It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact we’ve been in Sydney for four weeks now. So much has changed yet so much has stayed the same. We’ve up and moved to another continent. Tim’s started a new position. I’ve transitioned to working completely from home. Nicola’s started a new school. I haven’t driven a car since we’ve been here. (Can’t say I miss it.) The weather is dreamy—even barreling toward winter—it’s mostly warm and sunny. Some days, especially mornings, are chillier, and there’s some rain, but it’s heaven compared to the weather I grew up with. So walking everywhere or hopping on a bus has become the norm.
Sydneysiders are polite and courteous. There is a man who begs for money regularly on the street who asked me, “Darling, do you have any spare change today?”
“No, not today.”
“Ok then. Have a nice day.”
The buses & trains are clean and run fairly on time. What’s struck me the most is how quiet they are. Not a lot of chatter. No one having an argument on their cell phone or causing any drama, people just ride the bus. It’s such a simple thing but never seemed this easy going in the U.S.
Our new place is a terrace house and right off the street. I love hearing snippets of conversation as people walk by. Tim and I joke, “How come everyone has an Australian accent here?” AND IT NEVER GETS OLD. I laugh every time.
It’s all different, but it’s not. It’s like we keep forgetting we live in another country but have these little reminders throughout the day.
For starters, there are no squirrels—only lizards and exotic birds. There isn’t much grass around in the city (except for the parks) but there are massive old trees and plants that look like they’re on steroids. The light switches flip up to turn off and down to turn on; electrical outlets have on/off switches too! (This is a cool feature that can kill leaky phantom power but sucks when you think you’ve charged your phone but haven’t.)
You know when you’re dreaming and everything is normal except it’s not? The house might be your childhood home, except the second floor is what your high school looked like and there’s some off about it all but you just accept it as normal? That’s how I feel wandering around Australia. The sidewalks are made of asphalt instead of concrete. The buildings are decades, centuries even, older than what we see in the States. Tropical birds land at your feet and the brightest colors burst from the trees. The language is the same, too, but not really. Same words, different phrases. How are you going? replaces how are you? Differences are subtle yet noticeable.
Everything’s the same except it’s not.