I can hardly believe it’s been four years since I first arrived in Australia. Every December, I’m reminded of just how fresh and new everything was to me at the time; and to think that now I feel so “at home” here is something I didn’t expect.
I’m so grateful for all those who helped make this journey possible, making me feel welcome in my first month living abroad and all the months following. I was shown so much love by so many and I’m happy to say that a majority of those I met in my first few weeks continue to remain dear friends of mine–and yes, some are now even relatives!
Who knew my temporary one-year secondment in Sydney would turn into an entirely new life abroad? Life is such a beautifully unpredictable thing and as this year winds down, I’d like to take a brief pause and reflect on the past as I share with you the memories and experiences from my very first December in Australia.
Taken on Dec 1, 2009, just before boarding my flight to Sydney
First signs of Christmas at Darling Harbour
My serviced apartment near World Square
The first Australian cappuccino I had. Been hooked on Aussie coffee ever since.
Westpac, where I opened my first Australian bank account
At Central Station, learning how to use public transportation regularly
The first graff wall I ever saw in Sydney (Manly Beach). Of course, Mistery was on it!
Shopped for cherries and other fresh produce at Paddy’s Market
Getting used to finding eggs in the baking aisle, unrefrigerated
Discovered fun shopping times at the Queen Victoria Building. Still do.
Loved the architecture inside
No squirrels here. Aussie wildlife means finding large creatures like this guy in your backyard.
Haven’t you heard of a Hills Hoist? Me neither, until it became my friend. No such thing as scented dryer sheets here!
Getting myself used to these sort of light switches
And having to switch on power for outlets (wish we had this in the US!)
My new colleagues
Learning about Mr. Squiggle at the office
More office productivity: doing the “Tim-Tam Slam” for afternoon tea.
Sneaky drinks with work mates
Holiday lunches with colleagues
Office holiday boat party
Getting lost, still trying to find my way around Central Station
Exploring new ways to get from point A to point B
The spot where I met Matt before our very first hangout
Took a road trip up to the farm
Heading toward the Blue Mountains
Saw different sorts of roadkill like this Blue-tongue Lizard
Chillin’ at the farm
Ran errands in Bathurst and saw my very first Australian “ute”
While at a baby’s christening, I saw this in the foyer and later learned about the year in Australia when over 70,000 people filled out the census form and wrote “Jedi faith” as their religion
Drove around Mount Panorama with my future in-laws
My future in-laws cookin’ up brekky on the barbie
First time I’d ever seen eggs cooked on a bbq like this
Experienced a totally different approach to Christmas food!
Christmas lunch with some true Aussies
The first time I started to feel homesick
Then this dude kept coming around to hang out with me, and I somehow forgot all about home…