One year in AU – what I like about you

Today it has been exactly one year since Man Piece and I hopped on a jet plane and crossed the ditch to live in Sydney, contributing to the terrible “brain drain” of kiwis.

I honestly can’t believe it has been one year – the time has flown by so quickly. I’ve had many ups and downs emotionally in the past year. Turns out leaving your home country can be quite traumatic, even if you are still going to one which is basically the same.

A few months ago I wrote a blog about the things I hated about Australia and I have had this post sitting in my drafts for quite some time – what better time than our one year anniversary in the western island to post it.

Things I like about australia

The pay – it is true that pay in Australia is a lot better than that in NZ. For example, not only have I shopped up large in clothing this year, but I have successfully paid $5000 off my student loan as well. I definitely could not have managed that if I was still on the same salary in NZ. AND I still have some left over in my savings – possibly enough for a trip to the US? Possibly.

I was really enjoying the cooler, more comfortable weather over the “winter” months. It was comfortable, but not cold. Most days sat around 20 degrees and you could feel a bit of a chill at night, but nothing which really sent you running for your winter woolies.

Lots more general things to do. I’ve been to the Sydney Writers’ Festival, done a heap of night photography with Vivid Sydney, escaped to the Blue Mountains for a day (on public transport, no less!) and now there are art installations going up all around the city for Art and About – giant snails anyone?

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Lots more shops and options – I can actually go to the mall and know shops that stock size 11 shoes. Although a lot of them still stop at 10. When will stores learn woman have large feet and want cheap shoes too?

Food – there are some amazing food options over here, if you know where to go. One of our favourite places is Snag Stand. Also Ribs and Burgers. And Mad Mex (now in Wellington! Yussss). And Dulche Luna. I will seriously miss Dulche Luna when we leave, there is really nothing like it that I know of in NZ. Also The Tea Cosy down at The Rocks which does a mean devonshire tea.

More shows and gigs happen here. Fall Out Boy announced a gig here, and although I didn’t manage to get tickets, they came and went, and hopefully will be back later in the year. I’ve already been to Legally Blonde: The musical, which has not been in NZ. We went to the Alexander Exhibition, which was on loan from a Russian museum – definitely not in NZ. We had tickets to Post Secret (yes it is also going to NZ) Wicked is coming soon as well. It has already been in AU, but coming back and doing shows in NZ. War Horse was on, although I couldn’t find anyone to go with me, so didn’t end up getting to see it. The Lion King is coming! It’s quite funny actually, where Man Piece and I live, we look down on to empty buildings where posters go up constantly – seriously every morning you will see a new one, they are constantly changing – with that, every new one seems to be announcing a new concert or event or album release.

Towards The Rocks from the  Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Part of Vivid Sydney – towards The Rocks from the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Public transport. Even though the majority of Sydney-siders bag on it and say it is awful, it is so much better than NZ public transport. Seriously, peak hour and you only have to wait three minutes max for a train. People here compare it to New York and London etc, saying they are better, but we’re not in those cities. Each city was built at different times and in different ways, and cater to different levels of population. But I guess it is all comparative. Compared to New Zealand public transport, it rocks. It is even easier now thanks to the OPAL roll-out (Sydney is finally catching on to tap-on/tap-off) and although they are doing the roll-out slowly, it is coming, slowly…

The internet is so much faster and more reliable.

Things are a bit cheaper. My morning coffee costs me $3 or $3.50, depending on whether I get it first thing or wait till 10.30 for happy hour. A large in Auckland was costing me $4 or $5, which is why I didn’t get it every morning. Now I do, because I can afford it.

Anything that I could possibly want is within walking distance or it is a short walk to reliable, reasonably priced public transport to get what I want.

And that’s about it, I can’t think of anything else right now – oh! Ben and Jerry’s! It’s here, I love it, werd.

Yeah, but that’s it, aye. Happy One Year Anniversary to me (and Man Piece).

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Blue Mountains adventure as told in pictures

Man Piece and I decided to venture out to the Blue Mountains on Saturday. It was an experience and I was in pain.

We got the train out to Katoomba – a two hour train ride.

The platform for the train was at the end of Central Station tunnels.

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We’re going on an adventure! With an InterCity Train!

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We’re going to make some tracks.

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After two hours on the train we arrived at Katoomba, and walked to Echo Point and the Three Sisters.

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Man Piece at Echo Point.

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Me at Echo Point.

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The Three Sisters. Honestly, they’re just rocks – I don’t know what the fuss is all about.

Then we walked down to the look out above the Three Sisters and then walked along the top of the cliff, heading back to Katoomba.

There was some pretty interesting erosion of the sandstone. Plus people had carved their names into it.

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We then headed back to Katoomba. What they don’t tell you is it is downhill walking most of the way to Echo Point, so heading back to the town was hellish – a lot of uphill. I also conquered some pretty brutal stairs, I was going to take a photo, but in all the ‘Can I die yets’, I forgot.

But I made it (Man Piece was still pretty much walking circles around me) and I was rewarded with food, glorious food (by this time I was famished and exhausted).

We went to the Espresso and Waffle Bar.

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A cinnamon waffle with fresh fruit and real maple syrup.

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And a chocolate milkshake which was huge and delicious.

We wandered the main street a little bit, poked our noses in to a few of the bakeries there (one of them smelt absolutely amazing with the fresh bread). I purchased a piece of chocolate truffle cake to take home. Unfortunately I didn’t snap a picture of it, but it was delicious. Nice, moist and chocolatey.

Then we caught the train back to Sydney, in which I actually fell asleep, then proceeded to be in pain for the rest of the night while lounging on the couch.

Would you disclose your weight to your significant other?

Man Piece and I have been having a debate about weight today. He wants to know mine and I don’t want to tell him.

Let me back-track a bit.

Since moving to Sydney both Man Piece and I have put on weight. It is probably due to being less active than we were in Auckland. A side-effect of our circumstances.

However, we’ve decided to get real about it and this morning Man Piece went and bought a pair of scales.

He quite willingly told me what he weighed, but I shut him out of the bathroom and refuse to tell him what I weigh now.

I guess I am embarrassed about what I weigh. I probably won’t tell anyone else what I currently weigh, so the fact I don’t want to tell Man Piece is nothing different.

I’m not really sure why I’m so embarrassed about it. Probably because I am the biggest I have ever been in my life.

But, at the same time, I’m more body positive than I have ever been. I don’t want to hide my body anymore, but instead flaunt the best assets. And I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t care about my size, I’m happy and kind of in a “whatever will be, will be” phase about it.

So why do I care about what I weigh? It’s just a number after all and does not actually tell you whether you are healthy or not. You can be healthy at any size, no matter what other people think.

Through all of this, an interesting question has been posed – would you tell your significant other what you weigh if they asked?

Things I Hate About Australia.

So, Man Piece and I have been in Australia for almost three months now and it would seem that the “honeymoon” phase of a new country/city is drawing to a close.

I’m starting to find more and more things that I hate about Australia/Sydney, which ultimately make me miss home like made.

So I have decided to make a list, just to get things off my chest and maybe, thanks to @thomasbeagle‘s suggestion, in six months time I will make a “Things I Love About Australia” list.

Here goes:

  • The coins – the fact they are so big and that there are still 5c pieces. 5c pieces are SO over.
  • The heat.
  • The humidity.
  • The people – the pure number of people and also, a lot of them can be right ol’ C U NEXT TUESDAYS.
  • The lack of EFTPOS, especially in small denominations. I also find it ironic how there are advertisements on buses saying, “EFTPOS, the way Australia pays” which is absolutely false.
  • The time it takes to get anywhere.
  • Nice places being shut on weekends, particularly around where we live in the CBD, cafes etc.
  • People not understanding my accent – it happens surprisingly often.
  • Lack of culture.
  • Alcohol pricing.
  • Not being able to buy alcohol in supermarkets.
  • Certain shops not being anywhere near the CBD, or any place that is even easy to get to. E.g. City Chic, Autograph, places like Kmart or Big W (which I find is a lot like the Warehouse)
  • There being no big red sheds! I actually miss going and getting bargains – Target (and even Myer) failed me today when I tried to go and buy a cheap hand beater and spring-form cake tin. I’m actually going to have to make a specific trip out to Macquarie Park now just to go to Big W to try and find them.
  • Not being able to split bills when going out for a meal with friends.
  • An outdated payment system for transport. Seriously, install a tap card system already, it is so much easier and allows flexibility.
  • The bugs, oh my god, the bugs.
  • The heat.
  • Non-air conditioned public transport, especially in 30° heat – which is often!
  • The huge number of homeless people – it is actually shocking – and how they constantly ask you for money and if you say, “No, sorry” they abuse you.
  • The noise – it’s enough to keep you up at night.
  • Having to walk everywhere – my feet are so sore ALL THE TIME – but the alternative is driving with EVERY OTHER SINGLE PERSON and not being able to find parking, or having to pay ridiculous parking costs.
  • Our shit came-with-the-apartment TV – where does a Celestial ChangHong TV come from, anyway?
  • The fact I sweat constantly now because of the heat. I feel gross ALL THE TIME.
  • The ridiculous price I paid for contraceptives at the pharmacy – I will be happy to pay the $5 price when I eventually return to NZ. Hell of a lot better than $25.

That’s about all I can think of right now. A few of those really got to me today and just seriously pissed me off. Especially the coin one – I was given $1.50 in change all in 10c pieces. If only there had been a homeless person asking for money in Chatswood. (It has now been put in our cute little Owl money jar.)

Australia is not all bad though, while writing this list, I have managed to think of things which are better than New Zealand, like the speed of internet and how awesome the public transport actually is, despite its payment methods and dodgy air-conditioning.

And even with all these things that I hate, which would probably make anyone re-think their decision to move to the Western Island, the one thing that is going to stop me going back right now is my job, because I am absolutely loving it.

Sydney So Far…

I haven’t done a personal update in a while, so I thought it was time.

As many of you would have deduced by now, Man Piece and I did not end up in Melbourne, but instead moved to Sydney.

Man Piece got a job offer so we decided to just go. We’ve since found a nice little inner-city apartment and even I have found a job. I thought it would take me awhile, but I found a one fairly quickly, which was quite surprising.

But I thought I would catch you up on what I have been up to for the last two months –  Man Piece and I have been here for 10 weeks now.

And I decided to be a little creative. I have recently found some really good picture framing apps on my phone, a lot better than the ones I have used before.

So I present to you, Sydney So Far…

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