Four Year Expativersary

Whoa, Nellie! It has been busy around the ol’ blog this week. My last post got shared around in a few places, and it went kind of wild. So, if any of you are new readers following on from the Blogsplosion of this week- heya! Most of my stuff is a bit more verbose than that last post. I mostly write about things to do with expat life, though sometimes just whatever strikes my mood or my passion du jour. There are archives at the bottom of the page and a search box, if you are looking for anything in particular in relation to life as an American in Australia.

Every year, around this time, I know that I’m going to write this post – my “expativersary” post, and I start having these mental convulsions of “what does it all mean?” “what has happened, I mean really happened, this year?”. For the past couple of years, I haven’t formulated a clear picture what being an American in Australia has meant for my life in any profound way. I haven’t felt any less American or more Australian, and especially now that we have our little Hushpuppy, I just feel like my family is home, regardless of where we are located.

I did take the Australian citizenship test this year, and expect to become a citizen in a month or two, depending on my local council. Though the logical part of my brain drummed the steady tune that it just makes sense to take citizenship – there’s no reason not to, and there can only be benefit to having two passports – the emotional part of me faltered for a moment here and there, knowing that my allegiance to either country would never again be absolute. But, then again, have you seen what’s going on in the world these days? I think maybe this whole borders and nationality thing may be kind of overrated. Seriously, are you following the Humans of New York UN tour? If not, for reals, get off my blog right now and go catch up, and then if you have any mental space left, we can ponder together what borders mean.

But, practicality aside, there was this time a few months back when Major League Baseball sent the Dodgers and Diamondbacks to have their season opener in Sydney. The whole experience of attending a real deal baseball game turned me into an emotional mess. We sang the Star Spangled Banner and, to my complete surprise, I turned into a weeping fool. I’m not talking “lump in my throat,” I mean an actual tears streaming down my face, sobbing, ugly cry situation. It snuck up on me in a big, bad way, and it belongs here in this post because that moment wasn’t for nothing.

On the flip side, I did forge more Australian and non-American friendships this year. It’s funny how, in order to build a friendship, you need something to bond over. I think that’s why, up to this year, most of my friends have been Americans. We have a common ground and immediate familiarity. I do still count my Yank ladies as my dearest friends here, very nearly family to me, but, I now have another entry point to friendships – Hushpuppy. Having kids of a similar age is an immediate jumping off point for conversation – teething/sleeping/crawing/walking/how many words/what size clothes/has she had her first haircut, and so on. And furthermore, these kids need play dates because they are monsters if you sit around the house all day, so it’s like built-in mother buddies. Before having Hushpuppy, I stressed a little about being stuck socializing with people I didn’t necessarily relate to just because of the kid factor, but that’s not turned out to be a problem, as I’ve met some genuinely wonderful women.

One of the most pronounced ways I see my expat existence impacting my life this year is a sort of vague concept that we don’t have to play by a prescribed set of rules (laws, obviously, but unwritten social rules, no). Being just a little bit outsiders, we have the luxury of eccentricity. Partner-in-Crime and I march to the beat of our own drum in a lot of ways, and we really like the sound. Hushpuppy is getting the hang of dancing, squealing, and asking for what she wants lately, and I get the impression that she’s getting a lot out of the rhythm of our life, as well. It may be a little bit different from most people we know in small, though meaningful ways, but we feel confident in our choices, and at ease with the path we’re forging.

As I’ve done in years past (linked at the end of this page, if you’re interested), I’ll mark another year of expat life with images of some of the most important moments.

4yr1

A visit from Grandma.

And a visit from my oldest friend.

And a visit from my oldest friend.

A couple of trips to Jervis Bay.

A couple of trips to Jervis Bay.

Oh, and there was the time our new apartment flooded and we had to move out for three weeks.

Oh, and there was the time our new apartment flooded and we had to move out for three weeks.

 

4yr3

My first ever Melbourne Cup party.

Whee! We hosted Thanksgiving for 20.

Whee! We hosted Thanksgiving for 20 people from 5 different countries.

Grilled fruit pavlova for Aussie Christmas.

Grilled fruit pavlova for Aussie Christmas.

Hushpuppy turned one.

Hushpuppy turned one.

We went to the zoo. A lot.

We went to the zoo. A lot.

And playgroup.

And playgroup.

 

Fancy pants dinner party on Sydney Harbour for our friend A's going away.

Fancy pants dinner party on Sydney Harbour for our friend A’s going away.

 

 

 

The Color Run.

We did the Color Run.

I did yoga for 31 days in a row.

I did yoga for 31 days in a row.

 

 

...and blogged for 28 days in a row.

…and blogged for 28 days in a row.

 

 

P-i-C became an Aussie citizen.  So, we had a party.

P-i-C became an Aussie citizen. So, we had a party.

And, we had a dream trip to Bali.

And, we went to Bali.

4 thoughts on “Four Year Expativersary

  1. Samantha

    Love having a look at pics from your year – makes you really see how much you have done.

    And I am with ya on the feels about becoming an Aussie a lot complicated than people imagine!

  2. Ian Ellis-Jones

    Cristin, we are SO happy that you came Down Under. You have enriched my life as well as the lives of many, many others. I love you … and I do hope that in time you will come to appreciate the taste of Vegemite. Then you will be a true Aussie. Just kidding, dear one.

    1. Cristin Post author

      It has been our pleasure getting to know you and Elspeth and having you as part of our Down Under family.
      Now, as to the Vegemite … I have decided on double doses of Tim Tams, instead.

Comments are closed.