Category Archives: Expat

Aussie Phrases I Love

cc license, Neubie

These are just a few phrases and words I’ve come to adore while living in Australia. Some I’ve adopted into my own vocabulary and others continue to grow on me.

How are you going? – When I studied abroad in Australia we went abseiling our first week here. The instructor said to me, how are you going? So I answered “right handed.” She thought that was pretty funny. Looking back I can laugh about it now too.

Heaps – You can be heaps hungover, heaps hungry, heaps happy. It’s like a giant pile of emotion.

Totes– This is just a cute way of saying totally. I mean, this is just a totes cute way of saying totally.

Cheers – I like to sign off my emails with “cheers.” I like when people say “cheers” after you pay them at the register, and we get to say “cheers” as a toast at the pub.

What are you after? – This phrase might not be exclusively Aussie, but they sure do love it here. I notice it especially when you’re trying to pick something off the café menu.

Keen – I want get tickets to that concert, who’s keen?  I’m keen to get started on this work.

Average – an adjective to describe when you’re not feeling so great, or just so-so. “I can’t believe I had those tequila shots last night, I’m feeling pretty average today.”

Footy – I used to think Footy described AFL (Australian Football League) but apparently footy can also mean Rugby (NRL) or even soccer. I’m not really sure. I call everything with a ball (minus cricket) footy.

Ute – it’s a little baby truck. See photographic evidence below please.

Bogan – thank you Chris Lilly and Summer Heights High for teaching me what a skanky bogan was. Redneck, hill-jack, white trash… you get the idea.

Cheers big ears – I thought this was something silly my colleague Sam made up the first time I heard it. It makes me giggle every time.

Shout (a round) – Shouting rounds is fun. While buying rounds wasn’t a new concept to me, there is something unique about the Australia style shout.

Lemonade – it usually means sprite, but I’m pretty sure it can be any carbonated lemon or lime drink. The most important thing to know is that lemonade doesn’t equal a drink made of lemonades, sugar and water. Unless it’s “old fashioned lemonade” but you can only get that at the grocery store or markets.

What are your favourite Aussie words or slang? 

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Filed under Expat, Sydney

Why I Love Living Abroad

Skydiving at Mission Beach

There is a list of reasons that I love living in Sydney, but there is also a number of reasons that I just love living abroad.  When I reflect on the last year living in Australia these are a few reasons that come to mind.

1. Moving abroad has made me more independent. At home I have an extensive network of people I can rely on for anything. In Sydney I’ve been lucky to make a lot of great friends I can call for help, but it’s still limited compared to my hometown where I grew up. I especially noticed it when I first moved here, not knowing anyone. I miss not being able to call my family, but it also has forced me to do more for myself.

2. I’ve started to appreciate what’s in my own backyard more. I think it’s common to take home for granted. I had the attitude that I could always check out a restaurant later and felt no urgency in going new places in Cleveland. Now I want to see everything that surrounds me. I want to have brunch at every little café in Surry Hills. I want to walk down streets I’ve never been before and never wait to try a restaurant or pub.

Coastal Walk

3. I travel more in Australia for similar reasons. In the past I’ve probably not only neglected my own backyard, but my own country at times. I’m lucky that my parents took us on trips to see the US growing up. I’m grateful for that and I still know I Have more to see of my own country. Booking a last minute flight to Melbourne for a long weekend seems painless now. I wish I had done that more in the states.

4. Everyday can feel like an adventure. Especially when I first moved, the day-to-day was so exciting. Simple activities like going to the grocery store are fun and different.  Seriously, it’s true. People drive on the other side of the road here, there are strange birds in the park, I can take a ferry across the harbour and try foods I’ve never heard of before. Living abroad is a thrill.

4th of July with Lauren, Brooke & Lindsay

5. You meet a lot of interesting people when you move to a new country. I don’t have the stats to back this one up, but I’m quite certain that being an expat means you’re more likely to meet other expats. I love connecting with other travelers and those who have made similar moves across the world. Some of the friendships I’ve made have been an important part of my time abroad so far.

Why do you love living abroad? What has it taught you?


Filed under Expat, Travel

Lessons in Public Transport

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What I’ve learned in seven months of not having my car…

1. I really miss driving. I miss both the convenience of having a car and the actual act of driving around. I find it relaxing. I keep thinking about getting a car so I can have my freedom back.

2. Despite my whining, public transport is actually wonderful some days. I like when the bus flies down the bus lane, past stopped traffic in the mornings, or when you want to go out and have a few drinks and don’t need to worry about driving home. The ferry ride from Manly to the city is beautiful. I ultimately save money and never have to look for parking. These are all times that I’m happy being car-less.

3. Sydney buses don’t follow the time schedule. They not only come late (which I would expect) they often leave early or just never show up. I can’t stand when my morning bus the E50 leaves early because it’s mostly commuters who show up the same time every day. It irks me.

4. Technology does assist in making public transport better. There is an iPhone app called TripView that quickly helps you to plan trips in Sydney on trains, buses or ferries. It’s been a huge time saver and great tool since I found out about it. Free Wi-Fi on the ferry ride is another little modern day bonus that makes me smile (when it’s working).

5. Relying on public transport has helped me achieve my goal of daily self-reflection. Last year, Artie Isaac put the idea of taking 30 minutes each day for silent reflection. Thanks to my commute to work I practically have no choice now. I get about two hours each day, if I want it (assuming I’m awake for the morning bus ride). I spent a lot of time in silent thought.

Moral of the story is that I miss driving but it’s not the end of the world and I’ve gotten more and more used to it. I’ll probably move closer to the city (by the trains) at some point and feel even less inclined to make a vehicle purchase. Until then, I’ll see you at Manly Wharf kids.

What lessons have you learned from taking public transport or are you car dependent, like me?


Filed under Expat, Travel

Sipping on some Coffee Culture: Australian Edition

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“Make your coffee at home to save money.”

That’s one thing my mom kept reminding me before I moved abroad. Be smart and save money in little ways. A cup of coffee might seem like a small cost but when you add it up over weeks and months it adds up. A good idea but I’m running into one small problem…

I’m buying coffee every day. I’m living in a country that loves their cafes and coffee.  Not only do I buy coffees out, I’m actually buying more coffees out than I ever have before.

There is a rather lovely culture around coffee (and tea) in Australia. Almost all of my coworkers either go on coffee shop runs daily. There are so many local cafes to choose from and they all take their coffee very seriously. It’s made properly and never rushed. My first week here I stood impatiently waiting for my coffee to be ready. I’ve learned quickly that is the wrong approach to take when it comes to ordering your coffee here. I have to remind myself to pause, wait, and relax.

I also like when going for a coffee becomes an event. At home I would make coffee in the morning as part of a caffeine habit. I never thought about it or enjoyed it. It was a mindless, early morning act. In Australia I like to sit and enjoy a coffee, ask a friend or coworker to come along or meet someone for coffee because it’s an occasion.

What is the coffee culture where you’re from?


Filed under Expat, Travel

Two Months In: An Update for Home

Two months have flown by. I realize I’ve been slacking with updates home and it’s tough to keep up with answering emails to people I care about. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m geographically distant, there is a 14 hour time difference or if it’s just the fact I’m still finding my day to day schedule. It feel likes freshman year of college. I have lots of free time when I don’t need it and no free time when I really could use it.

It sounds cheesy, but living here still feels like a gift every day. Despite my fear of actually being in the ocean, I’m learning to love it. I listen to the sounds of the waves at night from my bed as I fall asleep. In the morning I bring extra shoes for work just so I can walk across the sand in my flip flops on my way to the bus stop. The ocean looks different every morning too. Maybe it will be less impressive once I’ve been here awhile but I still find myself mesmerized watching the waves.

I’m meeting a lot of new people. It’s fun but can be exhausting. Making new friends feels a bit like dating. You worry what the other person thinks about you. You try to be yourself but don’t really feel like yourself when you’re hanging out with people who don’t know you.

I love going exploring around the city and finding excuses to go new places. I live on the northern beaches and everyone jokes about it being far away (it’s not that far). I guess there is a stereotype of people who live in Manly never having a reason to leave Manly. I’m still enthusiastic about going to the city for events and meeting up with people. There is so much in the city I want to see and areas in Manly I haven’t even seen yet.

I just wanted my family and friends at home to know that I think of them often, even if they haven’t heard from me lately.

What’s new with you?


Filed under Expat, Travel