1. The ‘what were they thinking?’ public sculptures.
The bird-rat at the entrance to ANU that looks like an extra from Donnie Darko (but that looks great in a graduation cap). The neon flower vase in the Latin American Plaza. The fat reading men in Garema Place that keep getting stolen. The sheep that are great for midnight riding and New Zealand jokes. The giant metal boxes outside the post office that took you three years to realise were meant to be parcels. So many WTF moments.
2. All the clearly lost kangaroos trying to keep up with traffic along Northbourne Avenue’s median strip.
3. The avant-garde arts scene that spawned wonders like the SkyWhale.
Was it a bird? A cow? Nobody really knows, but with all those udders, it really scared the children.
4. The crimson rosellas, king parrots, kookaburras, gang-gangs and galahs.
But definitely not the cockatoos, the squawky buggers.
5. Walking past the Martian Embassy on your way to work.
The south side has the ‘real’ embassies. The north side has the Shine Dome.
6. A hipster fashion and dining scene that rivals Melbourne.
That’s what Braddon likes to think, anyway. Melbourne might have something to say about that.
7. The possibility that you might run into Tony Abbott and get the chance to tell him what a supreme f***er you think he is.
Especially as you missed your chance to spot K-Rudd at church on Sundays because, well, church on Sundays.
8. The clubbing scene.
9. $150 haircuts
Oh, you just want your fringe trimmed? Well, that’ll only be $100 then.
10. The Captain Cook Fountain
Is it a tornado? Is it a cloud? No, it’s just a fountain in the middle of a lake.
11. Summer Nats
Aka, the week in January that all Canberrans try to get the hell out of town for.
12. The multitude of independent bookstores in Australia’s highest educated city.
Oh no wait, Electric Shadows had to shut earlier this year
13. Almond croissants from Cornucopia.
Oh no wait just another minute, Cornucopia — aka, possibly Australia’s best bakery — had to shut, too. You’re still grieving this one, even though you now live on the other side of the world.
14. Recumbent bicycles, unicycles, and all the other bicycle fads.
You had started to think that your ‘ordinary’ bike was so uncool.
15. Every other resident of Australia bagging the place you call home.
Because Canberra is the city that Australia loves to hate. And they really hate it.
16. Being just a three-hour bus ride from Sydney.
When the hate starts to rub off on you, Canberra’s brasher, sexier and much more confident neighbour was close enough for a quick escape.