From New York to Australia
January 1, 1970
Hello everyone! My name is Amira and I’m a typical 20-something New Yorker who needed some change in her life. After graduating college, I applied to get my masters degree but unfortunately (now fortunately) I did not get accepted. I saw this as a sign and decided that I needed something new and exciting. So, after coming back from a music festival (EDC) a thought popped in my head—“you should move to Australia!”. About an hour or so later I applied for a working holiday visa. A couple days later I got my letter of approval and I was one step closer to moving to Australia. Everyone asked me why I was moving and all I could tell them was “I need change”. My parents did not understand and my mom, oh my poor mom, all she did was cry anytime anyone spoke about me moving. At first no one actually believed me when I said I was leaving. They all thought it was some fantasy but little did they know my fantasy would soon become a reality.
The Calm Before The Storm:
Fast forward to the week before I left I was talking to a friend and she mentioned that I seemed really calm about the situation. It was true, I had no fear, no worries, I was ready to go. However, my body and my mind some times do not get along. Two days before I was scheduled to leave to Australia I had a panic attack. Now, let it be known that I have never had a panic attack and when it happened I honestly thought I was dying. After coming home from the hospital I felt depressed and started second guessing my decision. After all I had no plan, no job, no place to live. I was leaving my friends and family. I stayed in bed for nearly two days debating whether or not I should still go. But I knew that I could not wake up everyday and do the same thing over and over again. I also have very supportive friends who believed in me and reassured me that this adventure will be something I will always cherish. Just a reminder to everyone, if you have friends who support you and believe in you—keep them around. It is so nice to have a support group to turn to whenever things get a little rocky. (E & B, I thank you girls for always being there for me.)
Two days later on January 3rd my family took me to JFK and I was on a plane headed towards China. On that very, very, very long flight I was so excited to see what this journey had in store for me. This would be the first time I have ever lived anywhere besides New York, and boy am I glad that I decided to come.
I made it!:
After nearly 30 hours of traveling, no sleep, and stiff legs I finally landed in Sydney. When I landed I didn’t have a place to stay (crazy right?) and ended up messaging a friend of a friend who very graciously told me I could stay with him. The first thing I did after getting to his apartment was go to a cafe and get a latte. After all, Australia is supposed to have the best coffee. As I took my first sip I knew that Sydney would soon become my home. It was the best coffee I had ever had in my life and trust me I drink a lot of coffee. Having only ate nothing but sad airplane food I decided to order eggs Benedict, and like the coffee it did not disappoint. After filling my belly with yummy Aussie-ness I went back to the apartment with legs so swollen that I immediately called my mom asking her if I was going to die. She said it was normal but I still thought I was dying because WebMD said so. Needing some well deserved rest I decided to stay in until the following day.
First Day Out:
My first real day in Sydney was pissing rain, it was as if people of the sky were dumping buckets of water down on us. But that did not stop me; I made it my priority to see the infamous Opera House. I bought an Opal card and headed to the train station. Very different from the subway system in NYC, Sydney’s trains were clean, comfy, and didn’t smell like urine. Fifteen minutes later there I was—standing in front of a place I’ve dreamed of for years. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get emotional; my eyes welled up with tears of happiness. I was finally living my dream and it felt so good. Not only was I right in front of the Opera House but right across from it was the Sydney Harbour Bridge! Even with the rain and clouds it was a gorgeous view and I needed a picture. Of course with my “great” selfie taking skills I couldn’t get a good picture and was very shy in asking someone to take a picture of me. I finally built up the courage to ask someone and it was like a mini photoshoot (shout out to the guy who was so happy to take a pic of me)! Once I looked at the picture I was in a bit of shock; I went back to not believing I was actually in Sydney. After the shock subsided I felt it was time for a drink so I went to the Opera Bar. It was here where I realized my drinking habits would soon be erased. After paying $19 for a cocktail and another $10 for some chips (fries) I sat down with the Harbour Bridge right across from me. It was also here where I realized if you didn’t cover your food with napkins, a gang of seagulls will come and eat them and not feel bad about it.
Happy Days Will Soon Come:
Since the seagulls ate my lunch, I went for a walk around Sydney’s CBD and it reminded me slightly of NYC. In the sense that there were heaps of tall buildings and lots of people but there was something different. People looked at you and smiled; they seemed happier. Even though I was scared of being in a city all alone I knew that I too would be happy here.