Top 10 Things I Missed About California

During the first year I moved to Australia,  I started thinking about what I missed from my life back in California.

My friends, my family, and my dog..obviously.

But what was missing from life that Australia could not fulfil?

Australia had beautiful beaches like home, wineries and fresh produce like home…

I realized it was the little things. The little things you never think about until one day you are stuck on a long bus ride and would rather think of anything other than the smell coming from the person in front of you.

So here are some things I missed from living in California:

 Dave & Buster’s

Dave & Buster’s is a bar/restaurant/gaming paradise!!  I spent half of my life religiously playing, eating and drinking at this funtastic place and ignorantly assumed it was all over the world. Unfortunately for me, there was nothing like it out there in Sydney.

Slot machines and gambling lounges were at every corner in the big S, so they took priority when it came to gaming and made me broke!  I wanted nothing more than to shoot some zombies or dinosaurs while sipping on a nice cold beer and high fiving the person next to me like a dork.

In Australia…

Billiards to skeeball to racing to Zombie killing…YOU NAME IT – and they looked at you like huh is that a type of pokie?????? (slot machine)

 Del Taco

Now this one I knew was going to be an issue the second I left sweet California soil. Del Taco had quite the hold over me in my 20’s, especially at the 3am hour.  Some might even have called it my kryptonite or the reason I called in sick the next day.

Carnitas fries, macho burritos, Mexican pizzas, it’s a drunk Hot Messes dream.

There was nothing like it in Sydney. Most 3 am food consisted of kabob stands which were delicious… ohhh were they delicious, way better than Del Taco… but.. but …

They just were not Del Taco! (as I stomp my right foot like a 3-year-old)

I believe it was Einstein that said, “The drunk heart wants what the drunk heart wants!”

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s is by far the best place IN DAAAA WORLD!!! Well after Dave & Busters, of course. I grew up shopping there with my mom to buy chocolate and other things probably but I only remember the important items.  I always dreamt that I would meet my future husband there between the organic chips and Thai curry aisle as I came straight from the gym but still looked hot.  (keyword “dreamt”)

Australia had a store called Thomas Dux which was similar (actually better) but pretty prettttty pricey.

I would have had to meet a rich husband FIRST to be even able to afford groceries there! So ultimately it really contradicted the “meeting the man of my dreams at the market”  scenario, right?

The Imperial Measurement System

Metric vs Imperial - Does Antartica even have a population?

This one killed me. Not because I necessary missed it in the sense I thought about it when I was bored, just in the sense of I never fully understood the damn thing!  I dreamt of miles, and feet and inches sooooooo soooooo badly. I know that sounds like a line from a porn movie but trust me, it was just my calculation struggles in Australia!

AND Celsius? Took me a few years but even then I wore a bikini in a blizzard!

Mexican Food 

Mexican Food, Shrimps, Cuisine, Food, Mexican, Hispanic

Mexican food, good Mexican food in Australia was as rare as my ability to place a lid on anything correctly (very rare).  There were absolutely some amazing Mexican places in Sydney they were just hard to come by unlike California where you find them at every corner. But not only hard to find but more importantly…


And of course along with Mexican food I missed their awesome counterpart…


 Medicine aka DRUGS

Image result for sleeping aid

And no I am not referring to that gram of coke that would have tossed you back $300 or that bag of lettuce they told you was weed. I am talking about normal, over the counter pharmaceuticals! Xanex was basically illegal there. Which is just insane since in Orange Country they labelled it a food group.

But my struggle was with the “normal” drugs.  Over the counter like Tylenol PM to help with sleep. When I couldn’t get it at the pharmacy  I paid 50 bucks to see a doctor and do you know what he prescribed me? Benadryl!!

So unless I was having a sneeze attack in a fabulous field of daisies, the prescription was a bit useless, and obviously also something I could have bought at 711 in Cali.

In-N-Out Burger

Everyone knew this one was coming otherwise I am no Californian. No one moves out of California without thinking if their life would reallyyyy be worth living without the taste of In-N-Out. Delicious double-doubles with grilled onions, animal style fries and a chocolate shake. Nothing tastes quite like it and nothing hits the spot more when craving a burger.

Australia had plenty of bomb burger joints, many even better (shh)! But once again like Del Taco…  it just was not In-n-Out!

Unlimited Mimosas Brunch

Okay, without thinking I am an alcoholic, just know, that unlimited mimosa brunches are a very very popular thing back in California.  It is the star feature of everyone’s, “Sunday Funday”. This involves waking up at 10 am, going to the local bar/pub and for 20 dollars getting all you can drink mimosas + meal and let the road of recovery from the night before begin! In the morning, nothing beats some delicious eggs benedict with a glass of champagne mixed with some fresh squeezed orange juice.

Naked Photo Hunt

Once again since slot machines fueled much of the bars in Aussieland, they didn’t have room for games that wouldn’t produce as much money. This one will be foreign to many people, so just bear with me and hear me out before you think I am a freak! Naked Photo Hunt is a game, a quite popular game ( I think?) in which I have excelled at for many many years. It has not only been one of my best friends at any bar when I use to venture alone, but it also is the gateway to making many new friends. You have to pick out differences in the pictures and this is found at most bars in Cali.

Is the difference a nipple, perhaps the bangs, a heel, who knows???

You can only find out one nipple and one belly button at a time!

Ba Ba Ba Ba Bacon

If I would have known ahead of time that the bacon in Australia was different than home, I would have made sure to smuggle some of that salty goodness in my bra! Though Australia has bacon, duh, they have is a completely different slice of the oinker. It is much closer to ham or dare I say it… Candian bacon!

It didn’t even COMPARE to our fattie indulgence…
Or what most of the world refers to as America in a nutshell!

So that is pretty much the top random things I missed when living down under.

The irony of slightly revamping this post now that I have been back in America for a year is that embarrassingly… I still have not had In-N-Out- or Del Taco.  And I miss crappy Aussie Mexican food and everything else about Australia more than ever!!!!!

Oh, the irony  🙂

Check out this article I wrote so you understand how living in Australia was the best!


  1. This fellow SoCal-raised gal was in Sydney last year and ALL I WANTED was a black iced coffee. No one warned me that they wouldn’t know what the hell I was talking about. It was like torture.

  2. I’m pretty sure Caitrin and I have your photo hunt score beat at the daily dose 🙂

  3. I thought I was the only one that missed the letter “r” while living there. When you pronounce it they look at you like you’re from a different world. I feel you on the coffee predicament too, we just want COFFEE!

  4. Your TUTUS? I’ll take that as meaning ballet tutus. Since the idea of you having a collection of Desmond Tutus is just too weird at 5 in the morning.
    So let’s talk about coffee instead. Admittedly, I only know about coffee in America from ten days spent in LA. But I’ll shoot my mouth off anyway and say that for all the Starbuckses and Coffee Bean and Tea Leafs I visited, the best coffee I found was in a small place across the road from Von’s in Wilshire Boulevarde. Elsewhere the emphasis was on quantity rather than quality – a ‘regular’ sized coffee was about two cups’ worth. Filling, but not much of a buzz.
    As for Rrrrrrrs – say the following ten times each morning before breakfast: Brrrrrrooooome, Esperance – omit the second ‘e’, so it emerges as ‘Esprrance’ – Canbrrra, and Turramurra.
    If symptoms persist seek professional help.

  5. I feel like dropping by your place and taking you out for a true blue Australian experience. Well, you can’t quite put that in a bottle because there’s a lot of diversity in our culture. I didn’t catch where you are living in Australia but certainly our cities are multi-cultural but with probably more of an Asian or Mediterranean feel.
    While you can get homesick without your faves from home, part of the point of travel is to experience a different culture and to leave home behind. I did a stint in Germany and it was hard to be so cut off from home, especially as there was no email, skype etc back then…just expense phone calls.
    My husband lived in California for 3 months. I asked him some of the things he missed: there was decent chocolate, milk that wasn’t so thin it was transparent, an Aussie BBQ with proper steak, he found the bread was very sweet. He also complained about the coffee over there but said he did find something strong enough.
    Here is a list of things you should try in Australia:
    1) vegemite.
    2) Tim Tams.
    3) Aussie BBQ
    4) Pavlova
    5) Lamingtons
    6) Mango
    7) Macadamia nuts
    8) Great asian food
    9) Milk bar style hamburger.
    xx Rowena

    1. I have tried most of those things and love it!! 🙂 I am yet to be homesick (luckily) but as you can see, just some things here and there is what I miss. But Australia definitely has some better things here than home, which I will write about soon 🙂

      Thanks for all your support 🙂

  6. Hello,
    Thank you for liking my inspiration, encouragement post on The Road to Getting Published. Love your blog! I miss Florida and my family, too. Getting back there to see everybody at least once a year helps….and vitamin D — after being indoors for too long in the dead of a cold Colorado winter — beats depression. You hang in there; it will get better, I promise.


  7. Hahahahaha.

    Going down the list I was like “Where’s In-n-Out?!?!”
    SO surprised there isn’t Hi-Chew there. There has to be! It’s so close to South East Asia. Perhaps at an Asian supermarket/snack shop?
    Also equally surprised about the coffee. Like what?! Disappointing. …I suppose you could always go to Starbucks and the like. That’s the same no matter where you go. Ha.

    xxo Carly

  8. I love Cali but what steals my heart the most is the chill vibe it’s a different way of living

  9. Hey, I’m from the UK and although I think technically we are meant to know about the Metric system (being European and all) we don’t and we don’t use it really. Our signs are all miles and I don’t get km…. so don’t feel too bad.

  10. Hi! I just found your blog and saw you’re from California! I’m visiting right now and I will definitely miss In n Out!

  11. Thanks for the “like” on my last poem. I liked the “20 Ways Your Life Changes” post of yours a great deal and I’ve been around the world without getting to Australia though. I’ve always admired the country from afar. Great list!

    I heard about the things you’ve highlighted, here, from Aussies on my travels. I’m glad you’re acclimating well. It would have been cool to cross paths with you when you were still in SoCal; your sense of humor is sharp.

    Take care of yourself and have a blast. The lack of contact with friends is a bit of a bummer, I do agree. It’s humorous how relocating a few time zones can alter a friendship – but it does make you evaluate if the bond was real from the outset. Be well, Michelle.

  12. I’m from Melbourne and I’m pretty sure we do have In-and-Out here!! I remember getting so confused as to why people were excited about it opening!! Love your blog! <3

    1. Aaww I don’t think it was there when I was living in Sydney! And thank you!! 🙂

      1. Aww that is not In N-Out – it is burgers inspired by them 🙂 I am sure they are delicious if not better!

      2. Oooohhhhh I haven’t tried them!! Will just have to make the trip to Cali for them 😉

  13. Oh crikey – just reading this has made me hungry – and WE HAVE NO BACON. I can see an unplanned trip to the shop happening this afternoon 🙂

    1. hah well you sound like from the UK? You have bacon-ish! 🙂

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