This month’s featured expat blog, Alkeks Abroad, is written by Courtney. She and her husband currently live in Brisbane, Australia via Houston, Texas. Get to know Courtney through this interview and then hop on over to her blog and learn more about life, travel and the random thoughts of a 4th grade teacher turned full-time housewife living life Down Under.
Tell us about…
…Your Host Country.
1) What brought you to your host country?
My husband’s company asked him to move over here and we couldn’t turn down a chance to live in Australia.
2) What was your first impression of your host country?
It’s so clean, you really don’t see graffiti or litter anywhere. It was winter when we moved but it was so bright and sunny. I feel like there are less clouds in the sky here, it always looks so open and blue.
3) How has living abroad changed you?
I grew up an expat kid, so everyone thought that it would just be second nature for me to move over here and adjust. But it’s so different when you move overseas as an adult. For one, it has definitely made me more independent. I always depended on my parents to take care of a lot of things and then once I got married, my husband took over that role. I remember that first day Travis had to go to work here and it was up to me to take care of all the logistical things, it was quite daunting. It also has made me come out of my shell more. People always say how outgoing and extroverted I am, but that’s only around people that I already know. I am really shy around strangers, so moving to a country where I didn’t know a sole was a little nerve-racking at first. Luckily, I have met a lot of really friendly people that have made it pretty easy for me to open up. I still get nervous when I have to go into new situations alone though.
4) What is the most difficult thing about where you live?
The time difference, I am constantly checking my world clock on my phone before calling or texting anyone. Other than that, Brisbane is a very easy place to live. We are very lucky that this was our first expat assignment together. I grew up mostly in Colombia and Venezuela where things were not nearly as safe or convenient. I think that has made me even more thankful for our current home.
5) What is the most exciting thing about where you live?
The beautiful places that are just a short plane ride or car ride away. We were so fortunate to be able to spend Christmas in Fiji since it was just a three hour plane ride. Fiji is somewhere we probably would have never gotten to go had we stayed in Texas. We also have the most beautiful beaches nearby that make for a perfect day or weekend trip. We are trying to make the most out of our time on this side of the world and see as much as we can.
6) What do you miss the most about your passport country?
Besides the obvious friends and family answer- Target (Australia has their own but it is not the same), Chipotle, Unsweet Tea being readily available, and queso. My waistline and wallet probably do not miss those things!
7) Is there anything you’ve learned to do while living abroad that surprises you?
Driving a manual car on the other side of the road. I really was starting to think I was destined to take the bus everywhere, but I did it! I wasn’t the best driver in the US, I once ran my husband’s truck into a toll booth, so switching sides and going from automatic to manual was a little scary (for both of us).
8) Why did you start a blog?
I wanted a way to share what was going on in our lives with our friends and family back home without blowing up Facebook every week. I like the idea of having our life abroad documented– somewhere I can go back and look at later. It’s like a virtual scrapbook. I am nosey and interested in other people’s lives, so I assume others are the same way so why not share glimpses into ours? Plus, I am the type of person that when they find a new recipe, TV show, website etc. they have to tell EVERYONE about it, so the blog gives me an outlet to share those things as well.
9) What is your vision for your blog or what are you hoping to accomplish through it?
To keep sharing our experiences and connecting with other expats that are going through similar situations. I had no idea there was this huge expat blogger community out there when I started.
10) Can you share your 3 favorite posts.
Do you have a question for Courtney? She would love to CONNECT with you. Leave your comment or question right here. Or better yet, move on over to her blog, check out her awesome recipes, and leave a few comments there.