Sydney First Impressions and Experiences


We’ve been in Sydney a few days already, so I thought I’d just document some of my impressions and experiences.

1. Traffic lights – ahh, the light at every intersection takes forever to change it seems like. On the other hand, people here seem inclined to obey traffic rules. The moment the red man starts to flash, nobody tries to walk across the street, but patiently waits for that interminable light to turn green again.

2. Transportation – It was such a hassle to get the fare card, Opal Card, to take the ferry in the first place. You can buy it online or at select stores, but the first three places I stopped at said their Opal Card reader was down. Tried buying it at the train station, but the ticketing agent said I had to buy it at the newsagent across the hall, and what do you know, his card reader was down as well. Seriously? Otherwise, it’s fun to take the ferry to get to places, and I’ve also definitely enjoyed walking all over the city, and starting to poke around the different neighborhoods.

3. Cooking – On Wednesday night we tried to use the oven. Forgot that Australians use celsius here. Haha, I was still thinking to myself as I put the tray of kale and mushrooms in, “why is the maximum temperature only 250 degrees? I miss my oven in Chicago”. So I cranked up the heat to the maximum and set the timer for 20 minutes. Thankfully, after 10 minutes, we smelt something burning and checked. Only the very top layer was smoking slightly. Happily,the bottom layer was still green, but nice and crispy.

4. Looking for permanent housing in Australia is a very time consuming process. There are limited inspection times per apartment, and each only for about 15 minutes. Thank goodness for, which I don’t know how we would do without. It lets us map the different apartments, filter by price and other specs, and even gives us estimated travel times to wherever we usually go. Still, we’ve been spending at least 3 hours every day just sifting through the different listings and making appointments.

It’s been such a whirl so far to be honest. My days are a blur of waking up by 5am to log into work, then logging off and spending the rest of the afternoons apartment hunting. It doesn’t help that I’ve been having trouble sleeping and staying asleep for some reason. I literally sleep like a baby – I wake up every 3 hours. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I gave up tossing around in bed and just logged into work at 2-3am in the morning, though I then snuck in random bits of nap times in between in order to stay sane.

Let’s hope things settle down a bit more next week – i.e, we are done with apartment hunting and can take a breather to relax and leisurely explore the rest of the city.


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