Oh yeah, it's super beautiful here.

As I approach the one month mark since my arrival in Australia, I thought it would be fun to share some of the things I’ve observed about this country that I find interesting!

  1. Rock Pools

Almost every beach I’ve been to so far has had a pool built into the rocks that takes in seawater, creating a swimming area that is protected from the waves. I know there are a couple of these in California, but here it seems to be a staple for most beach areas, at least in New South Wales. The pools are public and blend in pretty seamlessly with the natural surroundings, and they seem to be useful for swimming laps or for little children learning to swim. I actually haven’t gone into any yet, because I like bodysurfing and swimming through waves, but I definitely will take a dip soon!=

  1. Cockatoos

I’m sure that at some point during my childhood education, I learned that Cockatoo birds are native to Australia, but somewhere along the way, that fun fact must have gotten lost. The first time I saw a Cockatoo, I thought it was an escaped pet! I was staring and taking photos, and stopped a guy walking by me to see if he shared my excitement. He was like, “Yeah, it’s a Cockatoo, whatever,” and I realized that it wasn’t special to see one. Apparently they are as common as seagulls or pigeons here. Since then, I’ve seen like 500, but I still get excited seeing their little mohawks!

  1. Abbreviations

In Australia, EVERYTHING is abbreviated. Whether it’s the name of a neighborhood, the name of your friend, or even stores and restaurants, it will be shortened in some way. I knew a lot of them before coming over, just from chatting with Australians over the years (and listening to the WSL webcasts), but I had no clue they are officially-unofficial for some things - like Salvation Army thrift shops are called “Salvo’s” even on the signs in from of the stores. An actual Australian sentence could be, “Let’s chuck a sickie, head to Macca’s and grab a cuppa and some avo toast this arvo, then stop at the bottle-o and get some tinnys for an evening seshie,” which translates to, “Let’s call in sick, head to McDonalds and get a cup of tea and some avocado toast this afternoon, then stop at the bottle shop and get some canned beers for an evening drinking session.”

  1. The DMV

The New South Wales RMS (Roads and Maritime Services) is equivalent to the DMV, and I’ve stopped in twice when purchasing my van and transferring the registration or “rego.” You check in on a little machine, and get a ticket, and wait about three to five minutes before being helped. Then, the person working will be very helpful and happy to answer any questions you have, unbothered by your ignorant and obvious American-ness. But yeah, three to five minutes. I’ll leave it at that.

  1. The People

Last but not least, the people in Australia are SO nice. Everyone that I have met has been so friendly and welcoming - sometimes I’ll talk to someone for just a few minutes and feel like I’ve already known them for years. It actually reminds me a lot of how friendly everyone is in Encinitas, but they might even surpass us in charm! I’ve gotten so much help from complete strangers who really just want to make sure that I am doing OK, for no reason other than genuine kindness. My car battery ran out, and an Uber driver took time out of his work day to help me jump it! I’ve been told that as I road trip out of the city and into the country, people will get even nicer, which is hard for me to imagine!