About us

We are a family of four. Sarah, Andy, Finn & Isla and we are on the emigration path to Sydney, Australia from Somerset, England. We arrived on Tuesday 24th August 2010 and this is our story.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

1 Year expativersary!

Yes, the 24th August 2011 has rolled around and we have done 1 roller coaster of a year on Antipodean soil.  What a ride!

We have had homesickness, turmoil, visitors, departures, joy, tears, growth, job changes, soon to be a house move, new school, swimming lessons and adventures left, right and centre.  Extreme highs and some lows.

Here we are now 1 year down the track and we have learnt so much.  Some bullet pointed thoughts, I love bullet points....so efficient and tidy....!

  • Australia is expensive.  Everybody says it before you come but it really is!  However if you have a reasonable income then the life you have here is amazing and so, so rich.  You just need to be prepared for the expense compared to the UK which is admittedly in the grip of a recession.  Rent is super high and house prices are even higher!
  • The climate is amazing.  We have adapted our lives over the last year around the seasons which has actually really been a joy.  Seasonal food is of the best quality and very cheap.  So we eat with the seasons.  This meant that after the Queensland floods late last year we didn't eat bananas for 8 months as they were way too expensive!  However we ate tons of pears and apples when they were in season and the same goes for pumpkins and squash.  It has made me more produce aware to live like this and I like the change.  In the heat of the Summer we didn't go for great big long walks and stuck pretty close to air con/water/the beach which was great for 3 months, then just as you feel the need for a change the temperature drops and it's 'Hello Autumn'.  Cooler, sunny days that lend themselves to exploring, walking and park playing.  Winter arrives and it's lovely to wrap up in a jumper and a scarf, maybe a coat once in a while.  Right now we are heading into Spring and I cannot wait!  The days are lengthening and becoming warm, everything is starting to wake up a bit and I am ready!
  • People are friendly.  I talk to far more people here in a 'pass the time of day' kind of way.  A 5 minute chat here and there and people want to do it.  There is now stand offishness and people seem genuinely interested and are interesting to talk to.
  • It's an awful long way from home.  So the catch of an expat is that you know that you have left behind.  That is hard.  There are so many super sweet spot moments but also pangs for people that cannot be abated.  Although time does help.  On the whole our lives are much richer here but it's the old adage of missing the people you have left behind.  Especially when something happens to remind you that you can't actually be with people when they need you.
  • What doesn't kill you makes you stronger....ha ha ha....I have no doubt that over the last year we have experienced more stress and uncertainty then ever before, however, each obstacle we cross the better we feel about our challenges and the stronger we become.
  • Oz ain't England!  It's Westernised but we are basically in Asia and that is reflected in it's culture and population.  Hardly anything is the same here from the media and shopping to cuisine. Coming from sleepy Somerset it's all very different and that broadens the mind which is good.
  • There is so much to do every weekend it truly is never ending!  We were definitely in a bit of a rut before we came here and did the same old thing each weekend.  That has all changed and now we explore this vast landscape frequently.  The natural beauty of this environment is immense and we are tripping over parks to see, places to BBQ, beaches to explore, museums to visit, entertainment to experience, food to sample etc.....
There is so much more that I could write about but for now, enough.

 So, back to today.  Our one year expativersary.  Andy was at work so as the forecast was a cracker for the time of year (23 degrees and sunny) I decided a beach trip with a picnic was in order.  Palm beach is one of my favourites and that was our destination.  I loaded up the car with beach toys, picnic, rug, chair etc and off we headed.  We arrived at the beach and were greeted by a film crew and cast in the throws of filming the latest Home & Away episode.  After a quick look we headed down onto the sand and set up camp.  That was when the entertainment started in the form of a pod of around 10 dolphins in the bay 100 meters from the shore.  They frolicked and played for an amazing two hours showing me what they enjoyed to do and something you only normally see in an Attenborough documentary.  It was breathtaking and no matter how I describe it here won't do it justice.  They jumped and played and surfed in the waves.  Twice I was faced with 7 dolphins riding in a wave towards me and then they jumped out of the back of the wave and continued to splash around.  Just amazing.  It was one of those moments when I thought, Wow, this is Australia, here we are and what an amazing experience and childhood for Finn & Isla.  

 That's Isla mid fondant removal from her biscuit.

I had to include this random one because 'how cute are they?'

Saturday, 13 August 2011

West Head Lookout

Today in the midst of looking for a new place to live we visited a little peace of gorgeousness called West Head Lookout in the Ku-ring-gai National Park.

It is known for being a good place to see the whales migrating, we didn't see any today but we sat and looked out over the ocean which was like a mill pond and watched the boats moving around the headland.  We were very high up and could see over to Palm Beach and around to the beaches on the Central Coast.  This afternoon has been one of those days that really makes me think how amazing the environment is in Australia and wow, we get to see this all the time.  We discover new things every weekend that we get out and about and I really love that.

 Not sure about these sunglasses....Andy says I look like Maverick....hmmmm!