To start off, I should address the fact that I’ve had such a difficult time writing my first blog post after arriving in Sydney. There are at least 5 unfinished drafts of blog topics in my Google Drive that range from late-night deep thoughts to ideas that sounded good while I was showering but ended up terrible on paper. The reason for my difficulty is because I have so many things I want to say.
Throughout all this difficulty in coming up with what to tell people about my experience studying abroad in Sydney so far, I’ve met a number of new people, had memorable conversations, traveled to an entirely different part of Australia, and ate some of the best food I’ve ever had. So, I’ve decided that before jumping into anything too deep and meaningful, I will create a list of the more sensory experiences I’ve had here so far.
Here we go. 10 things I’ve discovered so far in Sydney.
- When you arrive on a Sunday morning in the Sydney winter, you will not have WiFi, you will not have any heating, and you will not have human contact. If you’re as lucky as I was, the airline will also lose your luggage for two days, leaving you with no pillow, no blanket and no toothbrush. Do not despair. The cooking channel and an insect documentary (scientists have managed to video the praying mantis eating its mate, as I now know) will carry you through that first cold, smelly night.
2. Vegemite is kind of good in one of those gross ways. The magical paste tastes essentially like jellied soy sauce and smells like an aircraft at the end of a long flight. With some avo slathered on, you almost forget it’s there.
3. Being above the drinking age is an underestimated nicety. The ability to legally enter a bar and order a glass of wine changes the idea that alcohol is exclusively binged on instead of enjoyed.
4. The Sydney Opera House is incredible at night.
5. The street art has led me to epiphanies.
I now eat my greens every day.
6. When you can’t be bothered to show up to class on time, these beautiful steps remind you of the real priorities in life.
7. A large proportion of the cuisine and culture in Sydney is influenced by Asian countries. Authentic Chinese noodle soups, Malaysian Laksa, Indian Tandoori dishes and so many more options envelope you, keeping your stomach full and your bank account empty.
8. It is perfectly acceptable to dab in the midst of borderline-creepy, winding trees that lie adjacent to crocodile-infested waters…
…as long as you go say hi to a croc.
The 4 & 1/2 meter beauty we spotted in Northern Australia looked more relaxed than I’ve ever been and more intimidating than I could ever hope to be.
9. Chocolate cafes are everywhere.
Along with famous pastry places called Black Star Pastry that serve strawberry-watermelon-rose cake that might change the way you see dessert forever.
Cheat day isn’t a day, it’s a way of life.
- Lastly, my experience in Sydney is dissimilar enough from my home in the US to be captivating and keep me trying new things every day, but similar enough to my home in the US to be quite comfortable. From talking to Australians, I’ve been told that there are rural portions of Australia that offer a completely different lifestyle and overall life view from Sydney. As well as that population outside of Sydney, the indigenous population is a whole segment of people that I rarely encounter. The 3 or 4 didgeridoo performances I’ve seen were incredible, but only scrape the surface of understanding Aboriginal culture and values.
In following posts I hope to delve into more perceptive thoughts about my experience in Australia, studying abroad, and how these experiences change my understandings of life.