Expert Expat Spotlight: Gwen John from It Started In LA

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

Making the decision to leave your home country is never an easy one. It almost always means leaving behind friends and family and that sense of comfort that you grew up under-appreciating. Living overseas is not for everyone but our Expert Expat, Gwen, from It Started In LA, and her husband, were two brave souls that decided to make the leap. Work took them across the Pacific Ocean to Los Angeles, California but they aren’t wasting any time exploring their new home. Lets hear what it is like to be an Australian expat living in Los Angeles.
Australian expat Gwen John- ItStartedInLaWhat initiated your move abroad?
My husband’s work.  Technically that makes me a “trailing spouse” but I was the one who encouraged him to accept the offer and go on an adventure together.

What do you enjoy most about being an expat?
Being different.  Americans seem to love Australians so they are very welcoming and inviting. We’ve been lucky enough to be included in some amazing experiences and be welcome with open arms.

What’s the best part about living in Los Angeles?
Having Hollywood at our doorstep.  So long as you don’t take it too seriously there are lots of fun opportunities around town and you feel like you are a part of the entertainment industry—not all the time but a good part of the time.

What’s the hardest part about living in Los Angeles?
Living in a bit of a bubble.  It’s not Real Housewives of Beverly Hills but there are people we come across with different values to us.  It’s like anywhere else in the world, you have to navigate until you find like-minded people. We’re very fortunate to find lots of “good eggs” with whom we share the same interests and values.

What was the biggest culture shock of being an Australian Expat living in Los Angeles?
The food and the language: Australians and Americans eat different food and it took me a while to find grocery stores that stocked the sort of produce I cook with.  While we both speak English, Australian English and American English can be quite different.  We’ve all had to change the way we phrase our sentences or choose different words.  And other times we don’t!

Would you consider living abroad again? If so, where?  Absolutely.  I’d love to move back somewhere in Asia. Although it would be hard to follow up from our amazing time in Shanghai.  I think the Philippines would be great.  I’d also be wiling to live in London but I would need a huge pay rise to be able to afford the kind of lifestyle I want to live there.

If you could go back to the time before you moved, what would you do differently?  Absolutely nothing.  It is what it is and I firmly believe everything happens for a reason.  We were well researched, made good decisions and weighed up our choices, that’s all I could wish for.
Australian Expat Gwen John- ItStartedInLa

What’s one thing you miss most from back home in Australia?  Hands down my friends.  You can always make new ones but you can’t replace the ones you have—especially the experiences you’ve shared over the years.

If you were to move back to Australia, what is something you would miss most from your time in The United States?  My new friends.  In life, it’s great friends that make all the difference to a good day or a bad day—or help make a bad day a better one.

Pepsi or Coke?  Coke.  Although with me it’s either water or wine, I don’t really do soft drink (soda).

Dogs or Cats?  Dogs.

Sun or Snow?  Sun.

What’s something you wish you knew before arriving in your new country? That building up a good credit rating—and getting a good score—would be important to doing business in the US.

What’s your favorite neighborhood from back home?  My neighborhood at home in Australia (in Sydney’s inner west)—close to the City, great restaurants, shopping and most of my friends within a 5km radius.

What’s your favorite food in Los Angeles?  Sushi. LA has the best sushi.

What one thing could have made your transition easier?  Having my best friends around the corner.  Or better still, move with me!

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