Friday, December 16, 2011

What I'll Miss (Not Neccessarily in That Order)

1. Fresh passionfruit grown locally

I had never tasted fresh passionfruit (or maracuja, as we call it) before coming to Sydney. It is not sold in regular supermarkets in Austria at all and just one of those fruits that I wouldn't buy anyway, suspicious that the long journey they were on had robbed them of any taste and vitamins, plus the brutal carbon footprint they would have left on the way.

2. The breathtaking views at Circular Quay

You know that I was rather underwhelmed by the Opera House upon arrival when rainy weather made it look beige and not too glamorous. In sunlight, however, the view of both the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, preferably with a huge cruiseliner docked at the Overseas Passenger Terminal takes your breath away and wants you take the 100th picture of it...which I did.

3. Jacaranda trees

They have shed their pretty lilac/purple blossoms now, but I could not get enough of them when they were in full bloom in spring. I had not seen them anywhere before and was totally wowed by their gorgeous colour.

4. "Coffee art"

Australian baristas make seriously good coffee and decorate the foam with either a leaf or a heart. Once a guy even decorated my take-out flat white that was hidden under a plastic lid anyway. Coffee is not only good, but one of the few things that are actually cheaper than in Vienna, the city that considers itself the capital of coffee.

5. Friendly and easy-going people

Whoever I told that I was going to spend 3 months in Sydney and who had ever met Australians told me "You'll see, they are SO chilled." This is so true and regarding work-life balance I can't imagine any office I'd rather work than the Sydney branch of the Firm. It is so So different from Europe where you would rarely have a client lunch that involves alcohol (frowned upon in a work context in the middle of the day) in the first place and not have lunches that stretch out to casual afternoon drinks and result in everybody going straight home afterwards. I don't doubt the relationship-building benefits of that in the least, but I never ceased to be amazed that this didn't get the person who initiated it into trouble, but was in fact expected behaviour.

It took me a while to adapt/reply to conversations with shop assistants asking me either what I had done so far that particular day or whether I had anything in particular planned for the rest of the day (more innovative than American shop staff, no doubt!), but it is ultimately very friendly and makes a nice change from the grumpy Viennese who in fact see their grumpiness as a charming USP.

6. Long daylight hours

I have forgotten that when I'll be back home, it will be pitch dark by 4:30 p.m. due to the fact that it is of course the darkest time of winter. Not something I look forward to at all.

7. Actually Looking Forward to Going to Work

In Vienna, I often get that familiar (or is it?) Sunday night blues along the lines of "Bleurgh, tomorrow's Monday and I need to get back to work...". Here, the work environment was just so much more relaxed that I actually dread going back to my old routine. I realise that this is partly due to the fact that I was a "guest-worker" and didn't have to shift the same workload I would have had to regularly, but it's not so much about work than the work environment.

8. Less is More

Despite the fact that - predictably enough - I shopped quite a bit here and therefore amassed heaps of clothes and other stuff, I actually really liked the "reduced lifestyle" in my little apartment. It makes you realised how much clutter you have back home that you don't actually miss in the least.

9. Asian shops and restaurants

Due to the large amount of people of Asian origin who live in Sydney, there is a great choice of Asian shops and restaurants and while the majority of those are Chinese there are quite a few Japanese (and Korean, etc.) ones as well and I'll miss Books Kinokunya, where I loved to browse, above all. There's not much in the way of authentic Asian lifestyle in Vienna and I'll miss that.

10. Discovering new things every day

When you live abroad temporarily, you discover so many new and interesting things all the time. You may not necessarily like every single one of them, but you always notice them and it makes your life more interesting and "colourful" than the same old routine.

10 things I am looking forward to coming up next...stay tuned!


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