This is our fourth Christmas in Australia and it still doesn’t feel like Christmas. I struggle every year to get into the spirit. There is something about putting up the tree and sweating that doesn’t seem right. I miss the snow, the cold, and family this time of year. For many of the years as expats we spend Christmas on holiday.
Here are Christmases since we left the US:
2002: England to US. North Dakota, Texas.
2003: England to US. Missouri, Texas, Mexico, Georgia.
2004: Germany to US. North Carolina. California. Nevada
2005: England US. Minnesota. North Dakota. North Carolina. California.
2006: England to Chile and Argentina.
2007: England. Sofia born in October.
2008: England to Cyprus and Greece.
2009: England to Sydney for a few weeks before Christmas (initial visit prior to move). England to US. Minnesota. North Dakota. North Carolina. Tom moved to Australia after we returned. Kids and I followed soon after.
2010: Alex born in June. Sydney and around the world. Singapore, Switzerland, Spain, USA (Minnesota, North Dakota, California.
2012: Sydney to Adelaide then road trip to Melbourne.
This is probably why I feel a little strange being here at Christmas.
Fiji, June 2013
We finally got our photos from Fiji uploaded today. Here is a link to our Flickr set of photos. I meant to share more individual photos with descriptions but this is the best I can do right now. We still need to get Western Australia photos sorted and uploaded. So behind!!
A couple of weeks ago we had our eleven year anniversary of being expats. It made me stop to think about the journey I have had since that June weekend I stepped on the plane thinking we would be away four to six months. Here we are eleven years, two kids, and several moves later sprinkled with our favourite thing to do—travel.
Our journey has been filled with ups and downs, stress, joy, friends, family and most importantly—learning. Although we haven’t lived very long in a country requiring a new language (Germany for a few months) we have had to learn new cultures. With the UK and Australia being English-speaking countries you would think it would be easy to acclimate. It is amazing how long it takes to learn how things work, where to buy things, popular culture and so on. After eight years in England we were really feeling like it was home. Here we are three years in Australia and we still laugh about things we are learning. It feels like each day something new pops up we have never heard before—whether that is a person, a word or a little fact about Australia. I won’t even go into the different accents and slang and everything else we coped with living especially in the UK. Steep learning curve for language!!
We have had the privilege of travelling extensively over the past eleven years of living abroad. It was easy to travel when we lived in England, especially when we lived outside of London. We had so many options to get over to Europe—plane, train and ferry. Travel is a priority in our lives so we make the most of it. We don’t spend money on much, saving for our next holiday. Moving to Australia posed a bit of a travel problem for us. I was pregnant with Alex when we moved here. Travel with two kids made things a bit more difficult, as well as the distances. Australia is much bigger than I had imagined. After Alex turned two it was much easier to do some travelling. We have travelled to several cities around Australia as well as some South Pacific islands and New Zealand. Now that he is about to turn three and Sofia is five we can do about anything–with restrictions due to Sofia’s school schedule.
We have met some amazing people along the way. It has been hard here in Australia to see friends come and go as they come to Sydney for work and then move on. It tends to make you protective about friendships. I haven’t learned to let that down after all of this time. That said, I have met and continue to meet some wonderful people.
We don’t know how much longer we will be in Sydney. A year? Three years? Who knows? I do know there are still plenty of things we want to do and see here before we move on to the next adventure. It has been an interesting eleven years and I can’t wait to see what the next eleven bring us!