I’ve been in Sydney a little less than a week now and I am proud to report the following accomplishments:
1.) Met with two American expats I was introduced to prior to moving
2.) Explored 7 different neighborhoods
3.) Figured out the rail system, more or less
4.) Officially started work at MEC Sydney
Here’s recap of each:
I was introduced by my good friend Jaime to a childhood friend who is here in Sydney on his Working Holiday Visa. We met up (my first time taking the subway/train here) and got lunch and sampled some of the local beer. Note – beer is PRICY. Nearly as much for a pint as I got a bottle of wine at the market for. But it was fun to meet up with another Northwesterner, hear what his experience as a bartender in the city was like, and not feel like a weirdo walking around a neighborhood on my own.
A couple of days later, I met with a gal I was introduced to through a work friend. She also works in advertising and is female, so I was able to ask her about the intricacies of being a woman in Sydney (Where do you get waxed? Where the hell do I buy a hair dryer? How expensive are pedicures?). Plus, we supplemented our brunch date with a little shopping – my first contribution to the Australian economy outside of picking up the appropriate iPhone charger.
I was also able to explore the following neighborhoods as potential places to settle:
North (nearer my office):
Kirribilli and McMahon’s Point: This area was recommended by my former boss and Sydney native as the place I should consider since it was most like Queen Anne in Seattle. Though I was able to snap some gorgeous shots of the Opera House and Harbor Bridge from here (below), I didn’t feel like I would be close enough to the “action” that was on the other side of the water. Discussing with the expats from the Seattle area, I found out that there is almost a “Eastside/Westside” dynamic to North and South Sydney. Knowing how I felt about the Eastside, I decided if it wasn’t going to be the beaches, I’d have to settle south.
South (nearer the “action”):
Pott’s Point/Elizabeth Bay: This is just north of an area called King’s Cross, which is apparently the epicenter of the homeless, addicted and drunk. Magically, about 2 blocks away from the train station, the neighborhood completely shifts into nice, tree-lined streets and mid- to high-rise residential apartment buildings and nice supermarkets and cafes. This area was recommended to me by another American expat (who I still have to meet), but it just didn’t click in with me as I walked through it. Maybe it was the high-rise nature of it, but if felt a little less “neighborhoody” than I was hoping.
Paddington, Darlinghurst, Surry Hills: This is where most people I’d talked to before my move recommended to me. Paddington seemed nice, lots of parks which would be good for the pup once he arrives. Darlinghurst seemed a little disjointed, but it’s possible I just didn’t spend enough time there to get the best feel for the neighborhood. Surry Hills came the closest to being what I was hoping to find – lots of smaller residences called terrace houses that are almost like New York brownstones. On a Sunday afternoon, the cafes and bars were bursting with people. I was told it’s also the culinary epicenter of Sydney – which for me, sounds like heaven. But I was still left with the feeling that I could be in the middle of almost any city in Surry Hills, so hopefully this weekend’s adventures will give me better perspective – when I explore the Northern Beaches, specifically Manly, which my pre-move research had originally drawn me to.
I also started work – actually just ending Day 2 and everyone here seems genuinely excited to have me. I’m still a bit in the “twiddling my thumbs” phase, which is common whenever I’ve started somewhere new. But I have a client meeting tomorrow and a couple other project-related meetings later in the week, so I’m sure it will pick up quickly and I’ll have less time to write neverending blog posts.
Til then, from Sydney With Love,