real life

"I moved to Sydney for my dream job, and had an emotional breakdown in Officeworks."

Moving to a new city and starting fresh was basically the plot of every movie I loved when I was growing up. It was the stuff of dreams.

It turns out moving to a new city in real life can be an absolute nightmare when you factor in a heatwave, a stinky apartment, some very judgmental possums, and a cockroach infestation.

A couple of weeks ago I packed up my belongings, said goodbye to my family and friends, and moved to Sydney for my dream job.

It was Friday the 13th and the hottest January day on record. ‘What could possibly go wrong?’ I asked. ‘This is an adventure’, I told myself.


moving country city
I had the cockroaches to prove it. Image via Comedy Central.

I turned up at my new apartment, in the stinking heat, to discover it hadn't been cleaned since the last tenant moved out. And it stank. SO BAD.

At one point I thought it could have been the musty remains of the last tenant, who I decided to call 'Dave', so I searched all the cupboards for the rotting corpse of 'Dave', or possibly a possum, but came up empty.

That's when I realised I was dealing with the ingrained filth of someone who'd just lived there and never cleaned. And I had the cockroaches to prove it. Bloody Dave.

My bedroom seemed to be the least offensive on the nose, so I decided I would just hide in there and 'Dave' could have the rest of the place.

At this point, surrounded by my unpacked belongings, I started to think that I had made a terrible mistake. I had swapped my easy life in the country for this crappy little apartment in the city. And I was paying almost double for it.

Some tips on making friends as an adult on The Well. (Post continues after audio.)

Then my mind started racing with all of the anxious thoughts everybody has when they move to a new city: will I make friends? What if I miss my train on Monday morning? Will everyone in my old life forget about me? Where's the supermarket? How do I stop this global warming thingy? I'm never going to be able to afford to buy property in Sydney. Can cockroaches eat you alive? Are my nipples too big?


I spent most of my first night engaged in a staring competition with some very judgmental possums that were scratching around in the tree outside, waiting for the temperature to drop so I could get some sleep. It never did and I'm pretty sure at some point the possums were talking about me.

The next morning I went out and bought myself a portable air conditioner. I lugged that 35 kilo bastard up three flights of stairs, stopping after each step to sob dramatically for a few seconds before continuing, then I plugged it in and turned it on.

And it was AMAZING. At that moment in time, that air conditioner was the best thing that ever happened to me.

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I will settle in, I will make friends, my nipples are fine, I've found the supermarket. Image via FOX.

After a few hours in air conditioned comfort, I was feeling much better and I could start to see how irrational my behaviour the night before was. It was so bad that I almost wanted to apologise to the possums. Almost.

Since then, my new life in Sydney has followed that pattern. I'll have a couple of really good days and then one shitstorm of a day where I'll question all my life choices that led me up to this point.

And then I realise that I'm a crazy lady who's crying in public and pull myself together again.

Just last night I decided to 'pop down' to Officeworks to buy a wall adapter for my internet. And that's when I learnt that you can't just 'pop down' to anywhere in Sydney.

After driving across three suburbs, doing a 83 point turn in a cramped car park, eventually parking two kilometers down the road and legging to Officeworks, I found myself close to tears, sculling way too much of the free water, and resembling Honey Boo Boo's mother.

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YEP. Image via TLC.

But I pulled myself together and today is a better day.

These are the things no one ever warns you about when you're moving to a new city. It's bloody hard. It's even harder when you get older and you don't have that eternal optimism of being in your early 20s, and you know, first hand, all about the shitty things that can happen to you.

I never thought I would say that I miss the country, but I do. Life is much easier in the country, but there are also a lot less opportunities.

I'm sure people who move from the city to the country have an adjustment period, too. They probably find themselves asking why everyone is walking so slow and why they can't find any decent dumplings.

But things do get easier. I'm two weeks in and I'm able to write this post and laugh about it. I will settle in, I will make friends, my nipples are fine, I've found the supermarket.

Plus, if I get really lonely, I'll always have the possums. And the cockroaches. And 'Dave'.