My husband and I had long dreamed of moving from our hometown of Sydney, Australia, to try life in New York City. Then, one day, a great job opportunity came up for my husband. The job was at a tech startup – known for their rapid pace and long hours. During the next few days while my husband interviewed with the company, I also discovered that I was pregnant.
Within the space of a week, our lives had completely turned upside down. The job offer was so good we accepted it and moved to New York two months later, when I was about three and a half months pregnant.
Whether you’re thinking about an expat move overseas or a move to another state or city, it’s a big decision and there’s a lot to consider. For us, weighing the pros and cons was essential.
Experiencing another culture.
While the USA and Australia share many similarities, there are certainly many differences. By moving to New York, we’ve had access to a huge variety of culture and cuisine, not just for us, but also for our daughter.
Meeting new people.
We’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of people from different cultures, all living in our new neighborhood in Brooklyn. If we had stayed in Sydney, we would have likely kept to our old group of friends who also had kids, but by moving countries, we opened ourselves up to meeting a lot of new people who have enriched our lives.
Our child will grow up with two homes.
“Home” to us will always be Australia, but our child is a citizen of two countries, and is growing up a pint-sized world traveler. When she’s older, she will be able to choose which country she wants to live in, but – for now – we’re enjoying introducing her to the best of what both countries have to offer.
Losing our support network.
Of course we miss things from Australia, in particular our family and friends, but we keep in touch via Skype and email, and visit each other as much as possible to keep the homesickness at bay.
From nature to the concrete jungle.
Our last home in Australia was on the edge of bushlands, while also being right in the heart of Sydney. Getting used to living in a dense urban environment after growing up with so much nature has taken some adjustment. We try to compensate for this by taking our baby to Central Park and on longer day trips into areas outside of the city as often as we can.
We miss the temperate climate that Australians are so lucky to have. While Australian summers are hot, they’re no hotter than New York summers, and the winter in Sydney is around the same temperature as NYC in the fall. My old winter coat in Sydney isn’t warm enough after October in New York, so our wardrobes required some serious upgrades. Pushing a stroller through the snow was a strange and otherworldly experience – the coldest I’ve ever felt in my life, but also a magical moment where I looked around me and felt like I was in the middle of a dream.
Christine Knight is an Australian expat and mother of one enthusiastic toddler. Now living in Brooklyn, NY, she is co-founder of brunchwithmybaby.com, a site dedicated to helping parents navigate the NYC and Sydney food scenes with their offspring.