After receiving some great feedback for my post on busting British stereotypes in films and on TV, I thought I’d turn my attention to my new home of Australia.
I’ve lived in Australia for a year and a half now and, whilst I’m still getting used to the heat, life here is great.
Before I moved here, I had a picture in my mind of what life in Australia would be like. For the most part things have matched or even surpassed my expectations, but I can’t help smile about my previous notions of Aussie life. I think some of the ideas I had are ideas a lot of the world might have too, so I thought it was about time I wrote about the things I’ve discovered since moving to Australia.
- Everyone isn’t super tanned. Australia is probably the most sun safe place I have ever been to. Sun cream (or sunscreen, as it’s known here) is sold all over, sun safe advertisements are everywhere and children can’t play outside at school without a hat. That’s not to say some people here don’t tan, but generally if you see someone super tanned, they’re probably a tourist.
- Animals here are not what you ‘expect’. I grew up in England, so animals like squirrels and hedgehogs were my norm. Here in Australia, it’s things like wombats and kookaburras. Having to relearn ‘basic’ information about ‘normal’ life you learn at primary school has been strange!
- Food here is goooooood! Whilst I miss British snacks (I’m sorry, but British crisp flavours will ALWAYS be a winner in my eyes), food in Australia is generally great. Whilst in England it was clear that meals like fish and chips and a Sunday roast were ‘British foods’, I still don’t know what ‘Australian’ food is, but I don’t mind because the food on offer here is sublime! Fruit is so fresh and feels supersize compared to what I am used to – I doubt even Baby from Dirty Dancing could carry an Aussie watermelon! There are so many food options here for eating out, too. As a vegetarian in the UK, I didn’t always have a wide choice of places to eat out so it’s great to have such a variety here.
- It’s as laid back as you’d imagine. People say that Sydney is busy and people complain about the pace of life here, but honestly Sydney is so much quieter than Leeds city centre, never mind another major city like London. So if I find city life chilled, you can only imagine how I feel at the coast!
- There are nowhere near as many bugs as you’d expect. One of the big things that terrified me about moving to Australia was the bugs. I’m terrified of spiders and the thought of seeing a snake in my garden makes me shudder. On our travels we saw a snake and a few spiders (I was even bitten by one in my sleep!), but in my day to day life I just don’t encounter them. It might be from living in Sydney, but my experience of the creepy crawlies I thought I’d encounter has been nowhere near what I thought. If anything, I’ve seen more massive cockroaches here in Sydney than anything else (and they are TRULY terrifying!).
- There are bad weather days here, too. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part Australia is HOT (and when I say hot, I mean hot). One of the things I actually struggle with here is the heat and going to work on a 30+ degree day without feeling like a sweaty mess. However, it’s not always glorious sunshine. When it rains it RAINS. I’m talking about torrential-downpours-that-cover-your-ankles kind of rain.
- Not everyone is a fitness fanatic with the body of a supermodel. When you think of Australia, you think of beach bodies like the Hemsworth’s. Don’t get me wrong, there are some people here who take fitness VERY seriously. It’s hard not to – you can spend most of the year outside, so why would you not want to get out there and get active? But in my experience people have been all different shapes and sizes just like anywhere else in the world. Skincare is big business here as makeup is usually left to a minimal, but for the most part I’ve found that Aussie beauty trends and body image pressure is far less intense than back home.
- Fashion is completely different here. In England, my style was very much black clothes, slightly gothic, cosy, kind of kept up to trends but also couldn’t accessorise for the life of me. In Australia, style is completely different. From coast to city it differs, but generally for a lot of the year it’s all about keeping cool. Fabrics and cuts of clothes are completely different. Adjusting to this new way of dressing hasn’t been easy for a fan of a little black dress and boots, but in this heat you don’t really have a choice!
- Some things cost more here, some things cost less. A lot of people warned me that Australia is expensive and it is. Sydney is especially expensive with our rent being eye watering compared to what I used to pay in the North of England, but in all honesty I don’t think it’s as expensive as it’s made out to be. There are so many free things to do here and transport is SO cheap that the costs feel like they balance out. Things like theatre tickets, drinking and rent cost more, but I’ve found eating out, going away and general socialising is nowhere near as much as I first thought.
- Australians are quick to make you feel at home. All the Australians I’ve met have been really friendly and incredibly welcoming. I’ve had moments of homesickness from my own feelings of missing things, but every Australian I have met has made me feel like I belong here.
So there you have it, my roundup on Aussie life!
Australia is a phenomenal, beautiful country and not a day goes by where I don’t feel grateful to be here. If you can say that about the place you live then you know you’re onto a winner!