Christie: The Plunge Down Under
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Australia, etc.
I moved to Australia with my husband and four children in July of 2010 after my husband accepted a job with Heinz Australia.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I began blogging during the preparation process as a way to deal with my very mixed emotions, and also because I realized it would be a great way for our families and friends to stay connected to us.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Yes, I have a few:
- It Started Last November
- To the CBD and Back Again
- Adjusting, For Better and Sometimes Worse
- A Milestone Reached
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?
These questions are answered in my blog posts, particularly the entries from 2010. However, yes, we did experience culture shock, but we also embraced the new experiences.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Australia? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I don’t think there is any way to fully prepare for moving overseas. I should have contacted Americans already living in Australia before we actually moved as it would have helped me pack better. I avoided doing so, however, I think because part of me didn’t want to acknowledge that we were actually moving.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
When we had been living in Melbourne just a few weeks, I went to the post office to send a package back home. I became flustered and could not count out the correct amount of coins needed to pay the clerk. She was impatient with me, and finally asked, “What is wrong with you? Are you a kiwi?” I later realized that being called a kiwi is almost an insult, but my neighbors helped me see the funny side of it, and we shared a good laugh. It also provided some good material for a blog post.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Australia?
- Contact expats from your home country and find out what to pack and what to leave at home.
- Embrace your new life, and rather than try to replace what you have left behind, look for the exciting new things in Australia, whether that be the foods you eat, or the places you get to visit.
- Be sure to bring your sense of humor along with you.
How is the expat community in Australia? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I was very fortunate to be given contact information for an American family who became very good friends of ours before they moved back to the U.S. They helped us a great deal during our adjustment period. For this reason I didn’t really get involved in an expat community per se. We made many good friends at our local church, and they have provided the sense of community and family that we have needed during our time in Australia.
How would you summarize your expat life in Australia in a single, catchy sentence?
It is equal parts exhilaration and loneliness with many difficult but ultimately very rewarding experiences.