Saturday, 28 August 2010

You know you live in Sydney when...

Approaching Luna Park on the ferry
Just following up on my week of Sydney posts, here's something to chuckle over this weekend. An e-mail on this topic did the rounds some years ago which I've updated and altered, based on our experiences. Some of it is my promised 'what I don't miss about Sydney' list but there are also some things I do miss. Enjoy!

You know you live in Sydney when:

1.    You make over $100,000 a year and still can't afford a house.

2.   You never bother looking at the train timetable because you know the drivers haven't seen it.

3.    You spend more money on your coffee machine than on your washing machine. 

4.    If you stay in a job for more than two years, you're considered unambitious or lazy.

5.    You contemplate calling a taxi from your home to where you managed to park the car the night before.

6.    You slip over on the jacaranda flowers littering the footpath in summer.
A common summer sight
7.    You spend 30 minutes in a traffic jam next to a car with more power to its speakers than its wheels.

8.    You smell the sweet scent of jasmine and know that summer has arrived.

9.    Your taxi driver was a micro-surgeon before he moved to Australia.

10.   A really great parking space in the city can move you to tears.

11.   'Going to the shops' means a 30 minute drive and that seems close.

12.   You have to arrange a 'casual' catchup with friends two months in advance (because they're booked out until then).

13.   You spend $50 on a bunch of flowers which only lasts two days due to the humidity.

14.   Your 13 km bus trip in the 'bus lane' to get to work in the city can take 1 ½ hours.
What a misnomer - it's filled with four wheel drives carrying only the driver. Oh, and the occasional bus.
15.    It costs $26 to park for one hour in a city carpark.

16.    You go to Centennial Park on Mother's Day for a spontaneous picnic and find half of Sydney has had the same idea.

17.    Letting your friends into the queue in front of you can result in threats to your person by the person behind you. Repeated ones.

18.   You wonder why so many people have dead trees in their gardens and then when summer arrives, you realise they are actually frangipani trees.
Just glorious
19.   You attend an auction and the house is sold for at least $100,000 more than the advertised reserve price. On a good day.

20.   Enrolling your newly conceived child at daycare (under 'Name: to be advised') still doesn't guarantee them a place.  By the time they turn two.

21.   You arrive to collect your child at daycare at 6.05 pm and have to pay $10 before your child will be released to you.

22.   Only after paying a non-refundable fee of at least $3,000 can your child be guaranteed a place at a private school. In 2018.

23.   Once your child starts at that private school in 2018, it will cost you at least $20,000 a year (in today's dollars). That's before you add the cost of uniforms and other activities. Per child. In after tax dollars. Don't forget to make a donation to the building fund, either.
St Ignatius College, Riverview
24.   You overhear a mother on the Lane Cove bus telling someone that her son attends boarding school in the next suburb (see Riverview above) and enjoys his visits 'home' on the weekend (here I was thinking that boarding houses were for country children).

25.   You actually consider converting to Catholicism to get a place at a good school for your child.

26.    You rent in the catchment area of a school in order to get your child a place there.

27.    Buying your own house is only possible if you have won Lotto, inherited family money, are a 'colourful Sydney identity' or work at Macquarie Bank.
A Hunters Hill waterfront mansion. What's not to like?
28.    Announcing you are having a third child results in people saying a. "You've very brave. We couldn't afford it." or b. "Haven't you heard about contraception?".

29.    You decide to go away for a holiday on the long weekend and spend one day getting there, one day there and one day returning.

30.     Your return trip home on the Pacific Highway includes a 20 km traffic jam starting at Bulahdelah. With small children and no food or drink. Or clean nappies.

31.     Your elective caesarean date moves according to the obstetrician's children's school holidays or golfing commitments.

32.     Your parking fine costs as much as a week's groceries.

33.     Buying an unrenovated three bedroom house on a small block in an insalubrious area and near a major arterial road costs at least $750,000 - if you're really lucky.

34.     You get honked at for waiting at the traffic lights when the light only turned green a fraction of a second ago.
I swear, it only turned green half a second ago!
 35.     You realise that 'water glimpses of Sydney Harbour' in a real estate advertisement really means that if you stand on the toilet seat in high heels, you'll see a flash of blue in the distance.

36.     You can't believe a government announcement about a new infrastructure project as a. it's already been announced three times before or b. the government never fulfils its promises so it probably won't happen.

37.    You have girlfriends who are in their 30s, attractive, have lots of life experience, have travelled, earn at least $100,000 a year and still can't find boyfriends.

38.     Your only unmarried friends who could be possible partners for those girlfriends are gay.

39.     You have to make 19 phone calls before you can find a private obstetrician to deliver your first child. It happened to a friend of mine. Really.    

40.     A train breakdown on the Sydney Harbour Bridge causes a five hour public transport meltdown across the whole network as the trains grind to a halt. With the passengers trapped inside.
Just pray you're never in the train which breaks down on the Harbour Bridge
41.      The next day the responsible Minister blames the breakdown on a possum getting into a fuse box. And doesn't apologise to the public for the inconvenience.

42.       You decide to drive down to the Eastern Suburbs to watch the start of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race and by the time you arrive, 'Nokia' is crossing the finish line in Hobart. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration but it is likely that you'll be stuck in traffic when the starting gun fires.

43.       You realise that the car parked with hazard lights doesn't require assistance - the owner has just ducked into the shop to buy some milk.

44.       You sit under Mrs Macquarie's Chair at the Open Air Cinema on a balmy summer evening to watch a film and thank your lucky stars you live in Sydney.
The ultimate summer thrill
45.       You take a long cut via the North Shore and the Gladesville Bridge rather than pay the $4 Harbour Bridge toll.

46.       The only time Sydneysiders seem to notice the presence of the Sydney Swans is if they're playing in the Grand Final. Then everyone's an expert.
The famous 2005 victory
47.       The first question you're asked when people meet you is "Where do you live?". Based on that information, they will probably make quick assumptions about your income level, political leanings and whether it's worth getting to know you.

48.       You find out more about your friends on Facebook status updates than you do in real life as you're too busy to meet up with each other that often.

49.      You forget to ask the waiter for tap water and end up being charged $20 for a bottle of French still water. That really happened to us once.

50.      You have to move interstate to buy a reasonable house, find places at inexpensive private schools and babysitters who don't charge $20 an hour. Okay, well, that was just us!

I'm sure there are plenty more you could think up. Why don't you join in the fun and add some as comments? Let's see who can come up with the funniest one!

* Rewound on Weekend Rewind  at Life in a Pink Fibro on 26 November 2010.


  1. oh jane that is the funniest thing I've read in a long time...............because it's so true!!!!! oh my I can relate to so much of that but I must say I'm catholic so I do have my children down for some amazing schools (ok with $3k deposits) but reasonable fees compared to their rivals!

    the thing my husband and I always laugh about is that we used to dream about owning a $1m home growing up but the thing is that now it will get you a little fibro/weatherboard in our area!!!!!

    just hilarious - forwarding to my husband now!


  2. So pleased it made you smile, Corrie :) Your posts do it for me most days so I'm pleased to return the favour. Yes, once the pixies arrived, we realised it was going to be tough to make it on our own in Sydney. The private schools down here cost less than half as much. We're still holding onto our place in Ryde for a while longer so haven't found out how far our money will go here. No doubt it will go further than in Sydney! J x

  3. Hello Jane

    This is such a great post and all so true!

    We laugh about how we used to buy Dutch cream potatoes in punnets for about $12 when we lived in Sydney.

    Thank you so much for your lovely comment.

  4. Hi Michelle

    Thanks! I thought you might relate, having made the change for a quieter life down here. Ah yes, and don't even get me started on having to pay $42 a kilo for Tasmanian flathead!

    It's my pleasure. I look forward to your posts.

    J x

  5. Funny thing is Jane, you could be talking about Brisbane.. hence the reason we are seriously contemplating leaving... sort of forever. Our city grinds to a holt when one car breaks down. Parking in the city - $50 for 2 hours. 30 mins to travel 5 km to local school... all of the above? .. tick! ... oh and the humidity for 9 months of the year?... we're going! A-M xx

  6. Oh, really, A-M? How interesting. I haven't been to Brisbane for years so didn't realise it's also straining under the weight of the population. When we hear about the extra population which is expected to flock to Sydney in the next 20 years or so, we realise we've made our getaway at the right time. Best of luck with making your decision. J x

  7. My parents moved our family from Sydney to Hobart 20yrs ago and all their friends thought they were mad. But I just love Tassie! I did miss Sydney initially but that was only because I was a teenager and had to leave all my friends behind.

    When we do go back for the occasional visit now I just can't believe people live there. I love Sydney and all the things you can do there, the harbour, the shopping, the jacarandas, the smell of jasmin in the air and lots of other things you mentioned Jane, but they are far outwayed by all the hassles. The traffic, the humidity, the time it takes you to get anywhere.

    We are so lucky to live in Hobart, on a quiet 1500m2 square block with bush views which cost us $80k in 2004! Plus we're only 7-10mins from anywhere. I love Sydney for a visit but I love calling Hobart home! Great post Jane xo

  8. Thanks, Sonia! Glad it triggered some memories for you. Leaving it behind was a big call, especially as Ian was offered the job just days after Sam was born (I'm definitely doing a post on that one!). But you're right, Hobart is certainly much more family and lifestyle friendly. It sounds like you got into the market at the right time - it would cost that much to landscape some Sydney gardens! J x

  9. I was born in Sydney and as much as I love to visit I am glad we moved to Brisbane. Having said that there will always be a piece of me there. Left behind.

  10. I know what you mean, Simone. That's the part I'm still coming to grips with...J x

  11. I rather miss Sydney! Although your list did make me laugh and it is all sadly so true there is something about a bigger city that I just love. Although we used to pay 'guess the price' when shopping at our local Oxford St deli in Paddo - yes you can pay thirty dollars for cheddar and tomatoes! I imagine if we return it won't be to Paddington... I have fallen in love with my driveway in Auckland!

  12. I agree, Ann. I miss the energy and enthusiasm which really struck us when we arrived from sleepy little Hobart. The place has a certain vitality which I really miss. Ah yes, we baulked at paying $42 a kilo for Tasmanian flathead! I'm not surprised - your neighbourhood looks divine! J x

  13. Fantastic post Jane. Covers off most of my love/hate relationship with the place. Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro. :-)

  14. Classic! Now I am starting to wonder why I live in Sydney!!! x

  15. That could have been my list! We lived in Sydney for 3 years and WOW just so very different from sleepy Perth! Culture shock was an understatement! and yes, I was trying to get The Son into Riverview.... trying being the operative word.

  16. Too funny, ladies. I was inwardly groaning as I wrote it from faraway Hobart. It is such a complex city to live in - I agree about the love/hate relationship, Allison. That said, there is so much I miss about the place. I can't wait for our (well overdue) next visit. J x

  17. That is priceless! So, so true as well! Brilliant work Jane! x

  18. Ha, Em! I thought you'd appreciate it ☺. J x

  19. This is so good Jane. I grew up in Sydney, although born in Melbourne, so I am more of a Sydneysider. Yes I miss it. There is certainly a big difference between Sydney and the village where I have been living which has 1500 people. It takes a bit of getting used to.

  20. Thanks, Cathy! So glad you enjoyed it. Goodness, that is a change - I thought moving back to Hobart was small enough ☺. J x

  21. As much as i like to think that cities such as Brisbane or Melbourne would be much nicer than Busy old Sydney,i love it ! I was raised here and in my teens i hated it. Couldn't stand it. Everytime we would be out of Sydney i would be like Thank goodness ! Although i grew up in Mount Druitt/Blacktown. That sucked. Thankyou Jane x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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