Finally, at long last the day has come. The day that I’ve been dreaming about since I was a scrawny, socially awkward eighth grader. The day where I was in social studies and learning about each region of the globe. The week and a half where we learned about Australia was one where I happily listened to the teacher talk (which wasn’t all that often if I’m being honest, she spoke in a snappy monotone. It’s difficult to precisely describe, but that’s not the point so I’ll just carry on with the post). I was enchanted and knew, even at age 12, that I had to turn the Australia dream into a reality- not only that, but I had to study abroad there.
Dreams do come true after all because after a thirteen hour flight to Tokyo followed by another ten hour flight to Sydney, I reached my promised land. These two days have been jam-packed and there has ceased to be a dull moment. That being said, I have been left with a plethora of first impressions of the Land Down Under.
1.) First off, yes. The Sydney Opera House is an architectural marvel. Even after reading through the two Australia guidebooks that I got for Christmas and looking up pictures on the internet, I was not prepared for just how massive of an impression this building leaves. My study abroad group was in the Rocks neighborhood and I was already enamored by the blissful combination of the architecture, sun rays, and happy people. Then, as I nonchalantly glanced to my right I was not only greeted with sailboats and the Harbour Bridge (which I have struggled time and time again to adequately capture on my iphone and cursed under my breath every time I cut a part of the bridge off) but with a direct view of the Opera House itself. I will keep you all updated as to how the backstage tour goes. I’m ecstatic for that!
(Views from the Sydney Harbour)
2.) Australians are happy. Like hella happy. Radiating tannness, smiles with teeth so white you’re blinded, and “g’day mates!”, I have yet to encounter an unhappy or rude Australian. Hell, I’m not sure if they even are capable of being anything other than happy. I get it though, if I lived in this delightful place of sun, sand, surf, and suave I’d be deliriously happy as well. What’s more is that Aussies are very into getting to know other people. They genuinely care about your life stories and passions and will go above and beyond to make your stay in their continent as enjoyable as possible.
3.) Be prepared to walk. A lot. I’m very serious about this one. For instance, today I got back to my dorm and both of my thighs were bruised and swollen from trekking all over the city in the summer heat. While the public transportation in Sydney is excellent, it cannot take you to every specific destination that you desire to travel to. Also, Sydney is quite hilly. Wear shoes that cuddle your feet, not shoes that are only there to hit it and quit it. Yes, you can wear your sandals and heels, but don’t kid yourself if you think they will give you the kind of support you need when trekking around this bustling metropolis.
(Taken during a walking tour of the Rocks neighborhood)
4.) It’s not as expensive here as everyone tells you it will be. Just be conscientious. Spend your money on needs not wants and on experiences not pointless things. Instead of buying random souvenirs that you’ll probably forget about within the next few months, save up your money and explore more of the continent. Australia is incredibly diverse in all aspects- people, cityscapes, nature, climates, you name it. Hold a koala, snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef (it’s slowly dying, this might be your only chance frankly), get a dose of culture by spending a weekend in Melbourne, sipping coffee (Australians take their coffee very seriously. On that note, iced coffee and adding caramel to coffee is frowned upon). There are so many options in Australia in regards of how to spend your time and boredom is not even a word here. If you’re bored in Australia I’m worried about you.
5.) Aussie slang is marvelous and I love hearing it. My favorites so far are defo (definitely), muso (musician), and thongs (flip flops).
5.) I’m just really, really grateful to be here. I cannot express enough how badly I have wanted to go to this part of the world. I mean, I could babble on and on about koalas, kangaroos, the reef, the Whitsundays, and Aussie slang, but that would go on for far too long and dialogues are better than monologues.
(Art Gallery of New South Wales)
I cannot wait to see what these three weeks bring me in Sydney and beyond. As always, thanks for reading and much love!
~ The Caro Chronicles