So it has been almost 4 months since we made “the big move” so I am starting to feel like I am getting into the swing of things here, and honestly it feels like we have been here longer.
I figured now would be a good time to share some of my observations thus far in a bullet-ed list. Because I love a good list.
- Coffee- I had no idea that coffee was such a big deal here. So far I have seen two Starbucks in Brisbane (according to google there are three total), and there are over 2 million people in this city. There are super cute little coffee shops EVERYWHERE. They take their coffee seriously and you can’t just order a black coffee without getting a strange look in return. You order a long black, flat white, latte etc. Here’s a helpful guide to ordering coffee in Australia that I found online.
- No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service- This rule does not apply here. You see bare feet everywhere- the grocery store, the mall, restaurants… I saw a guy checking out at the Big W (similar to Wal-Mart) wearing only his board shorts. This is one cultural norm I do not think we will be adopting.
- Active Lifestyle- People here live very active lives. Everywhere you look people are riding bikes, walking and running. We live right on the river and by 6:30 every morning there is practically a traffic jam there are so many people out and about.
- Work to Live not Live to Work- This is something I really admire about their culture, they are not a country of workaholics. It can be frustrating when you are used to the fast paced environment of the United States though. Most places open early and are closed early. Even the shops in the mall close at 5 except one night a week. Cafes and restaurants often open early for breakfast (around 6am) and are closed by 3:30. People also take off 4 or 5 weeks at a time to travel and go on vacation- which seems so crazy to me. I guess when you live so far away you have to make the most of your vacations. I mean- have you seen the price tag on a flight to/from Australia?!
- Speaking of Prices…- This place isn’t cheap. I get excited if I can get away with spending less than $15 on lunch (without a drink), a Chipotle style burrito bowl is about $14 without the extras, you can get $2 sushi rolls at a lot of places though. According to Numbeo, Brisbane has a Cost of Living Index of 101.6 which puts it just ahead New York City (100) and just below fellow Aussie city Sydney (107). I have discovered one thing that is cheaper- the movies. We can go to the movie theater for $8 a ticket here. We also learned that movies are not a very popular pastime as we were some of the only audience members to a Saturday night showing. Oh and they don’t really check your tickets either so if you feel like being sneaky I guess you could get away with spending even less 😉 You can see more average prices in Brisbane on this website and even compare them to other cities if you are curious.
- Quality of Life- On that same website they have a quality of life index based on several indicators including safety, health care and pollution. Brisbane did well on that index scoring a 167 out of 200. People here just seem happier, it could have to do with all of the sunshine or shorter work hours, but is definitely a happy place to live. People here are very laid back and friendly- which has made our transition pretty smooth.