We went into the (Central Business District) CBD to shop on George St., very high end shopping district. Fortunately for us, we found the cheapest store possible, Lowe’s, “low-end” men’s clothing, where Jim was able to buy several shirts for under $100. Buying most things here is crazy expensive. Sometimes you come across a bargain and it’s cause to celebrate. When we were waiting in line at check-out at Lowe’s, the clerk let out a blood-curdling scream that caused everyone in the store to freeze and look her way. She had the largest bug I’ve ever seen crawling on her arm. A cockroach, about the size of a small cell phone. She brushed it off but then it quickly crawled under the counter.

These larger than life cockroaches (like the spiders) are everywhere. Since it is a sub-tropical/temperate climate, they never experience a deep freeze to kill off these pests. They don’t seem to bother the locals, well except for the store clerk anyway. I don’t know if I will ever get used to them. The spiders I can live with but not the roaches…

Here’s one I found sunning himself on a stone wall.

While walking through Hyde Park, we discovered a really nice public bathroom. Usually an oxymoron but at least in Sydney, we were pretty impressed. Quite spacious, tiled, clean streaming music. The tune I caught was Dionne Warwick singing “What the World needs now….”  Not exactly what I was expecting but a pleasant surprise none-the-less.

Touring the City

Nice tour of the city today, checking out apartments. An “open house” is called an “inspection.” They are scheduled on specific days and times and only give you 15 min to view an apartment. Not quite as client-oriented here as agents are in the U.S. :-/  We checked out two flats in Woolloomooloo but never bothered going inside, neighborhood was kind of seedy. Pretty disappointing since we heard it was such a nice section of the city.

We had a nice lunch at the Lavender Bay cafe, not even a five minute walk from an apartment we looked at today in Lavender Bay on the lower north shore. Super nice section of the city. We would LOVE to live here but w/ all the competition and having pets, we are up against, we will not be surprised if we don’t get it. But we came prepared w/ a “pet resume” and as older, working professionals, we are cautiously optimistic.

A two-bedroom apartment is important as we want to be sure we have enough space for the multitude of guests we’re expecting to visit. Also, living in or near a green/wooded area is essential as we love nature and bird-watching. The magpie song is quintessential Australia and really beautiful. Take a listen here: (Sound credit to and here:

The ravens are truly other-worldly.  Jim compares their song to a cross between ET and an unhappy toddler. Must listen and view here:


Pretty cool, we heard back from the Lavender St. agent in less than two hours and we got the apartment – woot, woot!!  We move in on the 20th and now face the challenge of furnishing our new place in a week!

Getting Oriented

Have been here two days now and taking in my new surroundings and absorbing everything around me. On the surface it seems so familiar and similar to home. But even after just two days I quickly began to notice how really different the country of Australia (and Australians) are compared to the U.S. Since Australia started as a British colony and is still a Commonwealth of Great Britain, there are indeed many unusual and foreign (to us) undertones immersed in the culture.

Phrases and words take on very different meanings, for example, the trunk of a car is a boot, your bank checking account is actually your savings account.
When someone here asks you, how are you going? – translated in American talk means “how are you doing?” Giving something a try = give it a go. There will be many more to come I’m sure!

Poor Jim of course came ahead of me, about four weeks before I arrived to begin work at a well-known global company (of which I prefer not to mention the name.) I was lucky to have him help me get oriented and settled in but not so great for him when he first arrived. Beginning a new position in a foreign country, you have certain expectations that maybe there would be a colleague that would be there to welcome you and help you during the transition. Not one person in this huge conglomerate offered to help him in any way, not even human resources. In fact no one even spoke to him or introduced themselves and when he had to (and still has to) consult with co-workers on technical matters, they only speak with him begrudgingly. It was shockingly disappointing to say the least. As Americans, we had this idea that Australians are so friendly and out-going. Frankly, we found Australian folks in Melbourne, last year to be much friendlier. Imagine coming to a new country and shlepping around your luggage from apartment to apartment, trying to learn a new city and a new job and no one to offer any advice or help? I give Jim alot of credit for hanging in there and making it that much easier for me when I arrived.

Last night, my first night here, we had dinner at the Hog’s Breath cafe, almost felt like we were in Key West! Good first night out…

Using Format