A year in Australia: Expectations vs. Reality

So here I am, back home in Sardinia for the summer before heading to London for a PhD in Criminology. My year in Australia has been wonderful, unexpected, challenging. Still, I went there with a bunch of expectations that… well… were not very realistic. Because I want to prepare you, here’s my expectation vs. reality – Oz edition.

Expectation 1: “I will set up a food cart and sell panini on Bondi Beach.” 

Reality: I ended up working in PR and actually helping towards the launch of one of Sydney’s most successful food trucks. Needless to say, to launch a food truck you need council permits, money to buy produce to put inside your panini, and quite a lot of stamina to cook under the sun for hours. I mean, look at me. Do I look like I have either of those?

Expectation 2: “I will hang out with kangaroos and pet koalas like an Australian Snow White.”

Reality: I went to zoos and fed koalas and kangaroos from afar. You can’t hug or pet koalas in New South Wales because they get anxiety and die (we are more similar than I would have thought) and I was actually terrified that a kangaroo would kick me in the face. #fail

Me trying to be a koala mum

Expectation 3: “Don’t mind me, I’ll just be dating some surfer Chris Hemsworth look-alike.”

Reality: I went to Byron Bay, where Chris apparently lives. That’s as close as I got to him. I did however date some dudes that surfed, were hot and lovely people. They were not Aussie and looked nothing like Thor. You gotta pick your battles.

Expectation 4: “I’ll become a seasoned surfer.”

Reality: I joined a Twerk Army and I’m now an intermediate amateur pole dancer thanks to the wonderful place that is Sydney Pole. I did surf twice and managed to stand up on the board quite a lot though.

Expectation 5: “I’ll live in the land that Winter has forgotten.”

Reality: Sydney winters are pretty chilly. I had to wear a coat.

Expectation 6: “I’ll have to try and survive a bunch of terrifying animals.”

Reality: I actually quite like spiders and although the ones I saw were pretty big I am still alive. I did end up getting stung by a decent-sized jellyfish in the mouth in the Whitsundays, as my mouth and face were the only bit that my wetsuit didn’t cover. Hey at least it shut me up for a while.

Expectation 7: “I’ll be so chill in Australia.”

Reality: My anxiety sky-rocketed, although not because of Australia. I just moved at the wrong time: I wasn’t ready. I was running away from Europe and from a life I didn’t want, but I was still too tied to my European life. So sleeping with your phone on your pillow and checking it at 3 am is probs not a great idea.

Expectation 8: “I’ll give up on blogging and freelancing and just dive deep into academia.”

Reality: I got no scholarship because I was going from a journalism degree into law, so I had no experience to show to deserve one. I did however end up growing professionally – which wasn’t a bad thing. I found the best office I could ever find at The Atticism PR and I kept this blog, which I actually kinda like. And I managed to start writing for TimeOut Sydney, Broadsheet Sydney, Hip & Healthy and Poppy Renegade in the process. Unexpected, but nice.

Expectation 9: “I will go to a bunch of parties cause I am a student now.”

Reality: I was knackered most of the time. Between uni, pole, work and life admin I didn’t start partying as much as I thought. I did however discover my favourite dive bar in the world (read about it here), go to some cool student parties and see Idris Elba deejay in Darlinghurst.

One of my few club nights in Sydney

Expectation 10: “I will find myself.”

Reality: I kinda did, but not as I expected. I thought I’d go to Australia and stay there, apply for a PhD there and just make it my home. Turns out I’m too tied to Europe and to the people I’ve left behind to do that. Still, I did some soul searching, found out that London or Europe weren’t the problem – my life there was – and decided to head back and start again, with new skills, qualifications and experiences behind me. Pretty happy it went that way.

Pretty damn good view from QT Hotels Surfers Paradise

What did this post and this year teach me? Stop planning your whole life like a dumbass. Enjoy where you are cause the world is great. Peace out.

Pictures: Carolina Are

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