Christine: Australian Family Hendricks
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Australia, etc.
I’m a Canadian and currently travelling the world as a trailing spouse. We spent five years in Geneva, Switzerland before coming to Melbourne 18 months ago. We’ve dragged our young son and old dog with us every step of the way.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging whilst in Geneva to keep family and friends informed about our European journey. In the process, I found it a meaningful way to chronicle our experiences and to illustrate them with my husband’s amazing photography. I can’t imagine a better way to journal this time in our lives.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Hmmm, there are a few, but I remember the thankfulness I felt when our dog, Murphy, survived the journey from Switzerland to Australia and the 30-day quarantine. All when she was already 12 year old. I chronicled my feelings in the entry “The Well-Travelled Dog”. Otherwise, I really love the travel essays.
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?
Switzerland was a huge culture shock from Western Canada. For us, Melbourne seems a perfect blend between European culture with their passion for all things beautiful, and the North American ease and accessibility. We are very immersed in the French culture in Melbourne since our son attends the French school and that adds to our sense of Europe down under. We have found Australians to be very like Canadians - open, friendly, and curious.
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 really think I was prepared. It was our second international move. The big issues were, of course, the quarantine issue for our dog and distance from family. However, we engaged a pet relocation company to help with the details of shipping an animal which made the process almost painless. With regards to family, we’ve come to realize that we were already a 10-hour flight away in Europe. A 15-hour flight away hasn’t turned out to be a huge difference.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Well a week after we arrived, my son climbed out of the bath, reached for his towel, and hollered at me for putting a pretend giant spider on his towel…till it moved. It was a Huntsman, the size of my hand! We caught and released him though.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Australia?
- Melbourne is COLD and WET in winter. Be prepared.
- Buy dual-voltage devices before arriving. They are very expensive here and then they can be used both in Australia and at home.
- Be prepared for sticker shock, everything is very expensive here.
How is the expat community in Australia? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
The expat community in Melbourne is phenomenal. I’ve been lucky to meet many through our sons’ school. Anyone who comes to Australia tends to be open-minded and –hearted, adventurous, curious, and well-travelled. Our lives have been enriched by the experience and by the people who have entered our lives even if only for a season.
How would you summarize your expat life in Australia in a single, catchy sentence?
No worries Mate!