Hi y’all I’m Courtney- a third culture kid turned Texan turned expat. My husband, Travis, and I moved to Brisbane, Australia a little over two years ago for his job. Our party of two became a party of three in August when we welcomed our daughter, Leighton, into the world. I write about our life down under and my various interests on my blog, Alkeks Abroad. When I’m not blogging you can find me searching out a good cup of coffee or exploring our home away from home with my little family.
My Thursday started at 4:20 in the morning when we woke up and realized someone had slept all the way through the night (this is not normal by the way and has yet to happen since). By 5am Leighton was up and ready to eat and hang out with us. Apparently 10 hours of straight sleep gives you lots of energy. While I fed and changed little miss, Travis got up and went to the gym then made us both green smoothies for breakfast. This has pretty much been our routine for the past two years, only now I stay home with Leighton instead of accompany him for a work out.
It’s nap time number one(at 6:30 in the morning) and time for me to get ready for the day and have my coffee, breakfast number two (overnight oats) and quiet time. I’m currently doing the She Reads Truth Women of the New Testament study and loving it.
Up from our (too short) nap and it was time to feed. Then we FaceTimed with my BFF and her son back home in Texas. I love being able to see my family and friends on the other side of the world so easily. This is the face of someone who does not want to take another nap.
(Left photo) Back down for another nap and time to get some chores done (and have another cup of coffee). First up laundry and watching the JonBenet Dateline special on Apple TV. Watching US tv programs makes me feel a little like I am back home. We don’t pay for cable here so my options for Aussie daytime tv watching are limited to Murder She Wrote and infomercials.
(Right photo) Time to get some blogging done. Do you like our office/closet? We went from a 4 bedroom house in Houston to our two bedroom apartment here in Brisbane. It was an adjustment at first but now I love not having as much to vacuum. Selling all of our things and moving across the world made us become minimalists of sorts.
(Left photo) After Leighton’s nap it was time to head out to a Mum’s group at a nearby cafe. We were running a little late because someone (not me) decided to spit up on us as we were walking out the door. This is the first time this group has gotten together. In Australia the government child health department often puts together these groups. I was invited by a friend I met at a pre-natal pilates class after the child health nurse told her about a group of new mums wanting to get together in our neighborhood.
(Right photo) On the way to the coffee shop I cut through the Gasworks Plaza- home to the grocery store, doctors office and local froyo shop (all of the essentials). It is directly in front of our apartment complex which is so convenient. I love how walkable our neighbourhood is, I probably use my car once a week. The cafe we met at was directly on the other side of the plaza so it took me all of 5 minutes to get there.
I had a great time visiting with other new moms over coffee and banana bread. The coffee shop culture is huge in Australia and most business and socialising is done over a cup of joe. It’s all about the small cafes though, there are only two Starbucks in the city and you won’t find a local in either. Another big cultural difference is maternity leave, most of these woman are taking maternity leave for at least a year before going back to work. Most companies offer at least 6 months paid and then hold your job for a year or two. I worked for the Department of Education (as a teacher in the public school system) and I was given 14 weeks fully paid with no requirement for me to return. This is pretty different then back home where I would have had to take disability to get paid.
Leighton was still snoozing after the meeting so I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous Spring weather and go for a stroll along the riverwalk. As we were strolling our favourite form of public transportation went by- the City Cat river ferry. We love to take the ferry to church, the farmers market and other riverside neighbourhoods. It’s probably one of my favorite parts about living in Brisbane.
I popped into the grocery store on the way home to pick up a couple things. Here’s one thing you won’t see at the grocery store in the US! Kangaroo is eaten here but it isn’t something you see on the menu at too many restaurants. When we have visitors we like to have an aussie bbq for them complete with lamb, prawns (shrimp) and kangaroo. Lamb is really common here and has become one of our favorites.
By mid afternoon we were back at home and it was an exciting mail day- adorable new bows! I love supporting creative moms around Australia whose businesses I find on the lovely world of Instagram.
After a nap and meal for us both Travis got home from work and it was bath time for Leughton. She loves her tummy tub! As he started her bedtime routine, my friend, Monique, came over and I got ready to head out to a girls dinner with her. It was my first time leaving the evening shift all to Travis, but I knew he had it under control.
(Left photo) I was lucky and one of the girls chose a Vietnamese restaurant just down the street from me. Here’s the view from our short walk. I love our neighborhood and all the great cafes and restaurants we can walk to!
(Right photo) Australia has an abundance of great Asian restaurants since its our closest neighbor (besides New Zealand- but what do Kiwis eat anyway?). The food at Phat Pho was no exception and we had a great time celebrating babies, new jobs and engagements over champagne and Vietnamese street food.
These girls are my Australian family. We all met through different channels (Facebook, church, workout classes…) but have spent the past two years getting together at least once a month for dinner. Out of the seven in this picture, five of us are American and two are Aussies (we also have a Canadian who couldn’t make it). I guess expats really do stick together, but we are always looking for more Aussie representatives to join us. After eating, drinking and chatting for a few hours it was time to walk home and hit the hay. I never know when my little alarm clock is going to be waking me up next. That’s it for a day in my life- friends, family and a lot of walking around the neighborhood 🙂