Moving overseas is not always by choice. Sometimes, as in the case of Molley Mills from A Mother Life, it was her husband’s job that forced them to move far away from home. As an Australian expat living in New York City, not only would the culture and lifestyle be different, but the weather was a big change as well!
Adjusting to a new city, whether across town, across the country or across the world, takes time. I always recommend giving it 6-12 months before throwing in the towel.
What initiated your move to New York? My husband’ company had outgrown its region and for the company to expand they wanted to send someone over to The U.S.. He had been coming over regularly since 2003 and by 2005 was ready to make the move. I wasn’t interested in moving to America at all and after our move I cried for the first 3 months but eventually we adjusted and things got much better.
What do you enjoy most about being an expat? Living in a foreign country, even if you think it will be similar it’s completely different. No one can prepare you for this new experience.
What’s the best part about living in New York? New York has a rich, diverse culture which is a great experience for our children. It has given them a view of the world they would never have seen if we’d stayed in Australia which is quite homogeneous.
What’s the hardest part about living where you live? Not being a local and being different is the most difficult part about living away from home. It has taken years to learn the ways of American Culture. Having no prior experiences to draw on makes schooling a fascinating and unique environment for the kids.
What was the biggest culture shock when moving to America? How we are seen as American white people and therefore it’s assumed we hold the same prejudices.
Would you live abroad again? If so, where? Of course! We’re out now, in the big wide world. Australia is so far away from everything that we would just take the advantage of having been expats here in the US and use our knowledge to go other places. Europe would be our next choice.
If you could go back to the time before you moved, what would you do differently?We packed the weirdest things to bring with us to America but by the time our shipment had arrived we had replaced many of those things. I would think twice next time about what to take with us versus what to ship.
What’s one thing you miss most from your home country?
Being able to visit friends and family easily.
Pepsi or Coke?
Savory or Sweet?
One cannot simply choose.
What’s something you wish you knew before arriving in your new country?
How different it would actually be.
What’s your favorite neighborhood in New York City?
Harlem! It’s where we currently live. Its lively, colourful and mixed with cultures from around the globe.
What’s your favorite food in your new country?
Mexican. Its not as good in Australia and not as easily to come by.
What one thing could have made your transition easier?
Understanding the intricacies of living in a foreign country.