10 Surprises of Moving to Sydney

A month ago, I reflected on the 10 things I wish I had known before moving to Sydney. Now that I’ve begun the process of settling in, I’ve taken note of the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between daily life in NYC and Sydney.

  1. You’re a pedestrian? No one cares. 
    • Who knew that walking out of the house would be like a game of Frogger? Here, pedestrians don’t necessarily have the right of way. And jay-walking is taken seriously as an offense. So pair this with having to look the other way before crossing and it’s an expat’s recipe for disaster.
  2.  Spicy means spicy. 
    • Australia is close to Asia, so by and large, the Asian restaurants are authentic and chockers full of flavour. While this one of the best parts of #SydneyEats, if you’re not expecting it, one bite can singe your mouth.
  3. We’re in the new school of banking.
    • In typical American form, I thought our system was adequate, if not advanced. Nope. The American system of banking is OLD. In Australia – or most other places, for that matter – banks do not accept paper checks. And can you believe that there is no signature required with credit card payments?! So before I got into the Australian banking system, cashiers would apoligse to me for making sign because I used a chip card. Spending money is fast & easy in this city!
  4. Rent is listed by week, paid by month.
    • This makes little to no sense to me. When I was finding my apartment, all rents were listed by week. But payments have to be made for the month. Some places even accept fortnightly payments. And then utilities are paid quarterly! If nothing else, it’s rent here is consistently inconsistent.
  5. Lockout laws are real.
    • Not every city in America is like this, but in NYC, I was used to going out at 11pm or midnight. But within the last few years in Sydney, there have been lockout laws put in effect. As a result, bars don’t let patrons in past midnight and many close by then. I’m glad I got my fill of nights that lasted till dawn when I was in NYC 💁🏻
  6. More reasons to go to bed early.
    • I understand and respect the lockout laws. But what I can’t wrap my head around is how every other restaurant doesn’t stay open for dinner and most stores close early. It almost feels like Sydney is one sprawling small town.
  7. “Support Local” goes next level. 
    • One of my favorite aspects of the Aussie lifestyle is supporting local. From bands to food to artists, Australians consume Australian. It’s a mix of pride and being fiscally responsible… and it’s beautiful.
  8. Personal space is real and it happens on public transportation.
    • The idea of packing it in is literally a foreign concept. I’m not complaining, since I never did (and never will) get used to being caught between armpits on the subway. But as many New Yorkers will attest to, when people are too polite or give too much room, it makes us want to question if everything is okay…
  9. Military time is a thing.
    • I knew I’d have to get used to the metric system. So sure, it takes me a while to figure out distances in kilometers and temperature in celsius. But what I wasn’t prepared for was reading military time on every timetable! Conversions, man. They’ll get ya.
  10. It’s a creepy-crawly city, we’re just living in it.
    • When most people think of Australia’s wildlife, they think of sharks in the ocean or snakes in the bush. But what you really face in urban Australia is more spiders and creepy-crawlies than I know how to handle. While I should be used to cockroaches, they still gross me out. But what’s more bothersome is the size of some spiders. Massive huntsman spiders are practically house spiders… but at least they’re harmless, unlike the funnel web spiders or redbacks that my friends or I have already seen 😵. But it’s true that, just like in NYC, if bugs are in the building, they’re there for life. They were here before you moved in and they’ll stay long after. This is their city, we’re just borrowing it.
Sipping out of a Solo cup before 10pm. It’s as confusing as it is fun.



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