Category Archives: Sydney Expat Interviews

Sydney Expat Interview Series Question 8: Questions About Your Home

Sydney Expat Interviews

We all carry perceptions of other places – places we’ve visited briefly or only know from stories and media. Moving abroad, one starts to detect patterns in the line of questions about our home country, revealing what those perceptions look like in our new country. 

This month, for the Sydney Expat Interview Series, I asked the expats what questions they hear most often from Australians about their home country. I think the responses reveal something about both countries.

Stay tuned because next month, I’ll flip the script on this one.

(*I should add that I asked these questions before the start of the U.S. Presidential campaign. If my experience is any indication, I’d suggest that many of the Americans would have a particular candidate on their list of most-asked questions!).  

This is the 8th in an 18 part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Please make sure to visit the fantastic websites of the participants here, and follow me on Facebook for much more on expat life in Sydney. Sydney Expat Interview Series - What Do You Get Asked About Your Home Country


Question 8: What do you find Australians think of your home country? What questions are you asked most frequently?

 

Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

I find that Aussies associate really closely with England, most usually still have family living there and either have been or would like to go for a holiday. In the UK, going on holiday to Australia was always classed as one of those ‘holiday of a lifetime’ type things, so flipping it over to have Aussies view England and London as the same always makes me chuckle a little bit, especially as I hate London. The question I get asked the most is ‘where are you from, what city?’

Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

Generally it’s ‘whinging poms’ and that the weather is always miserable.
I guess I get asked why I would want to go home to the UK at all because the general consensus is that Australia is the best country in the world!

Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 6 years

They always joke about how bad the weather is in the UK – but I normally get quite defensive – as I’m not a huge fan of 40 degree days here!!
They think that all Brits want to move to Oz, but there are a lot of things about the UK that I dearly miss – like the culture and history.

Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

Mainly I get asked about European travel and why we Brits don’t travel more given Europe is “so small”

 

Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 3 years, 10 months

Pages could and have been written about the Aussies thoughts on the England. The majority of my friends here are a mix of English, Canadians and Irish. Australians always mention the cold English weather and they couldn’t hack the cold temperatures. But from my personal perspective, I usually get asked the obvious question of how long have I been here, swiftly followed by how long am I planning on staying for. Call me cynical but sometimes I feel like a broken record, but obviously don’t mind if they’re curious. Others, I sometimes sense, ask for the sake of asking and are not necessarily interested in the response. Rather it’s an automatic question for an expat.


 

India

 
Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years

India is moving fast and moving ahead, why is there poverty in India?
Where do you get the best Indian food in Sydney?
What is traditional indian food compared to what we get in restaurants?
India is a colourful country, which Bollywood movies and music can I see and hear and where?


USA

 

Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

Do you own a gun? Second only to, are you a Canadian?

Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 6 1/2 years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-Sydneyland

First off, I think it is hilarious that I regularly get asked if I’m from Canada. I’m from Texas…the furthest point from Canada except the tip of Florida and Hawaii. The questions I get asked most often when I say that I’m from Texas are about guns and George Bush. I moved here December 2008; Obama had been elected but wasn’t in office yet; everyone from cab drivers to friends of friends wanted to discuss American politics.

Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 10 months
Melissa blogs at Leche Love

George Bush usually gets brought up.
We usually get why did we pick Newtown to live, and what brought us here.

Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

I’ve heard a lot of Americans saying Aussies bad mouth America but to be honest, I haven’t really received much feedback like that. Luckily. I’d say the main thing people ask me about is the schools and guns.
I get asked about the cafeterias frequently. It’s just so uncommon here because you’re actually allowed to go outside and have lunch. At my high school, we weren’t allowed to leave the building at all.
And the guns. It seems a lot of people think Americans own guns and they sort of can’t believe the lax gun protection laws we have.
I also think they would all LOVE to visit a Walmart!

 

Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

That Yanks are loud and uptight. My friends think I have mellowed out heaps since I’ve been here.

Are the college parties as crazy as they look in the movies? My uni was centered around Greek Life, so in my case, very accurate depiction.

Why don’t Americans travel more? We aren’t blessed with near the amount of leave from work but I think we need to do it more while we’re young and able!

Guns…in grocery stores…why? Good question, I ask myself the same thing…

What is the point of tipping? In theory, you should get better customer service if it is compensation based… not always the case in my experience… I’d say Australian wait staff is more friendly and nice that they’re not bothering your table every five minutes.

Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

I get a lot of negativity about the U.S. from Australians, often based on stereotypes and coming from people who haven’t even been to my country. It’s probably the thing I like least about being in Australia, but, hey, you can’t win them all!


Serbia

 

 

Name: “Bushranger”
Country of origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5yrs

Something like this: “This mob is fully sick mate. They fight wars, wear black hats, have black beards and eat kids for breakfast…and Djokovic – he is a legend!”


 

What’s the most common thing you’ve been asked about your home country when living or travelling abroad? What’s the funniest?


Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day
Read Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney
Read Part 4: Drinking Like an Aussie
Read Part 5: The Birds of Sydney
Read Part 6: Australian Christmas
Read Part 7: Off the Beaten Path

Sydney Expat Interview Series Part 7: Advice for a Tourist

Sydney, Sydney Expat Interviews

So many expats bring an insatiable curiosity to their new homes, causing many of us to explore with a fervor unmatched even by long-term residents. Perhaps it is because a lot of expats know they they only have a limited time before the next assignment, and also the inherent sense of wonder that brought us across the world to begin with, that we want to peek into every crevice.

With that in mind, I asked the expats this month to play tour guide. Assuming we’ve seen the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour, and Bondi Beach, and we have one last day in Sydney, where would you tell us to go? I think you’ll agree that there are gems in here for any taste. Our tourists are going to need to add a few more days to their trip!

This is the 7th in an 18 part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Please make sure to visit the fantastic websites of the participants here, and follow me on Facebook for much more on expat life in Sydney.

Sydney Expat Interview Series - Advice for a Tourist


 

Question 7: I’m a tourist. I’ve seen all of the typical “must-do’s.” I have one more day in Sydney. What should I see?

Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

Oh wow, so many places; for a slower pace I love to recommend Fagan’s Park up at Galston to families with kids. It’s a huge, open, green park with paths for bikes, scooters, prams etc. plus a playground, coffee shop, barbeques, a lake and lots of different cultural gardens.

It’s a little way out of Sydney, but while out that way, there’s also the Cumberland State forest which also has a café and some small bush walks and right next door is the Koala Park.

The Sydney Olympic Park is always worth checking out – they have lots of events going on all the time.

Then there’s Palm Beach where ‘Home and Away’ is shot on location, there’s not much else there though – so take your own food and drinks.

And of course, not forgetting the fabulous Bondi to Coogee coastal walk. Stunning views and if you time it right, you get to see all the sculptures in ‘Sculpture by the Sea’ between Bondi and Tamarama.

Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 6 1/2 years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-Sydneyland

I’d suggest a coastal walk – Bondi to Coogee is probably the most famous of the bunch (and is worth its reputation), but there are so many others as well. A great site for this is http://www.sydneycoastwalks.com.au/

Bondi to Coogee

Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers
I have two recommendations for tourists in addition to the usual tourist attractions. The first is Taronga Zoo, get the ferry across from Circular Quay, the bird show is a must, one of the best views of Sydney from there.
The second would have to be Manly, again, a ferry ride from Circular Quay. Think beach, bars, restaurants and shopping all in one place!

Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years

Couple of options: Taronga zoo in the morning and Luna park at night. Balmoral Beach is another hidden gem if you are a family picnic and beach person.

Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 6 years

Go to Balmoral beach and have fish and chips sitting on the grass in front of the Rotunda. I think its such a beautiful beach compared to the “must see” Bondi. Walk up and down the promenade, go and walk up on the island and look out at the stunning views. Or if you’ve not done the zoo – catch a ferry from Circular Quay and go – as it has to be one of the most stunning locations for a zoo in the world – the Giraffes have views to die for!!

Another option would be to go to the Sydney fish markets and have fish and chips at Doyles! just beware the seagulls!!

Taronga Zoo

Taronga Zoo

Name:  “Bushranger”
Country of origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5yrs

Featherdale Wildlife Park if you actually want to pet kangaroos and koalas.
Also, I would have them visit West Head – amazing views and nature.

Wallabies at West Head Lookout

Wallabies at West Head Lookout

 

Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

Hop on a ferry from Circular Quay over to Cockatoo Island. If it’s summer time you can get a drink and a pizza from the Island Bar before exploring the island. It has such a rich history and it’s great fun poking around the deserted buildings.

Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

Wander around Newtown and take in all the character!

Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

Newtown Street art via Sea Salt Secrets

Newtown Street art via Sea Salt Secrets

The street art of Newtown!!!

 

 

Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

Go walk around Balmain and see the shops, check out the views from one of the parks, and eat at a cafe and get dessert at one of the patisseries. Have a relaxed day.

Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

The view from the park in Dover Heights. It’s such an amazing view of the harbour and I don’t think many people get to that area.
If you’re feeling brave, there’s nothing like checking out Ikea in another country!
Also, check out a cricket match. I thought I would hate it when I moved here but I find that I really enjoy watching it and my kids love playing it!

Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 3 years, 9 months

Apart from seeing and appreciating the incredible historic architecture around the city (QVB, The Rocks, Australian Mint, etc), I would recommend participating in or watching a live Australian sporting event. Whether it be Aussies Rules game, the Australian Tennis open, a cricket match at SCG, seeing the Melbourne Cup or local soccer match, I’ve always found it gives real perspective to the Aussie culture. It amazed me at my first Aussie Rules game to see the spectators from each team sitting amongst each other and being good natured. This would never happen in the UK, with much less verbal chanting in Sydney.

What’s your best tip for a Sydney tourist who has seen all the most famous sights?
Your favorite spot just a little off the beaten path?


Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day
Read Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney
Read Part 4: Drinking Like an Aussie
Read Part 5: The Birds of Sydney
Read Part 6: Australian Christmas

Sydney Expat Interview Series Part 6: Christmas Down Under

holidays, Sydney Expat Interviews

The Christmas season can be one of the most disorienting times for expats in Australia. Not only are we away from family and friends, but our long-held traditions for a winter holiday become hard to maintain when celebrating in the summer. “What is Christmas like in Australia,” has to be one of the questions I’m asked most frequently by friends from home

For this month’s installment of the Sydney Expat Interview Series, I asked the expats to tell me their thoughts on Christmas in Australia. For some, this will be their first Christmas. Others are seasoned veterans. 

This is the 6th in an 18 part interview series with expats living in Sydney. I know the expats with blogs and websites listed here would love for you to give them the gift of a visit and follow. And for my Christmas present, I hope you’ll also follow Between Roots and Wings on Facebook and/or subscribe via the box on the right. Happy holidays from Down Under!

Sydney Expat Interview Series - Australian Christmas


 

Question 6: Tell me about Australian Christmas. 

Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

Very strange for me not to have a Christmas where I crave being bundled up in front of a cozy fire sipping hot cocoa. Instead I was soaking up rays on the beach. Felt like a destination holiday!

 


 

Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

I miss “real” Christmas. Cold weather, real trees, real pine preceded by pumpkin and apple picking. Christmas here is really, really odd. You have to really put energy into it to make it feel like a Christmas from the US. It’s HOT! People are Christmas shopping in shorts and “singlets”. It’s just weird. The decorations are summery…think surf type ornaments and snowmen. But what’s even weirder is finding all the snow themed decorations because in Australia…snow…at Christmas? No. Won’t happen!

The other part of Christmas I miss is having my big Italian family around. We would always have a massive Christmas Eve together then split into our families for Christmas day. We’ve had two Christmases here and the 2nd one was a bit better but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it. It’s like trying to make Christmas in July in America. It just makes no sense!
Sydney Expat Interview Series - Australian Chrismas 2


 

Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers  

Just not like Christmas at all! There’s not much hype and I don’t feel any pressure to spend hundreds on Christmas presents. Beach, beers and BBQ would probably sum it up best. Hot Christmases are probably something I’ll never get used to!


 

Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years
I find it really hard getting into the Christmas spirit, having lived all my life in the northern hemisphere, with Christmas in the depths of winter, short freezing cold nights etc. to then move here and have to wait til 8pm to go and see Christmas lights, and wandering around in shorts and t-shirts, it’s all a bit odd.
Australian Santa

Photo via Debbie


 

Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 3 years, 8 months

I celebrated my first Australian Christmas just last year, having journeyed back to the UK for the previous two to spend it with family and friends. But 2014 was very memorable as my Mum visited me in Sydney and we celebrated together. Mum and I escaped for a much needed pre-Christmas mini break to Fraser Island in Queensland, and flew back to Sydney on Christmas Eve.

It was certainly memorable experiencing a ‘hot’ Christmas and the atmosphere in Sydney was different to back home in England, with people wearing Santa hats on the beach and hearing Christmas jingles in the stores. But tinsels and the fake snow without the cold temperatures just isn’t right! Christmas has to be cold, sitting around the fire with a mulled wine and a fire blazing.

We tried to keep things as traditional as possible, and headed to an early morning Church service and then went to the beach for some champagne picnic with friends and a traditional turkey lunch at home.


 

Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 6 years

Forget about having roast potatoes, gravy and stuffing. I was so so disappointed my first Christmas, as I presumed it would be just like the UK, only everyone would be wearing sunnies and sun hats!! I was so wrong – its cold meats, seafood and salads. I now just think of Christmas day just like an extra special BBQ that way I don’t get so disappointed. I really miss a proper Christmas meal, with all the trimmings.

 


Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years

Hot, in shorts or thongs at the beach. Lots of skin in Christmas parties. Beautiful trees in malls and streets. Beautiful carols in churches.


 

Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 11 months
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

Still to be experienced, but I’m looking forward to it. Also the ‘July Christmas’ I’ve heard talk of.Australian Christmas Tree at The Rocks


 

Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

Not really like Christmas…just enjoy the weather.


Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos 

I’ve gone home for both Christmases, but I have experienced Christmas season here. Although California can be pretty toasty at Christmas time, I’m still really confused by the weather heating up as Christmas comes near. If Christmas is in summer here, what is there to look forward to in winter? That’s why I hosted a Christmas in June for my friends!


 

Name: Nom de geurre – “Bushranger”
Country of origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5yrs

What’s there to tell mate? Put a few coldies and prawns in your esky, get your budgie smugglers and she’ll be right.


 

What does Australian Christmas mean to you?

Read Part 5: The Birds!

Sydney Expat Interview Series Part 5: The Birds!

animals, Sydney Expat Interviews

After two near-misses with dive bombing magpies and a seagull snatching an entire sandwich out of my toddler’s hand last month, I thought the time was right to tackle the hard-hitting question of birds in this month’s Sydney Expat Interview Series.

We’re lucky to have such vibrant wildlife in this city, but honestly, some of the birds seem dead set against us. Some are loud, some aggressive, and some of them just cock their head and look at you funny. If you’ve ever seen The Birds, you know this is not something to take lightly. There’s even a website dedicated to tracking magpie attacks in Sydney! They’re a big part of life here, and we all have that one bird that just rubs us the wrong way (well, most of us, anyway).

This is the 5th in an 18 part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Please make sure to visit the fantastic websites of the participants here, and follow me on Facebook for much more on expat life in Sydney.Question 5


 

Question 5: Which Sydney bird do you find the most aggravating and why?

Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers 

Probably the magpies, they are massive and aggressive and annoyingly loud!

Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 6 years

The magpies that swoop – very scary . Now that I have my daughter, I don’t want them swooping anywhere near us!! I don’t like the way they just stare at you.

Name: Nom de geurre – “Bushranger”
Country of origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5yrs

Magpie because it screeches like it needs WD-40.

 

Magpies

Magpies

Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

I feel like most people will see the Magpie but I’m going to tell you a secret. IT’S NOT!!! The Magpie is only annoying a couple months out of the year and they are easily avoidable. The worst one is the Myna bird. Honestly, they are psychotic ALL months of the year! They swoop you repeatedly and flap their little wings over your head. They steal eggs from other bird’s nests and they generally are in a group of 5 or 6 which can feel like a million if you go near their nest! Anytime I’m at a playground, these silly birds are flying at my head and flapping their wings at me. Ugh! They are so annoying!!!

Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

The Noisy Miner because when they all get going they are so loud you literally cannot hear conversation over them.

 

Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 3 years, 7 months

The sulphur crested cockatoos. They were in abundance near my first apartment in Manly and remind me of monkeys. They’d wake me most mornings with their ear piercing squawking and you can guarantee, there is never a solitary cockatoo. They hunt in packs.

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years

Crows, as when I first heard them, I literally thought a baby was crying.

Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 7 months
Melissa blogs at Leche Love

I haven’t learned which one is the one that sounds like a kid screaming or a cat dying yet, but that one.

Crow. (Or, as some of us call them, “the screaming child” birds).

Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 months
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

The crazy long beaked birds that assert their authority over Hyde Park and the Botanic Gardens. They come far too close when you’re trying to have a relaxed lunch in the park and their beaks look like they could do some serious damage.

Australian Ibis

It’s called the Australian Ibis

Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets 

The Ibis. They’re like seagulls in Sydney. The Cassowary is pretty nifty however.

Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

Ibis birds, all the way. I was fascinated by them at first, considering how different they are from anything we’d see regularly back home, but I now despise them. The park near my office where I often eat lunch is filled with them. They’re aggressive, always grabbing my trash from right under me, and they smell awful.

Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 6 1/2 years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-Sydneyland 

Ibis. Can a woman just have her lunch in Hyde Park in peace?!? Geesh!!!!

Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

I love them all and still get amazed by seeing them and how exotic they are.

Have you had any encounters with the birds of Sydney?


Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day
Read Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney
Read Part 4: Drinking Like an Aussie

Sydney Expat Interview Series Part 4: Drinking Like an Aussie

food, Sydney Expat Interviews

One thing I’ve noticed about Australian culture, is that a lot of social life centers around beverages. Sydney is very proud of its coffee culture (almost as proud as Melbourne), and after hours, there’s not much more Australian than to share a couple of drinks with friends. So, this month I asked the expats what they’re drinking now that they live in Australia.

This is the 4th installment in an 18-part interview series. Please visit the other great bloggers linked here once you’ve read this post. And, if you like this content, join Between Roots and Wings on Facebook, as well! Sydney Expat Interview Series - Drinking like an Aussie

Question 4: What is your coffee order? And, what are you drinking at happy hour?


 

Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

WOW is coffee different here! I’m used to going to Dunkin Donuts to get a fancy caramel swirl iced coffee! The iced coffee here is coffee, milk, a massive blob of ice cream, and whipped cream on top. I couldn’t continue drinking that every time I wanted something!!! My go to drink now is a decaf skim latte. You really can’t go wrong and it always tastes good. Oh and what’s up with Aussies not having drip coffee?!
My happy hour drink? Two words: Australian wine. There is so much Aussie wine, you just can’t go wrong having something local.

Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

Almond Latte and sparkling water. It used to be champagne but I’ve given up alcohol for 12 months, yes, people think I’m crazy!

Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 3 years, 6 months

I’m an avid tea drinker, and my favourite is Lemongrass & Ginger or Irish Breakfast from T2 store.

At happy hour, I’m usually sipping a G&T on Clarence or York Streets. My favourite bars include Lobo Plantation, The Rook, Stitch Bar, Barber Shop and also The Soda Factory in Surry Hills.

Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 6 years

Regular Cappucino

(From Bean Drinking, Crows Nest)

(From Bean Drinking, Crows Nest)

Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years

Flat white, 1 sugar, extra hot.
Beer or Wine (red or white)

Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 9 months
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

I’m a classic English girl and tea’s my drink of choice. Though I’m easing myself into Australian coffee culture with some Mochas.

Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

Skinny latte and Shiraz.

Name: Nom de geurre – “Bushranger”
Country of origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5yrs

Chai latte.
Happy hour – probably some good Barrosa shiraz.

Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 6 months
Melissa blogs at Leche Love

Cappuccino, but sometimes long black.
Young Henry’s beer for happy hour.

Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

Long Black (espresso with water). Sydney has a superb cafe culture, rivaled only by Melbourne.
Wine is my go to drink because it’s the only comparable alcohol price-wise. Spirits and beer are so expensive!Happy Hour

Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

Coffee is a boring long black (had to learn that one when I moved here, no such thing in the UK) and just a glass of white wine or a Rekorderlig cider.

Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

From what I hear, Australia is a fantastic place for coffee, but I’m not a coffee drinker myself, so I’ll take chai tea lattes!
For happy hour, it’s all about cider. We don’t have nearly enough cider on tap in the U.S.

Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 6 1/2 years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-Sydneyland

I don’t drink coffee. I do drink strong black tea. I never drank hot tea until I moved here.
Happy hour? Depends on my mood – wine, beer, spirits; I share the love.

And you? What are you drinking?


 

Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day
Read Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney

Sydney Expat Interview Series Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney

Sydney, Sydney Expat Interviews

This is the 3rd installment of the 18 part series based on interviews with expats living in Sydney. Each month, I’m sharing their responses to a different question. This month, I asked them about their very first day in Sydney. Australia is a long trip from anywhere else in the world, and often involves a sudden change in season, possibly “losing” a day, a fair amount of jet lag, and some sense of unreality that this is your new home. I remember my first day being a blur of  complete exhaustion coupled with elation at seeing the Harbour and Opera House for the first time. This is what other expats recall about their very first day in Sydney. 

Please visit the other great bloggers linked here once you’ve read this post (and commented, shared it, and liked Between Roots and Wing’s Facebook page, of course!).Sydney Expat Interview Series - Your First Day in Sydney

 


Question 3: What was your first day in Sydney like?

Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 3 years, 4 months

It was April 2012 when I embarked on my biggest adventure. After saying farewell to family and friends and packing my life into a suitcase, there was no turning back… (extract below is from my travel journal):

I arrive in Sydney after a long but restful flight. Little do I know, but the real adventure is just beginning… I land ‘Down Under’ to a beautiful sunrise and my first three days of jetlag are spent venturing out of the hotel and exploring Sydney with my trusted map in one hand (old school habits, hey) and my camera in the other. My first stop is the obligatory open top city bus tour which takes me around all the tourist locations from the Opera House, to Bondi to Darling Harbor. I have to literally pinch myself as I first set eyes on the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House – a truly magical moment.

Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: Nearly 6 years

Very jet lagged!! I remember arriving on a morning flight – by lunch time I had lost the ability to have a proper conversation with anyone and was babbling with my eyes closed!!

Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 8 months
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

I landed about 5pm from New Zealand and the taxi drivers at the airport laughed when I told them I was going to Bondi…apparently they’d been having a bet on where the blonde girl with a backpack would be going and that was the first choice!

Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years

It was quite interesting. We landed at night and were picked by a friend who drove us to our pre-booked hotel in Pyrmont. By the time we reached the hotel it was around 9:30 p.m. The streets were quite dead by that time – coming from the chaos in India – it was a strange feeling to see the silence in a city which is apparently the most populated in the country. Quite scary. Then we went into the hotel and asked for the reception to help with a bell boy, as we had like 10 bags of luggage, and he said you need to bring everything on your own. Seems we were hoping for a grand welcome but reality hit us on the first day. Although, the hotel was really good and we had a luxury room with a welcome wine which was definitely a solace.

Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

It was so long ago now, back in 2005, I was travelling and Sydney was my last stop before flying home to the UK. I remember thinking Sydney was the best city I’d ever been to, the harbour made me fall in love with it and I’m still in awe every time I see the Opera House. I thought to myself at the time “I could totally live here.” Fast forward 10 years and here I am!

Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

My first trip here was about 9 years ago to visit my now husband so it’s a bit of a blur. I remember staying for a weekend in Kings Cross at Formule 1 (not Ibis Budget) and having the best breakfast at a cafe there. Little did I know that the cafe visits were a common thing in Australia. In Boston, cafes are few and far between because you can only sit outside so many months of the year. We went to the top of the Centrepoint tower and checked out Hyde Park. We also grabbed some Strongbow (which I had missed from my days in London) and hung out at the hotel. Like I said, a bit of a blur! Oh and we visited the Opera House and Botanical Gardens. Nothing like seeing the Opera House to make it a little more real that you’re on the complete other side of the world!

Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

It was the City2Surf race. We saw all the runners in the street and asked the driver what it was and he didn’t know. Now, I find that pretty hard to believe. It is a pretty big thing here. We met friends of friends here and they brought us groceries, which was amazing. We had never even met them before. Then, they took us to Yum Cha, Chinese dumplings, for lunch. It was a great first day.

Name: Nom de geurre – “Bushranger”
Country of origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5yrs

I went straight to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia for the twilight sail racing event.s2

Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 6 months
Melissa blogs at Leche Love

It was hectic and exhausting. Our flight arrived at 6 am, but we couldn’t check into our vacation rental until the afternoon. Most of the day was spent at the airport. After being on an airplane with a 5 year old for 17 hours, I think your brain melts. We finally got into our vacation rental and discovered Aldi soon after. And then slept. A lot.

Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

I arrived at the end of July and froze in my shorts and tee (it was summer back home). After 24 hours of traveling and a 16 hour time difference, I was extremely jetlagged and didn’t get to take it all in straight away.

Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

We moved here with a relocation package for my husband’s job. So our 1st 2 weeks, we were put up in serviced apartments at Milsons Point. It was a wonderful way to start our life here. Our 1st day we ventured out to Kirribilli for our evening meal. It was early August (so mid-winter) and we were wandering around in shorts and t-shirts laughing (very quietly) at all the Aussie wimps with scarfs and gloves on.

Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

I arrived in the evening jetlagged and made my way to my hostel above a bar. The NRL Grand Final was on that night, so I sleepily rolled my massive suitcase into a bar packed with rowdy footy fans. After asking anyone and everyone for assistance, I finally found someone who could check me in. I later wandered out for food, only to find myself on Oxford Street, wild as ever on a Saturday night. I stopped by 7-Eleven hoping to find a cheap snack and was blown away by Australian prices. All a bit discombobulating on my first night!

Have you made an international move? What was your first day like?

Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day

Sydney Expat Interview Series: Part 2 – The Most Memorable Sydney Day

Sydney, Sydney Expat Interviews

This is the second in an eighteen part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Each month, I am sharing their responses to a different question. Part 1 was about Expectations vs Reality. This month, I asked the expats to tell me about their most memorable day in Sydney.  I hope you enjoy their responses, and again, please visit the other great bloggers linked here once you’ve read this post (and commented, shared it, and liked Between Roots and Wing’s Facebook page, of course!!).

 

Cover2

QUESTION 2: Tell me about your best or most memorable Sydney day (i.e. – a day you look back on and think, “that could only have happened in Sydney”).


Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 6 ½ years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-SydneyLand

So many memorable days to choose from that feel like they could only happen in Sydney, but I’ll share a story that involved another expat girlfriend of mine. We agreed to meet in North Sydney on a Saturday afternoon and walked down to Kirribilli. We went to the deli and bought some cheese, salami, crackers, and olives. We stopped at BWS and got some wine. We walked the short distance to Bradfield park, found a spot in the cool grass, under the bright Sydney sun. We were under the Harbour Bridge, watching boats and ferries on the Harbour with the Opera House in our sights. There were families and lovers, pets and kids, people reading and people exercising, and it was a perfect Sydney day.

Photo of Bradfield Park day by Erin

Photo of Bradfield Park day by Erin


Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

Back in October, after a few months in  Australia, I was invited to a Cider Festival in Watson’s Bay on a Sunday afternoon. Silly me got all excited for hayrides, bobbing for apples and doing autumn oriented activities (Not realizing at the time this was spring). Imagine my surprise when I turn up to an entire festival revolving around hard ciders. Who knew it was such a big thing here! Needless to say, by the end of the day I was bobbing for apples in a different state than anticipated.


Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

I think it would have to be only a few weeks ago when there was a torrential storm rolling through Sydney. The rain didn’t stop for literally a week! When it rains in Sydney life grinds to a halt. Public transport doesn’t run properly, everywhere gets flooded and generally people lock themselves in their houses until it stops. Always makes me laugh as nobody would get anything done with that attitude in the UK! Only in Sydney!


Name: Nom de geurre – “Bushranger”
Country of origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5yrs

Probably Carols in the Domain for Christmas (Chrissie) – thousands of people holding candles and slightly imbibed (alcohol is allowed) singing carols at dusk in unison and perfect harmony.

carols in the domain

Carols in the Domain


Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: Nearly 6 years

There was a free event at the Domain – Grace Jones was one of the acts playing – it was a lovely warm summers night and it was such a relaxed and friendly vibe – all different age groups from kids to pensioners were out enjoying this free event – it was fantastic – I remember looking round thinking – I live in this city – this is amazing!!


Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 7 months
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

Anzac Day this year:  A 5a.m. wake up to head to dawn service at North Bondi RSL, followed by a cycle around Centennial in the sunshine, followed by some 2-Up antics at the Woollahra rooftop terrace before finally sheltering from a huge, sudden hail storm down at Bangkok Bites in Bondi.


 

Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Almost 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

One of my favourite days in Sydney has to be when we did a “tour” of the Eastern Suburbs followed by the closing night of Vivid. We started the day in Bondi. Played on the beach a little then had lunch at The Bucket List. Expensive dining, delicious food, buzzing atmosphere! We then drove East through Bondi and found a random park up on a hill. Little did I know that this park had THE most stunning view of the harbour. Just wow. There is a playground and bike track for kids and also exercise equipment for adults. It’s a must see! I think it’s in Dover Heights. This was followed by a stop at Watson’s Bay to walk along the cliffs and play at the playground. We continued on for a drive to Mosman where we played at the playground and spent a ridiculous amount of money for public parking! We then drove through the stunning Bellevue Hill, then checked out Vivid. Amazing day!


 

Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years

I have got a couple, but the best one was the Vivid tour of 2015 – took a ferry from Milsons point to Circular Quey and back to Darling Harbour – watched the fireworks and shared a laugh over the harbour and a couple of beers. Can happen anywhere in the world but Vivid stands out in Sydney.


Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 5 months
Melissa blogs at Leche Love

Going to Vivid. It was so busy, but really cool to see all the light displays around the harbor and in the CBD.

Vivid 2015


Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

I celebrated my first “Australiversary” (a year after I arrived) last September. We started by stopping by the Malaysian festival in Darling Harbour for some delicious eats, and then we headed over to Millers Point for a barbecue overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Unfortunately, the park’s barbecues were out of order, so we hopped on a bus for Hyde Park, where we spent the evening playing cricket and eating “snags” (sausages) and pavlova as the sun went down.


Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 3 years, 3 months

One of my most memorable days in Sydney that immediately springs to mind would have to be the Royal visit of William and Kate in April 2014, and on the Good Friday they visited Manly. The locals turned out in force and I joined approximately 12,000 others on the beach to catch a glimpse of the Prince and Princess. It was surreal and certainly memorable to see them greeting the well wishers and waving to the crowds.


Tell us your most memorable Sydney day in the comments!

Sydney Expat Interview Series: Part 1 – Expectations vs Reality

Sydney, Sydney Expat Interviews

I’m so excited to share the first in what will be a monthly series over the next year and a half. Recently, I put a call out to expats in Sydney to answer a series of questions about their lives here. I was calling it a “sideways interview series,” because instead of sharing an interview with one person, I’ll be sharing one question with multiple answers. I hope it will be fun and informative, whether you’re also an expat, you’re a native of Sydney, or perhaps you’ll visit or live here one day. And, make sure to visit all of my fellow bloggers who are linked here, once you’ve read this post (and commented, shared it, and liked Between Roots and Wing’s Facebook page, of course!!). 

Question1 - Expectations and Reality

QUESTION 1: Tell me two things that surprised you about Sydney, and one thing that was exactly as you expected.


Name: Caitlin 
Country of origin: England 
Lived in Sydney: 6 months 
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

 

Surprises:
1) The weather! Perhaps foolishly I’d been led to believe that Australia is sunny all the time. The amount of rain in my first couple of months in Sydney took me totally by surprise!

 

2) How small it is! I’d expected Sydney to be similar to London but I quickly realised that it’s more like an oversized village where you’re only 2 connections away from anyone else. If I had a pound (sorry, dollar!) for the number of “coincidences” there have been over the last 6 months.

 

As expected: The beautiful surfers down at Bondi!

Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years

2 surprises were:
1.)  Visible Discrimination in society
2.) That it is quite expensive.

The laid back culture was expected.


Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

The first thing that surprised me was how bad the traffic was, was totally not expecting that when I first moved here. Having moved from a small country town in the UK where there is little to no traffic it was pretty full on to be stuck in heavy traffic travelling very short distances. On the bright side the second thing that surprised me was that I could take a ferry to work and miss all the traffic! My first job in Sydney was based in the city so I could catch the ferry from Rose Bay to Circular Quay every day…amazing way to commute!

The beaches were exactly as I expected, amazing! Having lived most of my life in England having beaches like Bondi on your doorstep never gets old, I appreciate living in this amazing country with it’s coastline so much for that reason!

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach


Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Almost 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram 

Two things that surprised me are the cleanliness and how little police presence there is. You rarely find graffiti (unless it’s art) and there isn’t trash everywhere. The air is so clean and pure compared to the industrial areas of the U.S. The only time I ever really see police are walking in pairs around Darling Harbour. It’s just not a common site. And police cars…rarely seen as well!

1 thing that’s exactly as I expected is the difference in nationalities you find around you. In America, you will find a lot more South American and African people than you do in Australia. Australia tends to have a lot more Asian and Middle Eastern influence, which is awesome, because that means a lot of Asian and Middle Eastern culture!


Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: Nearly 6 years

 

It’s a lot smaller than other cities, (e.g. London) with so many different neighbourhoods with different styles and characters, but lots of great places with a villagey vibe really close to the city.

NYE in Sydney!! you cannot beat the fireworks – I first came to Sydney about 14 years ago as a backpacker and had one of the best New Years of my life – Basement Jaxx playing at King Street Wharf – followed by the fireworks at midnight. Not been able to top that one – and each year I watch the Fireworks – you know they are never going to be a let down.


Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

Surprises
1. How quickly food spoils without so many preservatives and chemicals.
2. How short the cereal aisle is without all the high sugar ones, that I lived on as a child.

I was not surprised by the fact that most Australians are generally nice and like Americans. I can’t count how many times people have said, “I love hearing you talk.” And believe me, no one ever said that until I moved here.


Name: Nom de geurre – “Bushranger”
Country of origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5yrs

2 surprising things: 1. Birds…I could not sleep the first few days because of the background noise. I felt like I was in the jungle, but then I got used to them.
2. The Harbour – I did not think it was going to be so awesome.

1 thing as expected: Before coming to Sydney I’ve watched a lot of Australian movies and one that made a lasting impression was “Kenny” – a mockumentary about a plumber who works for a portable toilet rental company and his interactions with people and how similar and different everything it is in comparison to US. When I came to Sydney, things were almost exactly like in this film.


Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 months 
Melissa blogs at Leche Love

 
One thing that surprised me was how many smokers there are here. I know it’s such a weird and random thing, but there are a lot of smokers here. After seeing the cost and packaging, even more so.
Another surprising thing was how easy public transit is here. I lived in Austin, and our bus/train system was pretty bad. Having moved here without a car, this was important.

I expected it to be beautiful, and it has been.


Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: A year in July!
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

2 things that surprised you about Sydney:
How culturally similar it is to most metropolitan area in America. The people look similar, speak English (with a quirky accident and vocab), listen to all our music and watch all our shows.

The diversity in people, food, and nature. I am friends with Indian, Lebanese, Chinese, Korean, South Africans, Kiwis, Sri Lankans, Iraqians …very few are originally from Australia which keeps things interesting. You walk down the main strip of my suburb and restaurants from Thai, Greek, Japanese, Turkish, Italian, Vietnamese, African and so much more, your taste buds never get bored! Then the flora and fauna, you get everything to the beach to the big city to rainforests and then of course the dry Outback!

1 thing that‘s exactly as you expected:
The laidback lifestyle. They take “no worries” to the extreme and you can’t take anything they say seriously. All Australians are entitled to four weeks annual leave which makes for a great work/life balance. And 4 o’clock drinks in the office? Normal.


Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

I was amazed by the beautiful deep blue colour of the sky – I had always kind of assumed that the photo’s in holiday brochures had been photo-shopped.

Not long after arriving, we got invited for a charity fundraising lunch in a park. I remember being absolutely blown away that there were public barbeques in the park, that people actually used them and they weren’t vandalised!

The way of life here is just what I thought it would be – a lot more relaxed, lots of outdoors living. In my opinion, the perfect place to raise a family.


Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 6 ½ years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-SydneyLand

Surprised:
The lack of air-conditioning in homes and apartments for lease in such a hot country, and (of course, I think almost all expats experienced this) the high prices of everyday products. $5 for Chapstick? $7 for a pack of band-aids? $3-$4 for a bottled water? Say what?!?

Expected:
The beauty…I dreamed that Australia would be beautiful, and it did not disappoint.

Photo by Erin

Photo by Erin


Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

2 surprises:
I expected Sydney to have a laid-back beach culture, similar to Orange County, California, but offices are fairly corporate, and people are always dressed to the nines when they go out! I was also surprised by just how international Sydney is, particularly how much of an Asian influence it has.

1 thing that‘s exactly as you expected:
Sydney Harbour never fails to blow me away.


Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 3 years, 2 months

Surprise Number 1 – Just how expensive it is to live in Sydney. I was naïve about the cost of living and genuinely thought that the price of rent was per month until I learnt that that was per week!

Surprise Number 2 – the harsh parking/ driving/ public order penalties, which are approximately 3 to 4 times as high compared to the UK. They don’t seem to act as a deterrent to most of the drivers here either.

As expected – the amazing weather. It lives up to my expectations and then some. Incredible to enjoy the outdoors and live a more active life thanks to the sunshine for ten months of the year.

 

Sydney expats – did you have any expectations or surprises of your own?

Wanderlust