How to Spend Your First Christmas Down Under

The following is a guest post from True Blue Migration. Your first Christmas spent in Australia after a lifetime of cold, harsh winters can be a welcome change or an odd break from tradition which leaves you feeling a little strange. The feeling of the sun on your back in December as opposed to the harsh chill biting at your ears and nose is a pleasant but unfamiliar sensation. Still, despite the different weather, at…

Continue reading

Expat Holiday Exchange #expatexchange14

Expat blogger Diane from Oui in France had the wonderful idea of organizing a holiday gift exchange among expats. The guidelines were simple. She’d collect the details of expats who wanted to participate and then exchange that information in a Secret Santa way. My gift arrived a couple of days ago and I was so pleasantly surprised. My gift comes all the way from Morocco courtesy of the lovely Amanda Mouttaki, the blogger behind MarocMama, which is…

Continue reading

American Restaurants for Thanksgiving

The following is a guest post by Georgia Smail, Chief Food Writer at Dimmi. Best American Restaurants To Celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia Australian locals would be forgiven for not realising that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This American holiday has never gathered that much steam on Australian shores. But on November 27 – the fourth Thursday of November – 316 million Americans will sit down to roast turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie in a…

Continue reading

Expat Star Awards 2014

Stumble Down Under has been honoured with 3rd place in MyCurrencyTransfer.com Expat Star Awards 2014. This prestigious awards event recognises, celebrates and rewards the sheer hard work, effort and creativity that goes into making an expat blog invaluable to its expat community. We want to show our true appreciation and admiration for the people or teams who put everything into ensuring expats have the information and insights they need for a smooth and enjoyable transition…

Continue reading

My Australian English

There are certain words that will probably never come out of my mouth. For starters, I can’t shorten much in the way Aussies do. I still say sunglasses, breakfast, and chicken rather than sunnies, brekkie, and chook. Speaking in abbreviations is forced and unnatural for me. Like text speak. I can’t do that either. I text in complete, grammatically-correct, properly-punctuated sentences. It’s not because I’m a snob (I am a little bit of a snob). It’s because…

Continue reading

Changes

Back in February, I participated in an expat blog challenge that was hosted by my fellow expat Cristin, an American in Sydney who blogs over at In an Opal Hearted Country. The month-long challenge was a success and a little community unexpectedly emerged from it. In the Facebook group, we talk about blogging, post links to daily entries, and post prompts. My blogging results are mixed. I tend to read a number of other expat blogs, but I…

Continue reading

The Road to Residency Part 5: Death and Taxes

In my last entry on residency in mid-April, I mentioned that I had all my ducks in a row and my application for a de facto partner visa subclass 820 was being lodged. That went through without a hitch and Immigration issued me a bridging visa. A bridging visa is a temporary visa that allows me to say in Australia in the period of time between when my previous visa expired and my current visa application…

Continue reading

Facebook Messenger to Keep Expats Connected

In August 2012, I wrote a blog entry on three tools to help expats stay in touch with family and friends abroad: Skype, the magicJack, and Viber. As it turned out, I rarely use Skype with anyone other than Theo (and he’s in the next room or just beside me; we use it to share links and files). My family just never quite caught on to it and my friends never seem to be on…

Continue reading

10 Tips for Your Visa Process

I’m not an expert and I’m not a lawyer or migrant agent, but I’ve spent a year working on putting my visa application together. With the benefit of hindsight, I offer you some tips to make your process smoother. I applied onshore (that is, from within Australia, as opposed to offshore) for a de facto partner visa subclass 820, which is a temporary visa. If granted, if the relationship is still intact after two years,…

Continue reading

Hamilton Watts Migration Services

Throughout my writings about my visa process, I’ve mentioned that I have been using a migrant agent. Today I’m going to plug the agency. I don’t know how I would be getting through this migration process without them. Hamilton Watts provides high quality migration services. They have offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, and Canberra, and represent clients throughout Australia and overseas. I worked directly with Laurie Duncan, the current Chairman of Hamilton Watts, who joined the company as…

Continue reading

The Road to Residency Part 4: All the Extras

I set my foot down on the road to residency in June 2013, nearly a year ago. The process is finally coming to an end. Well, sort of. I’m applying onshore (that is, from within Australia, as opposed to offshore) for a de facto partner visa subclass 820, which is a temporary visa. If granted, if the relationship is still intact after two years, I will be granted a permanent visa, subclass 801. Today is…

Continue reading

Between Cultures

The prompt for the Expat Blog Challenge on Saturday, February 16th was to respond to the following quote from Sarah Turbull: It is a bitter-sweet thing, knowing two cultures. Once you leave your birthplace nothing is ever the same. Growing up in Miami, I was like everyone else – Cuban. Ok, there were other people in Miami such as Haitians, Nicaraguans, Dominicans. I even knew a Polish kid. But with about 35% of the populace…

Continue reading