Bearing a UK passport and growing up in Australia, Kimberley found herself with the desire to explore life abroad. Though moving out of the country was quite the norm for Australian teenagers, Kimberley has yet to decide to move out until she was 27.
Her first trip to Italy was to work as an Au Pair for two months. Experiencing Italy’s unique culture had Kim mesmerized, which is why she was encouraged to stay longer and even worked as an English teacher there.
Aftwerwhile, Kim met her French husband through her Italian friends. She also shared how the whole marriage process in Italy got them stressed out.
Kim followed her husband to France, and there she had observed the significant differences between the Italian and French cultures.
Though she enjoyed the life that they had in Paris, the couple decided to move to Australia, Kim’s birthplace, to provide a better living environment for their growing son.
Kimberley and his family were supposed to move to Canada until the COVID situation got in their way and made them postpone their decision. Though feeling regretful, Kim sees their trip’s delay as a benefit. She realizes how hard it would have been to build a new life in a foreign country where they do not know any people during COVID.
We were supposed to leave on the fourth of April. And I think Canada closed their borders around the 18th of March. So we were living in an empty apartment. And the day Canada closed the borders. We had 24 hours to get on a flight or 48 hours. And the company that hired my husband was ringing up saying, Can you get on a flight? And I was thinking, how do we get like, there were bits of furniture still in our apartment? And I was thinking, how do we get it all or do I know somebody that could get rid of it. And to have that in 48 hours, it was like, Oh, my goodness. We weren't ready, but we actually had to be out of that apartment in five days. It was crazy.
Hi, everyone, and welcome to episode number 32 of the Emigrant's Life Podcast, where we share stories of people who left their country to chase a better life. And through the stories, you can find ideas, resources, and motivation to do the same. I'm Daniel De Biasi. And in this episode, I had the pleasure to chat with Kimberly. Kimberly lives in Australia where she was born. So technically, she's not an immigrant, even though she left her country and lived abroad for several years, but because she married a French guy, and she still has a big desire to travel and leave her own country. She thinks and plan a life like an immigrant. They were about to move to Canada when the pandemic started last year. They already sold their house and ship their stuff to Canada. But the border was shut and they have to rethink their situation. Kimberly is an English teacher, which allowed her to live and work in France and Italy. And last year, she launched her podcast called Accented, where she interviews people from all over the world to a pilot is getting used to two different accents through normal conversation. Before moving to my conversation with Kimberly, I like to ask you a favor, I want to make this podcast as helpful as possible for you to move abroad. I'd like to hear from you. what do you like about this podcast and what you don't? What topics you'd like to hear more and what you'd be more helpful. If you could send me a quick email at [email protected] with your feedback, it will be very helpful for me to understand where I can do better to help you and other emigrants. And now please enjoy my conversation with Kimberly.
Hi, Kimberly, thanks for being on the show.
Thank you. Thanks for inviting me.
No worries. It's a pleasure having you. Kimberly, your story's a little bit different because you're originally from Australia. And you lived in Europe for a while, you married a French guy, and now you're back in, you're back in Sydney. You're back in Australia. Yes. So let's start from the beginning so what age did you leave Australia? And why did you decide to leave Australia?
Well, I found out that I've left at the same age as when you left Italy. I was 27. And I left because that's what most Australians do. I don't know it's something when you go to high school, it's like, are you going to go traveling after school or you're going to go study? And I went later on, probably because I got into the course I wanted to straight after high school. And then I don't know, I didn't know if I could. But and then by the time I was 27. I have I was lucky I have a British passport. Probably not that useful now in Europe. But having a British passport, I thought I might as well use it. And I was going to go to London. But I think knowing that I could live anywhere in Europe was really enticing. And I've always wanted to learn a second language. So yeah, left, and I went to Italy. And there was a job opportunity there. So I ended up there. It wasn't like, Oh, I want to go to Italy. I actually wanted to go to Spain. If I did want to go somewhere it was Spain. And I don't know why. I just ended up in Italy by accident sort of thing.
So was it just a way to visit other country, it wasn't really like I'm gonna move away. I'm gonna leave Australia. I'm gonna live somewhere else.
Well, it wasn't. But then after living in Italy, I actually thought I could live there for a while. I think to start with. It's like, I'm just going to go away and travel. But then, after a year in Italy, I thought, Oh, I could continue here for quite a few years. There wasn't. Yeah, you're right. It was first to just go traveling. But I know when I got there. I wasn't thinking of racing home.
And did you say you had a UK passport?
Yes. Cuz my dad's born in Scotland. So I have a British passport.
It is sweet.
And how did you find a job in in Italy?
What happened? I went online, I guess I don't know. Maybe just going directly to the UK sounded a bit boring to me. Because that's what all Australians did and I kind of wanted to be different. And I went online. I think they would know that was an advertisement. So they'd advertised on some job site to be an Au Pair. Or and it was for two months. And I thought all while on the way to the UK, I could stop in Italy and do two months there for the summer. And then they did an interview with me and they said, Do you want to just teach English? You you'll go to the beach every day. You just have to speak in English. Read a few books, do like an hour of English exercises. And I thought, Yeah, why not until I get to London, but then really it was just the food. Everything was magnificent in Italy. Just the culture. It was such a cultural, it was a cultural shock. Really. I know. Like European, well, I've got European heritage and like it just yeah, it was different. So different.
I mean, I think is different, like a culture like a British culture like Scottish or English. It's different from other cultures like Italians, or French or even Spain.
I know it is. But you just think oh, but you know, like, I think Asian culture would be really different. But the Italians was so different. I just thought because Oh, yeah. You know, I know, I haven't been brought up in Europe but that whole European background and yeah, I just thought it would be exactly the same. Well, not exactly the same but similar. But it was a it was a cultural shock as well.
I bet. I had a cultural shock when I'm from Italy when I went to Spain, because the time difference. They were there having dinner at 10 o'clock at night. It was definitely was a shock. My brother and I and we were in Madrid for a week and we were like, at seven o'clock at night we were starving. That's the time usually have dinner, went to the restaurant there was nobody there. Their shop was still open. Everybody's still working at seven o'clock at night. That was for me was a cultural shock. So imagine you're from Australia going to Italy.
I do like the siestas that kind of do that a little bit in Italy. Well, maybe in the summertime.
And now it doesn't make any sense to me. People like to start working from twelve until two o'clock and three o'clock in the afternoon. Why would you do that? It makes sense. Like for a shop. Because Yeah, I mean, are you finished working like a normal job you finish at five the store closes at 730. So you have time to go shopping. I'm talking to my brother. My brother's like, yeah, I have like an hour and a half every day. He doesn't work in the store. I'm like, yeah, you need time you have to go home, have lunch and have a nap. How can you do that without an hour and a half of break? Doesn't make any sense to me now but it used to.
That's so funny.
And was that your first time in Europe?
No, it wasn't my first time in Europe. No. I'd been to Germany on exchange, I'd actually learnt German at high school. And I went on exchange when I was 16. And I visited the US before that and Asia. Like I've actually been really interested in going to some more Asian countries, but it'd been probably about 10 years since I'd been in Europe.
Okay, so even like age was different. Probably you weren't there on your own maybe thst will make a little bit of difference.
Yeah, I went on my own. I went on my own.
And what kind of job did you did you find that you say you were like, doing something with English? It was like a teacher or something?
Yes. So then the same agency that hired me, and it was quite funny, because they said to me, do you want to go to Germany because this same agency had jobs in Germany and they and I said, Look, I haven't learned German in so long. And I'm actually really interested to learn Italian. So after it, they said, Look, there's school, and I just got my teaching degree in Australia. So and that was another reason I waited too because I noticed a lot of Australians go and they work in bars and cafes and they go stay in hostels. And I thought you know what I want to have like, I want to have sort of a career so that I could afford to do things that I wanted. Not that teachers make a lot of money either. But I got a job in an international primary school. I was teaching so just a classroom an English classroom teacher, so most my students were little Italian kids. And they were going to an intensive English school.
And could you like teach English in Italy without knowing Italy or you knew a little bit of Italian?
I think it's better to actually not know any of the language to teach English and I learned that from the French actually, the French don't teach you French and they don't translate. No, they just teach you French that's it. And I think it's a really good way to immerse yourself.
Yeah, that's true. It can be like a frustrating when you're learn a language especially like the first few lesson if you don't know anything what the teacher says. It just could be very frustrating.
Yeah. I think now after I think immersion is fantastic, it can be difficult to start with, but you get it. So No, I didn't. I learned a lot of Italian from the kids. And they're all coming with different dialects, some of them. But the students actually because they're about five and six, they'd actually started going to preschool from three. Yes. So they were all they already had English from three years of age. So it wasn't like I was teaching them English for the first time. Some of these. I remember I had a five year old who spoke French, Italian and English. So some of them had multiple languages.
And where did you go in Italy?
So this was in Milan.
My au pair and experience was two months over the summer. And I Au Paired in Santa Margarita. After that, I went into a school in Milan, and I worked in Milan for two years.
Okay, so you were lucky with the accent. People from Milan, usually, they have like a neutral accent, if you go somewhere else in Italy, the accent could be quite different and very hard to understand.
Yeah, it's actually quite funny. Because when I went to France, after two years in Italy, I would go to speak French. And everybody kept asking me if I was Italian, because I was obviously making the accent sound Italian. I guess some of the words are so similar. Like, what's it like? May, I think in French, and I'd be saying my. Just trying to say it in Italian way. And I just pronounced a lot of stuff but the Italian way.
That's funny. And do you think because of your your teacher, do you think of being a teacher is actually pretty helpful when you decide to move abroad to find a job? Because especially, if you're an English teacher, you can teach English anywhere in the world, right?
Yes, what I find strange is, most English speakers I find in these countries teach English, but they're not teachers. It's like, why do you turn up to a country and if you need the language, and you don't have it, you automatically become an English teacher.
So the good thing with me is that I could work in the schooling system, which I think is paid a little better than working at an adult school. Because I think in between, I actually didn't go directly into the job in Italy. I remember, I just went there and stayed there. And I tried with a company to teach adults to teach Business English. And then you would go into companies in Milan. And the pay was quite different to what it was in a school. So when I did get that school job I took it.
Was you actually paid more working for a school than working for a company?
Yes. Working for an international school. Yes.
I thought it was the opposite. A company will pay more than a school. But-
No, no. And I think if you became a private tutor, that would be different. But the adult schools I fine, you don't need as many qualifications. If you speak English, you can go teach.
So I do find that's good, that I have an English degree because at least I have more variety. But then, you know, if I ever want to change careers, there's not much out there for me when I see people from other professions who can only be English teachers.
Yeah, no, that's true. That's true. But in your case, it could be I mean, wasn't the case when you went to Europe because you had a passport, a UK passport. But now that you're moving to Canada, you're planning to move to Canada, which I'm going to ask you more question later. Having this qualification could be easier for you to get a visa or get to the immigration process,
I guess. So I'm sure it would. But then also in Italy, there is a rule, because I know the school I worked at, they loved having Australian teachers. And there's some sort of visa that Australian teachers can go over and work for two years. So they're always rotating teachers for two years. But it's always great when you have the passport because the school is like fantastic. I didn't even have to pay a visa and you can stay longer. But I do know, when I left Italy, after two years, and I went to Paris, France, the school that did hire me, they wouldn't have been able to afford a visa for me. And they said that to me. So I was really lucky that I had a passport, because they wouldn't have they wouldn't have done it. So that's the thing too. Some schools yeah, it depends on the competition. You know if they can prove that they don't have enough English teachers, but then again, Europe can just well, back then I don't know about now with Brexit, but Europe could take anybody from England and take them as a teacher. So that's easier for them to do than to take an Australian.
Okay, and how did you end up in France in Paris?
Meeting a Frenchman. That's it. I met a Frenchman in Italy.
So that's where you met your husband?
Yeah. That's what took me to Paris. And that's funny because I met him through my Italian friends. And my husband was just visiting. He, I guess, as you do in Europe, you can go over to Italy for the weekend. And my Italian friends introduced me to him. And then we kept in contact, he went back to France, and we just kept messaging each other. And then yeah, seeing each other long distance for a year. And then it's like, I couldn't make him move to Italy. And I had no real connection to Italy. I was just there as a traveler, it made more sense for me to move to France. And that makes sense as well, as an English teacher. I can get a job anywhere.
Yeah. And for you, it was a new experience anyway.
Yes. But I was very sad to leave Italy. Very sad.
Yeah, I know. Food in Italy is better.
My husband would disagree. The food is amazing. And I just love the culture. I love the nightlife in Italy. I loved going out in Milan, and the summer in Milan, and yeah, and the school.
Yeah, Milan has got a pretty good nightlife.
Yeah, the aperitivo is the everything. I just loved it. And France is, it's interesting, because you do see the cultural difference between the French and the Italian. Whereas Italians are very loud. And, you know, when you go out in Milan, it's all fun. And everyone's enjoying themselves in the parks. And it's just this atmosphere. Whereas Paris was a lot quieter, and very, a lot of pubs, like in the UK, which I thought was interesting. I didn't realize it would be like that. And people just catch up. And they're very quiet and very thoughtful in their conversations, a lot of conversations about politics.
Is that just Paris or you think that's just a French culture?
I don't know. It's um, and of course, this is just stereotypes, of course. But it was just interesting to see. I found in Italy, everybody was always asking me where I was from. And I guess because Italians immigrate a lot. A lot of people are saying, I've got an uncle in Australia, or I've got a cousin there. So they're always very interested to find out where you're from. Because you guys went everywhere. Like I even met people they're like, Oh, my family immigrated to Brazil. My family immigrated here, the Italians are just all over the world. And-
it's not very common, though, at least from from my experience. There's not many people that leave Italy for good. They usually go somewhere, especially Australia, that's a good destination, and then come back a year later.
Yes, in this era, but think about like, after World War II there were hundreds of Italians that came to Australia.
Oh, yes. That time? Yes, absolutely. There's a lot here in Vancouver.
Yeah. And that. And that's what happened is, and that's what I found, like people would say, Oh, you know, my uncle took his family or, you know, great uncle, they all went over. So they still know that they've got a connection over there. And whereas the French don't really immigrate. They are now which is interesting, because I'm in Sydney now. And there's a massive French community here, which is huge. When I grew up, I didn't know anybody who was French. But they don't have that history like the Italians do. So it's interesting. That's what I found the difference were people always wanted to know where I was from. And you know what they would tell me little bits about Australia, or, you know, they have some connection there where there wasn't a huge connection in France with Australia.
I don't know for French people, but Italians love people that are coming from English speaking country, we look up to people to speak English. For instance, like Americans that are super cool that if you speak English, you're cool in Italy.
I don't if it is the same kind of thing in France, but probably that's why you got that kind of like a reaction from people because it's not very common to see people that speaks English in Italy. And when you see it, it's something cool, I guess.
I guess it's, no in Paris, a lot of people speak English. And people were very helpful. I found the first time I went to Paris, I absolutely had no French and my husband at the time, he wasn't there. I remember I came over from Italy to look for a job. And so I had to do it, get a plane over try and navigate the bus system without any French and I was actually quite surprised this woman who spoke no English, could see that I was lost and looking at a map and she came over and tried to help me and not knowing any English. And I and so I've always found that people were generally very polite and kind in Paris, which is great. But I just found that there wasn't that real interest, like in Italy to know where I was from. Whereas I found people where they had some more of a connection with me and either a lot of their family moving away after the war, just like how my dad, you know, he came out to Australia after the war too, There are like, that's basically what Australia is made up of a lot of people coming out here for a better a better life. .
Yeah. And why did you guys decide to move back to Australia?
So I spent three years in Paris. I love Paris, that sometimes I get I see lots of things Parisian and I'm like, Oh, I'd love to go back there. But life in Paris is hard. It's it's easy here in Australia.
What do you mean?
Um, people work a lot in Paris, people are quite stressed. It's a big city life for my son. We couldn't get him a daycare. It's very difficult. I think it may have changed now. But when I lived there, it was 2014. My son was born there. I wanted to go back to work. And only one out of 10 Parisian kids get a place at the Creche, at the daycare center.
So yeah, and they go back to work fairly quickly. Most women go back to work after three months of having their baby. Whereas in Australia, a lot of women might go back when their child's two years old. So it's another cultural difference. So I couldn't find a Creche. And then when I worked out paying for a nanny, you know, I didn't see the point of working. And that's actually interesting, because culturally, that's not a thing to do to stay at home with the child either. But I just found it, we're finding it really difficult to find care. Yeah, it just wasn't. And I guess, and it's, um, we're very lucky here in Australia. It's a very, it's not a cold country. And we go to the beach all year round. So I think it's just easier. We didn't have a car, you get the metro everywhere. Like, I can't even imagine, you know, with COVID at the moment, you know, how they do with public transport and trying to, you know, minimize people passing on, you know, this virus, it would be so difficult, like the the metro was always packed every day. You know, in Australia, we have so much space. And-
That's true, but at the same time, that was life before COVID.
Exactly. No, no, no. Of course.
But no, no, I know what you mean.
Yeah, I was thinking how, like, we didn't have a car. And that was fine. We didn't need a car. But yeah, and everything smaller, like, you know, I lived in 50 square meters in Paris. I loved it. You know, I love looking at all the architecture and all the beautiful places, but you know, 50 square meters with a baby and a child. The main reason was children. That that was the main reason we left not because of anything else. I actually really liked the lifestyle. And, you know, if I had a lot of money, I'd be happy to live in Paris. But it's an expensive city.
Yeah, I bet it is. Yeah, it's actually Paris, one of my favorite cities in Europe. I love Paris.
I do. You know, maybe I would love you know, maybe when I think my kids would appreciate it more as teenagers. I don't think it's a great city for little kids. You know, Australia is great for little kids.
They got more things to do.
Yeah, but like my son plays soccer every you know, every weekend everybody's playing sport. My son's in a soccer team. It's just a very outdoor sort of country. We spent our weekend at the beach.
Yeah, but if your son like soccer, probably Italy is the place to be.
It is. It is the place to be. But I mean, I don't know. Like, if I didn't notice this so much in France, I don't know if they do in Italy. But they really like it's normal for parents to spend the whole Saturday here, just with their kids watching them play sport. We do that each weekend. He plays for a little team. It just, I just feel that. We get a lot out of being here with a little family. I think I would love to go back to Paris when the kids are teenagers. Because that cultural side of things they'd be able to see.
And enjoy more than what they would as little kids.
Yeah. Especially if you live in a city. I mean, if you live in a city, kids can't go out by myself. Maybe I don't know where you live. But, I grew up in a small town where I can tell last year of like a preschool. I used to go to preschool by myself on a bicycle because it was safe. And you can't do that in a city. Kids needs to be supervised. It's a different lifestyle.
Yeah, look, I think if we lived in the country and in France, it would be totally different. And I think we would be able to have more of that, we would get out kids in a place and daycare, it even gets hard like bureaucratically as well. Like, for some reason, France wouldn't give me a driver's license. And that was just tiring having to deal with the bureaucratic system. And trying to explain why I have two passports, and then not understanding why I'm Australian, but I also have a British passport. So that, you know, it's, I think, and it was the same in Italy too, which is quite funny. We got married in Italy, but because France and Italy have such old laws, they end up becoming, they don't accommodate modern things sometimes. And even though Australia is a very old country, and we've got an old history with our indigenous Australians, I guess, because we have modern laws, they seem to be more flexible. Whereas the laws in Italy and France like, I had a wedding planner, planning our marriage. And it was so complicated because of my two passports. I'm Australian. And then the old law is because I had a British passport, I had to send a notice to the town that I'm from the UK. I said, Well, I'm not from the UK, I don't have a town to say that I'm getting married, because they need to advertise it for six weeks before some bizarre law. I said, and they said, Well, you need to get married as an Australian. I said, Well, I don't have a visa. And they're like, yeah, you can't get married as an Australian. So I had to go through the embassy. And then they were like, oh, you're marrying a Frenchman. But initially, it was so complicated. And and then in the end, the wedding planner found a law that if I stayed at a hotel, the week before the wedding, and I showed the receipt from the hotel that we could I could get married as an Australian without a visa. It's just bizarre. And then, and then this is why it's so complicated too, like, you think that France and Italy are next door to each other, then like, they wouldn't send the document to France and like for my husband to show that he got married, and it was just, even the day after our wedding I needed to, oh, and this was because I knew I may come back to Australia because I'm very forward thinking. And so in Australia, to be a teacher, you always need a police certificate from anywhere you've ever worked. So I got a police certificate from Italy. And then I needed something on my marriage certificate. I needed a stamp from because I got married in Verona. So I needed a stamp from there. So the day after my wedding, I needed to go and see somebody, I went to the council and I was like, I need this stamp on my marriage certificate, so that I can show if I ever go back to Australia that I can teach. And then I've got this police certificate this check because I lived here. And then they're like, oh, the person you need to see is not on today. And I was like, Oh, my God.
Sounds so Italian.
It does. And I said, Please, I said I live in Milan. I'm leaving for France. And I just said, Please, I just I gotta go back to Milan. This is all in Verona. And I was like, Can you just go into that person's office and get that stamp? And eventually they did. And they stamped it. Thank goodness because I was like, I can't come back here. But just a little things like that, that you need to prove. And ah, it was just that was that was hard in Italy and France, the bureaucratic system.
Yeah, no, I understand. Even some time when he some people were from Italy, just just a nightmare. I tried to ask my mom to do it the first time and the second time, I'm gonna pay somebody to do it because it's just a nightmare.
Because even that police certificate if I lose that, I can't get that again, unless I'm in Italy. Like it's crazy. I can't just like go online and go, can you send this to me to Australia? And then what's even crazier is I wanted something from France. And their rule is that all your certificates have to be less than three months old. So that police certificate that I have is worth nothing. So for me to apply for something in France, because I was thinking about getting citizenship there. I have to go and get that certificate again. That's three months old, or I can wait until it's longer than 10 years that I haven't been in Italy. So I'm doing that I'm doing the 10 year wait, because that's just easier.
Yeah, beca certificate, they don't release it in English. They all release it in Italian and you have to translate it.
Yes. I think there was something to do with that too. That's why I needed the stamp. Because I got a qualified English translator to do it. So I needed all these stamps. And I don't know why I needed this particular stamp from Verona, but I needed it.
My mom, I have to apply for the police certificate, she's got it in Italian, they have to translate it by a professional, and then have to go back to in front of the judge, somebody that doesn't have to be related with my family has to be has to be a stranger that we, nobody knows. has to be in front of the judge and swear in front of the judge that their translation is accurate.
So my mom needs to find somebody that is not related to my family. A stranger and go to the front of the judges swear that the certificate was was correct. It's crazy.
It's funny you say that too. Because when we went to Verona I needed to go there as well to have four witnesses or five witnesses before the wedding. And we go there. And I thought I had the four witnesses. And I think that it ended up being five. And then we had to grab somebody from the corridor. Just coming here and just sign this because we were like what like, and I brought everybody from Milan to Verona like that there was just so much paperwork like it was so difficult. Now that I remember this, I can laugh now. But just to get married overseas, I could you know what, but I think there was less paperwork in Italy than there would have been in France.
Even though your husband is French?
Yeah, I think it would have been more complicated. Because supposedly in France, you have to get married in the city that like where you live. So it has to be done in one of the centers of yeah, where your address is.
I think you have to do the same thing in Italy but only if you get married in a church, I think.
Yeah. And this is this is it has to be in your community hall because I guess the French aren't as big on churches like they're fine if you don't you don't have to get married in church. But it has to be in your yeah, it does. I'm pretty sure that's the rule. It has to be in your community. So you can't really choose, like you could have the reception somewhere else. But the actual marriage taking place has to be in your local council area.
I'm pretty sure it's the same in Italy, I think.
Yes. But the thing with in Italy, if you're foreign. That's fine.
Yeah. But if you're husband is Italian that probably would be the same problem.
Yeah, probably the same problem. That's why it was good to do it in Italy. And Verona was just beautiful. I just was and I just can't believe how cheap it was to have a wedding in Italy. Like it was amazing.
Yeah, I I wasn't we were gonna get married in Milan. But in Verona it was way cheaper. And I think Verona is really beautiful. I put the Colosseum, and the city and just Oh, my photos. You didn't need a professional photographer. It's just the photos look amazing.
So the next chapter will be Canada you said?
Possibly, but I don't know. Now now with everything with COVID. Who knows? I think not until everything's back to normal. It would have been nice. We were really looking forward to Canada. I've heard Montreal is a truly bilingual city. Our kids are bilingual. And I think it would well I was looking forward too was not you know, we live in Australia. And you know, that's really my country. I lived in France. That's my husband's country. You know, Canada could have been our, you know,
A neutral territory.
Yeah. And that's what I was really looking forward to. And I thought this is I really think travel is great. I really wanted my kids to experience that. You know, I traveled all over Australia as a kid I you know, Sydney, I live in Sydney. Now I've been here for the last five years. I've never lived in Sydney before. So this isn't my home city. I do love Sydney though. It's it's a great city. But I've I've lived everywhere. Growing up. I'm a traveler. So I was excited to do that with my kids.
Yeah, because you told me that you guys were pretty much ready to leave Australia to go to Canada even sold your house and everything you're pretty much ready to leave right before the COVID started.
We were supposed to leave on the fourth of April. And I think Canada closed their borders around the 18th of March. So we were living in an empty apartment and the day Canada close the borders, we had 24 hours to get on a flight or 48 hours and the company that hired my husband was ringing up saying, Can you get on a flight? And I was thinking, How do we get like there were bits of furniture still in our apartment? And I was thinking, How do we get it all or o I know somebody that could get rid of it? And to have that in 48 hours. It was like oh my goodness, we weren't ready, but we actually had to be out of that apartment in five days. It was crazy. So three weeks. weeks ago, we just bought a house in Sydney. And the last eight months we've been living in an Airbnb. So since that April, we've been waiting and just waiting, thinking, well, we'll go to Canada July, we'll go to Canada, September. And then they did ask, we could have gone in January, like this month, but we decided that it's it's not a good idea. with everybody in lockdown. We're not really in lockdown here in Australia. It's just not. Unfortunately, we got all our boxes back because we we packed our boxes in February. I said to my husband, let's start shipping it to Canada now. And yeah, so we just now that we've moved into a house, and we're going to stay here for a while, we got all our boxes back. And that was actually quite a sad day, as happy as we are to be here to see all those boxes come back with our names on it to Canada. I was like, Oh, no, it's not happening.
No, especially when you put your mind into something that you get excited to start a new life in a new country and doesn't go through it. Just yeah, it's a bit disappointing.
It is it is it is it. But on the other side, I just we are so lucky and grateful for I think at this time, it's good to have, you know, if we go into another lockdown, it's nice to know, we've got friends here. And people who can help out, I don't know, who I would have known in Montreal, and I don't know if people are open to meeting people either. Like how much are people open to meeting people now?
Yeah, that's a really good point. Because you're moving to another country you're trying to integrate. But right now, that's not the time to do any of that even finding a job. It's much harder.
Yeah, like I and I know, for, you know, I saw how hard it was for my husband, when we moved to Australia, as an immigrant, you know, trying to look for work, and then going, Oh, you don't have any Australian experience? Like, on the other side, How am I gonna find work? You know, I know that people are going to have preferences over me as well, you know, you of course, any country is going to try and give their own workers a job before they give it to other people. So yeah, I don't know how long I would have been out of work too
Yeah, because if you are like an English teacher, and you teach English in a foreign country where English is a second language, it's much easier. If you're trying to teach English. In Canada, even though you'll be more real, which is English will be the second language, but there's so many Canadian there.
There are so many Canadians, there's so many so and so much competition, and I didn't even know what my visa really was. I just know I was getting a working visa because my husband had a job. So yeah, and my French, my French is pretty good. But it's, you know, there are going to be Canadians out there that are completely bilingual and can read and converse in French fluently. So you know,
They're going to be in front of you just because they are in the country. Of course the company before hired at a foreign needs to prove that there's no any other people in the country to do the same job.
Exactly, exactly. So it's look, I I didn't want it to ruin my experience. I think if we went, it could have made our experience horrible. We'd be putting ourselves in a situation that was unnecessary.
Yeah, no, no, no, I understand. I understand right now, it's tougher than it used to be moving abroad is definitely much tougher than I used to be in 2019.
Yeah. And we have the choice, that that's why I consider myself lucky. Because if we didn't have a choice, we would be there.
You know, whereas we are so lucky that we still have jobs here in Australia. And we don't have to go. And I think that what I'm so grateful for is the choice to decide whether or not.
And why when did you guys pick Canada? Why did you decide Canada? Because before earlier in the interview, you said you would like to explore some other country like India or not India sorry, like Asia?
Yeah, yeah. Actually, India, I would love to. And you know what, I think once you have kids, you become safer.
Yeah, I know it, but I'm thinking of my kids. That's all I'm thinking. Asia I would do. Actually, my husband and I would love to do Asia in a heartbeat. Hong Kong, we've always spoken about Hong Kong being a place that we would love to go to work. And yeah if we had any opportunity, oh Japan, oh my goodness, but I don't know anybody. Not a lot of people can get into Japan. But if I if we had the opportunity to work in Japan, I would be there. Oh my goodness. That would be amazing. Canada was like I started thinking of the kids schools. I started thinking about their education and about healthcare, and about those sorts of things. So my husband would have loved to have gone to the United States of America. Whereas I, on the other hand, I'm thinking of safety. I'm thinking of, you know, there's quite like, I don't like the whole, you know, the gun laws in the US. I don't particularly want to be there with my family. I do like the US I visited it before I've had kids. And I think it's, there are lovely parts of the US and I would love to visit it. And that's why I said to my husband well, Canada i'd feel a lot more safer in. And I also like, the fact that Montreal, the kids could go to school in French, but also have English. I just like that mix. And Canadians, they're like, the nicest people on the planet. And I think a lot of people say Australians and Canadians are very similar on their mentality and I just thought, Well, you know, it's we're not moving too far. From we like the Australian way of life. And I hear Canadians are like that. And, but it's just they have very cold winters. That's the only thing.
Yeah, I mean, most of the Canada yes, winter is very cold, or Vancouver is mild, but rains a lot. So you have to figure between the snow and rain.
That's the only reason and and you know what my husband and I said, we will never move anywhere unless we have a job opportunity there. There was a job opportunity.
Actually, with kids, you can afford to just move and not having a job and just go and follow the flow.
We did that with Australia. And my husband was very stressed out. I have to live with the in laws for a little while. He was he was getting I said to him, it's easy to find a job. I had a job before I hopped off the plane. Like it was easy for me. I didn't realize how hard it is for someone who's not Australian.
Was he allowed to work in your country?
Yeah, he had a visa.
But then also we weren't looking in Sydney. We were looking in Brisbane, we were looking at other places like where my family's from. Sydney is a lot easier. Now. I understand that Sydney is expensive. But I understand why there's a lot of foreigners here. It's easy to find work. But it was it was difficult. It's difficult to find work as an immigrant. I didn't realize that.
You know, I mean, and is your husband fluent in English?
Yeah, it was fine. In English. We did all the like the IELTS test before we came over. I didn't speak any French when I met him. So we converse in English most of the time. So his English is really high. Like he's lived here five years now. Now his English is incredible. Like, but it was fine. There was nothing wrong with his English. I think we were in a smaller city. And it was interesting, because a lot of people were saying you don't have Australian experience, which I was really surprised by.
Oh, was that the things that were stopping him to find a job? Because he didn't have an experience in Australia?
Yeah. So how do you get the experience in Australia?
it's like, So from then on. But he was he was very lucky. He found a job within three months. But we had to move to Sydney. We were really trying to be close to my parents, which is a an hour and a half flight from Sydney. So about a 12 hour drive in the car.
It's like another country in Europe,
It is basically. And because they're in a different state, I still can't see them because all the borders are shut. So it it's like living in a different country.
Can I ask you what kind of job does your husband do?
He's an engineer.
Okay. So it's not a difficult job to find if you're an engineer, but, I guess yeah, you need that's probably because you're engineering. Maybe that's why they required you to have some experience in Australia.
Yeah, it's interesting, because I think it's because it's a small town where my parents are from like, it's still a city. It's a small city, but it's also competitive. That's the problem. After about two months of my husband looking, we said, okay, well, I said, you move to Australia, I said, I'll move to wherever you get work. For me, it's easy. I just work in a school. I can go anywhere. That's what's great. But we love Sydney now. So it's, um, it was even difficult to make the move to Sydney to go Okay, let's go to Canada because we didn't need to. I think we wanted to as well. We felt that if the longer we stay in a place, the harder it is to leave.
Oh, yeah. Totally. I mean ou find your comfort, you find your people and friends. It's Yeah.
It's definitely harder.
Who knows? Even if the opportunity comes up to Canada. Who knows if we'll want to do it again. I don't know. But I'm glad we did it. I'm not upset that we didn't because at least I can say I did everything in my power to do it. It's just what happened. wasn't my fault. Yeah.
No, I really we need to see how this like COVID situation is evolving.
How the border is gonna be just like us. There's so many things right now there are uncertain for people that move abroad even like visa application, how long it's going to take to have your visa if you don't have a visa, all this kind of thing that makes everything much harder.
Yeah. And I don't know if you know, but there's so many Australians locked out of Australia at the moment that can't get in. The moment you leave, it's very difficult to get back in.
Yeah. Because we're only allowing so many into the country each day, that there are quite a few Australians stranded, and they're trying to get back in. That's the scary part, too, is if we got to Canada, and we wanted to come back. Air Canada is no longer flying to Australia at the moment.
Yeah, there's so many regulation right now. I think the cost for flying is probably more expensive than it used to be just because there's less flights and less people on the airplane.
You can't find a good deal for like flights right now. it's impossible?
No, not at all.
All of that makes more complicated to to move abroad. And the main thing you said before, and even if you move to a new country, when you move to a new country, how are you going to meet new people? How are you going to integrate a new culture and integrate it with the people and meeting new people from their country that's what makes the experience worth it.
Exactly. And that's what I had to think about. Because I know in the beginning, I was like, No, we're going, we're going. And then I really had to think about it and just go, what is the experience I want? And at the moment, that's not the experience that I want.
Hopefully, in the future, we'll do another episode where you tell me where you went to and your experience post COVID and post all this.
Yes, definitely. But no, I have. Yeah, I think I think a lot of Australians are very open minded to where they go to live. My sister's lived in the Middle East now for over 10 years. You know, I don't see myself going, Oh, I'm gonna stay in Australia for the rest of my life. And I wouldn't think like that, because I have a French husband, I've got to be open to the fact that one day he might go, I want to go back to France for a little while.
And just be closer to cause even if you move to Canada will be closer to France, then. Yes. From from Australia.
No, that's it. It's quite sad. Because our flights, we're going over France, we're going to stay in France for a little bit. We're going to stay in the Middle East with my sister. And then we're going to go to Montreal. So we're going to take some holidays before we got there and visit people and so it's and we were just thinking, you know, it'll be I think it's a six or seven hour flight to Paris. It could be easier to go see family and France.
So and vice versa, damily friends can come over and see you.
It's much easier to convince people to get on a flight for six hours, than for 24.
Exactly. That's true. That is true. So you know, even now I've got relatives in Scotland. And you know, they may even want to come over which would have been cool.
Yeah. Alrighty. Thank you very much, Kimberly, for, for taking the time to do this interview and share your story.
Yes, thank you.
Hopefully, we'll do another one in the near future.
Yeah. Yeah. And I'll let you know.
Yeah. Keep me posted.
Oh, hey, sorry. At this point, I usually ask my guest where people can find them if you have any question for them if you want to get in touch with them. But in this episode, I completely forgot. So I apologize for that. But you can find Kimberly on Instagram just search for kimaccented on Instagram you can find her. And if you want to improve your listening skills in English, you should definitely check it out her podcast Accented wherever you listen to your podcast. And as usual, you can find all the links on the show notes at emigrantslife.com/episode32.
Awesome. Thank you very much.
Thanks, Daniel. Bye bye.
Thank you so much for tuning in this week. You can find the show notes with everything we discussed in this episode and the links to get in touch with Kimberly at emigrantslife.com/episode32. If you want to support the show, you can share this episode or you can leave us a review on Apple podcasts or pod chaser that will help others finding the show and more people. Do you want to be my next guest and share your story on this podcast? Visit emigrantslife.com/yourstory. Thanks again for listening. Talk to the next one. Ciao.
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