So last week I introduced the first of my Expat Partner Survival Guide road testers, Lynsay – in case you missed it you can read all about her here.
Today I would like to introduce the second of my testers, Nichole.
Thankyou for agreeing to be one of my road-testers Nichole, we look forward to following you on your expat adventures. First of all, could you tell me a bit about yourself, your family and your background.
I am a 42 year old Aussie mother of 2 children, an 8 year old girl and almost 5 year old boy.I have been a stay at home mum since my 8 year old was born.Prior to becoming a parent I worked in the corporate world as an Executive Assistant and Administration Manager that had me doing anything from organising functions for 1200 invitees, co-ordinating the confidential matters within a 20 person partnership, performing staff reviews and whatever else needed doing.
I was under the delusion that when I became a parent I would have all of this surplus time to devote to finding myself a new career. Yes, I really thought that!
I am currently putting myself through some informal study in order to turn my love of all things visually appealing into a small, home based career in graphic design.
I grew up in rural Victoria, Australia and sometimes still find myself yearning for the distant sound of cows and hunting for mushrooms in Autumn/Fall.
Where do you live at the moment and where are you moving to? Why are you moving?
We currently reside in a leafy suburb on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia. My husband works as an associate director with a financial institution and they have recently purchased a business in New York. So we are off to live on the outskirts of New York City for at least the next two years.
Have you ever been an expat before? If so, where and when? If not, do you know much about the “expat life”?
We have never lived outside of Australia before and the things I know about the expat life are only what I’ve came across on the internet through blogs and websites. The more blogs and resources that I find, the less alone I feel.
How prepared are you feeling for the move? As well as from the Survival Guide, where are you getting your information from?
For the move itself, I’m confident that we’re organised. We’re on the verge of appointing a relocation company, have sorted out storage, appointed an agent to lease out our home etc. I have many lists and as well as using the internet for information, I am being given the details of friends of friends that have been or currently are in a similar situation to us, both in the place we are heading to and other places also. I am finding the mix of internet, the Survival Guide and anecdotal advice to be a pretty helpful combination.
I am looking forward to getting over there and finding a place for us to call home. Hopefully we won’t have to live in temporary accommodation for too long.
Why do you think the Survival Guide will be useful? Are there any chapters you think you will find particularly useful?
The Survival Guide not only covers the practical side of such a move but also discusses some of the more emotional components which I am particularly interested in. As a sufferer of depression and also having two young children, I am looking forward to reading Chapter Seven (Settling in, Finding Things to Do, Protecting your Sanity), Eight (Culture Shock; and What if Shock Turns to Depression), Nine (You, Your Partner, Your Relationship – What Doesn’t Break you Makes you Stronger), Eleven (The Child’s Viewpoint) and Seventeen(If it All Goes Wrong).
How did you find out about my book?
I very recently started my own blog to give our family and friends a central place to keep in touch with our journey and as a kind of diary for our family. I discovered that I could follow tags and immediately put in ‘expat’ and your blog was the first to come up in my feed. You were looking for people to review her book and as I read out your list of criteria for a reviewer to my husband, I ticked every box. And here I am!
What are you most looking forward to about moving to your new country? What are you most worried about (if anything!)?
I am most looking forward to exploring a new country and way of living, providing this experience to our children in order to strengthen their resilience and sense of adventure and having my husband home more as his new position doesn’t involve any of the weekly travel that he has to do now.
What am I worried about? What a question. Pretty much everything, mainly how the kids will cope. I’m worried we’ll not like the school we enrol in and be stuck with it because of the zoning (or we’ll have to move house), that I won’t make any friends, that my Mum will die while I’m away and I won’t get back in time to be with her (she has terminal cancer, although is currently well and still working)… lots of things and I’m a pessimist by nature so I’m trying to be mostly positive!
How are your children feeling about the move? How did they react when you told them?
My 8 year old daughter had a complete melt down for about 2 hours when we initially told the kids. To the point where she told us she wasn’t coming. Since then she has not wanted to talk about it much at all but we generally say something about it every day and she is participating in a lot more in these conversations in a positive manner. Just this week she has taken up the idea of doing a presentation to her class, closer to the end of term.
My son, who is almost 5 has outwardly dealt with in his stride, however his general behaviour has declined so although on the surface he appears to be handling it, I would suggest that it is certainly on his mind.
They are both generally looking forward to things like snow, Halloween (which we don’t really celebrate in Australia), travelling around, and their father keeps dangling Disneyland in front of them etc, but will obviously miss their family and friends.
I have a wide range of expats reading my blog – do you have any questions for them? Either country-specific or just general questions about moving and living abroad?
Not at this stage.
Thanks Nichole, it’s great to meet you and we look forward to reading more about you as you and your family prepare to move to New York.