One year ago today, Donnie and I got off our 17 hour Qantas flight with absolutely no idea what to expect. All I really remember from that first day was feeling super hot (it was -1C/30F the day we left Nashville and 36 C/96.8F the day we arrived in Sydney) and somewhat disoriented. We stayed in a hellacious granny flat for the first week we were here (you can revisit my recount of that lovely experience here) and it honestly took longer than I expected to really settle in to life Down Under. But after a year here, I have found Australia to be a wild, amazing place that I deeply love. I could write loads of serious insights into how different life is and how things have changed, but instead I thought we’d keep it light and fun with a few “Top 5” (or other random number) lists of different things we’ve experienced since February 14, 2016. Enjoy!
Top 5 Weirdest Things We’ve Learned to Say
1. Chockers (pronounced “Chockahs”): full up, crowded
For example, “Aw mate, I tried to get us a table at Beach Burrito but it was chockers.”
2. How you going?: How are you? (Never answer with actual directions, like “Oh I’m going to the shops.”)
“How you going mate?” “Yeah, good!”
3. She’ll be right: it’s OK
As in, “Are you worried about layoffs at your company?” “Yeah nah, she’ll be right.”
4. Flat out like a lizard drinking: super busy
“How you going mate?” “I’m flat out like a lizard drinking!”
5. Easy as/Sweet as/Aussie as: various uses
“Just ring up Donnie and ask him.” “Easy as!”
“I got two tickets to the rugby match.” “Sweet as!”
“I chucked two snags on the barbecue.” “Ah, Aussie as!”
Top 7 Trips We’ve Taken
1. Bali, Indonesia
3. South Pacific Islands
4. San Diego/Nashville
5. The Blue Mountains
Top 4 Weirdest Aussie Sports
2. Aussie Rules Football
Top 6 Things We Miss from America
1. Lucy, the greatest little black pup
2. Central AC/heat
3.. Mexican food
4.. Trader Joe’s
6. Amazon (not even asking for Prime, just regular old Amazon)
Top 6 Foods Australia Does Better Than the US
1. Coffee (Neither of us has ever been a coffee snob, but after getting used to coffee here it’s almost impossible to go back.)
2. Chocolate (specifically Cadbury, though it is still not quite on par with the UK’s Cadbury which is the all-time greatest)
5. Chips (as in fries. Also chicken salt is the greatest invention.)
6. TimTams (also known as the greatest biscuit ever made)
7. Hot Cross Buns
Top 2 Scariest Aussie Animals (spoiler alert: neither is a spider or a snake)
1. Magpies (You haven’t experienced true terror until one of these giant birds dive bombs your head and rips your hair from your head.)
2. Cockroaches (As if the giant gross bugs aren’t bad enough- they fly!)
Top 7 Fave Aussie Experiences
1. Diving into giant waves over and over and over.
2. Eating fish and chips on the beach.
3. Sausage sizzle.
4. Climbing the Harbour Bridge.
5. Cuddling a koala (which was more like trying not to get clawed to death and less like cuddling.)
6. Seeing a koala in the wild.
7. Watching a movie at the outdoor cinema on the harbour (and an incredible bonus Chinese New Year fireworks show!)
It’s been a pretty unbelievable year. We are so grateful to our family and friends who make the time to stay in touch and keep up with us, even with the time difference and distance challenges. Cheers to a fabulous year of adventure and a whole new year to come!