Expat Magazine

Three Year Expativersary

By Floridagirlinsydney
 Three Year Expativersary
This was the cake from our going away party in 2007.
Three years ago today we left our cushy life in Florida and embarked upon the biggest adventure of our lives, moving across the world to Australia.  Prior to the actual move, I had never been to Australia.  But I thought it would be good, thought that it would be productive, and definitely, hoped we weren't making the biggest mistake of our lives.  One thing was certain, the experience of living abroad was going to change us individually, and as a family, forever.
So we arrived in Sydney happy to have left George Bush, sad to have left our family and friends, and extremely scared and excited to see what this next chapter of our lives would bring.
We spent much of our first year trying to understand what people were saying without asking them to repeat themselves for the umpthteenth time.  We met Australians who thought America was evil, we met others who thought it was a land of opportunity, and shopping, and friendly faces. 
And here we are three years later.  And now the thoughts in my head are often spoken with that same Australian accent I struggled to decipher.  And now we understand that you don't say the word "fanny", but you do say "ta".   And we know which coin is which, and actually prefer to have our one-dollar bill in the form of a gold coin.  Not to mention the bonus of there being a two-dollar coin.
We now appreciate the lack of drive-thru restaurants, well at least until our five year old is having a meltdown in the backseat-- then not so much.  And there are many American things we wish had never made their way to Australia...  like Fox News and Spam (not the email kind).
Living in Australia we've been eating:
  • Lamb, in all its various preparations.
  • Vegemite (my children eat it, I on the other hand have still not tasted it).
  • Ricotta cheese on toast with jam, my favorite... I mean favourite.
  • Tasty cheese, we believe it's cheddar-- but we're not quite sure? 
  • Australian hamburgers (which are not that common to begin with) have beetroot and a fried egg on them, and I think that's pretty cool.
Living in Australia I have learned that:
  • Woolworths is a massive grocery store chain, and not a five-n-dime shop.  
  • Wheel & Barrow is a wannabee Crate and Barrel, but don't get me wrong, I still love shopping there. 
  • The rolling hills topography of Sydney is fantastic, except when you have a six year old who gets carsick... I learned that the hard way.
 Living in Australia we now expect:
  • To pay for parking.
  • To pay double for our groceries, clothing, and cars.
  • To go to five stores to find what we need, when SuperTarget or Costco would have had it all.
Living in Australia we know these words = these words:
  • ta = thank you
  • boot = car trunk
  • lift = elevator
  • rubbish bins = garbage cans
  • jumper = sweater or jacket
  • Year 1 = 1st grade
  • fanny = vajay-jay
Random items related to living in Australia:
  • I can drive on both sides of the road like a champion.
  • My six year old has a full-on Aussie accent, but only when he's speaking to Australians.
  • Single-sex schools have become normal, and the thought of co-ed seems foreign.
  • I now know UGGS are more of a house slipper than a fashion statement.
  • Finding a chemist (that's Aussie for "pharmacy") that's open until 10pm is a big deal!
  • Aussie slang usually entails taking the end off a word and replacing it with "ie".  Such as:  breakfast = brekkie, sunglasses = sunnies, presents = prezzies, etc.
  • No hat, no play.  If your child doesn't have their sunhat, they can't play on the playground at school.  They are serious about this-- and I love it.
And some things will never change:
  • Some modern Australian cuisine is way too modern for us. 
  • I still prefer stop signs over roundabouts. 
  • I still write my dates with the month first... some habits die hard.
  • Saying "your mum" is just as funny as saying "yer mom".  Some people will never think that's funny, but I think they're just missing out. 

And now for a quick look back at our time in Australia in photos:
Three Year Expativersary
Three Year Expativersary
Hanging out at the Sydney Opera House.
Three Year Expativersary
View from behind our old house.
 Three Year Expativersary
City to Surf 2009 as seen from outside the iconic Golden Sheaf, the band "Phallica" is playing up on the balcony.
Three Year Expativersary
 Lorakeets hang out in our backyard.
 Three Year Expativersary
In the Blue Mountains.
 Three Year Expativersary
Festival of the Winds kite flying festival Bondi Beach 2009.
 Three Year Expativersary
 A real live Kookaburra on our back fence; Australians totally crack up at my pronunciation of Kookaburra.
 Three Year Expativersary
 Luna Park in all its colorfully, creepy fun-ness.
 Three Year Expativersary
 We live near this!
Three Year Expativersary
Lamingtons, and yes I made these!  I think they're like the official treat of Australia, well after Tim Tams that is.
Three Year Expativersary
Riding kangaroos is just part of everyday life here, but you all knew that already.
I'm going end this third expativersary celebration with some wise words to move into the future with from a very wise man, my husband.  This is not related to Australia, nor America... it is however related to strange human behaviors which have provoked me to wonder, "What the hell are they thinking?".
So it is with great excitement that I unveil words which miraculously explain the unexplainable.  And without further ado, my new mantra is... "You can't make sense out of nonsense."   For me, those words are the only rationalization for things like this and this; and I look forward to my next few years being absolutely incredible, especially being armed with this new found motto by my side.
Woo-hoo, we will rock on here in Sydney!

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