|The Stark Cup by El Gris|
- It's going to get cold -- real cold so prepare accordingly. Because the winters here in Sydney are really cold and the summers can get really hot (apparently can be 40 degrees celsius) the apartment units usually have just enough insulation to keep the warmth in and ventilation to get the hot air out. Be sure you find a place that either has a gas line (ours doesn't) so that you can put in (or use) gas-powered heating.
- Dress appropriately. Winter doesn't bring snow -- as far as I can tell -- but it will get real cold and potentially wet with rain. It pays to have boots or leak-proof leather shoes (which I don't have). Rubber shoes will insulate your feet from the cold but it will not stand the test of water. If you can get your tush in a trench coat that would be a lot better -- preferably one that has thick lining and maybe leather or wool outside.
- Bring an umbrella -- always. I've experienced this past week the best and worst of Sydney weather that so far haven't broken me but has caused me to just really make an umbrella my best friend. You can never tell when water decides to pour so always just bring an umbrella.
- You have a choice on utility providers, so do your homework. It pays to know how much installation fees are and whether there are any "surprise" charges that might show up when signing up for phone service, electricity service, gas, or cable. I've been so used to not having a choice in the Philippines that it's both refreshing and confusing to see people competing to provide you with landline phone service, cable television, gas, and electricity.
- Learn the bus and train routes -- it will save your life. Knowing how to get around is vital to a city like Sydney and especially if you don't have a car yet (like me) then you'll need to internalize and learn the routes. It can get confusing the first 20 times you look at the map but it will save you time and effort to learn the routes you need to know to get home and into the city easily.
- Keep warm by staying close to loved ones. Be warned: it can get boring and monotonous even in Sydney where there's a lot of things you can do. But being alone here will just cause you to question your very existence. Be with loved ones to keep your internal warm and fuzzies going to make your winter a little less expensive (with heating) and miserable.
- Be friendly. If you're an introvert and/or anti-social, you will die alone and freezing here. Make friends and see #6 above. Seriously, life is too short to spend without friends.
I think I have a few more items to write about but I'll save those for when I have a theme to go on. Winter is really getting to me but hopefully I can get through this one and be better prepared for the next ones to come.
Anything you think I missed? Let me know, this country boy from the Philippines would really like to know how people survive the cold here without bleeding your bank accounts dry.
Cheers from down under.