You must be an expert here.
My situation is that in.. wait.. 11 days I am moving from our sweet Berlin to whatever_will_be Sydney. Yes, it’s happening. Reasons are not clear even for me cause
a) being tired of learning German
b) desire for fresh tan
…..are obviously not reasonable enough (and I’m 27, not 17) to give up well paid job, cozy Berliner Wohnung and all that nice things I have here.
But I want it, it’s decided and the tickets are in my pocket. I also have a visa with permission to work and a friend’s place to stay for a couple of days at the beginning. I don’t think I’m going to die, but still I would like to ask you:
- What will shock me the most?
- What’s the best way to build social life among Australians ?
- Am I doing the biggest mistake ever?
Thanks in advance.
I like Germany, but recently I have been thinking a lot about home – and now I am green with jealousy. Going to Australia to have a fresh tan and stop learning German is not a shit reason to just pick up and go. I mean – a shit reason to pick up and go somewhere is if the quality of life sucks but there is a good job. Life is for living, not just for working. And to be fair – Australia’s job market is pretty major so if a tan gets you there then I don’t think you’re in half bad stead as you will probably earn much the same as people from Oslo but not have to worry about -20’C temperatures. Success.
That said – it’s a hard place to make friends. I think Australia is kind of the opposite but same to Germany. You will easily make superficial friends, you know the ones at a bar that you share a shot with and BOOM buddies (this never happens in Germany). But then tomorrow comes, and they won’t call. That was a one night thing – wasn’t it fun? This is where it’s the same as the D dot E – you don’t just wiggle into a group and ta-da, that’s where you are. You have to go for drinks/ coffees/ brunch.
The thing here is – I’m an “expert” on Australians (am I though? because I actually haven’t lived there in 5 years) but settling there, I have never had to manage; I’m one of them. SO – here are the ways I would normally be making friends with new people, from the other side. If you want to be friends with the people like me (who doesn’t!) then this is what’s up:
1. Don’t hang out in shit backpacker bars – I’m not in shit backpacker bars, because I’m not a shit backpacker. If you want to make friends with people going on the Neighbours tour – head to places like the Elephant and Wheelbarrow (AKA shit backpacker bars). If you want to make friends with people like me – do some research on the local “what’s up” websites and find out where the new/ cool/ fun bars are. Super clubs are not a thing in Australia – if you find one, don’t go in. You aren’t making friends there. I mean – you probably will, but don’t. Just trust me.
2. Get a fucking job – The only reason your idea to get a tan and stop learning German is a shit idea is if you just lie on Bondi Beach (/ insert beach here) all day. Get a job. Most Australian’s have had the same friendship group since they were 16. This is wonderful because my friends are my friends forever and all that BFF nonsense – but when something new and shiny comes along that is validated by your boss as an OK human to employ – and we are going to be happy to show you around the city, help you set up a bank account, take you out for drinks. This is your easiest place for making a friend. It could take a couple of weeks of coy convo’s around a coffee machine to suss out if you actually like the same things – but it will happen, and you will be busy working while it does – rather than just tanning and wondering where all your friends are at.
3. Don’t be too ‘anything’ – Are you American? Don’t be too American. Are you English? Don’t be too English. As much as Australians are open, friendly, happy humans – we are probably the most judgmental, generalising bunch you will ever meet. So if you are super anything, we are probably going to write you off. It’s in our nature. Once you have a foot in the door – make us grits, call a group of people “y’all”, wear your haus shoes or invite us over for tea and scones. But don’t start with your nationalistic pride until we start making fun of you, because….
4. Australians say I love you, by being total c*nts – I don’t love that word, sorry to use it. But in this situation it’s accurate. Once you are in an inner click – we are going to be mean to your face. We are going to call you out on your shit, and then giggle – it’s how we show we care. We have paid enough attention that we recognise you aren’t perfect and HERE’S WHY !! It’s the way we have been raised – life isn’t serious, aren’t you funny because you do this you idiot. Recognise it – and then don’t get sensitive when it happens. There is nothing more exhausting than someone we have to emotionally manage because (to start with) we aren’t really sensitive emotional people, but also it means you can’t roll with the punches or have a laugh at yourself – this is very un-Australian.
In summary: You aren’t making a terrible mistake – nothing is a terrible mistake, unless you are contemplating trying heroin. This is a terrible mistake. But moving to a new country – is not. You don’t like it? The rest of the world exists so you can live in it. Nothing is final. And as for big surprises? Kangaroos aren’t hanging out in major cities, Koalas are only found in rural areas (up trees) and spiders don’t just hide under your toilet seat. Sorry to burst your bubble, Rest of World.
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