Welcome to the city
After spending five and a half months surrounded by mountains, greenery, blooming gardens and lakes, I’ve lost touch with the city-person inside of me.
Where are the trees?
Why are there so many people?
Why is the traffic so heavy?
For the bulk of my time in New Zealand, I thought that deep down, I was a city person – an internet-dependent city person who missed street lights and late night eat-outs. Little did I know, my first day in Sydney was quite the culture shock.
The Crowd, The Air, The Heat
The 5 million population in Sydney really made an impression the moment I got out of the airport. There were all kinds of people with all kinds of accents everywhere. It wasn’t just the crowd, though – everything about the city felt over-stimulating. In fact, everything about Sydney was the opposite of New Zealand.
From a pretty chilly Autumn in Christchurch (about 13 degrees on average), I was rudely reintroduced to the unforgiving nature of heat. It’s 27 degrees, and sometimes even 31 degrees in Sydney. I’m not remotely curious to find out how much worse it is in Singapore.
Coupled with that humidity? No thanks.
It didn’t help that a massive monorail construction was going on throughout different parts of Sydney, too. There are barriers and excavators at almost every turn so naturally, the atmosphere felt dusty and things looked… ugly. Trading clear, fresh air for air that smells like exhaust pipes and second-hand smoke is quite a disappointing prospect.
It Didn’t Help That My Airbnb Host Forgot About My Stay
I guess what made it worse was finding out I had no place to stay the moment I arrived at my supposed accommodation. For some reason, the host had forgotten I was coming and flew to China. I had to find a place to stay for the night pronto, so I settled for a motel a distance from where I was originally staying.
Since I’m booking on short notice, there aren’t any stays that can accommodate someone looking for a 10-night stay. With that, I moved around 4 different accommodations during my time here. Not Fun.
Well, at least I got my refund and a voucher from Airbnb. I’d rather not get in this fix to begin with, but what can you do?
At Least Asian Food Can Ease My Soul
After a number of days here, I’m slowly getting used to the pace of life. Although there’s still a lot to adjust to, I’d say one thing I love about living in a city is the abundance of food. And not just food – Asian food. If New Zealand had an abundance of authentic Asian food, perhaps I’d consider living there for the rest of my life.
Looking Forward To My Retirement Life
I know. This is kind of early but I love just doing my own thing. Who doesn’t? Retirement doesn’t have to be in New Zealand, though. If I could choose I’d like it to be somewhere with lots of greenery, with unlimited WiFi, and with pretty good Asian food around the corner. I’m not asking for too much, am I?
Well, it’s a dream in the making. In about 40 to 50 years, we’ll see if it happens.
This story was written by Chigyen Woon.
Find out more about Chingyen and her work ~