Hi, I’m Jeanne, and I live in Sydney. I come from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I used to work long, crazy hours at the office, but now I work non-stop at home. The blog is named The New Edge because moving here involved facing new frontiers and expanding my horizons.
1. Why did you move abroad?
We visited the country a year earlier and fell in love. When my husband was offered a posting here, we leapt at the opportunity.
2. How do you make a living?
I am the minister of home affairs, a financial planner, football team manager, chauffeur and teacher. As you would expect, my employer pays me a decent wage to do all this (i.e. I take all that he earns)
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
The wonders of technology means we are ‘in touch’ with every text and chat message, Facebook update and every blog post I upload. In short, not as often as we should.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Sydney?
I love being able to go outdoors on a cool day with sunny blue skies and utter, “What a beautiful day!” I live in a pretty green part of Sydney, and if you look from the top down, you just see a canopy of tree tops, with some houses sprinkled in between.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Sydney?
Living in one of the most expensive cities in the world means we pay a fortune for a small place very far away from the city.
6. What do you miss most?
Family and friends, by a mile. A far second is good and cheap food, that is around every corner. And close on its heels is a good and cheap massage.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
I love the spirit of volunteerism in Australia – volunteering at church and school, and participating in activities organized by volunteers led me to meeting new people. I’ve volunteered to do things I have absolutely no idea how to do – and this is encouraged! An expat community (not necessarily Malaysian since there aren’t many where I live) is also great for support.
8. What custom/habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Some people walk around barefoot – I’d understand it on sand and grass, but on roads and in shopping malls?
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
For Sydney, it is the notion of the ‘typical Australian.’ Most people we meet are migrants or expats, and they bring their own culture, work ethics and values with them. The multiculturalism is part of the allure of Sydney.
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?
Groceries and household items are lower, but rent is much, much higher, which evens it out. The main difference is that we now live on one and a quarter income ( I do some freelance work) instead of two, so we’ve had to rein in some things. We hardly eat out, and we try to do a nature-related activity on weekends. And (sigh) – no more massages.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Everything you think you know about Australia is both right and wrong, so don’t have preconceived ideas, just have a spirit of adventure. Learn to love the outdoors if you don’t already because Australia’s a gorgeous country.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started it shortly after we arrived – early 2011. I love to write and take photos, I always wanted to learn how to administer a blog and I wanted the family too keep up with our comings and goings.
Jeanne's blog, The New Edge
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