Life in Sydney

I took a look at my phone today, accidentally noticing the date – July 25. Come on, seriously? Is it true that it’s been a month since I came over to Down Under and 3 weeks since I moved to Sydney? I scrolled down though my calendar and – yes! I’m celebrating my first month in Australia. One month living here and yet, no sign of a snake or even a spider.

Accept for the fake one, at the sight of which I screamed and ran away.

Moving out from Cairns was good decision. I still remember how insecure I was when buying ticket to this huge city, so scary of all the expenses people were warning me about. What if I won’t find a job? What if I won’t find a place to stay? Will I have enough money to sustains myself? I didn’t take any winter clothes with me! So many doubts and what ifs, luckily none of them came out to be true; room, where I live, I found right the next day after arriving to Sydney, my current job –  the day after that. Despite that living conditions are far away from being perfect (I share the flat with 13 other people) and stress regardless my first bartending job – I think I did pretty well.

I do like Sydney even thou it’s pretty crowded. I live right in the heart of the city, in district called CBD (Central Business District). It’s like Manhattan of Sydney. Huge skyscrapers that literally takes over the entire sky, and way too small sidewalks, not being able to fit in all the people. As I walk down the George Street, I have to wrap my scarf a little bit tighter because the sun doesn’t reach that far down. According to Google, my work place is roughly 25 min away from my home. According to myself, I have to leave few minutes earlier to make it on time because Google maps doesn’t include rushing-nowhere, slow-walking people. It’s like the city isn’t really adapted to so many people walking on sidewalks. I’m not a fast-walker myself, although either I just became one, or everyone else walks very slowly.

My job isn’t too complicated. I’m pouring beers, mixing vodka with soda and doing my best trying to understand hundreds of accent from all over the World. I’d like to think that I’m doing better than when I was just starting – at least I know names of beers we have on tap. Sometimes there are lazy shifts, where my biggest entertainment is polishing glasses, but some other nights, when we broadcast Irish games on TV – pub is filled with fans who fill themselves with drinks.

It happens, that at some point someone had one too many and it is my job to make sure, there won’t be any more of alcohol served for him or her. Australian law is very strict about serving alcohol to intoxicated person. That’s why, before you start your waiting or bartending job – you have to make RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) license.

You have two ways of getting your RSA: you can make it online or appear in person and spend few hours listening to bartending savoir-vivre (while choosing your online course make sure the website is not a scam!). Despite of very tempting vision of spending Saturday in bed, I decided to wake up early morning, to find myself ready for the lecture at 8:30. During 6 hours course you will learn about Australian drinking problem among young (mostly, but not only) people, ways how to recognize intoxicated person and regulations regardless serving alcohol at certain hours.

If you think you won’t ever use this knowledge while working – let me just tell you: yes, you will. No more shots after midnight followed by only 4 drinks sold for one person, no re-entering the pub after 1:30 am, and after 2 am, you can’t sell more than 2 drinks for one client.

For me – someone who was born and raised in Poland, country where you can easily buy alcohol 24/7 on petrol stations, all these rules sounded a bit too much. Before starting my bartending job I believed that every adult has common sense and know when to stop, but after my first few shifts I had plenty occasions to say:

You’ve had enough, I won’t be serving you anymore.

Some people understand what I mean, they say nothing, just grab their things and leave the place. Unfortunately, most of them will try to prove me wrong and when I’m still not bending, they will ask their friend to buy drinks for them. In this case, when any of bar or floor staff, notice someone who’s been ‘cut off’ drinking – they have to report it either to the manager on duty or security guy. Intoxicated person along with their friend will be asked to leave the venue.

Never have I ever worked as bartender before but as Monika said:

Come on, there’s nothing complicated in pouring beers – I managed to learn everything.

I was stressed out on the beginning as I wasn’t familiar with any of beers (accept for Heineken and Guinness), and spirit names were nothing more but black magic. If you would have asked me what’s the difference between Scotch and Bourbon and I’d say it’s the same thing. Now, at least I know what to do when I hear:

JD and coke, please.

I mostly work evening shifts which means that on weekends I finish pretty late. Walking home is my favourite part of the day. At 3 am streets are empty. I’m not in the rush so I’m enjoying my time with the city. Usually I’m on the phone with N., for whom the evening has just begun. Because of 7 hours difference, we don’t have much time to talk during the day. The night is ours to catch up a little.


I’m back in the apartment around 3:30 and the party is still on. I’m politely saying hello to those I know and the rest I’ve never seen before and slowly moving towards my room.

Living with 13 other people isn’t exactly my dream come true. I’m already past through crazy party phase and now, as an old fart, I prefer to occasionally drink glass of wine or simply stay home eating chocolate. Most of my roomies are either in their late teens or in their early 20s so they want to have fun and create crazy stories to tell friends back home, which I totally understand. While looking for a place to stay in Sydney, my priority was to live in the city centre and not pay much. As these two don’t really go together – this is how I ended up living in a place that resemble more of a hostel than an actual flat.


Conclusion: First month in Australia has gone faster than I thought. My life isn’t crazy at all, I don’t really sightsee, I just live day by day, looking forward to new adventures. I’m happy with the job I found so I’ll try to save some money.

When I decided to move to Sydney I heard that it’s not worth it; too big, too expensive, too… meh in every possible way. I’m glad I didn’t listen. I believe some things are just meant to happen, some places are meant to be visited just like some people are meant to cross our path. Sydney is going to be my home for next 5 months. Maybe my living conditions are not the best and I won’t make millions of dollars, but I’ll still have something that no one will take away from me – great adventure.

Leave a Reply