Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Australia, etc.
Hi, I am an Arkansan transplanted to Australia by the way of a husband who works in the oil and gas industry. I am a teacher, runner, and adventure seeker. I love to live by the motto, "Make Memories".
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging when I told my class I was moving to Australia. At the time I taught fifth grade, and we had a class blog. My students immediately asked me if I would keep a blog so they could feel like they were in Australia with me. Of course without really thinking how involved a blog would be I said yes. Our class blog was run mostly by students. I am so glad I did though; it has been a great way to keep friends and family updated, while networking with other amazing people about travel, life, and the expat adventure. My students were really nervous about me moving to Australia. Check out their advice for me moving to Australia.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Tell us about the ways your new life in Australia differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
First off, there is no family here. Second would be, we have no car in Australia. We navigate around on one bike, public bus, or public ferry. Using public transportation has really taught us to prepare and plan for trips; we can't just jump in our car and go. Third would be the opportunity to explore this side of the world. We have traveled and explored more this past year than we ever dreamed we could. Australia is a lot like The States. It is awesome that our first expat assignment is an English speaking country. I feel like this really eliminated the culture shock. Neither of us really experienced shock.
Josh was flying in and flying out for a year though, flying from Arkansas to Australia every 28 days, so we were blessed to really know what we were getting into. One thing we never thought about was going shopping. Being without a car, everything we buy has to be carried on public transportation or carried as we walk home. Think about that for a bit, it really stops those unnecessary purchases. Being from the Bible belt, we have experienced a little shock in the church department. We are used to churches on every corner, we have not found that in Australia.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Australia? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
Like I said, Josh was flying in and flying out so he talked with a lot of people before we moved over. This helped us out a ton. One piece of advice I would have for anyone moving abroad would be to talk, talk to anyone and everyone who might give you a small piece of advice. Now, all of the advice might not be good, but it was great to have small bits of information from so many different people. I had been lucky to attend college for a semester in Italy through my university. This helped us prepare for moving over. Italy was just a three month adventure, but it helped me to know how to prepare to leave my comfort zone. One thing I would have changed about moving over would be having Josh in The States to help. He had to go to Australia before we moved, and got to miss out on all the selling, cleaning out, packing up, figuring out what to send, and sharing goodbyes.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Australia?
How is the expat community in Australia? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I have a great group of friends. I have met most though running, yoga, or a Facebook group made for expats called Yanks Down Under. I ran a marathon the first week in was there as a way to meet people. I met some of my best friends through that experience. Think about your interests, search for events and groups, then join and participate. It is great to have a good expat community to network with. I have a great group of girls that I go out to eat with one night a month. It is not just expats in our circle though. I really love how the expats I have become close with want to be friends with Australian's and experience their culture as much as possible.
How would you summarize your expat life in Australia in a single, catchy sentence?
Arkansas couple embraces making memories in every situation.