I have a list of blog post ideas that I jotted down after setting this site up. Really quirky, interesting topics that could probably be anecdotal, honest and give you insight into what the last 5 months as new immigrants has been like.
The list includes:
- The gross things people do on the train
- Aussies + Americana
- The various stages of culture shock
- Despite what they say, Australia is NOTHING like South Africa
- No worries (literally, there are no worries)
- Beautiful beaches of Sydney
- Sydney: a kid’s world
- How to get to Australia
- Where should you live in Sydney? THERE IS NO RIGHT ANSWER!
- Aussies + English-isms
Instead, I want to tell you about how the smallest things make you feel the most at ease. Like, conversations with Andrea, a 64 year-old woman who I’ve sat next to and gotten to know during our time at a bus stop over the last two weeks.
We both catch the same bus, at the same time. Andrea hops off one stop before me, at the top of a steep incline that’s pretty tough to walk up during a really sweltering afternoon, or during a windy, thunderstorm like we’ve been having lately.
On the first occasion that I sat myself down next to Andrea, she seemed quite aloof, only glancing up at me as I took a phone call from Dave, telling him that I was at the bus depot and that I’d be fetching Luca soon. She watched me afterwards, as I scanned the travel app on my phone to check if the bus I needed was going to be on time. She asked me just after that, if I knew what time the next bus would be coming and as I looked up, I said, “There it is!”, and we didn’t speak again that day.
The next day, I ran up the stairs on top of the train station to the bus depot, only to see the train pulling off and Andrea’s profile in the window along the driver’s side. “Dammit!”, I yelled, “TWO FREAKING MINUTES EARLY!”
The next day was one of those swelteringly ones, and I’d made sure I pretty much trotted the whole way from work, to my train station, up the tunnel and onto my train, enjoying the air-conditioned carriage for the 4 stops until I reached our “home” station. I jogged up the stairs and there was Andrea, sitting on the bench, waiting for our bus. “You made it this time!”, she laughed – I hadn’t realised that she’d seen me shouting breathlessly at the bus that had left me behind the previous day. “Sometimes it leaves just two minutes earlier…sometimes it’s later”, and just like that, we became bus stop buddies.
Now, as I climb the stairs out of the train station and onto the bus interchange every afternoon, she waves me over and I sit next to her while she talks about her job, the woman who she works for who is also a mom of two little boys and also about her own grown up children. She’s not yet asked me about my accent or how long I’ve been in Sydney. She just asks about my boys and what I do for a living. She laughs and reassures me that I’m doing an amazing job as a working mom and that she misses her daughter in England and one son in India. She waves goodbye every day as she hops off the bus at her stop and today, wished me a happy Australia Day for tomorrow.
In a brand new city, full of confusing street signs, shelves of never-before-seen produce, unfamiliar accents and faces, it’s the little things; the quick bus-stop conversations with a stranger turned acquaintance that make you feel at home.
Image from over here.