Expats. Have there ever been times you’ve desperately wanted to ask some fairly personal questions of your fellow expats, but have been too polite to? I know I have.
So I thoroughly enjoyed reading Emma’s run down of some fairly personal questions about her expat journey. She kindly tagged me to answer the same questions, so here we go.
NB photos taken from a trip to Featherdale Wildlife Park for some local flavour*
1. Where were you born, where did you grow up and where do you currently live?
I was born in the UK, and lived there for the first thirty one years of my life. In May this year, I moved to Sydney, Australia and plan to be here for at least the next 16 months.
2. What made you leave your home country?
I wrote a post about it! It’s actually quite interesting (for me anyway…) to read that back now I’m actually here.
[Especially for Erin, who didn’t believe penguins live in Australia]
3. What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from?
Most people are pleasantly interested, but nobody is particularly surprised. There are a lot of Brits around here, and apart from the usual questions about why did you come, do you know anyone here, people usually move on fairly swiftly. That’s ok with me.
4. What was the easiest/hardest part in adjusting to your new country?
The easiest part has been how similar it is to the UK in many ways. The hardest part has been how different it is to the UK in many ways! Things usually work in a similar way, but perhaps it’s called something different or works a slightly different way, so you find you need to learn most things from scratch anyway even though they’re generally fairly similar. If that makes any kind of sense.
5. Images, words or sounds that sum up the expat experience you’ve had so far.
The bird calls. The light (clear, crisp, bright). Gum-tree-green and the smell of eucalyptus.
6. Your favourite food or drink item in your new country
Anything gluten free in the food department (recent discoveries include gluten free doughnuts, YES) and of course my favourite drink here that nobody has heard of in the UK, lemon lime and bitters.
7. What’s the one thing you said “yes” to in your new city that you wouldn’t say “yes” to, back home?
So far there hasn’t been anything I’ve done here that I wouldn’t do back home. We’ve been lucky to assign more time to ‘tourist’ type activities here than we would back in the UK, which I think everyone should do as much as they can. Tourist stuff is popular for a reason and I feel like people always think ‘oh we’ll go another day, it’s only down the road’ and then end up never going. Hands up if you’ve done that where you grew up.
8. Are there any cultural norms/phrases in your new country which you cannot stand?
Starting sentences with ‘look’! In the UK that’s quite an aggressive way to start a sentence, so it always gives me a little start because I feel like I’m about to be told off. But here it’s just a normal way to start a sentence and people don’t mean anything negative by it at all.
9. What do you enjoy most doing in your new country?
Enjoying the beautiful scenery, the new and interesting flora and fauna, and learning about the history of the country. I also like eating lots of good food but that’s the same wherever I go!
[A really pretty and absolutely huge bird that I don’t remember the name of. Sorry, bird]
10. Do you think you will ever move home for good?
Quite possibly. I’ve only lived in Sydney for a couple of months so I think it’s a little early to judge, but I’m keeping an open mind for as long as possible. At the moment I can easily envisage us staying in Australia indefinitely, and I can just as easily envisage us going back to the UK in a couple of years. I have no idea how things will pan out – and as things stand, my visa situation is very up in the air so our hand may be forced anyway.
For more existential blathering, I write monthly updates on my expat journey, which you can follow along with here.
Thanks again Emma for the tag and sorry it took quite so long for me to fill in my answers!
Fellow expats, would you answer these questions so I can be extremely un-Britishly nosy?
*I actually don’t want to talk about the day we had there because I was horrified by the way a lot of people thought was acceptable to behave around animals. So I’m posting a couple of photos here instead and have vowed not to return to your average wildlife park again. I will instead donate what I would have spent on admission fees to the conservation charities I already support. Sorry to end on a rant but it really upset me.