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In a cosy bar tucked away on a North Beach lane, Aussies gather to have their own accents reflected back at them and to hear stories of expats past and present.

That’s enough of the faux-hoity-toity-literariness. You can find expat Aussies (and their American mates) enjoying beers and friendly banter over at 15 Romolo every third Thursday of the month.

What better place to catch up then on the site of a former speakeasy, brothel and the old Basque Hotel? None, because 15 Romolo appealed to my inner hipster on so many levels.

For months I’ve been watching the Sydney Ducks Facebook group organise their third Thursday Happy Hour. Hovering my mouse over the “going” button, never actually pressing it until last week.

I like the idea of meeting other Aussies who are living in San Francisco, but in practice, I’m slightly socially awkward and after a long day of work the couch is my island.

I have no problem with social media and emails, in fact I love it because I never actually have to pick up the phone and call anyone. It’s the not knowing people that gets me. Sidling in, looking for unfamiliar faces and thinking of interesting ways to prolong the conversation is bloody exhausting.

The Sydney Ducks Third Thursday Happy Hour is NONE of those things. And you know it’s true because Ms Awkward over here is saying it.

It’s basically a great group of people who welcome newcomers with a smile, a joke and a story. Even if you wander in all on your own, like I did. Of course I met a bunch of awesome people, whose names I’ve promptly forgotten.

There was the DJ, the lovely woman who was born in the US but lived in Sydney and Queensland for years, the mad West Coast Eagles supporter who’s been in the US off and on for a decade but still looks and sounds “Aussie as” and the stay-at-home dad who moved with his American wife.

The best piece of advice that I give everyone thinking about becoming an expat is to find your community in your adopted home. Be it people from your home country, or a group of people who share your interests, you need an anchor to make you feel a little less lost and a little more at home.

So if you’ve been hovering your mouse over the “going” button but haven’t had the courage to hit it, just do it. Come out and meet your people. Also, if you’re an introvert you can hang out with me, hiding behind your beer and playing on your phone.

While you’re at it, sign up to Chris Thurston’s newsletter for Aussies in the Bay. It’s an invaluable source of information for newcomers.

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