Guest contributor, Roxana Oliver is one of the Australians living overseas contingent – she’s an Aussie in Serbia who has shared her story with us
Australians living overseas: Roxana Oliver
About a year ago, I moved to a lovely town in Serbia, Novi Sad. Since I love travelling, it didn’t take me long to discover the good sides of living in this new culture.
Its hospitality, the people’s eagerness to socialise, excellent food and pubs, and, naturally, going out at 8pm and returning home at 8am!
Still, like other Australians living overseas there are things about Aus I miss dearly, and others that, whenever I think of them, give me a tiny mental pat on the shoulder for deciding to move.
Things I don’t miss
No doubt about the first one – Vegemite! Spreading yeast extract over my slice of bread has never been a treat for me, no matter how much you try to improve the taste. That brings me to another food (some) Australians insist on consuming – the witchetty grub, sold in many Australian markets. My palate can endure a lot, but wood-eating larvae is certainly not my cup of tea; not raw, not cooked, not in a soup. Just. No. Although, many say it actually tastes like chicken.
Once I’ve moved to Serbia and got used to Serbian prices, it hit me how super expensive life in Australia is. The costs are too high, even though the salaries are quite decent. Sydney, in particular, is among the most expensive cities in the world, whether you’re talking transportation, food, real estate, or clothes.
Another thing that always saddened me was that, in Sydney, I wasn’t able to experience that typical winter Christmas that you can see in so many movies.
Christmas in Australia is in the summer, and somehow celebrating it in hot weather, heading to a beach or going camping is not exactly the idyllic Christmas.
I wanted the snow (there especially for Santa and his reindeer!), Christmas lights all over town, cinnamon cookies and hot tea!
Things I do miss
Again, let’s start with food and drinks! The first thing that comes to mind here is the good ol’ Aussie beer.
Australians are, mildly put, incredibly fond of it and some of the brands there are so good that your tongue will suffer from incurable nostalgia when denied this delight for a while.
The same goes for my #1 drink of choice. As a great fan of high-quality gin, I miss certain brands of it from back home – a somewhat silly thing to miss when you’re in a country that has excellent wine and rakia.
There is the option of ordering my favourite artisan gin online, so I guess I won’t be missing that for much longer.
Chiko Rolls I still shed a tear for sometimes.
There’s something about grabbing a Chiko and taking a walk around your neighbourhood or going to watch a sports game. These delicious snacks are about as Australian as you can get – mutton, spices, and veggies wrapped in cabbage and then fried. Our version of spring rolls on the go!
Let’s be honest here and admit it’s extremely difficult to top Australia’s gorgeous beaches.
Once you’ve been to a place like Whitehaven beach, it really becomes almost impossible to enjoy any other spot on the planet. The whole place looks like a dream, from the breathtaking colours to powder-fine sand and unbelievably clear water. It makes you not want to leave – ever!
But more than anything, I miss the road trips.
In Australia, travelling from one city to another takes hours, so my husband and I would sometimes jump in the car and drive off somewhere just for the sake of another memorable adventure.
The breeze, dusk-coloured landscapes, your song playing in the background, the excitement of knowing that beyond what your eyes can see, nothing else matters at that moment…
Something I’m able to experience only back home and nowhere else.
No matter where you go, certain things are bound to charm you, and others will leave you feeling disappointed or indifferent.
The trick for Australians living overseas or any other expats, is to focus on the things that make you happy, regardless of whether you’re home or abroad.
Roxana is a travel enthusiast and lifestyle consultant from Sydney and she loves to write about her adventures. She is all about the healthy lifestyle, loves to run with her husband and dogs and has fun cooking exotic meals for her family.
Being a typical Aussie, she often hits the waves and loves beaches and sunshine! You can find out more about her writing following her on twitter. She is also one of the editors at Higstylife Magazine.