Before leaving Scotland my sister reminded me of some very wise words my grandpa once told us: “Say yes to every opportunity that’s offered to you as you never know what great friendships or chances it might present.” Of all the advice I was given before leaving, this certainly proved to be the best!
First stop on my journey to Sydney was Brisbane where my sister and boyfriend live and work. Although I moved to Australia to be independent, my sister provided the perfect safety net to ease me into my life changing move while I searched for employment in Sydney. Luckily, I was offered a job within the first couple of weeks and so I was forced to remove myself from the security of my sister’s hospitality before I became too at home!
Moving to Sydney with no friends, accommodation or knowledge of the city (I had never even been to Australia before), I was determined to put my grandpa’s motto in to practice and so, armed with my empty address book, I set about making the city my home. I set myself three goals. 1/ To find a group of friends 2/ To find a flat 3/ To love life and embrace every new experience!
I quickly realised the true meaning of my grandpa’s words on my second night in the city. While meeting my new employer for Friday afternoon drinks, as a way of introduction before my start date the following week, my soon-to-be colleague Lucinda invited me to dinner in Chinatown with her and her four friends that evening. Although I wasn’t sure whether she offered me to come along out of pity, or if she was genuinely keen for me to come along, I jumped at the chance and let my pride and awkwardness take a back seat.
By saying ‘yes’ to the opportunity I met a fantastic group of girls who have turned out to be some of my closest circle of friends, achieving my first goal in only two days! What’s more, three of the girls were looking for a new flatmate and so asked if I wanted to see the flat the next day. Again, I grabbed the offer and so by day three I not only had friends, but I also had a beautiful flat close to the city centre – Success!
It quickly became apparent to me that it was only by embracing change and seizing opportunities, even if I felt like a spare part (!), that I could really get the most out of my experiences and feel like I ‘belonged’. What’s more, with a new group of friends I was keen to make an impression with I became more aware of myself and how I acted, often asking myself ‘would I be friends with me’? As the saying goes, ‘you can never make a first impression twice’ and so I was careful to treat others as I myself wanted to be treated. In so many cases, you often take friends and family for granted and it’s not until you meet someone new that you stop and think how you are perceived.
Recounting my first couple of weeks in Sydney has made me realise that when you have no safety net to support you, it’s surprising how much more you adapt to an environment, involve yourself in your surroundings and keep your eyes open to new opportunities.
Now, six months on Sydney is my second home and I can whole heartedly say that I love life in this vibrant, diverse city and have my grandpa and those around me who have encouraged me, both home and away, to thank.
So, why not embrace those scary opportunities that present themselves to you, take a chance and believe in yourself. As the Zen saying so perfectly sums up “Jump and the net will appear”!