In general, I like how relaxed it is here. Aussies tend to prefer any word that they can abbreviate in preference to the normal language – g’day, arvo, barbie, journo, sickie etc. The dress code, considering 80% of the people live near a hot coastal zone, is generally shorts and thongs (that’s a flip flop to a Brit; they call the stringie knickers G-strings here). You BBQ, lots and most of the public parks have BBQs for you to use. And best of all the weather is nearly always good.
But there are some downsides. Driving is white knuckle stuff. It’s a free-for-all, and undertaking is the norm. The partying scene is good, but its all bars and no nice, cosy pubs. Chocolate is terrible: they put stuff in it to stop it melting; Europe is far superior for your dark fix. There’s also not much history or interesting architecture given that things only really started to kick off in the 1800s. But then again Australia has beaches, lots of them! And Aussie telly is nothing to get your thongs in a twist about – Neighbours and Home & Away is pretty much as good as it gets.
When I go to the shops or the movies or anywhere, I get asked how I am, what I’m doing today, where I’m from and then a general update on how the weather’s going or local footy news. It reminds me of being in rural Ireland actually, where it’s the norm to talk to strangers.
It’s friendly here, and challenging yourself to work somewhere new and in a different culture is always enriching.