Australian Expat Living in London - Interview With Kym

Published: 14 Jan at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,England
Kym Hamer is a 40-something Aussie who has lived in the UK since January 2004. She spent her formative years in parts of Australia that have been subjected to either savage bushfires, cyclones with innocuous-sounding names or have recently been under water - sometimes all three. She spends much of her time people-watching, reading, eating, reprioritising chores after all of these things and wishing she could bake better cakes like her insanely talented friends. She is fascinated by snow and her favourite word is Why? and yes, that is always with a question mark. Faced with the challenges of time and distance when staying connected with family and friends back in Oz, she started her blog Gidday from the UK (see listing here), which not only became their glimpse into her 'everyday moments' but reignited her passion for writing and she now wonders where it all might lead.

Meet Kym - Australian Expat in England
Meet Kym - Australian Expat in England

Here's the interview with Kym...

Where are you originally from?
Australia - Brisbane until age 9 then Cairns for 18months and then Melbourne until Jan 2004

In which country and city are you living now?
London, UK.

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I have lived in London 9 years (in Jan 2013) - have no plans to move elsewhere.

Why did you move and what do you do?
Looking to make a lot of changes in my life, met someone and thought that London was what was next regardless of the'detail'. I work in Marketing, Strategy and Development.

Did you bring family with you?
No - I was single.

With Olympic torchbearer Glyn Martin
With Olympic torchbearer Glyn Martin
How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
It was the subtleties that were difficult even though the language was the same. And I had to slow down my speaking to be understood (Australians speak VERY fast!)

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
I have English friends but at least 50% of my circle are other expats and not just Australians Abroad.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
London's history is fascinating, acessible and mostly free and digging out deal websites means it's possible to do all sorts of things quite cheaply.

What do you enjoy most about living here?
I love London for its cultural scene - theatre, music, name it. I also love the extremes of weather, partic chilly Autumn days with blue skies and glorious foilage.

Pierogi (Polish dumplings) in Krakow 2012
Pierogi (Polish dumplings) in Krakow 2012
How does the cost of living compare to home?
When I arrived, London was a lot more expensive - things were more expensive generally and then the exchange rate with the Oz $ was about 2.5. On the last visit to Melbourne I was really shocked at how expensive day to day living had become.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
It's tough to make friends if you are not naturally forward (I think). And the long dark nights in winter (going to work in the dark and getting home in the dark) make me miss a bit of sunshine now and then.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Don't expect to transplant your life here - stay open to 'the journey' and resilient in the face of 'the small stuff'.

Snow in Victoria Park Finchley
Snow in Victoria Park Finchley
What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Handling the 'disconnect' with family over the first 4-5 years. Not about love and not about missing people but it's about not getting day to day lives any more (one of the reasons I started my blog)

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Stay open to 'the journey' and the different experiences (don't expect to just plonk the life you had down).
  2. Be resilient in the face of 'the small stuff'.
  3. Laugh at yourself / your situation at every opportunity.
  4. Be aware of yourself / be safe.
  5. Explore, try new stuff then deide what works for you.

Meet Kym - Australian Expat in England
Meet Kym - Australian Expat in England
How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Via my blog (see below) or Linkedin.

Kym blogs at which we recommend a quick visit if you haven't been already. Gidday from the UK has an listing here so add a review if you like! If you appreciated this interview with Kym, please also drop her a quick comment below.
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