Tag Archives: expats in sydney

Sydney Expat Interview Series Part 11: A Sydney Weekend

Sydney, Sydney Expat Interviews, Sydney With Kids

Hey, Sydneysiders, what are you doing this weekend? For this month’s Sydney Expat Interview Series question, I asked the expats what they’d most likely be doing on a beautiful weekend day in Sydney. Let me tell you, none of them seem to have had any trouble getting into the groove of this city. Beaches, parks, cafes, BBQs and friends. It’s a tough life, but someone has to do it!

(This is the 11th in an 18 part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Please make sure to visit the fantastic websites of the participants linked below, and follow me on Facebook for much more on expat life in Sydney. )A Sydney Weekend



Question 11: It’s a beautiful weekend day. What are you up to, where are you going, and who are you spending the day with? 


Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

I’m with my family and if I can roust them away from the X-box, then our first choice is always Fagan Park (Galston).


 

Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 6 years

At Balmoral Beach – we’d normally get there early and have brunch with friends getting a take-away bacon and egg sandwich and coffee from The Boathouse, picnic blankets out near the kids playground so our kids can run about – and just enjoying the beautiful views.

Balmoral Beach

Balmoral Beach – photo by Julia



Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years

With family or friends – playing lawn balls, or going for a beer, or on my bike, or going for a bush walk, or going to a beach, or having a family picnic, or going for a swim, or having a barbie in a park … or grocery shopping…


 

Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

In one of our many parks, with my husband and our dogs. Maybe Cafe Bones.


 

Name: “Bushranger”
Country of Origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5 Years

With my wife and daughter at Cremorne Reserve. It’s astoundingly beautiful.

Cremorne Point

Cremorne Point


Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year

Melissa blogs at Leche Love

As we’re still pretty new, we’re still exploring. However, we’ve been to Sydney Park quite a bit. Usually my husband, 6 year old son, and myself, enjoying the lovely weather, playing, and having a picnic.


Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

There are so many stunning outdoor places in Sydney. I’d be with my husband and 2 kids (5 and 7) We’d probably grab lunch at a cafe, find a playground, and just chill out. I’ve found there tend to be a lot of art exhibitions going on so those are always fun to check out as well!


Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

I’d be doing the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk with my girlfriend Elaina finishing up at The Hill Eatery in North Bondi for a late lunch and good coffee. North Bondi


Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

First I’d be going for a spin on my bike around Centennial park with the gang from Coogee Triathlon Club. This would be followed by relaxing in the sun on Bondi beach before an afternoon drink and snack at the Bucket List.


Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

I’d love to be having a picnic and sipping wine in a spot in Kirribilli my friend used to live right by, overlooking the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, surrounded by my fantastic group of expat and Aussie friends.

Kirribilli


Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

I would probably be with my boyfriend and group of friends, relaxing and enjoying the sun either with a few schooners at our local, or with an esky of beers at the beach or a perhaps enjoying a bike ride with a few laps around Centennial Park.


Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

Strolling around the city, checking out the markets, street art and local beaches.
Don’t forget your sunscreen, there’s a hole in our ozone layer!


Sydneysiders, tell us, what are you doing this weekend?


Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day
Read Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney
Read Part 4: Drinking Like an Aussie
Read Part 5: The Birds of Sydney
Read Part 6: Australian Christmas
Read Part 7: Off the Beaten Path
Read Part 8: Questions About Your Home
Read Part 9: What People at Home Think of Australia
Read Part 10: Advice for Moving to Sydney

 

Sydney Expat Interview Series Question 10: Advice For Moving to Sydney

Sydney Expat Interviews

If you’ve ever moved somewhere new, you know that there’s nothing like the insider knowledge of a resident to help with the adjustment. They can tell you everything from where the best restaurants are to the honest ups and downs of the lifestyle. No guide book will tell it to you like a local. 

In that spirit, I’ve asked the expats this month to give their best advice to someone moving to Sydney. Here it is, straight from the experts!

(This is the 10th in an 18 part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Please make sure to visit the fantastic websites of the participants linked below, and follow me on Facebook for much more on expat life in Sydney. )

Sydney Expat Interview Series - Advice From the Locals


Question 10: Your friend is moving to Sydney. She’s read all the guidebooks and is pretty sure she knows it all. Give her one piece of advice that she really doesn’t know, yet.


 

Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 6 years

Make the effort and go to different suburbs – a lot of Brits head straight for the eastern suburbs but Sydney is so much more than just Bondi!! Also its all about getting out and about – the thing I love about Sydney is the outdoor lifestyle.


 

Name: “Bushranger”
Country of origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5yrs

You will not find Fosters beer anywhere…and shrimp are called prawns.


 

Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

Bring an umbrella! Despite what you may think, it rains a whole lot in Sydney, especially in winter.Bring an umbrella


 

Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years

Think thoroughly about the suburb you move into.


 

Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

It is more expensive than anything you have read. Are you sure you have enough money, can make enough money, etc?


 

Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

Bring more money than you’ve budgeted for – it’s really expensive here.


 

Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 6 1/2 years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-Sydneyland

Adjusting to the cost of living takes time. It is difficult to budget how much you truly spend on groceries, eating out, socializing, and household goods. Be patient. Be smart. Give yourself time to get used to the change of expenses.It's expensive


 

Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

It’s worth getting a bicycle out here. The roads might seem scary at first but public transport leaves a lot to be desired and you’ll get to know your way around the city quickly this way. Just brace yourself for the hill out of Bondi…


 

Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

Australians are big on “mateship” and treating everyone as equals, everyone getting a “fair go”


 

Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Melissa blogs at Leche Love

You will be going to the grocery store a lot. Get a cart and/or re-usable bags. Don’t buy more than you can carry.


 

Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

It is insanely confusing to shop at a grocery store. It will give you a headache. You won’t know which bread to get. You won’t know that mayo here tastes different and you have to get the one that says “whole egg mayo”. You won’t know which chips and cookies to get. You will only have to choose between approximately 5 not so great flavours of ice cream. The good thing about this is you get to try all new things!


 

Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

Be patient! It may feel like it’s taking forever for you to find a job, a room, or even friends, but they all come eventually. Don’t get discouraged.


 

Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

I would pass on the best piece of advice I received not long after I arrived. I’d been in Sydney a couple of months and my flatmate and good friend Sarah offered a simple but invaluable nugget of wisdom. It was a recommendation and a friendly encouragement of ‘say yes’. It was at a time when my homesickness was at its most intense and a welcome reminder to take every opportunity. Even if I didn’t feel like going out for drinks, or joining a club to take each chance as it came and not pass anything by. This has stood me in good stead and I have passed onto a few friends since.


 

What’s your best “local” advice for anyone moving to Sydney?
If you’re moving to Sydney, anything you’d like to ask one of our locals?


Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day
Read Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney
Read Part 4: Drinking Like an Aussie
Read Part 5: The Birds of Sydney
Read Part 6: Australian Christmas
Read Part 7: Off the Beaten Path
Read Part 8: Questions About Your Home
Read Part 9: What People at Home Think of Australia

Sydney Expat Interview Series Question 9: What Do People At Home Think About Australia?

expat issues, Sydney Expat Interviews

Last month, I shared some of the the things that Sydney expats have been asked about their home countries. This month, I’ve flipped it and asked the expats to share the funniest or strangest things they’ve been asked about Australia by people from home. 

Australia … I’m not sure the world feels safe around you, mate!

This is the 9th in an 18 part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Please make sure to visit the fantastic websites of the participants, and follow me on Facebook for much more on expat life in Sydney. Sydney Expat Interview Series Question 9 - What is the funniest thing people from home have asked about Australia


Question 9: What is the funniest or strangest thing that people from your home think about Australia?

Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years 

That Foster’s is the best Australian Beer

File under: Things I’ve Never Seen in Australia (Source)

Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 6 years

That everyone just wears thongs and board shorts all year round!!

Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

This has to be all the deadly animals. They assume that every single deadly animal is crawling around my backyard and hanging from my house! In truth, I’ve only seen maybe 10 redbacks (all in unlived rentals), no snakes, and nothing deadly in the water. Yes, they are here but I think it’s rare to come across them. My husband did say there was a brown snake in his work parking lot though. *shudder* And I think because Australia has so many unique animals, people think they are EVERYWHERE. Sure I’ve seen kangaroos, koalas, and wombats but pretty rarely and only kangaroos in the wild, not the others. And no, the kids don’t ride kangaroos to school!

Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

I think people in the UK think we have ‘roos bouncing down our streets all the time – either that or we’re constantly battling poisonous spiders and snakes.

Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

Probably that people think there are deadly animals and insects at every turn in Australia, something I thought too before I moved here!

 

Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis 

That you can’t leave your house without being confronted by a spider or a snake!

World’s deadliest snake … at the zoo.

Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 3 years, 11 months

That it’s not safe to live here you in Australia, it’s full of potential dangers and deadly insects and you will immediately die from either a snake bite, spider bite or extreme temperatures.

 

 

 

Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 11 months
Melissa blogs at Leche Love

The bugs! I have gotten so many posts on my Facebook about spiders and insects.

 

 

 

Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

Hey, Australians, we don’t really think you all have pet kangaroos and koalas, as great as that would be. I think the biggest misconception Americans have about Australia is the size – it’s definitely not easy to see the entire country in one trip!

Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 6 1/2 years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-Sydneyland

Just this May my cousin was asking me about the climate and scenery. He thought it was basically beaches and red dirt. He didn’t believe me when I told him that there are some rolling hills and thick trees. Then again, many Australians have assumed Texas is dirt and tumbleweed, so I think we’re even. Ha!

Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

That there are kangaroos hopping down the roads and koalas hanging from trees. And that every animal here can and will kill you. Bogus. Queensland is where all the dangerous creatures reside 😉

Welcome to Queensland!

Welcome to Queensland!

 

 

Expats – what’s the funniest thing that people from your home country have said to you about Australia?


Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day
Read Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney
Read Part 4: Drinking Like an Aussie
Read Part 5: The Birds of Sydney
Read Part 6: Australian Christmas
Read Part 7: Off the Beaten Path
Read Part 8: Questions About Home

Sydney Expat Interview Series Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney

Sydney, Sydney Expat Interviews

This is the 3rd installment of the 18 part series based on interviews with expats living in Sydney. Each month, I’m sharing their responses to a different question. This month, I asked them about their very first day in Sydney. Australia is a long trip from anywhere else in the world, and often involves a sudden change in season, possibly “losing” a day, a fair amount of jet lag, and some sense of unreality that this is your new home. I remember my first day being a blur of  complete exhaustion coupled with elation at seeing the Harbour and Opera House for the first time. This is what other expats recall about their very first day in Sydney. 

Please visit the other great bloggers linked here once you’ve read this post (and commented, shared it, and liked Between Roots and Wing’s Facebook page, of course!).Sydney Expat Interview Series - Your First Day in Sydney

 


Question 3: What was your first day in Sydney like?

Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 3 years, 4 months

It was April 2012 when I embarked on my biggest adventure. After saying farewell to family and friends and packing my life into a suitcase, there was no turning back… (extract below is from my travel journal):

I arrive in Sydney after a long but restful flight. Little do I know, but the real adventure is just beginning… I land ‘Down Under’ to a beautiful sunrise and my first three days of jetlag are spent venturing out of the hotel and exploring Sydney with my trusted map in one hand (old school habits, hey) and my camera in the other. My first stop is the obligatory open top city bus tour which takes me around all the tourist locations from the Opera House, to Bondi to Darling Harbor. I have to literally pinch myself as I first set eyes on the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House – a truly magical moment.

Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: Nearly 6 years

Very jet lagged!! I remember arriving on a morning flight – by lunch time I had lost the ability to have a proper conversation with anyone and was babbling with my eyes closed!!

Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 8 months
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

I landed about 5pm from New Zealand and the taxi drivers at the airport laughed when I told them I was going to Bondi…apparently they’d been having a bet on where the blonde girl with a backpack would be going and that was the first choice!

Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years

It was quite interesting. We landed at night and were picked by a friend who drove us to our pre-booked hotel in Pyrmont. By the time we reached the hotel it was around 9:30 p.m. The streets were quite dead by that time – coming from the chaos in India – it was a strange feeling to see the silence in a city which is apparently the most populated in the country. Quite scary. Then we went into the hotel and asked for the reception to help with a bell boy, as we had like 10 bags of luggage, and he said you need to bring everything on your own. Seems we were hoping for a grand welcome but reality hit us on the first day. Although, the hotel was really good and we had a luxury room with a welcome wine which was definitely a solace.

Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

It was so long ago now, back in 2005, I was travelling and Sydney was my last stop before flying home to the UK. I remember thinking Sydney was the best city I’d ever been to, the harbour made me fall in love with it and I’m still in awe every time I see the Opera House. I thought to myself at the time “I could totally live here.” Fast forward 10 years and here I am!

Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

My first trip here was about 9 years ago to visit my now husband so it’s a bit of a blur. I remember staying for a weekend in Kings Cross at Formule 1 (not Ibis Budget) and having the best breakfast at a cafe there. Little did I know that the cafe visits were a common thing in Australia. In Boston, cafes are few and far between because you can only sit outside so many months of the year. We went to the top of the Centrepoint tower and checked out Hyde Park. We also grabbed some Strongbow (which I had missed from my days in London) and hung out at the hotel. Like I said, a bit of a blur! Oh and we visited the Opera House and Botanical Gardens. Nothing like seeing the Opera House to make it a little more real that you’re on the complete other side of the world!

Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

It was the City2Surf race. We saw all the runners in the street and asked the driver what it was and he didn’t know. Now, I find that pretty hard to believe. It is a pretty big thing here. We met friends of friends here and they brought us groceries, which was amazing. We had never even met them before. Then, they took us to Yum Cha, Chinese dumplings, for lunch. It was a great first day.

Name: Nom de geurre – “Bushranger”
Country of origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5yrs

I went straight to the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia for the twilight sail racing event.s2

Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 6 months
Melissa blogs at Leche Love

It was hectic and exhausting. Our flight arrived at 6 am, but we couldn’t check into our vacation rental until the afternoon. Most of the day was spent at the airport. After being on an airplane with a 5 year old for 17 hours, I think your brain melts. We finally got into our vacation rental and discovered Aldi soon after. And then slept. A lot.

Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

I arrived at the end of July and froze in my shorts and tee (it was summer back home). After 24 hours of traveling and a 16 hour time difference, I was extremely jetlagged and didn’t get to take it all in straight away.

Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

We moved here with a relocation package for my husband’s job. So our 1st 2 weeks, we were put up in serviced apartments at Milsons Point. It was a wonderful way to start our life here. Our 1st day we ventured out to Kirribilli for our evening meal. It was early August (so mid-winter) and we were wandering around in shorts and t-shirts laughing (very quietly) at all the Aussie wimps with scarfs and gloves on.

Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

I arrived in the evening jetlagged and made my way to my hostel above a bar. The NRL Grand Final was on that night, so I sleepily rolled my massive suitcase into a bar packed with rowdy footy fans. After asking anyone and everyone for assistance, I finally found someone who could check me in. I later wandered out for food, only to find myself on Oxford Street, wild as ever on a Saturday night. I stopped by 7-Eleven hoping to find a cheap snack and was blown away by Australian prices. All a bit discombobulating on my first night!

Have you made an international move? What was your first day like?

Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day

The Post I Wish I’d Written Five Years Ago

expat issues

There are things that I should have written in the early days of this blog, representing the initial days of my move to Australia. Lately, I’ve been working through old posts to tidy up formatting and pictures after the move to WordPress (*ehem* … a year ago. My housekeeping here is about as stellar as it as in my real home), and I’m embarrassed at how shallow my early blogging was. I don’t see much that reflects how I felt. I see posts about weekend trips and doing the tourist sites in Sydney. I wrote about Australian slang and eating kangaroo, which is fun, but I didn’t share much about myself or where my mind was. I know why I only wrote about surface things – I didn’t know how to share the rest of it and I felt guilty for feeling like I did – but I should have been more open. I should have been braver. 

There are people who read this blog who are considering an expat move or who are new to Australia. I’ve been honest about where I am today, and I hope that’s encouraging. But, I think it might also be helpful for me to be honest about where I was back then.

So, for anyone who feels like a literal stranger in a strange land, here is the post I wish I’d written five years ago:


 

I make myself leave the house every day. Or, almost every day. Some days, I wake up with good intentions, but just don’t leave because it seems so exhausting and I can’t think of where to go. I’ve been to all the attractions. I’ve been to all the parks. There’s nothing to do at the park when you’re alone, anyway. I hate the grocery store. But, it’s usually better on the days when I do leave the house. Mostly.

Partner-in-Crime goes to work every day. Many days, he comes home and then gets back to work into the evening. I don’t go to work. Before we moved here, I was the one who was always at work, so that’s something different. He always asks me what I did today, and I think I see disappointment or at least confusion when I tell him I didn’t do anything, which is why I try to go out. So that I have something to say.

I feel so exposed when I walk down the street. I’m certain that I have a big neon sign on me that blinks, “DOES NOT BELONG.” I think they all know a secret. Everybody here seems to buy their clothes from the same shop. I don’t shop there. Why don’t I have more black clothes? Would I feel less exposed if I got some tan ankle boots? Probably not. All the girls are so skinny. No joke, all of them. I’m not that. Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink.

I had a coffee date this week with the friend of a friend. Of a friend. It was the only thing on my calendar, and so I looked forward to it all week. I was so glad when she didn’t cancel, as I realize she probably wasn’t planning her whole week around this event like I was. It was so crowded in the cafe. Where do all these people come from? Thankfully, she spotted me, and we had a nice conversation. We talked about the plays we’d seen, the plays she writes, and the work I used to do. Then, she went back to her work. I had nowhere to be, so I decided just to walk. I might discover something, and then that will be my thing. I walked for two hours until I found my neighborhood. I could have walked for four hours. No one would have noticed or missed me. I’m wholly unaccountable. It’s actually like being invisible. Is invisibility better or worse than having a neon sign? Worse, I think. We all want to exist, right?

I had to go grocery shopping. I needed bread. All the loaves of bread start at $5. I’m trying so desperately hard to stick to our budget. I stand in front of the bread rack for a few minutes. I leave the store and cry. … I still need bread.

I’m snappy with Partner-in-Crime a lot of the time. Or, I sulk. He’s kind and never pushes me. That makes me more snappy. I want to have a fight so that I can yell at him for bringing me to this place that doesn’t make sense to me. But, I’m an adult and accountable for my own actions – for choosing to be here – so I don’t push this very nice man who I love and live with. Deep down, in the pit of my queasy stomach, I still wish there was someone to blame.

The milk here makes my stomach hurt. Could I be lactose intolerant? I’m going to stop drinking milk. Maybe then I’ll feel better.

I suppose I can take my book to the park this afternoon.
Thank goodness for books.
I guess this is my park now.
I like that quiet bench by the water. park

 

5 Year Expativersary

expat issues

 

5 years ago today, I boarded a plane with two suitcases and a Prospective Marriage Visa, on my way to make Australia my home. I didn’t have a timeline in mind, but I’m sure that five years would have seemed like quite a long stretch to be here if you’d asked me then. It was a confusing time for me, and thinking beyond more than a few days was head-spinning enough – never mind 5 years. Yet here I am, and 5 years is certainly long enough to feel settled and to build a community. It’s long enough to have seen most of the tourist spots and many of the hidden gems. It’s even long enough to become a citizen.

 

Taking Australian citizenship was the most significant event this year, in terms of finding my place here. There’s something about being “official” that has made me feel more settled. – it’s like the feeling I had when we got married, even though Partner-in-Crime and I had been living together for some time. That piece of paper changes your relationship in subtle but lovely and important ways.

The other day, a stranger started chatting us up and asked, based on our accents, if we were “visitors or residents.”

“Citizens!,” I proudly replied. (I’m sure he was terribly impressed…).

Beyond taking citizenship – or really, including it – more than anything, this has been a thinking year for me. I spent a lot of time thinking about my place in this country and the U.S. (particularly thanks to a six week visit home). I thought about my professional ambitions and how I want to allocate my time and head space. I thought about politics in both countries, and what I feel is right, wrong, and a little in between. I spent a lot of time tinkering away on this blog both in ways that I think will be obvious and some that are much more philosophical. I thought about the kind of wife and parent that I want to be and what my priorities are for our life together and our future goals. I did a lot more thinking than acting on many of these things, though the 11kg bundle of kinetic energy that I call my daughter kept me in motion all day long every day.

Today, my kid was playing with a toy at her friend’s house and I noticed that she seamlessly transitioned back and forth between calling it a “flashlight” and a “torch.” It’s a little thing, but one that signaled to me how our whole family can all adjust to living with two or more cultures if we don’t overthink it too much. We do our best when we just enjoy our friends, our comforts, our freedoms, and appreciate the gift of being citizens of countries that have welcomed us by birth or by choice.

As I do every year in my expativersary posts (you can find the rest linked at the bottom of this page), I’ll conclude this one with photos of some of our more memorable moments this year.

We moved two buildings over, and remembered that there’s no such thing as an “easy move.”

We hosted a Breakfast For Dinner housewarming.

 

Jacarandas!

We love Sculpture By the Sea every year.

Two passports in hand, we got on a plane to the U.S. Let the permanent record note that I single-handedly went long-haul with a toddler and lived to tell the tale.

We got to witness my brother’s beautiful Christmas themed wedding.

And, we met a jolly old elf.

We just generally loved spending the holiday season in the U.S. with so many friends, family, and festivities. And WINTER!

My girl turned two with a bing and a bang … we threw her a music-themed birthday party.

We ate a lot of birthday cake at 2 year old parties throughout February.

My brunch girls and I “discovered” a Secret Garden.

…and my 2 year old girl “discovered” (soy) babyccinos.

One of my favorite people read something I wrote about her and wrote THE PERFECT response. And, my year was made.

I voted in my first ever Australian election.

We unwittingly subleased our balcony to a family of possums.

Parks and Recreation came to an end – yes, a significant life event for me.

We met a fireman, a significant life event for Hushpuppy who channels Fireman Sam approximately 6 – 8 hours per day.

We did a lot of Vivid, and especially loved our laid back evening in Chatswood.

Sydney had a cuh-razy storm. We were glad that we were already in the land of Oz.

This burger happened.

abromavic

Partner-in-Crime and I fell in love with the Marina Abramović residency. I spent about six hours immersed in it over two days.

We celebrated the 4th of July with a little party for some American families in our area.

Double rainbow!

 

Sydney Expat Interview Series: Part 2 – The Most Memorable Sydney Day

Sydney, Sydney Expat Interviews

This is the second in an eighteen part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Each month, I am sharing their responses to a different question. Part 1 was about Expectations vs Reality. This month, I asked the expats to tell me about their most memorable day in Sydney.  I hope you enjoy their responses, and again, please visit the other great bloggers linked here once you’ve read this post (and commented, shared it, and liked Between Roots and Wing’s Facebook page, of course!!).

 

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QUESTION 2: Tell me about your best or most memorable Sydney day (i.e. – a day you look back on and think, “that could only have happened in Sydney”).


Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 6 ½ years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-SydneyLand

So many memorable days to choose from that feel like they could only happen in Sydney, but I’ll share a story that involved another expat girlfriend of mine. We agreed to meet in North Sydney on a Saturday afternoon and walked down to Kirribilli. We went to the deli and bought some cheese, salami, crackers, and olives. We stopped at BWS and got some wine. We walked the short distance to Bradfield park, found a spot in the cool grass, under the bright Sydney sun. We were under the Harbour Bridge, watching boats and ferries on the Harbour with the Opera House in our sights. There were families and lovers, pets and kids, people reading and people exercising, and it was a perfect Sydney day.

Photo of Bradfield Park day by Erin

Photo of Bradfield Park day by Erin


Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

Back in October, after a few months in  Australia, I was invited to a Cider Festival in Watson’s Bay on a Sunday afternoon. Silly me got all excited for hayrides, bobbing for apples and doing autumn oriented activities (Not realizing at the time this was spring). Imagine my surprise when I turn up to an entire festival revolving around hard ciders. Who knew it was such a big thing here! Needless to say, by the end of the day I was bobbing for apples in a different state than anticipated.


Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

I think it would have to be only a few weeks ago when there was a torrential storm rolling through Sydney. The rain didn’t stop for literally a week! When it rains in Sydney life grinds to a halt. Public transport doesn’t run properly, everywhere gets flooded and generally people lock themselves in their houses until it stops. Always makes me laugh as nobody would get anything done with that attitude in the UK! Only in Sydney!


Name: Nom de geurre – “Bushranger”
Country of origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5yrs

Probably Carols in the Domain for Christmas (Chrissie) – thousands of people holding candles and slightly imbibed (alcohol is allowed) singing carols at dusk in unison and perfect harmony.

carols in the domain

Carols in the Domain


Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: Nearly 6 years

There was a free event at the Domain – Grace Jones was one of the acts playing – it was a lovely warm summers night and it was such a relaxed and friendly vibe – all different age groups from kids to pensioners were out enjoying this free event – it was fantastic – I remember looking round thinking – I live in this city – this is amazing!!


Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 7 months
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

Anzac Day this year:  A 5a.m. wake up to head to dawn service at North Bondi RSL, followed by a cycle around Centennial in the sunshine, followed by some 2-Up antics at the Woollahra rooftop terrace before finally sheltering from a huge, sudden hail storm down at Bangkok Bites in Bondi.


 

Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Almost 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

One of my favourite days in Sydney has to be when we did a “tour” of the Eastern Suburbs followed by the closing night of Vivid. We started the day in Bondi. Played on the beach a little then had lunch at The Bucket List. Expensive dining, delicious food, buzzing atmosphere! We then drove East through Bondi and found a random park up on a hill. Little did I know that this park had THE most stunning view of the harbour. Just wow. There is a playground and bike track for kids and also exercise equipment for adults. It’s a must see! I think it’s in Dover Heights. This was followed by a stop at Watson’s Bay to walk along the cliffs and play at the playground. We continued on for a drive to Mosman where we played at the playground and spent a ridiculous amount of money for public parking! We then drove through the stunning Bellevue Hill, then checked out Vivid. Amazing day!


 

Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years

I have got a couple, but the best one was the Vivid tour of 2015 – took a ferry from Milsons point to Circular Quey and back to Darling Harbour – watched the fireworks and shared a laugh over the harbour and a couple of beers. Can happen anywhere in the world but Vivid stands out in Sydney.


Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 5 months
Melissa blogs at Leche Love

Going to Vivid. It was so busy, but really cool to see all the light displays around the harbor and in the CBD.

Vivid 2015


Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

I celebrated my first “Australiversary” (a year after I arrived) last September. We started by stopping by the Malaysian festival in Darling Harbour for some delicious eats, and then we headed over to Millers Point for a barbecue overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Unfortunately, the park’s barbecues were out of order, so we hopped on a bus for Hyde Park, where we spent the evening playing cricket and eating “snags” (sausages) and pavlova as the sun went down.


Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 3 years, 3 months

One of my most memorable days in Sydney that immediately springs to mind would have to be the Royal visit of William and Kate in April 2014, and on the Good Friday they visited Manly. The locals turned out in force and I joined approximately 12,000 others on the beach to catch a glimpse of the Prince and Princess. It was surreal and certainly memorable to see them greeting the well wishers and waving to the crowds.


Tell us your most memorable Sydney day in the comments!

Sydney Expat Interview Series: Part 1 – Expectations vs Reality

Sydney, Sydney Expat Interviews

I’m so excited to share the first in what will be a monthly series over the next year and a half. Recently, I put a call out to expats in Sydney to answer a series of questions about their lives here. I was calling it a “sideways interview series,” because instead of sharing an interview with one person, I’ll be sharing one question with multiple answers. I hope it will be fun and informative, whether you’re also an expat, you’re a native of Sydney, or perhaps you’ll visit or live here one day. And, make sure to visit all of my fellow bloggers who are linked here, once you’ve read this post (and commented, shared it, and liked Between Roots and Wing’s Facebook page, of course!!). 

Question1 - Expectations and Reality

QUESTION 1: Tell me two things that surprised you about Sydney, and one thing that was exactly as you expected.


Name: Caitlin 
Country of origin: England 
Lived in Sydney: 6 months 
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

 

Surprises:
1) The weather! Perhaps foolishly I’d been led to believe that Australia is sunny all the time. The amount of rain in my first couple of months in Sydney took me totally by surprise!

 

2) How small it is! I’d expected Sydney to be similar to London but I quickly realised that it’s more like an oversized village where you’re only 2 connections away from anyone else. If I had a pound (sorry, dollar!) for the number of “coincidences” there have been over the last 6 months.

 

As expected: The beautiful surfers down at Bondi!

Name: Dido
Country of origin: India
Lived in Sydney: 1.5 years

2 surprises were:
1.)  Visible Discrimination in society
2.) That it is quite expensive.

The laid back culture was expected.


Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 5 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

The first thing that surprised me was how bad the traffic was, was totally not expecting that when I first moved here. Having moved from a small country town in the UK where there is little to no traffic it was pretty full on to be stuck in heavy traffic travelling very short distances. On the bright side the second thing that surprised me was that I could take a ferry to work and miss all the traffic! My first job in Sydney was based in the city so I could catch the ferry from Rose Bay to Circular Quay every day…amazing way to commute!

The beaches were exactly as I expected, amazing! Having lived most of my life in England having beaches like Bondi on your doorstep never gets old, I appreciate living in this amazing country with it’s coastline so much for that reason!

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach


Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Almost 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram 

Two things that surprised me are the cleanliness and how little police presence there is. You rarely find graffiti (unless it’s art) and there isn’t trash everywhere. The air is so clean and pure compared to the industrial areas of the U.S. The only time I ever really see police are walking in pairs around Darling Harbour. It’s just not a common site. And police cars…rarely seen as well!

1 thing that’s exactly as I expected is the difference in nationalities you find around you. In America, you will find a lot more South American and African people than you do in Australia. Australia tends to have a lot more Asian and Middle Eastern influence, which is awesome, because that means a lot of Asian and Middle Eastern culture!


Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: Nearly 6 years

 

It’s a lot smaller than other cities, (e.g. London) with so many different neighbourhoods with different styles and characters, but lots of great places with a villagey vibe really close to the city.

NYE in Sydney!! you cannot beat the fireworks – I first came to Sydney about 14 years ago as a backpacker and had one of the best New Years of my life – Basement Jaxx playing at King Street Wharf – followed by the fireworks at midnight. Not been able to top that one – and each year I watch the Fireworks – you know they are never going to be a let down.


Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

Surprises
1. How quickly food spoils without so many preservatives and chemicals.
2. How short the cereal aisle is without all the high sugar ones, that I lived on as a child.

I was not surprised by the fact that most Australians are generally nice and like Americans. I can’t count how many times people have said, “I love hearing you talk.” And believe me, no one ever said that until I moved here.


Name: Nom de geurre – “Bushranger”
Country of origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5yrs

2 surprising things: 1. Birds…I could not sleep the first few days because of the background noise. I felt like I was in the jungle, but then I got used to them.
2. The Harbour – I did not think it was going to be so awesome.

1 thing as expected: Before coming to Sydney I’ve watched a lot of Australian movies and one that made a lasting impression was “Kenny” – a mockumentary about a plumber who works for a portable toilet rental company and his interactions with people and how similar and different everything it is in comparison to US. When I came to Sydney, things were almost exactly like in this film.


Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 months 
Melissa blogs at Leche Love

 
One thing that surprised me was how many smokers there are here. I know it’s such a weird and random thing, but there are a lot of smokers here. After seeing the cost and packaging, even more so.
Another surprising thing was how easy public transit is here. I lived in Austin, and our bus/train system was pretty bad. Having moved here without a car, this was important.

I expected it to be beautiful, and it has been.


Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: A year in July!
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

2 things that surprised you about Sydney:
How culturally similar it is to most metropolitan area in America. The people look similar, speak English (with a quirky accident and vocab), listen to all our music and watch all our shows.

The diversity in people, food, and nature. I am friends with Indian, Lebanese, Chinese, Korean, South Africans, Kiwis, Sri Lankans, Iraqians …very few are originally from Australia which keeps things interesting. You walk down the main strip of my suburb and restaurants from Thai, Greek, Japanese, Turkish, Italian, Vietnamese, African and so much more, your taste buds never get bored! Then the flora and fauna, you get everything to the beach to the big city to rainforests and then of course the dry Outback!

1 thing that‘s exactly as you expected:
The laidback lifestyle. They take “no worries” to the extreme and you can’t take anything they say seriously. All Australians are entitled to four weeks annual leave which makes for a great work/life balance. And 4 o’clock drinks in the office? Normal.


Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

I was amazed by the beautiful deep blue colour of the sky – I had always kind of assumed that the photo’s in holiday brochures had been photo-shopped.

Not long after arriving, we got invited for a charity fundraising lunch in a park. I remember being absolutely blown away that there were public barbeques in the park, that people actually used them and they weren’t vandalised!

The way of life here is just what I thought it would be – a lot more relaxed, lots of outdoors living. In my opinion, the perfect place to raise a family.


Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 6 ½ years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-SydneyLand

Surprised:
The lack of air-conditioning in homes and apartments for lease in such a hot country, and (of course, I think almost all expats experienced this) the high prices of everyday products. $5 for Chapstick? $7 for a pack of band-aids? $3-$4 for a bottled water? Say what?!?

Expected:
The beauty…I dreamed that Australia would be beautiful, and it did not disappoint.

Photo by Erin

Photo by Erin


Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

2 surprises:
I expected Sydney to have a laid-back beach culture, similar to Orange County, California, but offices are fairly corporate, and people are always dressed to the nines when they go out! I was also surprised by just how international Sydney is, particularly how much of an Asian influence it has.

1 thing that‘s exactly as you expected:
Sydney Harbour never fails to blow me away.


Name: Rachel
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 3 years, 2 months

Surprise Number 1 – Just how expensive it is to live in Sydney. I was naïve about the cost of living and genuinely thought that the price of rent was per month until I learnt that that was per week!

Surprise Number 2 – the harsh parking/ driving/ public order penalties, which are approximately 3 to 4 times as high compared to the UK. They don’t seem to act as a deterrent to most of the drivers here either.

As expected – the amazing weather. It lives up to my expectations and then some. Incredible to enjoy the outdoors and live a more active life thanks to the sunshine for ten months of the year.

 

Sydney expats – did you have any expectations or surprises of your own?

Wanderlust

25 Things American Expats in Australia Inevitably Think

expat issues

25 Things American Expats in Australia ThinkMy fourth expat anniversary is coming right up, and as a precursor, I’ve been jotting down some of the things I thought when I first moved here, as well as the common themes that come up in the many conversations I’ve had with my American expat friends.

Here are some of the reactions that almost every American expat in Australia I’ve met has had. I hope some of them give my fellow Yanks Down Under, and also my Aussie friends, a bit of fun. For me, most of these thoughts are a distant memory now. Most of them … I’ll leave you to wonder which is which!


1. I don’t KNOW?! I just want a cup of coffee!

coffee menu

 

2. They call them … prawns? Wait a minute, that means … there’s no “throw a shrimp on the barbie…”

3. A roundabout? OK. Don’t panic…

4. Arvo?

5. I’ll just order a Fosters. That’s Australian for beer, right?

6. They have Target!!!! Oh … never mind.

target logo

7. I wonder what that is in Farenheit/miles/gallons.

8. It costs HOW MUCH?!?

9. That’s PER WEEK?!?

10. Where’s the slot to pay at the pump?

11. Is that a … nude beach?

12. Where’s the closet?

13. Where’s the air conditioner?

14. It is FREEZING in this apartment.

15. That’s not bacon.

16. Where are all the good cereals?

Source

Source

17. I thought I was a size 12.

18. Haych. … Zed. …

19. How can this store be closing? It’s only 5p.m.

20. I wonder if anyone just saw me get in on the passenger side.

21. Why is there barbecue sauce on my burger?

22. Why is there arugula on my pizza?

23. …it’s called rocket?

24. How do I go about getting some ice in this glass?

25. We’re drinking. At work!


Americans in Australia, tell me yours.
And, if you’re an Australian living in America, how about the other way around?


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We Decided to Call Sydney Home

Sydney

For nearly a year, Partner-in-Crime and I were semi-slyly planning a change of scenery. We first met in Florida, a state that – despite its complete weirdness and frequent disfunction – we felt at home in because we’re both laid back sunshine lovers. P-i-C has always liked the idea of moving to Queensland, Australia’s most tropical state, to recapture the Florida vibe. For a long time, he’d say, “let’s move to Queensland,” and I’d shut him right down, saying that I’d moved across the world, settled in Sydney, and that was enough moving for me.

After I got pregnant, we were staring down a move since we live in a one-bedroom apartment. Moving is the pits, especially in Sydney where the rent is shocking, the competition is stiff, and what you end up with is often short at least a few of the boxes you hoped to tick off your list. We dreamed of a nice house, but that meant moving much further out of town than we wanted to. At that point, I had a part-time casual job and P-i-C was working for himself, so we had no real professional ties. Our friend-soulmates were moving back to the States soon. It’s no secret that Sydney is not my favorite city on this planet. It all started seeming way too hard to me. “Maybe we should just move to Queensland,” I finally declared.

We started researching and settled on the Sunshine Coast where we would be near the beach, the mountains, and could rent a 4 bedroom house for what we pay for our one bedroom apartment in Sydney. A trip up there confirmed that it was lovely and easygoing. It seemed like a fait accompli. I didn’t want to move while pregnant, so we decided we’d be Queenslanders shortly after Hushpuppy was born.

It might have all gone as planned if it hadn’t been for the yoga.

In the late stages of my pregnancy, I was taking four classes a week at a beautiful studio and looked forward to taking the Hushpuppy to some of their Mums and Bubs classes. When she was 8 weeks old, we went to our first one, and it quickly became such a special time to me. I started researching for something similar on the Sunshine Coast to disappointing results. It was my first little clue that I might not be completely happy there.

I started looking online at Sydney apartments – just out of curiosity – and after many long conversations, P-I-C and I agreed that we would look for something special in both places and, as I declared, “let the universe decide.” I threw down a gauntlet of must-haves for a Sunshine Coast house and he did the same for a Sydney apartment. We were going to have to make sacrifices either way we went.

One day while walking back from yoga, I clued into the neighborhood for the first time. I was looking at funky shops, an organic cafe, a nice Thai place, a Subway (my favorite for picnics), a kid’s park, families everywhere and right on the bus line to the city. I expanded my search to that suburb, and before long, we found a 2 bedroom in a complex with pools, sauna, club house, a cafe on premise, and across the street from a leisure center. I felt like the universe had responded in kind.

Around the same time, we found a beautiful rental listed on the Sunshine Coast that ticked every box on the nearly impossible list I’d created. Many more long conversations later, we finally came to the mutual agreement that Sydney was the right place for us right now.

The saga of how we finally got into our new apartment is a story for another day. Let’s just say, the universe wanted to test our resolve. But, at last, we pick up our keys today and will continue to call ourselves Sydneysiders for some time to come.

A lot of those “long conversations” took place at this park, which probably didn’t hurt Sydney’s chances.