Sometimes I get the impression that people think we are crazy for leaving all that we are familiar with for a life abroad but we aren't the only ones who have chosen this lifestyle. In fact, there are a lot of us and many of us blog about it. Expatriated is a series to introduce you to other expat bloggers.
I'm so excited to have Kristina from Le Fabuleux Destin on the blog today. She is what one might call, a serial expat and she documents her adventures with some of the most beautiful photos I've ever seen! So, without further adieu, meet Kristina...
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Frankfurt, Germany. After living in California for 12 months when I was 16, I was bitten by the travel bug and have since moved across Germany, Singapore and Switzerland.
After living 4 years in pretty Bern (Switzerland), me and my boyfriend moved all the way to Australia last November where we now call Melbourne our home.
How did you end up in Melbourne and what inspired you to make the move?
Our move to Australia was mainly job related, as my boyfriend was asked by his company if he would like to relocate to Australia for the next 4 years. How can you say no to such an offer? We couldn’t! So I quit my job, we said good-bye to family and friends (which was really tough, because Australia is so far away!), packed all our belongings in one container and jumped on a Qantas plane which took us all the way to the other side of the world.
However, the offer from the company did not just come out of the blue – my boyfriend has been working hard and pushing them to offer him a position abroad for a long time. He actually had offers for Brazil and China – but I am so happy that we waited and got rewarded with the offer for Australia.
What is the best part of living overseas?
I love to travel. And I love change. I can get really frustrated when I live too long in the same apartment, city, country. Even if I like it and feel happy and settled, there is always the little voice in my head telling me to move on, to explore, to see more, to travel. I think I will have the voice in my head until I find “the” place where I truly belong. Luckily me and my boyfriend are quite similar, so we have been moving all over together for the last 10 years.
Anyway, back to the question: basically the best part of living overseas is the wonderful opportunity to live somewhere like a local, the experience the place truly and in a slower pace than travellers. To meet new, interesting people. To broaden your mind and experience cultures that are different from your own.
What do you miss most about home (besides friends & family?)
I miss German bread. Seriously wherever I go, I always struggle to find good bread. And for us Germans bread is like rice to Asians - very important part of the daily food routine. Haha. So I have been testing all kinds of bread here in Melbourne, paying up to 7.00 AUD a loaf for a good German-like bread. Call me crazy, I know!! Besides that I miss the fact that I cannot drive to Italy, France or Germany for a weekend. Or take a plane and hop over to Amsterdam, London, Berlin and Barcelona. Europe is so small, it is so easy to go to a different country and see a different type of architecture, eat different food etc. Australia, on the other hand, is soooooo big and vast! You can fly five hours to the North and you are still in the same country, with the same culture and food (the landscape changes dramatically however). We are pretty spoiled in Europe and I come to realize this now. With this being said, I love Australia and its amazing landscape! The nature is mindblowing!
What has been the most difficult thing to adjust to in Australia?
Nothing really. Australia and the Aussies make it really easy for foreigners to settle in and feel home. The country is beautiful, the cities exciting and the people all very nice, talkative and funny. The “no worries” mentality can be a bit challenging for my German mindset, but I am getting used to it!
Any funny 'whoopsies' while adjusting to your new life?
The only thing I can think of is the Australian accent. I had a hard time in the beginning to understand the local “slang” , especially talking on the phone to strangers. There were some quite funny moments, when somebody asked me something, I had no clue what they just said and just replied “yes”, hoping that it would be correct answer. In many cases it was not and everybody was left confused.
Saving graces? (ie things that made life abroad easier)
Skype. iMessage. Whats App. All kind of technologies which help you communicate with your loved ones at home fast and cheap, so you are still part of their everyday life and you are always up-to-date on what’s going on back home.
When I lived in California in 1996, I was still writing letters home (no Email) – it took 2 weeks for them to get from LA to Germany. And calling was so expensive that I only called my parents once per month. Gosh, time does change things! Crazy!!
What is the biggest lesson you've learned from your time in Australia?
That taking risks and staying positive is worth it. I had a pretty good job back in Switzerland, working in the sporting goods industry which allowed me to travel all over Europe and to see amazing places such as Cairo and Dubai. And I had a great team, working together with friends. I quit this safe job with a good salary and moved to Australia unemployed (but along with a valid work visa). I wrote many applications once in Melbourne, stayed positive even if I was only receiving negative feedback, I was persistent, did not give up and in the end it paid off well. Yeay!
If you had the chance to move elsewhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I love Asia for its culture, landscape and food - I would love to move back for a certain period of time. Singapore, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan – I do not really care, all would be amazing.
For long-term I would probably move back to Germany – home remains home after all.
But let me tell you something, Australia is preeetty great, so I am quite happy where I am right now!
Any advice for the newly expatriated?
Relax, everything will sort itself out. Enjoy the adventure. Be grateful for the chance you have received and make the best out of it. Be open-minded. Don’t waste time being too homesick.
Time flies and before you realize you are back home, dreaming about the wonderful time you had abroad.
Thank you Kristina!