Reflections on Expat Year Two

Two years ago today we hopped on the plane to Australia. Honestly I didn’t really have any expectations for what our life was going to be like here. I hadn’t really pictured where we would live, where I would work, or who we would be friends with. We pretty much just jumped into the whole experience open minded and hoping for the best.

Although there are days that I long for “home” (some days more than others, dumb pregnancy hormones), Brisbane really has become our home.

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Last year I blogged about the 10 lessons I learned from our first year abroad, but this year I wanted to reflect on what I remember most about the past year AND what I’ve learned (such a teacher).

Travel

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We spent a good chunk of the past year trying to see as much as we could of this side of the world. We visited Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and tons of new spots in Australia. I’m so grateful for the time we were able to spend together experiencing all of these places. We would have never been able to experience all of those places in such a short amount of time (that was all the second half of 2015) if we weren’t living over here. Even though our lives are changing I don’t ever want to lose that wanderlust spirit, and I hope that we will instill that in our baby girl. Little does she know we already have quite a few trips planned for her first year ☺️.

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Working

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I started working part-time last year in February and by the end of the year I was pretty much booked everyday that I was avaliable. In December (before I found out I was expecting) I accepted a full-time teaching job at one of the schools I was a regular at. I had no idea when I agreed to take on that class of adorable 8 and 9 year olds how much of an impact it would have on my life here. Working at a small school close by my house really made me feel like part of a community. I didn’t realise how important that would be to making me feel like I was at home.

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The staff, students and parents took me in as one of their own even despite my weird accent ?. I was nervous to tell everyone I was going to be leaving half way through the year because I was pregnant, but the outpouring of genuine excitement and love that I felt blew me away. My last day was filled with lots of emotion, but I know I will be back to visit and hopefully even work a bit next year.

Visitors

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In the past two years we have had 9 visitors come and stay with us (I think that’s right), and in November that included our first round of non-family members. It was so fun showing our friends and family around our home and seeing the city through their eyes.

Just two Texan gal pals casually strolling through the neighborhood in matching ensembles. #notplanned #boosandroos

There were so many little things that they pointed out or noticed that we take for granted. We really live in an amazing city. People don’t normally think of Brisbane when you mention Australia, but it is an underrated gem. Hopefully our new addition will encourage more people to come and see that for themselves!

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Friendships

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I’ve probably said it a million times but I have been so lucky with the friendships that I have made here (picture above from our first girls dinner Nov 2014). When you are so far away from family, your friends truly become your family. The girls that I have met here have made such an impact on my life.

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Several of us starting meeting for a weekly bible study late last year to read through and discuss two different books. There were multiple nights that no chapter was even mentioned but hours were spent in fellowship. I know that no matter what is going on I can turn to these ladies even if it is just a quick text to ask for their prayers over something. Living over here seems to mean traveling spouses and I know we all are so grateful to have each other to lean on for a vent session or even so we don’t have to eat dinner alone. As close of friends as I had back home I can’t think of any (that I didn’t work with) that I saw on a weekly basis like I do now. Which leads me to my next point…

Saying Goodbye

As an expat you know that this part is inevitable, but it seems to always be yourself you picture leaving. I somehow made it almost two years without having to say a single goodbye. In the past week I have had to say two.

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It still hasn’t hit me that two of my best friends are no longer going to be a short drive or ferry ride away, or that our Wednesday night group is going to be reducing in size by a third. I’m sure it will soon and the pregnancy hormones will make me a sobbing mess, but until then all I can think about are the adventures we shared and the memories we made. How Emily Anne and I spent months waiting on our teaching certificates wandering around the city, window shopping and eating Miss Field’s mini cookies. How we waited in line for over an hour for the Forever 21 grand opening just because it was something to do. How we turned the AC down in the middle of summer so we could watch Christmas movies and bake. How we spent hours over coffees and wine talking about everything under the sun.

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How Courtney and I met after being here a year and realized our families are from the same small West Texas town. How she literally has been my go to for every step of our journey with Baby A (to the point that my mom is actually worried about me taking care of an infant without her around to ask questions to ?). How I have learned so much about being a mom from just witnessing her love for her daughter.

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But more than anything I’m excited for them and their new adventures because I know that our friendships aren’t going anywhere because of the distance. I can not wait to see what God has in store for them.

Saying goodbye is never easy but the friendships that you make when you are “alone” on the other side of the world are not the type that make it a forever goodbye. So we don’t say goodbye, we just say see you later!

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And on that note, I’m going to say see you later blog world. I have a cookie and hot chocolate to enjoy on this chilly winter evening, and a baby girl moving around in my tummy to keep me entertained. See you next week for the Month 8 Bumpdate!

Linking up with my fellow expat and traveling ladies for Wanderful Wednesday.

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29 thoughts on “Reflections on Expat Year Two

  1. Court, what a wanderful experience you’ve had as an expat! Sometimes I get into this guilt trip for being so far away from my family and friends, but to be honest Miha and I wouldn’t have 80% of the opportunities we have living here together. The travel and visits are my biggest joys! It is so funny that people thought I was going to loose touch with my life in Mexico but on the course of these 2 years we’ve had well over 10 visits! The world is incredibly small too, I met a photographer last year that was traveling the world and was actually from my hometown. Our parents had lived streets away from each other in their childhood. There are no coincidences, only synchronicities. Don’t those moments make you realize “yep, this is where I need to be for now”. Thank you for sharing your story with us!

  2. I hope my baby gets to know wanderlust too! Being an expat is so filled with ups and downs, but overwhelmingly with a sense of a life being lived! Your children’s advice for you and the baby is so cute! The goodbyes will never get easier I don’t think.

  3. Such pros and cons with expat life! I love seeing you guys continue it and you’ll be amazing through having a baby away! I know how you feel being so torn about being away from family though — still a daily thing for us too even in CA! xox

  4. That’s so crazy that you’ve lived in Australia for two years now! We have friends who are currently living in Italy, and they’ve talked about the same things that you just talked about. They’ve loved being able to travel and show friends and family around their new home, but they really hate the goodbyes, or as you said the see you laters! Hopefully year 3 brings even more excitement and travels!

  5. Great post! I would love to live in another country in order to be able to know it more and know more about the region it is located in. I am sure that would be an awesome experience.

  6. It’s sad to hear about your friends going but says a lot about the depth of relationship that you formed with them that you were so moved by their departures. Also your kids are stinking cute. I love the idea of getting parenting advice from them, that’s inspired!

  7. i am so glad that you have made such valuable friendships while there and i’m sorry you had to say some ‘see you laters’ recently – that sounds rough. so glad you shared this post – loved hearing about your two years there and all the amazing travel you two have done!

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