Like Melbourne, Sydney Is Just Not for Me

I was so crazy stupid happy. I met a boy. A great, sweet, gorgeous, cool-ass guy.

I’ve spent three weekends together with him; this Saturday will be the fourth. But we’re not gonna make it to the fifth as I’m leaving Sydney for good.

You didn’t just misread that. Yes, I decided to move elsewhere after being here only for 6 weeks, way sooner than I planned. Why? Because things don’t go as expected. Just like Melbourne, living in Sydney doesn’t really work out for me.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still pretty as fuck. From my traveling perspective, Sydney is still my most favorite city in the world. And Melbourne is still a very chic city I’ll always want to go back. But it’s different when you have to make a life and a living there.

Last year in Melbourne I was lonely. And underpaid. Both my social & working life didn’t go well, plus all adaptation shit & cultural shock I had to deal with. I met countless new people on my first month in Australia. However, all of them had no intention to make new friends, especially because I’d gonna be in Australia for one year only. They preferred to stick with their old friends and ignore my existence. And my shitty Indian boss, he paid me below the minimum wage. It was also impossible to find a better job, hence I had no more reason to stay there although at the moment I was seeing a real good man.

Now in Sydney the same loneliness strikes again, even worse than in Melbourne. In Melbourne at least I could have some good conversations with the people, but not here in Sydney. Because the people don’t really speak English. I’m not shitting you, it’s serious.

I used to work at a café in the city for a week. Beside the small pay, I left that job also because it’s fucking hard to speak with my fellow waiters (they’re from Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan), both professionally and personally. Even the girl from South Korea has been in Sydney for half a decade, she’s an Australian citizen now. When we gave instruction to each other, I had to struggle. And I work not only to earn cash, but also to make friends. But it’s impossible to make friends with people who don’t even know what you’re talking about.

I got hired by a hotel’s housekeeping team. At first I thought, “Hey they have 20+ room attendants, I bet at least half of them can speak English.” But no, I was wrong. They’re even worse than my coworkers at the café. They’re mostly from Thailand, China, France, Spain, and Chile. I actually don’t want to judge people by their English ability, but frankly it kills me. On our break or after work, I had zero conversation with them. Chance to make friends = zero.

I live with five other people in my flat. They’re very nice, but it’s also difficult to get myself close to them as three of them start working at 5 am in the morning (hence they must go to bed verryyy early), and the other two work night shift. So basically when I get home around 7 pm, I can only say “hi” to my friends who are going to bed soon, and “see you” to those who are off to work. They stay at home on Sundays, but I don’t.

So yeah, it gets lonely. The fascinating city turns to be boring as I can’t speak to anyone. I only have one friend, a high school mate, who’s been living in Sydney for 11 years. She works at a takeaway coffee shop in the University of Sydney. Sometimes I visit her if I have my afternoon off, but of course I can’t do it everyday. I can’t hangout with only one person until the next five months.

And speaking about the boy I mentioned in the beginning of this article, he’s not a Sydneysider. He lives in a small town two hours from Sydney, therefore I can only see him once a week when he’s not busy. That’s also not enough for me. But I had to think twice before hunting for another job in other cities, because a part of me doesn’t want to leave him.

Based on my experience, small towns are friendlier than big cities. It was so easy to make friends with people in small towns because: 1) they’re all Australians who speak English (although the accent is weird), and 2) they’re more open to new people coming to the town. I made good friends in Cowes (Phillip Island), Launceston (Tasmania), and even when I lived in a rural farming town in Queensland. Aannndddd… small towns pay better too. When I was in Queensland I earned twice than what I earn in Sydney right now, with less working hours!

Last weekend, the God of Luck played his magic wand on me. After sending my resume & alcohol serving certification and doing a phone interview, I got a new job! It’s a very well-paid job (in fact, the highest-paid job in my life!) as a kitchen hand & bar staff at a roadhouse*) in a small mining town in the north of Perth. Yup, I’m moving to Western Australia next week! The better news: they provide cheap accommodation & meals for the staffs. That means my chance to make friends with fellow staffs is higher (I have made sure, they speak English), and I can save up more money for my big plan after leaving Australia at the end of this year!

So now I reallyyy hope this new place will work just fine for me. I’m excited to embark on a new journey. Adiós, Sydney!

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Til I see you again, beautiful!

*) in case you’re not familiar with roadhouse, it’s like a rest area by the highway. Truck drivers and road travelers go there to refuel their car at the gas station, eat/drink at the restaurant/bar, or take a rest at the motel room.

Why I Turned Down My First Job Offer in Sydney

That morning I felt very sharp. I was wearing my best white shirt and business pants & shoes, walking down William Street. Confidently. I was heading to my job trial as a waiter at a prestigious tea room in the city. I felt lucky, because it was only my second day in Sydney. It usually took me a week or two to get a job trial every time I moved to a new city. I even got this trial invitation two weeks prior my arrival in New South Wales (I previously lived in Queensland).

I turned left to Pitt Street and finally arrived at Queen Victoria Building, one of the most iconic buildings in Sydney where the tea room is located. I was sure I’d do well at the job trial. I have some prior experiences in hospitality business and my English is very good.

But my confidence level dropped down when meeting the restaurant manager, a petite Asian lady named Grace. I disliked her since the first second I saw her. She seemed bitchy, bully, and disrespectful. And my feeling was 100% correct.

On the tenth minute I was assigned to carry a tray full of tea cups to a table. When I picked it from the bar, I forgot to grab the tea spoons… every new staff’s common mistake. Instead of talking politely to me about what I did wrong, Grace furiously scolded me in front of some customers.

“Where’s the spoons?!” she really sounded like Cinderella’s step mom, I swear to God.

“Oh, sorry,” I quickly grabbed them from the bar and put them on my tray.

“Never, ever forget the spoons!” her eyes were about to pop out.

I mean, bitch, it was the first tray I had to deliver. Can’t I forget something? No one has ever treated me like that on a job trial, because it was a fucking trial. Every restaurant manager shouldn’t treat any unpaid trial staff as their own employee. And every trial staff needs some time to familiarize themselves with everything in the restaurant, and it was only my first ten minutes. If she didn’t like me, she should’ve just asked me to go home without talking shit to me like that.

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This “tea palace” has a bitchy princess.

I tried not to take it personally and kept doing my job. But she was so distracting, especially when she got mad to a waiter because he wrote the order wrongly. Instead of bringing this waiter to the back, she decided to emotionally yelled at him at the restaurant’s entrance. Very unprofessional. I had a shitty boss when I was in Melbourne, but he never treated the staffs like that. I was pretty sure Grace would be shittier than him.

My feeling was right again. A few minutes later, Grace who was enjoying her nice free lunch in a table snapped her fingers to me, asked me to come to her like I was one of her slaves. Yes, she fucking snapped her fingers and shouted, “Hey!”

I quickly walked to her table. “Yes, Grace?”

“Do you see that table 8 is leaving?” she looked villainous.

I looked at table 8. There were a tea pot & two cups there. “Oh yes, I just saw that.”

She didn’t stop there. “MAYBE… maybe it needs to be cleaned up. Don’t you think so?!”

Oh God I still clearly remember her annoying voice. “Yes, I’ll clean it up now.”

“Why did it take you so long? Do I need to hire an assistant to remind you every job you must do?” she continued.

Bitch, please. The customers just left a few seconds ago and I was busy doing something else. That was the moment I realized I didn’t want to work with and for her. But I wanted to finish the trial to fulfill my curiosity. I wanted to know if I’d get hired or not.

So yeah, I did get hired. And this is the most interesting part of this story.

We sat down in one of the table, she talked shit about the employment procedure at the restaurant. And finally she said, “I’ve talked to other waiters and barista… they like working with you. But I actually don’t. Well anyway, you’re hired and you can start next week.”

This is my chance, I said to myself. I had to give this asshole a lesson she’d never forget. So I told her, “Oh, the feeling is mutual. I like everyone here but you.”

“Excuse me?” she looked surprised.

I continued, “Thanks for hiring me, but no… I’m not taking the job. I have a standard, and my standard says I’m not gonna work with you. Now excuse me.”

I left her speechless, and I was happy as hell. Not entirely happy, because I actually wanted to work there. Every staff was nice to me, and the salary is good. But I’m not coming to this beautiful city to work under her thumb. Life isn’t all about setting target; it’s also about having standard. If something doesn’t fulfill my standard, so no… I’m not gonna take it. And as a boss, Grace is below my standard.

I’m not coming to this beautiful city to work under her thumb. Life isn’t all about setting target; it’s also about having standard. If something doesn’t fulfill my standard, so no… I’m not gonna take it. And as a boss, Grace is below my standard.

However I’m glad that I did that. Now I work at Meriton Serviced Apartment as a room attendant. My job is to make the hotel rooms presentable for the guest. I make up the bed, stock the amenities & mini bar, and make the whole room smell good. I like the job. The supervisors are nice, and the working environment is pleasant (although most staffs can’t really speak English). Most importantly, no one will treat me like how Grace did.

Everyday is Sunday in the Whitsundays

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I thought I was dreaming.

Last week I saw the most insane nature view I’ve ever seen in my life. That shit’s called Whitsunday Islands, located in the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, northeastern Australia. It’s widely known as the whitest beach in the world, with a photogenic sand texture, dancing sexily in the clear blue water. And it’s way prettier to be seen from up in the air.

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See? I don’t lie.

But actually, the highlight of my trip was not the scenery. It was the three-day boat cruise I took to get to the beach. It was my first liveaboard experience, and I really enjoyed it. I’d been wanting to do liveaboard since years ago, especially when I went to Komodo Islands, Indonesia in December 2013. But I didn’t have the money. So last month when I planned my trip to the Whitsundays, I said to myself this time it’s got to happen. Because it’s rumored to be the best sailing spot in the world.

I believed it is. Because the Great Barrier Reef’s the largest living thing on Earth, and even visible from outer space. There are 600 types of coral, countless colorful fishes, starfishes, turtles, dolphins, and even sharks. So I did a little research and found this cruise boat. It was $309 for a three-day overnight sailing in the Whitsundays, including a single bed, meals, and snorkeling gears.

I booked it, and it was one of my best decisions ever… although at first I was a little nervous as I’m probably gonna be the only solo traveler on board. I bet other passengers would travel with their friends or significant other. I was afraid I’d spend the phone-less overnight trip without talking to nobody. I was also afraid it would be a party boat where everyone gets really drunk and dances all night long with super loud music. But none of those shits happened. It was a really fun trip, probably my best Australian experience.

That afternoon I boarded to the boat… and yes, everyone was with their companies. But they’re so friendly, it was so easy to start conversation with them. The boat left the harbor to the beautiful ocean; we played music and ate foods and drunk beers together over a stunning sunset, and I didn’t have any awkward moment at all. I met Jan from Germany, Kristi & Steph from New Zealand, Alice & Phillie from the UK, and shared my room with Ciro from Italy and Marc & Adrià from Spain. We took selfies, played games & cards, and stargazed the whole night.

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Couldn’t ask for better cruising mates!

Stargazing, that’s one of my favorite parts of the cruise. The sky was so clear, we could even see the milky way with our naked eyes. And that night I saw a shooting star for the first time in my life. It was amazing. I knew right at the moment that it would be stored in my core memory. And when I woke up in the morning, I saw turtles. Not just one, but three. Swimming around our boat.

The underwater view was cool. We went snorkeling on the second day and saw lots of awesome stuff. My favorite is napoleon fish, an extremely huge fish (half size of human body) who’s always hungry. Our captain and boat crew threw some bread to the water where we swam, and they came to us. They’re not afraid of humans, we could even pat them! Maybe the friendliest water creature I know. And they looked beautiful.

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Napoleon fish, taken by one of my cruising mates.

Speaking about the beach, now I honestly don’t know where to find a prettier one. Whitehaven is mindblowing. That morning we arrived there around 7.30 am. I was so stunned by the color, both sand and water.

I walked down to the east part of the beach, and I saw two girls from my both was hanging out there. Jessie and Valerie, from Holland. We only spoke briefly the day before. I said hi, and we ended up spending the three hour beach time together, talking about this and that, and hiking up all the way to the lookout point.

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Beach buddies!

I’m glad that I met these beautiful souls. We were also hanging out together after the boat trip finished. We went to a bar (with other cruising mates) for an after party, and the next day we went to the beach lagoon to swim in the rain and ate pizza. It was sad when I had to say goodbye to them. Jessie said she wished she could bring me to travel with her; oh I wanted that too, but too bad our paths lead to different directions. But I’m sure they’ll cross again one day. In Sydney, or maybe in Holland.

So yeah, it was a happy week. I feel so recharged. I don’t know what I did right in the past to make me deserve all of those good things. I really want to be back to the Whitsundays as I write this piece of shit. And I strongly recommend you to go there! You know, because Australia is so much more than just Melbourne and Sydney.

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My squad is better than yours!


Wanna see more pics and videos from my cruising trip? Go to my Steller account now!