A Catch Up on Life – Expat in Oz

Moving to Australia has been one of the hardest but most rewarding things I have ever done. With this, I must say there have been so many challenges and difficult obstacles as well. By no means has it been the ‘fairy-tale’ that, I’ll admit, in the back of my mind I had hoped it would be. Despite saying that, the end result, in reality, is the closest I have ever been to that said ‘fairy-tale’ life I thought may not exist.

To recap, I made the move to Australia after a year of the idea popping into my head every day. This was usually as I performed the same routine of morning showers, blow drying my hair, driving 14 minutes to work and coming home to review work, do some yoga, cook and sleep. This is life, there is no way around that. I had lived in Des Moines for about three years and, given I was only allotted 10 days holiday and sick leave a year, there was no traveling. The travel bug slowly ate away at me after studying abroad in London in college – so I researched, carefully considered and discussed with my friends and family until I made the jump & bought a one way ticket.

Incidentally, the day I landed I met an Australian guy on Footy trip who became the most important guy (second only to my father and Grandpa) in my life. Never would I have called it but three months later I moved to Melbourne and shortly after, in with him.

This leads us to well over a year in Australia, with that same bloke, living the life of an ex-pat in Australia and navigating through the strange life that I now call my own.

SO…. Enough rambling. Difference in culture I have experienced? Too many to name! Challenges? Even more of those! Benefits? Never ending….. ❤

To fall back on the title…. I will “summarize”.

The lingo still knocks me off my feet sometimes. The most common I not only know but I have integrated them into my life. Ketchup? Tomato Sauce. Flip-flops? Thongs. Vacation? Holiday. Fall? Autumn. 3A22148000000578-3911210-A_British_expat_in_Australia_was_taken_aback_by_fire_warnings_si-a-2_1478659927065.jpgGuy? Bloke. Pacifier? Dummy. Pitcher of beer? JUG of beer. Chug it? No, Skull it.

Most importantly? The game of footy, the game Australians, especially in Melbourne, live and breath by. I am about as athletic a girl as they come so this game I had never heard of came fairly quick to me. Now I slowly learn the history, the legends and I soak up the love for it. You’ll find me having a kick of the footy with me mates on the regular now ;).

Challenges? I have to be honest here, I feel that I have been extraordinarily lucky in my circumstances since my big move. When I arrived, I was lucky enough to get the first job I interviewed for at Imagine That Photography on the Gold Coast. It is a traveling kid’s photography company – they pay for all accommodation costs and move you to a new town every two weeks. This sent me to WA – Karratha to Carnarvon to Broome to Perth. After my stint with them I took my holidays camper vanning through NZ. The memories there I wouldn’t change for the world but going back I would have done two weeks and not three. Nor would I have gone with wicked camper vans as we had heaps of trouble with our van and the customer service wasn’t ideal.

For New Year’s 2016 I went to Byron Bay and moved to Melbourne straight after. It got hard for me for the first two months in Melbourne as my job search was tough. I had experience in information and technology industry but no employer wants to take someone on in this industry who is on a work holiday visa. So I went through a temp agency and finally got a job. This job ironically led to my current job which sponsors me in this industry. Pure luck (yes I earned a degree and sought out the temp job but really? Quite a bit of luck there). That and I was blessed with a partner who supported and encouraged me throughout the way of it all – I over stress and he grounds me. With my entire support system really I do know there is only so far I could fall – I am blessed to have that net below me.

The biggest challenge to this day is a VISA. Yes, I do have a work 457 visa now, if I am let go I have to leave within 28 days. If I want to stay, I will have to find another sponsored visa or submit for a partner visa 820 with my partner. I have slowly begun that paperwork but there is a LOT to do there. However, I do want this permanency if I am going to make big purchases, i.e. a car or a house. So do I jump and spend the $6,800 on the partner visa or wait until I have had the 457 visa for 2 years and hope I don’t get let go to apply for residency… this I debate on the regular.

My journey is not complete, there is so much more to come. But I am hoping to document my processes more in the new year. We have begun saving for a house and doing the necessary things to prove our relationship for the visa. Housing market in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne compared to Iowa? HUGE! A 200,000-dollar house in Grinnell would go for 600,000 – 800,000 here! I have had to adjust my tastes and expectations. It’s difficult but my favourite adventure yet ❤


2 thoughts on “A Catch Up on Life – Expat in Oz

  1. Another wonderful read my dear. It sound like you have a wonderful support system there and I am so glad. It is amazing the differences there are and yet ma y similarities. Oh, is the O Neil a skateboarder that you mentioned in your travels and the memorial. Or are there more than one person with that name?

  2. Always cool to catch up with what’s going on with your life. Although social media usually keeps me informed 😉. So happy for u, with a little jealousy sprinkled in😂. Have a great 2017 Sara!!

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