Hey guys. It’s been a while since I had written my last post and I realised that I had missed having a chat on here. I have to admit that the past few months have been pretty tough. Here in Melbourne, we are still in a strict stage four lockdown due to Covid-19 and while generally, I am managing to cope, it can sometimes feel like there’s no end in sight.
Living abroad in a pandemic like I am, has its pros and its cons. A pro is that while the rest of the world has had to put a pause on their travel plans, I’m still having the experience of being in a foreign country. The downside is that very often, this doesn’t feel like the case. It’s so hard to feel like you are travelling while spending so much time indoors. Also, it’s frustrating not being able to do so many of the things that I came to Australia to experience.
As anyone who has lived abroad will tell you, you change a lot over that time without really realising it. You see, as settled into my lifestyle as I am now, there are many habits that I have only acquired since living in Australia, that would never have featured in my British life. So, for a bit of fun, I thought I’d look at 10 Melbourne habits that I have picked up as a Brit living in Australia.
- Waiting at road crossings
In England, the thrill of running across a road and hoping you don’t get hit by a car is just how we roll. However, in Australia, jaywalking is illegal. When I first got here, I couldn’t understand why people were waiting at road crossing even when there was no traffic in sight. However, now I too wait for the green man (unless I’m running late for brunch).
2. Picking up a morning coffee
In my brief time living in London, I can probably count the number of times I grabbed a takeaway coffee on my fingers. We just don’t have the same coffee culture as Melbourne, a city where practically everyone you walk by is clutching takeaway cup in their hand. These days, I feel genuinely hard done by if I haven’t picked up a coffee and I have VERY strong opinions on where you should get it from.
3.Shopping at the market
Putting Waitrose aside (where I will never get tired of browsing the Duchy Organic’s range and other overpriced food items), grocery shopping in the UK isn’t that fun. I often would go to Borough Market in London but the food was expensive and more geared towards picking up a hot lunch than doing your food shop. In Melbourne, it’s different. I now manage to do almost my entire food shop at the market, picking up everything from fresh fruit and veg, eggs, dairy products, meat and coffee. Not only is it better quality and supporting local businesses but its also cheaper and sustainable too.
I would not have queued if my life depended on it in the UK. I would abandon plans, frantically search up new restaurants or even pay money to avoid the extra waiting time. However, in Melbourne, queuing for things, be it brunch, dinner, a cafe, a bar or even doughnuts at the Queen Vic Market is the norm and it’s something that doesn’t really register with me now.
5.Treating Timeout and Broadsheet as bible
In a city where everyone takes culture very seriously, staying on top of everything that’s going on is incredibly important. Since living here, broadsheet and Timeout are the most frequently visited pages on my internet browser. Listing everything from ‘best cheap eats to hidden bars’, documenting every restaurant opening and covering each pop-up festival, Timeout and Broadsheet have become my bible when I’m trying not to stick out as an outsider living in the city.
6.Going down dodgy-looking laneways because there will probably be a great bar/restaurant/cafe down there
Deciding to walk down a dodgy looking alleyway in the UK would be met with curious looks. However, in Melbourne, they are called laneways and they are home to some of the best establishments in the city.
7.Buying lunch out all the time (and its not from the supermarket)
In the UK, buying a meal deal for your lunch in the norm. For those unfamiliar to this, I will elaborate. A meal deal can be picked up from most supermarkets in England and includes a combination of a one pale, limp pre-packaged sandwich, a drink and a snack such as a chocolate bar or a packet of crisps. When I first got to Australia, I realised there was a noticeable absence of cheap supermarket lunches and I couldn’t understand where everyone ate. I soon realised that grabbing some freshly made sushi rolls or fresh food from a cafe or restaurant was the norm and the obvious choice in terms of taste and value for money.
8.Calling vegetables by different names
I am yet to switch from past-uh to my pass-
So as you can see, there are quite a few Australian habits that I have adapted over time. Equally though, there are still a lot of British traits that also don’t seem to be going anywhere. These include:
-Thinking it’s warm if the weather is above 18’C
-Drinking a ridiculous amount of tea
-Hanging out in Degraves Street
-Saying sorry all the time
-Talking about the monarchy
-Not really understanding the AFL
-Still getting confused with the seasons
-Asking for shoes in my British shoe size
-Not really embracing pies
-Not understanding beer sizes (schooner etc)
Do any other expats living in Australia or in the UK have any more ideas to contribute to my list? Feel free to send me an email and I’ll add it in.