Expat in Australia: 5 things I loved and 5 I missed about Italy
Living in Australia for two years was for me like a dream. I can’t even tell why I wanted to go there in the first place (more than 10 years ago now), but despite I only had few information about this Country, I was fascinated about this faraway land inhabited by koalas and kangaroos.
Everything happened by hazard, almost as a joke, when my boyfriend at that time told me he could have been transferred for work anywhere he liked in the world. He had already been offered a position in South Africa and Ireland. I had spent a month in Dublin a couple of years earlier so I was not that much interested in going back to the same location. Concerning Johannesburg, I must be honest, I was a bit scared as the city is not very well renowned in terms of security.
My dream was to go to Australia so I gave it a try, and it worked! Few months later he got transferred and we flew to Sydney.
Living in Australia: the 5 things I loved the most
1- No worries
A true national anthem that well represents the Aussie relaxed lifestyle. I easily got used to this life philosophy that Australians apply both to work and to everyday life, leaving them free to play sport and have fun without getting too much affected by issues and worries.
That peace of mind is one of the things I loved more about living in Australia and something I have been missing ever after.
2- The weather
It is not difficult to love a year-round mild weather featuring winter sunny days with the lowest temperatures being 10-15 °C. Who wouldn’t like that? For a moody person like I am, that was the perfect weather to kick my days off.
3- Amazing nature
Everybody knows the huge variety of landscapes Australia has to offer, ranging from the rain forest of the Northern Territory to the desert of the Red Centre as far as the coral reef (two of them, both out of the East and West Coast). Without mentioning the sweetest animals like koalas and kangaroos, to name only a few. “There is nothing like Australia” is their tourism payoff. I can guarantee that’s 100% true!
I found Australians to be “friendly” and very “sociable”. By this I mean that they are always ready to smile and welcome you, helping if you are lost, even if this implies to walk out of their shop to make sure you get to the right bus stop or patiently explaining you how to respect a queue (Italians are well known to be not exactly good at queuing 🙂 I was impressed on how gentle and laid back they are also in a big city like Sydney where you still enter the bus one by one paying for your ride to the bus driver or where the cashier at the supermarket fill up the bag with your grocery while you are paying. Something that would be impossible in hectic cities like Milan or other European capitals where everybody is always on a run and get impatient pretty soon.
5- Rock pools
Have you ever seen a rock pool? I first saw one in Sydney, and honestly never found it anywhere else in the world so far. Basically, it is a swimming pool carved out from rock cliffs by the sea so that seawater pours straight into it. I think it is a genius idea! No more burning eyes due to chlorine water 🙂
Aussies (or at least Sydneysiders) love to play sport and are really into healthy life and fitness. You see many of them early morning surfing or swimming in rock pools before heading to the office!
Living in Australia: the 5 things I missed the most about Italy
1- Family & friends
Living 16,000 km away from Home can sometimes be an advantage, if not the main reason why many people (including myself) decide to move downunder.
However, with time you start missing your family and close friends and, at least for me, this is one of the things that pushed me to quit Australia and come back to Italy.
I loved living in such a multicultural city like Sydney and choose every day a restaurant of a different nationality. You can find excellent cheap Thai, Vietnamese or Sushi restaurants as well as Chinese, Korean, Brazilian, fusion of every sort, and of course Italian or French cuisine.
I always had good food everywhere, however, you happen to miss certain simple ingredients you would have never suspect such as an authentic mozzarella, rustic wood fire bread or mascarpone cheese to prepare the real Italian tiramisu (something I was often asked when invited to international home dinners).
I know, it may sound a bit of a cliche, but being an Italian girl I cannot mess up with food!
I still vividly remember the day I found at the supermarket where I was used to go, a package of my favourite Italian biscuits. I almost bursted into tears of joy 🙂
It is always very interesting and enriching to soak up in a different culture. Despite I consider Aussies extremely kind and friendly, I honestly had a difficult time to build sincere and strong relationships with the locals. Different was with other Europeans, some of which are still very good friends of mine today. Maybe Europeans have a more similar cultural background which makes it easier to weave a deep connection, especially when we meet far away from our Countries 🙂
I hadn’t realized I was from a mountainous region before spending four years of my life in “flat” Countries like Belgium and Australia. I still remember once I was back Home in Tuscany, how much I marveled at seeing the Apennine peaks from my window!
5- The Mediterrenean Sea
Australia boasts some of the best beaches in the world that attract eager surfers and travellers, but nobody ever told me that the Ocean is freaking cold! I love going to the beach especially to go swimming in the sea, but during my two years spent in Sydney, I probably took a deep into the ocean less than 10 times in total! First of all because water temperature in summer is not that high, plus if you are really willing to swim you have to be ready to face the ocean waves. So I ended up missing the quiet and mild Mediterranean Sea.