Picture beaches, working just mornings, 4 days a week, all while sipping on a flat white – that is what the lifestyle isn’t in Australia. But not too far from what I once pictured. Australia is one of a kind. It’s beautiful, friendly, full of culture and you’ll find yousrself walking around with “no worries.” To help you understand the differences I’ve listed a few comparisons I’ve seen so far – and I want to include the disclaimer that this has been my experience from Sydney and Melbourne.
- Coffee – Melbourne is the best coffee city in the world. I knew Melbourne had quite the variety from my usual selection of Starbucks but I didn’t realize they were the best. I will admit too, it’s darn good. I favor the long black; straight. It’s so good that I don’t need to the cream and sweetener I needed in my tall coffee back home. Furthermore, you will NEVER find a pot of coffee anywhere. All of it is made fresh by the cup and you can get coffee almost anywhere. Choose from a train stop, cafe to a sporting event. Aussie’s like their coffee.
- Sundays – my typical Sunday in the U.S. was filled with relaxing and prepping for the week ahead. Here the weekend doesn’t slowdown Saturday night. On Sunday you will find hotels (which we know as bars) filled with live music and beer gardens jammed pack. You have to be pretty obedient to not be found at the neighborhood hotel on a Sunday. We’ve avoided only one so far…
- Laneways– what we know as alleys between buildings and skyscrapers Melbourne has “laneways.” Laneways are filled with cafes, bars, boutiques and loads of culture. I can’t better describe it than suggesting it’s so so cool. You find yourself walking down a street, seemingly quiet and then you turn a corner there is a party of people. Amazing food, cheap buys (if you look enough) and a pleasant meal.
- Exercise – it takes minimal effort to get a team together, say for soccer, to workout twice a week. And the workouts have left me more worn out from doing sprints and drills than I would find myself after a half marathon. I am on a team of people of all ages, both sexes and we get together and really push ourselves and each other. I’ve been on intramurals in the States but this team and the teams we play really work up a sweat. Yet, when I get together with some girlfriends for a Sunday brunch we all bike to the meeting spot. Once again in the States, I’d be all for the biking but there wouldn’t always be a bike path, not everyone would have a bike and helmet and be ready to go and it would be more of a question rather than an assumption, like it is here.
- Greetings – at home we all shake hands and at most a hug when we meet up with friends. But now I am getting used to a friendly hug and kiss on each cheek. I almost flinched the first few times it happened and sure as goodness didn’t kiss back. But beyond the greetings here, people are all around much more affectionate. Holding your partners (which is most commonly used here as boyfriend and girlfriend) on the trains, sitting at the beach, in the bars, etc. It’s nice to see people not be consumed with what others may be thinking, yet the affection isn’t to the level I noticed in Paris. It’s a friendly and loving medium.
- Markets – farmer’s markets seem to be sprouting up all over in the States. I loved the one in Chicago especially. Yet markets are nothing new in Prahran, suburb of Melbourne. This market has dozens and dozens of vendors and the market is where everyone can get all of their shopping done. You can find everything from bread, honey, meat, seafood, veggies and fruit. You can even take your pup to the dog wash. But the thing about the market here is that it has a standing building where it’s held, it’s surrounded by cafes and it’s open every day but Monday and Wednesday.
- Words – I almost forgot to add this one: word choice. Of course Australians have a nice accent but the amount of slang here is endless. Everything imaginable is shortened. For example a friend asked if, “I fancied brekky on Sunday?” Would you know what that meant. It took me a minute and if you are still wondering, it was an invite to go to breakfast. This differences surely keep conversations entertaining. Another funny example was, “What are you doing for your hen’s party? And what is Steven doing for his buck’s party?” These parties are what we know as bachelorette parties and bachelor parties.
There is much more that I can write but the biggest difference I’ve noticed overall are people’s attitudes. Australians are friendly, happy and positive. I surely miss home and when I return, I hope to bring this touch with me.
Cheers to you and good health!