It’s been three days since we arrived in Sydney, and it’s hard to believe that after so many months of thinking about this we’re actually here. To be honest, these first few days have been a bit of a blur and were largely spent running around to do errands that would have been simple at home but have been amazingly time-consuming here. Setting up a bank account took over two hours. Getting cell phones took over an hour-and-a-half. Even grocery shopping takes more time than you’d think when you’re starting from scratch.
For our first six weeks we’re living in temporary accomodations in the central business district (CBD). The apartment is a large studio with a full kitchen, living room, sleeping area, and a small balcony that overlooks Kent Street. Sydney is a city that reminds me of a combination of many other cities, and the CBD is no exception. It’s very crowded like New York, with a huge number of people coming at you from all directions, but also rivals Hong Kong for its shopping. I really can’t think of anywhere else with more high-end stores in one place. This evening I walked through no less than three massive indoor shopping areas, each several stories tall, within just a few blocks of each other.
The thing that strikes you about moving to a foreign country are all of the ways in which it’s different from home. Going to a place like Australia, you’d imagine things being pretty similar. That’s true for all of the big stuff, but there must be a thousand little details that are completely different. For example, instead of telling you how many calories are in your food, they tell you how many joules there are in it (if you’re wondering, 1 joule = 0.239 calories). Or if you want a coffee with milk, you don’t order a cafe au lait, you order a flat white. Even really little things like using the appliances in this apartment have been a challenge. We spent about five minutes trying to turn on the oven yesterday and at least 10 trying to run the dishwasher this morning.
Today’s big task was exploring some of the neighborhoods we’d like to live in after we leave the CBD. Right now our top picks are Paddington, Darlinghurst, and Surry Hills. They each seem to have pros and cons, but they’re all relatively close to the CBD, which is key for us. Hopefully we’ll find a flat that we like and that we can afford. The prices of housing here, like everything else, is a bit shocking. Our temporary apartment in the CBD costs $1,000 a week! There’s another small difference for you, rent is listed at weekly, rather than monthly, rates.
Tomorrow we’re off to explore Bondi, another great neighborhood that’s further out, but right by the beach. Then this weekend we’re going to check out the Mardi Gras parade. It should be interesting!