, Australia was pretty much a distant cousin to the U.S. Within my first few weeks of living here, I’ve realized there’s much more to it.
There isn’t glaring cultural differences, as there would be had I moved to Bangkok, like my friend Haleigh did. It could be as simple as remembering that the good ole USA doesn’t use the metric system [like the rest of the world] and having to convert EVERYTHING.
- How do I dress for the weather when I don’t know what 11 degrees C feels like?
- 60 kilograms: I can definitely squat that. Oh wait, thats 132 pounds. Goodbye usage of my legs. [Yes, I know I’m a wimp.]
- It’s only 800 meters up the road? Great, thats like nine football fields away.
It could be as stressful as finances. While minimum wage is double that of the U.S., prices for nearly everything are almost double as well. For a post-grad coming from a university where dollar drinks and $16 cases of beer were in abundance, this was quite a shock when I heard, “Hey, there’s a special on Heineken! 2 cases for $85.” Wait… What… Reality set in.
There’s an overwhelming Asian influence which was highly unanticipated. Everywhere I turn, there’s Chinese symbols on the shops’ windows. Thai restaurants are on every street corner, like the U.S. and McDonald’s. And of course, this isn’t an adversity, but where I’m from, our minority majority is Latin American so I’m used to seeing Spanish everywhere. I’ve eaten more Asian food in the last month than I have in my whole life.
Catching up on the Aussie lingo has proved to be a challenge as well. Every time I learn a new word, out comes another. I can never catch up. All of the words are shortened or ending in -y or -o.
- Telly (television), footy (football), uni (university), arvo (afternoon), ambo (ambulance), Maccas (McDonald’s), tradie (trade worker), ciggie (cigarette), bickies (biscuits, cookies)…
When in doubt, just shorten a word and add a vowel to the end, and somehow it will end up being Aussie slang.
There’s also the fact that every morning I wake up and think, “Today is going to be the day I see a Huntsman Spider.” And luckily, I have yet to see a spider or a snake, but I live in constant fear… There’s also a constant fear of learning to drive manual, the public transportation system, whether or not there’s vegemite on my toast…
Finally, there’s just the overall hassle of not being Australian. Government documents, VISA applications, tax file numbers, Australian Business Numbers, Motor Registry, WWCCs, RSA, Bank accounts, a hundred different methods of proving my identity… But I must give the Australian government some props for 1.) Dealing with my phone calls and 2.) Having a human voice answering the phone. IMAGINE THAT!
You name it, I’ve dealt with it. But it’s what comes along with the risk of moving 10,000 miles away from home and making a life for myself. While it may not always be sunshine [it’s winter and it’s cold] and great accents, it’s been worth every hassle and adversity I’ve had to face. Sydney is a beautiful city with quite possibly the friendliest and most helpful people around. And at the end of the day, I’m happy with happy people around me. Life is good.