Saturday, 9 January 2010

A retrospective

That's it - 2009 is over, finished, gone. And what a year it was. We saw in 2009 on the banks of the Thames on a cold and frosty NYE, celebrating with a heady mix of bailey's and hot chocolate.

Move forward 12 months. We saw in 2010 on the banks of Sydney Harbour on a warm evening, celebrating with a heady mix of champagne, cocktails and spectacular fireworks.
So I thought this would be a good time for a retrospective on our first 6 months in Australia.

Things we love about down under

Aussies- we have met some great people since arriving here. Aussies are a friendly bunch and have been very welcoming to us. We've also met some great fellow ex pats.

The weather - what's not to like about great weather? It's been more changeable than we thought it would be, but it is so much warmer and more cheerful than back home.

Sydney - what a great city. So much to see and do. Love, love, love the harbour - taking the ferry from Pyrmont to Circular Quay is such a cool and fun way to get about.

Restaurants - much cheaper than London and a lot more choice, especially with Asian food. We have 4 great places just within 5 mins walk of our apartment.

Events - this is a city that knows how to put on an event. Whether it's the NYE fireworks, the Fun Run, the coffee festival, or Breakfast on the Bridge, there is always something interesting happening somewhere. Best of all, most of it is free. Looking forward to Mardi Gras.

Dan Murphy's - who knew there were so many different labels of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. We are working our way through them all.

Cleanskins - the person who invented these should be given a medal - $7 for a quality wine. Can be a bit hit and miss, but the hits are absolute bargains.

Things we miss about the UK

Family and friends - I miss my kids on a daily basis. But Skype, Facebook and this blog help us stay in touch, and they have loved visiting Australia. Looking forward to seeing them again in April. And we are always open for bookings for any friends who fancy the 24hr flight!

White Xmas - so we missed all the snow. Damn! But it never really felt Christmassy here - Xmas is a winter festival. It's just not the same when it's hot and sunny.

UK supermarkets - Shouldn't say this as I work for Woolies, but we do miss our UK grocers. There are things you just can't get down under, and the whole shopping experience is so much better at home. And you only realise how cheap Tesco really is , when you can't get to it!

UK TV - you all know we are reality TV fans. Whether it's Strictly Come Dancing, I'm a Celebrity, X factor, Britain's Got Talent, or Dancing on Ice, we watch them all. And whilst they do have Aussie versions of some of these shows, they just aren't a patch on the UK version. They have an amateur feel to them. So we are reality deprived. And as for the rest of Aussie tv - well, hmm, it really is, quite frankly, a load of crap. Probably because the Aussie life is meant to be lived outdoors.

So other than missing our families and friends, we really don't have much to complain about. We have settled very well in Sydney and are really enjoying our life here. We do feel a bit homesick at the moment, but I think that is an inevitable consequence of being away from home at Xmas. Now if I could just get Waitrose to deliver to Sydney........