So Blogmas has kind of flopped a little, but not to worry – I’ll have an explanation post for you in the next few days. Keep your eyes peeled…
To some people, spending Christmas away from friends and family abroad with your family sounds incredible right? Don’t get me wrong, it was one hell of an experience, but this year is going to be 10x better.
To give you an insight, hello! My name is Abi and I am 18 years of age and I moved to Australia with my family in August of 2017 from the UK. We moved here for a better life – full of bigger and better opportunities and for me and my siblings to be able to experience a different kind of life.
Moving here was daunting of course. Leaving my friendship group of 14/15 years behind? I was fully against the whole concept of moving and leaving everything I loved behind. But the strangest feeling by a mile was waking up on Christmas Day and knowing there was no way any of my friends or family in the UK could share the day together as we do every single year without fail.
Not having any friends meant that I didn’t give anyone any gifts other than my family, which I was happy to be able to do – but I’d always set aside a certain amount to save to buy presents for friends. Knowing that I’d see none of my cousins that day was also incredibly strange.
Last year was, of course, our first Christmas here in Australia. The pressure of figuring out what the heck my parents were going to cook in 35 degree heat as well as finding all the right foods that weren’t going to take forever and a day to cook was just awful! Staying true to tradition, my parents cooked us a roast as they always would when we lived in the UK. It was probably one of the bad decisions they made that day.
You get the idea – friendless, family not being able to spend the day with us, a big meal usually full of joy was now just plain rubbish and boring, (although we still did crackers) and the idea that it was 35 degrees outside when we’re used to it being absolutely freezing, and a day for being cosy as heck and happy as Larry was the worst day we all had that year.
How Has It Affected Me?
By anyone’s account, 10,000 miles is a bloody long way for anyone close to be apart. It has definitely given me a different way to look at the day. Thankfully, a year and a few months on we have some incredible friends who are absolutely my rock – meaning this Christmas will be full of joy and spent in the swimming pool with cocktails in our hands and a BBQ on the go.
The way I look at any tradition in the year now, i.e friend and family birthdays, my own birthday, Easter and Bonfire Night is to share our days! We are so so fortunate to live in a time where technology and a click of a button is all we need to be able to talk to somebody far away. Facebook Messenger video chat is an absolute lifesaver! Don’t bother with Skype – trust me.
My mental health was hugely affected by moving here. Through my dark and horrible down moments, my friends in the UK were always there to open their door to me and help me relax and arrange my brain again. Now there’s a 9/10 hour time difference (depending on daylight saving and stuff) and things get tricky every now and then when trying to find the right time to speak to friends, but I’ve managed to figure it out. Evening for me, morning for the UK are the perfect times to be having a chat and a good old catch up.
For Anyone Living Abroad in The Holiday Season…
– Remember that effort works both ways. I can’t tell you how important it is to make the effort from both sides.
– Flights get more expensive in the holiday season. Book your tickets if you’re planning to visit during the summer months if you want to spend the festive season back home. Don’t book during peak times.
– Technology is your best friend. Distance sucks – of course, it does. Make sure you figure out what the time difference is between you and your friends and family back in your own country. When that’s figured out, work around finding the best time to speak to friends and family. (My family and I speak to both sets of grandparents every Sunday evening at around 7/8pm our time & 10/11am UK time)
– It gets so much easier. Remember that. You can make friends through Facebook pages for people who have moved to the area/country from your home country! Check out Karen’s Facebook Page if like me, you’re a UK gal. There are heaps of people who are on the exact same page as you! That’s how we made our friends, and it was amazing.
I hope this post gave you a little insight as to what it’s really like spending Christmas away from friends and family or any festive season for that matter. Thank you so much to Beth for having me write a guest post!
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Twitter – abisaysblog