Friday, January 27, 2017

5 years an expat

Today marks 5 years since I got on a plane in Sydney to go live in Kentucky for a year. I had big dreams for what I would do when the year was up, and none of them included staying in Kentucky.

To be perfectly honest, this month has been the worst in my expat life. But it would be horrible whether I was at home in Sydney or living in another state instead of another country. When bad things happen, they are bad no matter where you are. It's just extra salt on the wound that I cannot easily be with my family (or quickly or cheaply for that matter). 

I almost went home but everyone assured me there is no need. It would really hurt our finances after booking our summer trip, but of course money is nothing when you need to be with the people you love. I am not trying to complain - things are getting better and there is no reason for me to worry. It's still hard and I still feel sad about not being home right now.

Since things are improving every day, I am trying to focus on getting back into the swing of things and pretending to be normal again. I'm not normally a very positive person, but I have been fairly positive about everything that's happened because there was no other option. But I haven't been very positive about the rest of my life, so I'm trying to focus on that now.

Starting with talking about the good things that have happened in the last 5 years - and there have been many. 

First and most importantly, I have 3 cats. I mean, these girls are the light of my life.


I have the strongest friendships I've ever had in my life. I haven't really made new friends here, only blogging friendships which totally count, but as for my immediate-local-group, quality is more important than quantity. I'm lucky I knew these girls before I moved here, it made moving a lot easier.


I owned my own home - something I had no plans to do back home because renting is more common and easy. It's not something I ever imagined I'd be able to do, but we did it, and then we sold it. House #2 coming soon hopefully (haven't been bothered looking with everything going on).


I've been able to travel - around the US, around the world and back home. Travel is cheaper because things are closer. Except home of course, that's just as expensive, and I've only managed to go back once, but my mum has come twice (three if you include the wedding). Second trip home booked for this June.


There have been many more things not shown above - I've survived snow and tornado warnings, I've attended Derby/Oaks each year, I've met famous people and attended concerts that I couldn't have in Aus, I've tried new foods and gained 30lbs, I've worked 3 jobs, paid bills and lots of dollars to immigration. People always ask me why I moved here when Australia is so awesome, and I have 2 things to say to that (well 3, as I always joke that Australia isn't that awesome):

1. Life is the same anywhere. You work, pay your bills, hang out at home watching TV and get caught up in the mundane. I moved from one country to a similar one (in some aspects anyway). It doesn't feel that different to me. Of course, if I'd moved somewhere exotic, it might be different.
2. Home is where the heart is. I straight up would not be living here if it weren't for KC. Everything else is a bonus, and I love it all, but I'd be home if I wasn't married to him. But with him, I am home (I never said I wasn't sappy). He's my favourite person on the entire planet. He makes me laugh and he makes me happy. He keeps me in line when I'm likely to go crazy, but he's always up for doing things that I want to do and pretending he loves them just as much. He has kept me sane during the past month. He brings out the best in me and handles the worst. He's my person. Getting back together was the best thing we ever did, and I wouldn't change a thing.

March 2012 / July 2013 / December 2016

Happy expativersary to me. Here's to the next 5 years! Can't wait to see what they have in store for me..

Also, thank you to everyone's kind words about the bad things I'm going through. I'm not trying to be vague, it's just not something I want to put on the internet. I really do appreciate it though, and things are improving every day which is great news.

Have a good weekend everyone.

62 comments:

  1. It sounds like you also moved countries for love! Having a great partner is so important. I guess for me it's easier to go back 'home' since Ireland isn't as far away or as expensive as travelling to Australia would be for you! So I'm sorry you can't go back more often. Great that you have a trip planned for June though. I'm also really sorry that you are going through some difficult things at the moment. I hope the situation will improve soon. Hugs!

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  2. Well vague or not I'm sorry you can't get where you want to go quickly and cheaply. That has to be the hardest thing ever. When my mom got cancer I felt that a half hour was too far away so clearly I'm a clinger when it comes to my family. Hope things improve for you asap. And happy anniversary!

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  3. What a lovely reflection on your time here and you are right about life being mostly the same anywhere. It truly is about the relationships and connections we make. I'm sorry you can't be with your family right now (that really does suck) but glad things are improving slowly but surely. :)

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  4. I'm glad things are starting to look up, and I'm for one very glad that you made the trek to the US. I know it's super hard to be away from family, especially when something goes wrong, and all you want to do is be there, but there's just so many obstacles. Also, totally with you on quality over quantity for friends -- would rather have a 4 quarters than 100 pennies. Anyway, as always, sending you happy thoughts and good vibes. :)

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  5. Happy Expativersary! I'm so glad things are turning around a little for you. This was a great idea for a post. I'm sure your cats and KC and all your friends feel just as lucky to have you in their lives!
    I'll keep sending good vibes your way. Great job with the positive attitude, friend!

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  6. Happy 5 years in the US! & I really do hope that things continue to look up for you and get better!

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  7. Happy Expativersary!! So glad that things are getting better. I know how draining those curve balls can be away from family. Hang in there lady!

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  8. Sending love your way - I hate even being a few hours from home when bad things happen, so I can't imagine being several flights & around the world from home.

    But, happy expativersary! It does sort of seem like despite it all, living wherever is kind of the same. Work, eat, sleep, pay bills, repeat. But since I've got the Derby on my 30 before 30 I'm hoping to make it down that way sooner than later. And even run the Derby half. :)

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  9. I know it has to be a day full of emotions to know you've been gone from home for 5 years, but you've had an exciting 5 years of life experience. I'm glad you've been a Kentucky gal though ;)

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  10. YAY positivity! Here's to more good things for the next 5 years!

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  11. Happy 5 years gurlie! I'm so sorry to hear you've had such a rough month, sending all the *hugs*. Love that you've made such a great home here, and that I even got to meet you last year! Happy Friday <3
    Green Fashionista

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  12. Happy 5 years an expat! (is that the right way to say it??) So glad everything led you to Kentucky where you've had so many amazing adventures, travels, accomplishments, and friendships! Definitely quality > quantity! Love your answers/reflections on why you moved to the US because it's so easy to get caught up in this idea of romanticizing places, when really you create your own happily ever after no matter where you are physically. I am so happy that each day is getting a little better with everything going on. Sometimes it's so weird to try and go on with normal life, when there is something so not-normal going on. Loved this look at positivity (and i've missed your cat snaps/photos, haha). <3

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  13. Keeping you in my thoughts lady - so sorry to hear you've had a rough time recently...and don't worry, some things aren't to share online. Just know all your blogging friends are here for you! <3

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  14. Happy 5 years in the US! I hope that things continue to improve and get better. <3 Jess at Just Jess

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  15. Happy 5 years love! I'm so honored that I've been able to be a part of your journey and life here in Kentucky. I adore everything that you are, my brave and beautiful girl :)
    <3

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  16. I've been thinking about you, Kristen and hoping that things were looking up for you. It is hard when family is far away and you want/need to be with them. I'm glad things are improving and I'm sending you lots of positive and healing energy! Home is where you heart is and you have two great homes! Congrats on celebrating 5 years here in America. Here's to many more great years!

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  17. I'm sorry that it's been a rough month for you and I hope that everything is okay. I love that you moved to America and are an expat - we're so lucky to have you! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  18. I'm sorry for the bad news that's befallen you but I'm thinking of you. And happy anniversary! You're right - life IS the same anywhere.

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  19. You have definitely been on a LOT of adventures! You guys have so many fun memories together here in the States. I'm sure its insanely hard not being near any of your family, but I hope you can see them soon!!! <3

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  20. Thinking of you every day, friend (and I totally agree that blog friendships are real even though I've never met you! Haha). Happy expativersary! I so agree with the home is where the heart is. There is no way I would be living in Texas right now if it wasn't for Chris. I also wouldn't change it for the world.

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  21. Happy anniversary to you! I'm in awe and in serious envy of pretty much every expat I meet -- to be able to pick up and move and explore new places on a whim. I haven't traveled as much as I'd have liked to, but definitely more than some of my friends -- and you're right, life is pretty much the same everywhere (in first world countries, at least). Hope everything is going OK and that June gets here for you soon enough.

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  22. Happy Five Years! Sending prayers and good vibes your way. <3

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  24. I'm sorry for what you are going through, and I hope that it gets better soon. Living so far from home I totally understand how you feel. I'm not that great at making new friends but I am so grateful for the small group of women I have met here in Hawaii. Luckily with the military community you get some built in friends. And I have been working really hard to keep the friendships that I have from back home alive.

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  25. Happy 5 years to you! And I'm so sorry to hear that you're going through tough times. I sincerely hope things get better for you soon. Hugs. <3

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  26. Happy 5 years in America! This post is awesome. I especially love the sappy parts about KC because that's what love is! Our wedding song actually had the line "home is wherever I'm with you", which is a sentiment I love. I am thinking of you every day and hoping things are still improving. Also so glad to have you as a blog friend and so glad for you that you have such fantastic friendships in Kentucky! Have a good weekend, friend!

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  27. Love your "home is where the heart is" spiel. I'm so sorry you're going through a hard time though. <3

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  28. Still thinking of you and sending thoughts and prayers!

    I agree that home is where you are when you're with the person you're supposed to be with. It's how I've managed to move so much.
    Hope you celebrate this anniversary with cake or something :)

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  29. I'm sorry you're dealing with something rough. It's great you have KC with you, and I hope that all is well soon! I love that you live in Kentucky (I do too!) just because I don't really imagine people coming from other countries to live HERE, though I know they do. hah

    -Lauren

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  30. KC sure does sound like your true soul mate and partner in life. Sorry to hear you're going through a rough patch but, as you pointed out, you have so many other great things in your life to be happy about and grateful for! Hope things get better sooner than later!

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  31. Living far away from family is hard, especially when it's so expensive to get to them. Thank goodness for friends and cats. I hope this year is a much better year for you!

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  32. This made me so weepy I had to see if it was almost that time of the month. I'm sorry that this has been a rough month for you but I'm glad that things are starting to look up again! Happy expatversary! We both moved away from home at almost the exact same time! Granted I just moved to the other side of the country not halfway around the world. My 5 years in Texas was earlier this month.

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  33. I'm so sorry you've had a rough month and hope things continue to get better!

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  34. sorry to hear you are having a rough patch. keep your head up! I love your attitude of gratitude for what you do have :)

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  35. Happy "LIvin' in America" Anniversary!

    So sorry that you are going through a rough time right now. Keep the faith and hang in there.

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  36. happy expat-versary! i love how honest your posts always are. it's so refreshing. sending a virtual hug your way today and always <3

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  37. Wow I'm sure five years has flown by and crawled by at the same time! I'm sorry you're going through a rough time right now, but I hope things continue to get better.

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  38. I'm not sure what you are going through right now, but just know I am sending hugs! I only live 2 states away from my family, but I know what it feels like to just want to be around family when you going through a rough time and you really can't be near them. :( I'm glad you have found some things about the US you enjoy. We are sure glad to have you here!

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  39. I hope this goes without saying, but you know that I'm always here for you and only a text away if you need to talk! Been thinking of you often and sending all the positive vibes. Xo

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  40. Oh girl, I hope you're okay - and I really hope February is a million times better for you.

    Sending hugs your way! <3

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  41. *Giant Hugs* I hope things continue to improve.

    Congrats on 5 years! That seems so small to me, lol!

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  42. I can relate to this on a MUCH smaller scale. I moved to Oklahoma for a job after college, and I didn't expect to stay here. I literally knew no one. But I met Jordan here, and so I stayed! I'm not right around the corner from my family, and I wish they were closer. But obviously having them be across an ocean would be a lot harder, and I'm so sorry you're having a hard month and not able to be close to your family! I hope your local tribe is helping you feel the love :)

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  43. Wow, 5 years?! It seems longer than that! Lol. Hope things are getting better for you with everything. I know how much worse it feels to be away from family when you already feel like your world is falling apart. Sending you lots of positive vibes and virtual hugs!

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  44. Wow, 5 years! We're considering expat life right now and five years seems so long, but at the same time so short! I hope everything is ok back home right now! I'm sorry this month has been so hard!

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  45. Hi! So I'm a terrible blogger, but I am still reading. I just wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you and hoping you're doing okay. Tough times are especially tough when family isn't right around the corner. Hopefully time will fly by before your summer trip.

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  46. I know it is really hard to be away from your mom and family right now!!! It is awesome that you have a good, solid group of friends to lean on while you are here though. And the cats, of course! I hope they are providing you lots of cuddles.

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  47. Id have to say you have a lot of good going on as well (I say that bc I don't know what's going on personally and I will send prayers your way for whatever it is you are struggling with) Anything you need you can always vent my way! (I'm good with that haha) Thinking of you! xoxo

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  48. I hope everything is ok...I've been thinking about you since you haven't been posting. It's hard to go through something tough when it's happening far away...I get that :( I totally agree with everything you said about Life is the same anywhere. It all becomes relative, doesn't it? When we lived in Montreal for a short time, we hated it, and moved back to where we were living at the time (BC). People couldn't understand why we'd leave and "fun and happening" place like Montreal. Newsflash: being a tourist and being a resident are two completely different things. That's so awesome and sweet that you found love in the US and have a close group of girlfriends. Isn't that all we really need?! :) Well, and cats. I'm sure you'd add cats to that list ;) xo

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  49. Cheers to 5 years girl and cheers to your traveling since it means I got to meet you in person! Although I think you need to make another trip down here so I can go to Universal with you :) Hope everything is ok with you. Definitely thinking of you girl!

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  50. You know that I've been thinking of your and yours everyday.
    You've had a lot of great things happen for you in 5 years, and I look forward to seeing what's in store for you! xo

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  51. I feel ya, and I agree whole-heartedly that this month needs to go. I've got vague icky things going on too, so I can sympathize. :( I'm glad that overall your 5 years here have been good. I'm sure it did help to have friends here already! Cats are also obvs. the best. Good luck with the house hunt once you're back on it! :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  52. Oooooh swinging by a little late to this one but congrats on 5 years! I do hope you felt able to celebrate in some way.

    I'm still thinking of you and the family. I hope everything continues to improve. I know that urge to jump on a plane very well! Not always the most sensible decision but that's not how it works is it?

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  53. Happy Expat-iversary! I totally know what you mean about life being the same no matter where you live, and it really is so easy to fall into the mundane day in and day out sort of things. I'm really hoping that things are getting better for you right now, and being far away from family really does suck! But you have KC with you, and it sounds like he's the best person to help you out during this tough time!

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  54. Happy Expat-iversary, my friend. First of all, I'm still thinking of you and your loved ones and am happy you're trying your best to focus on the good. Because there is so much good! And we wouldn't appreciate the good times without the bad, right? Sorry, that's cliche as hell.

    I'm sitting on the floor of my new apartment writing this, and it's interestingly hitting super close to home. Before this weekend, I never lived anywhere other than NJ, not even for college. Though I moved just across the river, moving to New York was a huge thing to come to grips with, partly because it means giving up my car, which takes away a bit of my control in terms of visiting home (though I know NY and NJ are not nearly as far apart as Kentucky and Australia, of course). But I know why I'm here, and I know why I moved, and you're definitely right about points 1 and 2. I'm here because this is where I want to do life right now, and the person I want to do it with is here.

    Anyway, there I go making your post about me. Back to you. Huge hugs to you, and happy 5 years <3

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  55. It's so hard to be away from family when big things are happening. I'm glad the situation is getting better and better, but still, that's rough. I'm so glad you'll be able to visit this summer!

    Also your whole "home is where the heart is" thing and follow up paragraph... super sweet. :)

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  56. We are so happy you are here!! I'm sure the five years has flown by and it will be so fun to go home and see your family this summer. I can relate on a smaller level to living away from family and not being able to jump in a car and drive over whenever things come up. Sending you positive thoughts.

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  57. hey lady. first of all... that picture from universal studios... twice i've been to orlando now, and twice i've not been fortunate enough to see harry potterland. i'm so annoyed. and so jealous that you got to explore it. i'd bet my hands that it's the best attraction a park could possibly have.

    second, i don't know the details; i don't need to know them. but i know i've experienced some truly awful shit in my life and how challenging being positive can be in the midst of that, especially if your psyche is naturally predisposed to lean toward the negative, like mine is. the best thing that comes from that bent, i think, is that those whose minds function that way have a pretty impressive sense of compassion. don't beat yourself up because you can't spin darkness into sunshine, but know there's light in there somewhere.

    and as for number one on your list, damn skippy. i've lived lots of places; been to lots of places. sure the scenery's been considerably nicer in most than where i am now (because southeast texas is a forest atop a swamp, and developers love to kill the forest)... i'm rambling. anyway. all you really need in life's a good bed and bath, a kitchen with food in the pantry, and people who love you. the where doesn't matter.

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  58. 1) I absolutely love that your cats top your list. Also, it's a strange thing how positivity settles in when you need it the most. I really believe positivity is the best coping mechanism because it literally makes you FEEL better. <3

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  59. I understand how terrible it feels to be away from a situation back home. I know 800 miles is nothing compared to the oceans that divide you from your home, but I know it hurts not to be able to be there when something happens. Hugs to you!

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  60. Happy expativersary! I can't imagine how tough it must be to be so far away from your family - so great that you have KC and a group of quality friends here! And pets really make life 1000000x better, don't they?!

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