Expat Life

Australian home styles

One of the first things I noticed about Melbourne when I moved here are the beautiful homes: cottages, terrace homes, California Bungalows, charming little houses and grand estates. In recent weeks, I’ve been learning more about Australian home styles. Australia has a rich and eclectic urban landscape influenced by English and American architectural styles that… Read More Australian home styles

Expat Life

Tell me about your home

Tell me about your home. My partner is binge-watching the new season of Orange is the New Black. Since I was on my own last night, I decided to watch something I hadn’t seen before. I started watching Outlander. Based on a series of novels, it’s about a Second World War-era English nurse named Claire… Read More Tell me about your home

Expat Life

The road to residency part 8: permanent residency

On Saturday, 1st April – April Fools’Day – I received an email from my migrant agent with the news. I am a permanent residency. The PDF from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection was attached. It took three years. I applied for the temporary residency visa in April 2014. Two years later, in April 2016, I became eligible to… Read More The road to residency part 8: permanent residency

Expat Life

The road to residency part 7: more waiting

Sometime in May or June, I became eligible to apply for permanent residency. If you’re just joining me at this part of my story, I came to Australia to be with my partner. I applied for a de facto partner visa subclass 820. It grants temporary residency. It lets me travel, get Medicare, study, and work. Although… Read More The road to residency part 7: more waiting

Expat Life

On private health insurance

Given Australia’s publicly funded universal health care, is private health insurance worth it? Last June, shortly after I lodged my application for a de facto partner visa subclass 820, I received a bridging visa. That made me eligible for Medicare, which I enrolled in immediately. For my American readers, Medicare is Australia’s publicly funded universal health care scheme.… Read More On private health insurance

Expat Life

The road to residency part 6: temp visa granted

Nearly two years after I began the application process, my temporary visa has finally been granted. Immigration took so long that my medical assessment expired. My migrant agent called and told me I needed to do it again. His office scheduled it with Bupa. It was bad enough the first time with Medibank and it was downright awful… Read More The road to residency part 6: temp visa granted

Expat Life

2014, the year in review

It’s hard to believe 2014 is almost over. Here’s my year in review. 2013 was hard. The excitement of being in Australia gave way to homesickness and a sense of grieving. By January, things had started looking up and the year started off well. I was becoming more comfortable getting around Melbourne, I had taken up hobbies,… Read More 2014, the year in review

Expat Life

Christmas in Melbourne

It’s summer so you know what that means – Christmas! The Melbourne CBD is alive with the scorching sun and the colourful sights and sounds of Yuletide. It feels strange to celebrate Christmas in the summer. It’s not just the warm temperature. I’m from Miami and winters there are mild, but it’s still winter. December 25 was selected to… Read More Christmas in Melbourne

Expat Life

My Australian English

How’s my Australian English shaping up? I can’t shorten words and phrases the way Aussies do. I still say sunglasses, breakfast, and chicken instead of sunnies, brekkie, and chook. Speaking in abbreviations feels forced and unnatural for me, like text speak. I can’t do that either. I text mostly in complete, properly punctuated sentences. It’s not because I’m a… Read More My Australian English

Expat Life

The road to residency part 5: bridging visa

Last April, I wrote that I would soon be applying for a de facto partner visa subclass 820. That went through without a hitch and Immigration issued me a bridging visa. A bridging visa is a temporary visa. It bridges the gap between the expiration of my previous visa and the time it takes to… Read More The road to residency part 5: bridging visa