Location location location
The first day that I tried to turn on my GPS it was totally confused, and after 5 minutes of paniking, it asked me weather or not I’d moved over 100 miles since the last time that I had used it. (It tries to remember its favorite satelites, so when those are nowhere to be found, it panics.)
Anyway, that works now. I’ve been around my immediate area in Glebe, seen a bit of the central business district, been to Chinatown once, and been to Kensington briefly. Around here in the Glebe end of New South Wales things are nice; it reminds me of my old neighborhood in NDG Montreal. There is a mall about a half hour walk away, but before that there are lots of small family businesses, the majority of which are small restaurants, cafes, and bookstores. Almost everything I need is within walking distance of about 10 minutes from home.
I’m really glad that the Glebe Library is just around the corner. It’s a very small library, less than half the size of the library I used to work at in LaSalle, but it’s still got a nice friendly community feel, and comfy chairs near large windows. It’s got a distinctly small town feel to it, the way that the bulletin boards have as many local piano and clarinet teacher ads with the pull off phone number tabs as there are official City of Sydney publications. No mangas here, but there is a sizable selection of American comics that I’ve not read.
It’s also got a nice level of background noise– people at the front counter chatter constantly, but, to me, that’s a plus. I’m not the sort of person who can read or study well in total noiselessness, because for some reason that actually makes other things extra noisy by comparison. Simply put, I’d rather not hear the ninjas coming.
The library is smalltown enough that I don’t think many people come here, which will be a plus when I get around to studying. They’ve got a sizable amount of non-scholastic books on the Australian legal system which I’ve been browsing, so that’ll be a plus.
I’m actually really happy with the location of the apartment. Library within spitting distance. Groceries too. If I go downhill, there’s a fantastic bayside running path as well. Rent is a bit pricey compared to what I’m used to in Montreal– it tallies up to a bit short of 800$ per month, but for all the local availability of things, it saves me a fair amount on transportation. Public transport is pretty pricey because unlike montreal, a bus ticket doesn’t ‘transfer.’ That is to say, for every bus you get on, you have to get another ticket stamped (wheras in Montreal, one ticket gets in general gets you from your start to destination, even if that means you use a bus, metro, and another bus). As I said, that’s okay though because I use a bike. UNSW (University of New South Wales) is about 8km away (which is at most a 40 minute ride), and that’s the futhest thing I need to get to. Chinatown (Haymarket) and the central business district are both significantly closer than that. Every daily bike ride to school saves me almost a clean 10 bucks or so. I’ve heard that you can get an unlimited pass, but for my purposes the price is a bit too prohibitive and i can’t justify that cost since everything else is so easy to get to.
In general, Sydney’s a pretty easy transition from Montreal. It’s certainly not like South Korea, in that the language and customs are totally different. In some ways, Sydney is quite confusing though because of how deceptively subtle the differences with Montreal are. The weather right now varies between about 15 and 20 or so degrees Celsius, which is pretty typical back home of spring. But aside from the left-side driving, there’s a few little things: like how you walk down a street and you don’t recognize any of the trees that are growing; or all the signs are in English (no french); or how everyone mostly speaks with Australian accents.
Anyways, it’s a learning process. I think I’ve done really well as far as jet lag goes, I’m falling asleep at mostly the right times but I often wake up a bit too early on account of some birds living outside my window.