From Michigan to Melbourne: Keys Down Under
I’m Aubree Keys. I’m originally from Michigan, but my husband and I moved from Denver, Colorado to Melbourne, Australia at the end of April, 2011.
1. Why did you move abroad?
My husband Zack works with an IT consulting firm, and he accepted a job transfer to Australia.
2. How do you make a living?
I was a fulltime teacher back in the United States, and I didn’t work outside the home when we first moved abroad. Now I’m a casual relief (substitute) teacher, employed through an agency.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
I use Skype on the computer and Facetime on my iPhone at least once a week to keep in touch with family and friends.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Melbourne?
I enjoy the wide variety of things you can do and experience in the Melbourne area: sporting events, festivals, beaches, restaurants, music, and more. The quality of life is awesome; Melbourne was recently awarded “Most Liveable City” in the world for the second year in a row.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Melbourne?
The weather in Melbourne isn’t always the greatest. I didn’t expect so much rain or such chilly winters.
6. What do you miss most?
I miss my dog, as we left her back in Michigan with family. Bringing a pet over is extremely expensive and involves at least a month in quarantine, and other expats advised us not to bring our dog. I also miss cheap prices and good Mexican food!
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
We joined several clubs on Meetup.com based on our interests. At these events, we met people who are now our closest friends. Most of them happen to be other expats.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Some phrases, such as “How you going?” and saying “ta” for “thank you” take some time to get used to, and you learn to crave a meat pie instead of nachos at a football game (and it’s a different type of football!).
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
When we pictured Australia, we had an image of the hot, dry, desolate Outback, so we were surprised at the size of its cities and the presence of all four seasons.
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
Prices of everything (except maybe wine) are much higher in Australia compared to the United States. Your salary increases as well, but I don’t think I’ll ever get over the sticker shock. Housing and food costs are especially outrageous.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
I actually have an entire post on my blog entitled “Help for Future Expats,” so I’d advise other expats to read that!
12. When and why did you start your blog?
Zack started our blog a few days before we moved to Australia as a way to keep family and friends informed about our adventures, and I have since taken it over as a way to post my pictures and document our time abroad.
Aubree & Zach's blog, Keys Down Under
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