Why did you decide to move abroad?
Both my husband and I grew up on the west coast of USA, he in Seattle, Washington and I in Sonoma, California. We met 5 years ago in Seattle, fell in love, and got married in 2015. After getting married, I heavily questioned my full-time sales career. I have always been a highly creative person and had zero creative outlet in the job I was in. And so I quit! After that, my husband and I started fantasizing about moving to Australia. Neither of us had ever been there but, we thought, we don't have any children or pets to hold us down. Let's adventure! In incredibly good standing with his company, my husband was able to work out a transfer and promotion to the Sydney office. It worked out absolutely beautifully. After 9 months of a Visa application process, of course!
How did you spend your First Month Abroad?
Fortunately for us, my husband's work paid for our housing when we first moved. We were able to choose a fully furnished apartment in Sydney CBD. He actually had to start working right away, so I spent my weekdays walking around the streets of the CBD, getting used to drivers and walkers on the left side! We spent our weekends exploring together, shopping for items that we didn't bring with us (such as all electronic plug-ins!), and venturing to new neighborhoods (like Manly Beach, where we ended moving to after the first month) and meeting new friends and other expats! I also immediately started working on my blog, Balance + Vine (all about yoga and wine!).
What has surprised you most about living in a foreign country?
Before I moved here, I had very little expectations for what it would be like. I honestly thought it would be very similar to the USA, but with just some subtle differences, like the accent and the weather. I would say since moving here, I have discovered more differences than I anticipated. Differences such as walking and driving on the opposite side of the street actually do shift your mentality. Calling certain veggies, fruits and foods by a different name make me smile (bell peppers are called capsicums here, and cookies are called biscuits here, as just a couple examples). Ultimately I have found a shift within me. I had traveled to other countries before moving to Australia but, for some reason now the world suddenly feels a lot bigger to me. I also find myself more compassionate and appreciative of other people's life stories. I did just write a Balance + Vine blog post exactly about this topic, and would love for you to read it! Here is the link: http://www.balanceandvine.com/blog/the-inside-scoop-on-what-its-like-as-an-american-expat-living-in-australia
Any cultural/language barrier funny moments?
We are still experiencing these cultural differences everyday, more so than I thought we would! Just yesterday, I was visiting the post office and I exclaimed, "Oh, shoot!" to the checker. He giggled at me and said, "Only Americans say that word." I didn't even realize it wasn't a common phrase outside of the States!
What are your favorite activities in your new town?
We now live in Manly Beach. There is something so incredible about actually living on the beach. It is possibly the most beautiful town I have ever seen, and we actually get to live here. On weekends, we spend our days enjoying the beach, surfing, running, laying in the sun, drinking wine (it's so good here!), and so much more. We have been traveling a ton, exploring not only Sydney but the surrounding areas. We have taken weekend trips to Hunter Valley (wine country!), Melbourne and Palm Beach. We cannot wait to explore more, especially up north to the Great Barrier Reef as well as Bali, and east to New Zealand!
What advice would you give to tourists visiting your new home town?
If you are visiting Sydney, visiting Manly Beach is a MUST! Take the ferry ride from Circular Quay (pronounced Key) to Manly. The ferry ride is a treasure in itself. Walk along the Corso, checking out the surf shops and yummy food vendors, then to the beach you must go. Enjoy the sun and relax. You're on Manly time now.
What is the one MUST SEE?
Swim in one of the ocean water pools! These are man made pools that are literally fed by sea water. It's just absolutely gorgeous! There are so many of them spread out throughout the beaches of Sydney. There are at least three that I know of in or around Manly Beach.
What do you miss most about home?
I miss my family so much! My niece just turned 1 years old and it killed me to not be there for her birthday party. And I really miss fast wi-fi and In 'n Out!
We plan to be here for at least 2 years but, perhaps up to 4. Or perhaps we will stay here forever?! It's so tough to decide now, having only been here for 4 months. Time flies!