Mrs. Bingles: Moving Around Mum
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Melbourne, etc.
I'm an Italian mother of three little kids; I'm a stayed at home mom since my second child was born. I arrived with my family in Melbourne just over one year ago as my husband was offered a job here. I have been an expat for the last ten years, living in different countries in Europe; this is my first experience outside of Europe.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I attempted to write a blog when I was living in Berlin, but I only started writing it properly a few months ago. My idea was to record my daily life, give an insight of our expat life to people who are thinking about living abroad and, last but not least, connect with other people with the same interests.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
A while ago I wrote about my expat wish list and it kind of represents my personal goal and at the same time gives the reader an idea of what my Australian life is like, and what you should do to feel more integrated in your host country.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Melbourne differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
This question is a bit tricky for me as I haven't been living in Italy for the last ten years. I guess I should compare my European lifestyle to the Australian one.
It's never easy finding your way in a new place, finding a house, a car, etc... But the most difficult part is finding people you can get along well and call them friends. Getting use to a new time zone and knowing you can't call family and friends whenever you want is really annoying, that's why you put lots of energies in finding new friends for yourself and your kids. I didn't experience any big cultural shock, I find Australians pretty easy going and the social system doesn't differ too much from the Anglosaxon.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Melbourne? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I wasn't fully prepared; you never are for such a big move! If I could, I would probably choose to live in a different suburb, closer to the city or to the seaside.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
I'm not sure this can be named a funny experience but due to long waiting lists we have chosen to send our second child to a Greek kindergarten; the other day one grandparent approached me saying something in Greek and when I said I couldn't understand I was looked at in a very strange way and asked: “but your child is learning Greek, right? That's good!” I didn't have time to explain that even if I look like a Greek, I'm actually Italian :-)
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Melbourne?
- Find as much info as possible about the suburb you're going to live in.
- Make sure you have or find a good job (life is not that cheap here).
- Don’t be ashamed of asking other people for info and help even before arriving in Melbourne.
How is the expat community in Melbourne? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I found a nice group of Italian expats and this is something really important in my day-to-day life. We have similar life styles and stories. I guess it would be the same with any other expat I meet but I just happened to find this group with a bunch of very nice people.
How would you summarize your expat life in Melbourne in a single, catchy sentence?
They say “in Melbourne you can have four seasons in a day”; I add “and seven different days in a week”.