Canberra is well and truly attracting the eyes of many people from all over Australia and the world.
Can you blame them?
It’s a place of brilliant possibilities; where leading research, business, education, and creative arts takes place. Not to mention it’s the world’s most liveable city; it’s easy, fast and affordable. What more could you want?
These are some of the qualities Laura Backhouse took for granted when she lived in the nation’s capital, only to leave them behind for the hustle and bustle of Sydney. After moving away from her hometown, Laura finds herself longing for a bit more Canberra in Sydney.
This is her story.
When I packed up my Canberra life to move to Sydney I was so excited by what I thought I would gain – increased late night food options, a beach and trains as transport – that I forgot to spare a thought for what it was that I was giving up.
Now, twelve months into my Sydney life I am still coming to terms with what I gave up and some of the under-appreciation I had for my home city.
Often you don’t know what you have until you give it up, and that’s certainly the case for me.
Here are the top five things I miss about life in Canberra.
1. Autumn who?
People in Sydney don’t know what autumn is. What was my favourite season in Canberra is just not a thing in Sydney. It doesn’t exist and it isn’t talked about. The magic of Canberra is you get to feel all four seasons distinctly – spring, summer, autumn and winter. The leaves change, the leaves drop, the greenness grows and then the flowers pop and you can feel it all. This is one loss I don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with.
2. The spontaneous pop
“How about I pop over in five?” says no one in Sydney, ever. Nothing in Sydney takes five minutes. The ability to ‘pop’ places doesn’t exist – parking, traffic and practicality are all barriers to the wonderful ‘pop down to the shops’ or over to a friends place. Next time you drive to Dickson shops on a weekend afternoon and seamlessly find a park, spare a thought for your Sydney friends who are probably doing their tenth trip around the block.
3. The ‘bush’ in Bush capital
Nature and the bush is not just part of Canberra’s interface. It is intertwined with the DNA of the city and those in it. A true Canberran accepts following a kangaroo down Anzac Parade as a normality. While I don’t miss dodging wildlife while driving, I do miss the tranquillity offered by a quick trek up one of the local mountains.
4. The Canberra dialect
There is a familiarity in the conversations you hear about town in Canberra, that only those in Canberra will understand. From public service lingo and acronyms abound to one-degree of separation chitchat, it’s something I never thought I would miss but definitely do. Only in Canberra is the term ‘sky whale’ not met with quizzical looks, and there is something very charming about that.
5. The laksa at the Asian Noodle House
You know what I’m talking about.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t have any misgivings about moving.
However, I have realised that deep in my heart will forever be the heart of the nation.