Tag Archives: moving

Lessons from moving away, and coming home

In January 2011 I moved to Sydney, and wrote a post about my first impressions of living in Australia. I’ve now been back in Auckland for three months and have learnt a few things from moving away, and coming home again.



We don’t need much stuff
Packing to move away was one thing, but packing to return to New Zealand was a whole different story. I got rid of SO. MUCH. STUFF. We really don’t need much, and for those of us who are likely to move again in the future, the idea of accumulating lots of things is a not an attractive one.

You adapt to your environment 
When I first arrived in Sydney, ordering a ‘trim cap’ in a Kiwi accent just didn’t cut it. So, I soon found myself asking for a ‘skinny cap’ to be understood. This conscious change gradually spilt over to most words that contained ‘i’ or ‘e’ sounds. Having lived in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, I also found myself starting yoga, spending my weekends in gym gear, making green smoothies and eating kale chips.

You’re not afraid of spiders anymore
After close encounters with orb and huntsman spiders, a daddy long legs has about the same scare power as an ant.

You gain a new level of independence
Time alone and distance from people who shaped your thoughts historically leads to a new level of independent thinking. You meet people whose backgrounds are significantly different to yours, and gain insights from environments you’d never been exposed to.

You are who you spend time with
As the quote goes, ‘you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with’. Thanks to my flatmates Claire, Jo and Nicole, I became a little more driven, manicured, fashionable and motivated in the kitchen. And I mean manicured in the literal sense – weekend brunching and walks to the nail salon are some of life’s simple pleasures!

You become an expert in communication
Most of your good friends and loved ones aren’t in the same time zone and you may only see them a few times a year, if that. But with a bit of juggling, keeping in touch when apart is easy with Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook and Snapchat. But you have to plan for it.

You get better at asking for things
Kiwis are generally agreeable and like to go with the flow. Australians are generally better at piping up about their expectations and things they want. Well – they’re better at piping up in general! But this forward confidence is admirable and is a useful characteristic to have.

Special friends become your family
When times are tough or there’s reason to celebrate, your flatmates, workmates and closest friends become your family. They’re there for support, for festivities and for adventures. Personal relationships are what life’s about.

Your priorities change over time
My time in Sydney was phenomenal. I wouldn’t change a thing. It contained some of the most challenging moments, but also some of the most enjoyable. It was a great time but about a year ago I realised that my priorities were changing and my environment needed to change as well. And that was a lesson in itself – to be aware of your evolving needs and changing the things that aren’t working for you anymore.

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Living in Australia: First impressions

Last week I moved to Sydney, Australia. I still don’t have my tax code, my accounts aren’t functional and I’ve barely started working, but I’m already viewing the city with the eyes of an inhabitant rather than a visitor.

Here’s what I’ve noticed so far:

  • Bats really do flap about at night (don’t know how I didn’t notice this earlier)
  • TV ads are really bad
  • Health insurance is pretty good
  • Cockroaches are BIG and EVERYWHERE
  • The little green man at pedestrian lights takes a long time to appear
  • If you pick the right places, eating out can be cheaper than dining in
  • Telstra staff are very friendly
  • There is a lot of sport on TV

I’ve also taken a few snaps of things that have caught my attention, like pretty sunsets:


Boomerang shops that provide free boomerang-throwing classes:


Liquor shops with punny names:


Morning shows that address very important topics:


Stickers on the back of road signs that ask how you are:


And of course, something that pleases me greatly – the civilised order of lining up for the bus:


Friends have asked me, “Are you moving there forever?” No, I very much doubt it. There are other places I’d like the chance to live in one day and I imagine that in the future I’ll want to return to New Zealand. When you’ve been away as much as I have you know that aside from the rain, the low dollar and the questionable New Years fireworks from the Sky Tower, NZ is a pretty choice place to live in. But for now, I’m excited about giving the Sydney thing a go and I hope you’ll join me as I blog about travel, food, wine, music and a bunch of other stuff from Australia! x

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