Richmond Gaol – Tasmania

So many times I have wished I had a small cell with chains attached to the walls where I could lock my kids up for a while. Richmond Gaol in Tasmania made these dreams come true last week.

As soon as we hopped out of the car, we noticed the beautiful autumnal trees, the lawn covered in huge orange leaves, and were shocked at how beautiful it was. Are you sure this is where the prison is?

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Richmond is a heavenly little town comprised of beautiful old buildings, many of which made from limestone. The town was established as an important military staging post and convict station linking Hobart with Port Arthur. Richmond Gaol was built over a period of 15 years, between 1825 and 1840 and stands proud in the town.

We headed for the main entrance, went through the doors and into the Airing Yard which was used for prisoner’s daily exercise. We had stepped back in time. Instantly I had a weird, creepy feeling come over me. There is definitely a hint of ‘eerieness’ here. The children looked at me uneasily as they heard voices of prisoners being played across the courtyard. I can’t say I have ever had such a spooky feeling anywhere. Maybe I had psyched myself up too much before going in.

Thankfully the children had been given a ‘trail sheet’ to keep them busy, and they hurried off straight away to start their search! Fantastic! We had no “I’m bored’s” or “can we go now’s”, they were completely enthralled! All of us were fascinated by the stories about the prisoners who once existed in the rooms we were standing in. The kids loved chaining themselves to the wall almost as much as I loved chaining them. I was frantically shoving them into the tiny cell, pushing them into the right place, and cackling as I buckled them in… If only the door had closed properly. (Kidding of course! I wouldn’t have reaaaally left them in there… for long).

Once they had managed to wriggle free they were back to looking for the hidden items on their charts. The quiz definitely made us all experience that little bit more of the museum.

Next stop were the solitary confinement cells!! They were dark! Honestly, we all had the heebie jeebies. It is a truly spine chilling space. The children and I waltzed in, then sped into reverse and sent Mr W in first! Even he wasn’t too pleased to be in there. The stories of what the prisoners endured, for seemingly minor crimes was horrifying. To think of young men and women being kept in these completely dark, cold spaces, sometimes for months and months on end was just awful. The children were wide eyed in amazement.

We read stories of hundreds of prisoners, male and female, whose lives were harsh beyond belief. There were tales of daring escapes, lashings, and mistreatment, interspersed with a few heart warming stories, like the almond tree in the courtyard being planted as a thank you from a small aboriginal boy who visited the Gaol for medical treatment.

Whilst we were in amongst all the stories of despair and sadness, Monty was out the back, checking out the privvy in the flogging yard! Blissfully unaware of the dreadful sound effects everyone else was listening to of some poor soul being beaten, he hollered “look mum there’s a toilet”. Why do boys find all things “lavatory” fun?

We went on to see the cook house, (“No Monty it’s not a Pizza Oven!” **Hangs head in shame) the sleeping rooms, and the punishment cell. We read more chilling tales, and heard about the ghosts that are often seen at the gaol, and even in people’s photos once they get home! I was praying we’d find something in ours, but no such luck! We did have one lovely photo of someone picking his nose!!

We were all completely taken a back by the authenticity of the museum and the feeling you get walking on the same ground that many a ‘criminal’ walked upon.

We loved the story of Isaac “Ikey” Solomon (1785–1850) an English criminal who became an “extremely successful receiver of stolen property”. He is supposedly the man who Dickens based Oliver Twist’s ‘Fagan’ on. Truly extraordinary to think that after being tried at the Old Bailey in 1830, he was was sent all the way to Richmond Gaol. Imagine that?!?!

This is one of those special places that’s engaging, entertaining, and where the whole family comes away having enjoyed learning something new together. We just can’t stop talking about it!

Richmond Gaol is fascinating and ticked all the boxes. I just wish we could have left the kids chained to the wall a little longer so as we could have grabbed a beer in peace.


“Be part of Tasmanian history and experience
the sights and sounds of early prison life”

Location: 37 Bathurst Street, Richmond TAS 7025

Tel: (03) 6260 2127

Email:

The History of the jail can be found HERE!

For group visits contact Janine & David Kearney

My Expat Wife Life!!

Well, the Easter holidays are well and truly underway, Tim has no time off, the kids are starting to drive me INSANE, and I am getting to know the staff at Dan Murphy’s really, really well.

The first term of the school year ended with a bang! Grandparents day at school!! The kids were feeling emotional about it, I was insisting that not everyone has grandparents, and we’re not the only ones without a Granny and Grandad nearby. I turned up at 2:30 to a sea of Granny’s. Every grey haired Nana in Victoria was in the playground, with me!  I spent the whole hour desperately trying to distract Monty as he was glazed over staring at everyone. The kids had gone to so much effort to make cookies, a little poster and a video about their grandparents. “I love nana because she takes me to the park,” “I love grandad because he plays games with me at the weekend…” “I love Pop because I have sleep overs at his house’…. 20 of these then Monty!! He had told the teacher Daddy was coming; I guess wishing that if he said it enough times Daddy would actually turn his lap top off and tear out of the office early to be there. His little face appeared on the video screen in the classroom “I love Daddy because we dress up like spiders!” I laughed, then welled up! They NEVER dress up as spiders, but here he was, this teeny boy, surrounded by his friends telling tales about their much adored, local, grandparents, and he thought he had to go one better and tell them all that his dad, his amazing ‘super dad’ dresses up as a tarantula at the weekend, so who needs a grandad!?!?! I was then presented with the “Dad” cookies, and the “I love Dad” poster which these little hands had so lovingly made, in the hope that Dad would actually be there.

 

Moving to Australia was a bit of a last minute, “OMG shall we just do it?” kind of move for us. Tim had the offer, and we were gone within about 4 months. We had thought that we would have a better quality of life, (because sunshine does that?!?!), and that Tim may have a better work/life balance. Well, it hasn’t really turned out like that! Yes, our lifestyle is better, there is no doubt about it, sunshine works. However, the work/life balance is no different, in fact, Tim puts in more hours here than he ever did at home. There’s no clocking off at 5 to catch the train, or working from home on a Wednesday. No, he’s up and gone by 6am and not usually home for family meals at 7; and that’s when he’s not travelling abroad. The children complain, I get stressed and long for the weekends.

Expat life is beautiful in so many ways, but being a wife, a mother, and an expat is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do! I’ve had to become all sorts of people rolled into 1. I’m a grandparent, a mum, a dad, a friend, an exhausted jack of all trades! I know, I know it looks like one long holiday, but the reality is I am a single parent all week, have no family around to buffer me, and it can get a little overwhelming doing it alone all week keeping a smile on my face.

“Oh stop complaining, you ungrateful wretch” I hear you say, (I’m saying it too BTW) and yes I hear you! I guess it does sound ungrateful, but believe me, I’m not at all ungrateful!

The truth is, if you are thinking of moving abroad, especially this far away from EVERYWHERE, you really need to be prepared for the changes to your family life.  Many families come to Australia and have a far better quality of life all round, but the truth is, if you want to succeed, and really make it here, you all need to be ready to make sacrifices. Yes, it’s the same all over the world; everyone has to make sacrifices to succeed, but here, I feel like I’m making lots of sacrifices for everyone else’s benefit.  I’m here because my husband is working here, and because Poppy adores it and Monty knows no other home. I’m here because we love it, it’s an adventure, and because the children and Tim have so many more opportunities. Of course it may not be forever, who know’s what will happen, but what if we stay…. for good? What happens to me? Is this the “expat wife’s” job? To suppress her longing for all the things she’s missing because her children are so settled and her husband has a great career? Is it my job to create a wonderful home life for everyone, make sure everyone is happy and content, whilst I miss my husband dreadfully because he’s working his backside off, and I can’t even catch up with my besties to have a moan?

For all of you out there who think the life of an expat wife is all beaches, wine and parties, think again. It’s beaches, wine and parties and a big dose of longing! Longing to know what the future holds. Longing to have time with the girl’s back home. Longing to move all your mates to where you are! Longing to stop longing!  In 30 years’ time, will I have got used to seeing my nearest and dearest just once every two years? Will I have succumbed to retirement overseas to be near my children? Will I be content with the sacrifices I have made for the family’s happiness? Is that an expat thing, or is that just motherhood!?

I was given some advice this week from an expat 35 years into being abroad; “make sure when you’re living the expat life, you’re earning enough to be able to fly home and get your fix when you need it, then you’ll feel truly satisfied wherever you are.” Looks like Tim will need to spend a few more hours in the office!

Ah well, off to the beach for a wine fuelled party now!  (Not really, I’ve got to clean my oven because my mum’s not here to do it for me).

Olivia xxx


When you move to another country you have to accept that there are some things that are better and some that are worse, and there’s nothing you can do about it – Bill Bryson

‘Spare a Thought’ #4 – “A journey of making new friends”

This months “Spare a thought” feature is all about the expat journey of making new friends again and again. I hope you enjoy Heather’s take on this minefield!


Heather McPhearson
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Heather lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two daughters. She’s a Reiki healer and posts inspirational messages on her Facebook page through brush painting she learned during her expat days in South Korea. She loves nature and all things creative.


My Journey

When we were kids it was easy to make friends in the neighbourhood.  We ran around playing games, riding bikes, had squabbles and made up again.  We simply didn’t move around like families do now.  When you’re faced with having to move abroad as an adult, it can be quite difficult and daunting.  Whether you’re moving for work, study or a future partner, it’s inevitable you will be making new friends!

I initially moved interstate (New York to Pennsylvania) to study, moved abroad (Australia) to get married, then went on expat assignment (Paris and South Korea) with my husband’s company and now have repatriated back to Australia.  A place I now call home.  In each place, I made new friends and have kept many along the way.

You’re probably wondering how I did it?  Well, I think it’s much easier in this day and age to stay in touch with those who matter to you and the new friends we make along the way.  When you move away from friends, how you maintain those friendships will change, but the friendship doesn’t need to be lost.  There’s social media, email, snail mail and there’s travelling.  It takes effort to stay in touch, but it’s worth it.

When I first moved to Australia in 2004, my first friends were those close to my husband. I started work as a veterinary technician and those work colleagues soon became my friends. I have since reconnected with them as we now have a fur-friend.

When we had to move to Paris in 2012, I now had two children in tow.  The ‘fear’ started to set in; I had to start all over again, with two kids.  My oldest was just 5 years old. Most of my friends were ones I met through mother’s group and then it was kindergarten.  My husband’s company is a worldwide company that has great expat support when you relocate, so once we were settled in Paris, I soon met wives through that.  I actually met one of the mothers from my daughters school on social media before I arrived in Paris.  I didn’t speak French, so I enrolled in French classes that were held at the school.  The adventures started!!!

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11 months later, we were off again; this time to South Korea!  I was just getting the hang of things.  We knew it was part of the contract, it was a ‘two location’ assignment.  Wow, these two countries are such a contrast from one another.  Each move was getting easier as I got to know what to expect during the settling in phase.  I started to learn how to network, get online to find local groups and get involved in some traditional activities in which I started making friends.  We lived in an apartment building with other expat families that were also part of the project.  It was helpful at times, especially having kids when someone was sick and needed help.  I became friends with people who had similar hobbies to me including a few Koreans who taught me a lot about the food and culture.

There were many ups and downs of starting over and over again, but it has truly made me the person I am today.  All the experiences I’ve had have made me more confident and more resilient.  I’m back in Australia now; I get involved in the things that interest me most like yoga, art, coaching studies and activities with my two girls.  You never know where the next person you meet will lead you…an opportunity to continue learning and grow, one can only hope!

“Every new friend is a new adventure, the start of more memories” – Patrick Lindsay


Heathers top tips for making friends in other countries

* Prepare before moving by joining local social media groups that interest you.

* Live in an expat community if it’s possible and it suits your needs.

* Join local groups that may be organised by the company or even the school your       children attend.

* Join clubs if you have any hobbies or play sport.

* Network; be brave and talk!

* Don’t know the language? Try new language classes or even join cultural groups.

* Do you go to church?  Some expat destinations have foreigner services.

* Do not be the person who waits to be invited to socials.  Why not be creative and even start your own! I am!

* Push through your boundaries or any barriers you have.

So there you have it.  Keep trying and don’t give up.  Set small goals for yourself each day during your process of settling.  You never know…someone else might just be looking for a friend too! Remember, it gets easier the more you do it.

 


“An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance.  The red thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.                                        ~Ancient Chinese Proverb~

Heather xx


 

If you have an expat story you’d like to share in our “Spare a thought” series, get in touch!! We’d love to hear from you!!

 

Artvo – Incredible things don’t ask for attention!

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Thumbs up at Artvo in Harbour Town, Docklands

We headed to Artvo over the holidays! It’s an immersive or ‘trick art’ gallery, and the first of it’s kind here in Australia! 14 artists with over 40 years’ experience have created more than 100 hand painted artworks in just 60 days. The creations were all there for us to touch, stand inside, and become a part of. There were lions to tame, underwater scenes to dive in to and secret worlds to explore. There were paper aeroplanes to climb aboard, broken bridges to scramble across and swimming pools to be swum in! The children’s eyes were like saucers, and I was frantically prepping them about how to stand still so I could snap them! I was determined to get some good shots to show off!

The day we went was SUPER BUSY! It’s obvious Artvo has been a huge success and lots of folk have heard about it! Maybe the middle of the Easter school holidays wasn’t the best time for The Wilson’s to visit, as my nerves were nearly shot after a whole week of holiday already,  Monty cannot control his running feet, and Poppy has selective hearing! We ploughed on and boy was it worth it!!!

As soon as we had nailed the queue and got inside, we were greeted by lots of really friendly staff, who were on hand to give tips, advice, and help us get into the perfect position to score the best pics. It’s so important to have them there and for them to be so approachable, as it’s surprisingly tricky to get it just right with two wriggly little ones. The staff were all fabulously helpful and patient considering the mayhem they were dealing with! They made it possible for the children to successfully surf the seas, sit in the palm of a gorillas hand and even climb onto a magic carpet for a flight around the pharaohs tomb. How awesome is that?!?!

Unlike the ‘usual’ art museums, we were all positively encouraged to become part of the art. The children were in their element! I was praying they would listen, stand still and be photographed without the mad desperation to run to the next exciting picture; they came good by the second zone. (I did secretly wish I had sedated them a little before we went in.)

There are more than 11 themed zones to explore, Monty was ecstatic to find the Jungle Safari zone and the Imagine zone too. We reckon those were our best photo’s.

There were so many wonderful 3D pictures, the children were running all over the place, they just couldn’t contain their excitement. Neither could everyone else’s kids. Mothers were looking at each other as if to say “you’re not alone”… and “H..e..l..p…..M…eeeee”.  We were all simultaneously hollering at our children, other peoples children, anyone who dared get in the way of the perfect snapshot. It was a heartwarming “collective parenting afternoon.” This meant the photos we got were awesome, and it was well worth the easter vacation chaos and the sore throat afterwards!

Artvo suggest approximately three hours to see everything, and photograph it properly; we managed 90 minutes, and will definitely return.  I have always loved anything ‘3D’, and we were all taken aback by this experience; the children have looked through our photos so many times since our visit! They are amazed at how magical they really look!

We felt so lucky to have visited Artvo and to have come away with such special photos. I’m keen to go again, so as we can all hop into the pictures as a family. The artwork really does create special moments and photos that can be treasured forever.

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The whole world at her fingertips! Just how we like it!

 

A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away – Eudora Welty

 


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The 1900 square metre Artvo museum is a must see!

Plan your visit HERE, then BOOK HERE

Tips for taking the best photo can be found HERE!

FACEBOOK INSTAGRAM

Fringe Wives Club, Glittery Clittery: A conSENSUAL Party

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If you’re looking for fearless dance moves, glittery sharp wit, feminist feedback, and a spectacular dancing Labia, this is the show for you! “Three comedy she-wolf legends” bring you an hour of original songs with lyrics such as “he only does it ‘cos he likes you” and “you have a dick but don’t be a dick” followed by the most incredible “gameshow” where an audience member came up with the term “Penis Fly Trap”! I know, high five that woman!!

With boundless passion, love, anger, and labia epaulets, the “Glitterati” fight (and sing, and dance) to ensure than women’s voices are heard. Rowena Hutson created a few spine chilling, audience hushing moments, including when she delivered Trump’s pussy-grabbing speech, to a visibly stirred crowd.

Lyrical Glamstar (does that work?) Victoria Falconer-Pritchard is a vixen with a violin, and alongside Tessa Waters and Rowena Hutson they become a fiery, not to be messed trio of Glamtavists! This show is gloriously inclusive, unhesitatingly risqué and completely rapturous. Thrusting my hips around and chanting “lady boner” under my breath all Easter weekend may turn out to be incredibly inappropriate, but I just can’t stop!

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Mrs W, not nearly enough glitter, and even more of a girl crush!

 Tessa Waters (Winner Best Comedy 2015 Adelaide Fringe, WOMANz/Over Promises),

Rowena Hutson (Winner Most Outstanding Comedy 2016 Melbourne Fringe, Strong Female Character)

Victoria Falconer-Pritchard (Winner 2015 London Cabaret Awards, East End Cabaret).


 

Waters is the ‘undisputed queen of physical comedy!’ Broadway Baby (UK)

Hutson is ‘an awesome talent.’ The Clothesline

Falconer-Pritchard is ‘a skillful foil able to… grab a laugh with the merest eyeball-rolling glance.’ Chortle (UK)


Thu 13 Apr – Sat 15 Apr: 10pm;
Thu 20 Apr – Sat 22 Apr: 10pm

Greek Centre, Parthenon, Cnr Lonsdale & Russell Sts, Melbourne

Book Here

Fringe Wives Club Facebook

comedy-fest

Stuart Goldsmith- Compared to What? (This is not a review, but a ‘Word Trophy’)

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I was so excited to get to the Greek Centre last night to see Stuart Goldsmith’s brand-new show ‘Compared To What‘!  I have noticed that the British comedians at the festival have all been advertised with a great big (UK) after their names, I’m convinced it’s to assure people that they’re in for a real treat! I was champing at the bit to get some good old British humour after so long in Oz. Stuart didn’t disappoint.

Goldsmith’s show is full of great gags, mostly observational, a lot of it centering on his newly embarked parenthood journey. I love his description of having a child being much like the chicken, corn, fox riddle. So refreshing to know its not just us then!

There were some terrific one-liners, and the way he held the audience throughout the show was awesome. The laughter barely stopped. The way Stuart tells a story is so relatable, insanely funny, and I’m damn sure that once his tour dates in Melbourne are over, he will have a huge following here in Australia too.

The host of the ‘Comedian’s Comedian Podcast’ is definitely one to look out for this festival. Grab your other half, tie the kids to the lamp post outside and head in for an evening of beer, laughs, and some great tips for booking your next Air BnB stay! Sidesplitting laughter guaranteed! Plus, he’s a bit of a looker too!! (Totally irrelevant but had to be said!)

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Nominee 2015 Amused Moose Comedy Awards
Nominee Chortle Awards 2013 & 2014
Winner Best International Guest 2014 New Zealand Comedy Festival 


Tue 11 Apr – Sat 15 Apr: 8.15pm; Sun 16 Apr: 7.15pm;
Tue 18 Apr – Sat 22 Apr: 8.15pm;
Sun 23 Apr: 7.15pm

Greek Centre, Mykonos, Cnr Lonsdale & Russell Sts, Melbourne

comedy-fest

Tessa Waters – Rockstar School… (I totally Rocked it… Obvs!)

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The little darlings and I headed to the Powder Room at Town Hall yesterday to check out Tessa Waters‘ family show ‘Rockstar School‘.  We’re into the second week of the holidays, the kids are pretty worn out, very grumpy, and getting right on my nerves; I was desperate to lock them in the bathroom and go in on my own!

As soon as the doors opened, their little faces lit up! They were high fived into the Powder Room by Tessa, told how awesome they are (they smirked at me), and the show began!

Straight away Tessa was teaching the kids how do do ‘rockstar hands’, and truly rock it to the music. She began the party by turning up the tunes and insisting everyone go as wild as they could on the dance floor. Oh my word did everyone rock it. Even me. Of course I joined in.. Who cares that I seem to have lost all the moves I used to use to whip up hysteria in the clubs a while back?  Who cares that I have turned into a ripple machine rather than a sleek, toe pointing, diva? This is a family show where the parents don’t have to sit back and watch the kids having fun, we get to shake our booty’s too! And we did a conga! I know!! Yay for a conga!!

The children were invited onto the stage throughout, to rock their favourite body part to a fab soundtrack. They were in 7th heaven; everyone shaking their arms, legs, heads, feet, rolling their tummies, all whilst Tessa danced by their side; encouraging their awesomeness.  Every child was beaming from ear to ear! The big kids, the teeny ones, everyone had a smile so big it had taken over their head!

Tessa has a magic about her on stage, she draws you in and makes you feel insanely happy. From the high fives on the way in, to the final big dance session, she kept the ridiculously high energy up for a full hour. No mean feat, I can assure you!

Tessa is like the Au Pair everyone wants but can’t find. Fun, full of beans (quite true), she can totally nail a high kick, and is magnificent with the kids. All that makes for a superb family show,  where Tessa points out each and every incredible dance move to ensure the kids leave feeling very proud of themselves.

Grab your spandex, your fanny packs, your best dancing shoes, and your kids of course, and join in the Rockstar fever; they’ll love you a hell of a lot more afterwards. Or did mine feel sorry for me? Who knows! We all went home danced out, with huge smiles, and the kids taught dad how to hide his “fluffing” on the dance floor… Thank god for Tessa!

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‘Waters is incredibly funny, turning her body into a giggle generator as ludicrous as it is celebratory. ★★★★★’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘The dance moves were so funny’ Poppy Wilson, Chief Body Popper, The Wilsons of Oz

‘I just liked the farting’ Monty Wilson – Head critic, The Wilsons of Oz

‘Undisputed Queen of Stupidity! ★★★★★’ Broadway Baby (UK)

Waters is the most free performer I have ever seen, must see physical comedy. ★★★★★’ Funny Women

‘I left giggling and my cheeks hurting from laughing so hard. ★★★★★’ Across the Arts

‘To explain exactly what this performance entails is quite impossible, what I can tell you is Tessa Waters will make you laugh till you cry. ★★★★★ Great Scott Media


 

Dates/Time: Tue 11 Apr – Sun 16 Apr -2pm
Venue: Melb Town Hall – Powder Room, Cnr Swanston & Collins Sts, Melbourne

Buy Tickets Now!

Tessa’s other shows at the Festival – Fully Sik, Fringe Wive’s Club, Comedy Club for Kids,  The Very Big Laugh Out

Tessa’s top tip for the festival – “You can’t miss Josh Earl

comedy-fest

My Expat Wife Life!

Well, the Easter holidays are well and truly underway, Tim has no time off, the kids are starting to drive me INSANE, and I am getting to know the staff at Dan Murphy’s really, really well.

The first term of the school year ended with a bang! Grandparents day at school!! The kids were feeling emotional about it, I was insisting that not everyone has grandparents, and we’re not the only ones without a Granny and Grandad nearby. I turned up at 2:30 to a sea of Granny’s. Every grey haired Nana in Victoria was in the playground, with me!  I spent the whole hour desperately trying to distract Monty as he was glazed over staring at everyone. The kids had gone to so much effort to make cookies, a little poster and a video about their grandparents. “I love nana because she takes me to the park,” “I love grandad because he plays games with me at the weekend…” “I love Pop because I have sleep overs at his house’…. 20 of these then Monty!! He had told the teacher Daddy was coming; I guess wishing that if he said it enough times Daddy would actually turn his lap top off and tear out of the office early to be there. His little face appeared on the video screen in the classroom “I love Daddy because we dress up like spiders!” I laughed, then welled up! They NEVER dress up as spiders, but here he was, this teeny boy, surrounded by his friends telling tales about their much adored, local, grandparents, and he thought he had to go one better and tell them all that his dad, his amazing ‘super dad’ dresses up as a tarantula at the weekend, so who needs a grandad!?!?! I was then presented with the “Dad” cookies, and the “I love Dad” poster which these little hands had so lovingly made, in the hope that Dad would actually be there.

 

Moving to Australia was a bit of a last minute, “OMG shall we just do it?” kind of move for us. Tim had the offer, and we were gone within about 4 months. We had thought that we would have a better quality of life, (because sunshine does that?!?!), and that Tim may have a better work/life balance. Well, it hasn’t really turned out like that! Yes, our lifestyle is better, there is no doubt about it, sunshine works. However, the work/life balance is no different, in fact, Tim puts in more hours here than he ever did at home. There’s no clocking off at 5 to catch the train, or working from home on a Wednesday. No, he’s up and gone by 6am and not usually home for family meals at 7; and that’s when he’s not travelling abroad. The children complain, I get stressed and long for the weekends.

Expat life is beautiful in so many ways, but being a wife, a mother, and an expat is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do! I’ve had to become all sorts of people rolled into 1. I’m a grandparent, a mum, a dad, a friend, an exhausted jack of all trades! I know, I know it looks like one long holiday, but the reality is I am a single parent all week, have no family around to buffer me, and it can get a little overwhelming doing it alone all week keeping a smile on my face.

“Oh stop complaining, you ungrateful wretch” I hear you say, (I’m saying it too BTW) and yes I hear you! I guess it does sound ungrateful, but believe me, I’m not at all ungrateful!

The truth is, if you are thinking of moving abroad, especially this far away from EVERYWHERE, you really need to be prepared for the changes to your family life.  Many families come to Australia and have a far better quality of life all round, but the truth is, if you want to succeed, and really make it here, you all need to be ready to make sacrifices. Yes, it’s the same all over the world; everyone has to make sacrifices to succeed, but here, I feel like I’m making lots of sacrifices for everyone else’s benefit.  I’m here because my husband is working here, and because Poppy adores it and Monty knows no other home. I’m here because we love it, it’s an adventure, and because the children and Tim have so many more opportunities. Of course it may not be forever, who know’s what will happen, but what if we stay…. for good? What happens to me? Is this the “expat wife’s” job? To suppress her longing for all the things she’s missing because her children are so settled and her husband has a great career? Is it my job to create a wonderful home life for everyone, make sure everyone is happy and content, whilst I miss my husband dreadfully because he’s working his backside off, and I can’t even catch up with my besties to have a moan?

For all of you out there who think the life of an expat wife is all beaches, wine and parties, think again. It’s beaches, wine and parties and a big dose of longing! Longing to know what the future holds. Longing to have time with the girl’s back home. Longing to move all your mates to where you are! Longing to stop longing!  In 30 years’ time, will I have got used to seeing my nearest and dearest just once every two years? Will I have succumbed to retirement overseas to be near my children? Will I be content with the sacrifices I have made for the family’s happiness? Is that an expat thing, or is that just motherhood!?

I was given some advice this week from an expat 35 years into being abroad; “make sure when you’re living the expat life, you’re earning enough to be able to fly home and get your fix when you need it, then you’ll feel truly satisfied wherever you are.” Looks like Tim will need to spend a few more hours in the office!

Ah well, off to the beach for a wine fuelled party now!  (Not really, I’ve got to clean my oven because my mum’s not here to do it for me).

Olivia xxx


When you move to another country you have to accept that there are some things that are better and some that are worse, and there’s nothing you can do about it – Bill Bryson

Mr Snotbottom’s Seriously Stinky Songs!

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If you have a bit of an aversion to bums, farts, poo or wee; guts, snot, bogies or exploding heads then this is probably not the show for you! If however you, and the kids of course, love all things yuk, book some tickets.

Mr Snotbottom’s Seriously Stinky Songs was a laugh a minute gallop though some pretty revolting toilet songs, smelly dad songs, and even one about living in mum’s guts! (My personal favourite).

The children were rolling about on the floor, literally, in heaps of giggles, as Mr Snotbottom serenaded us all with his ukelele, along with his sidekick Tom on the keyboard. What an imaginative, clever show, hitting everyone’s funny button! If there is one place where you can laugh out loud at raspberries being blown over and over again, and bum jokes this is the place!

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival has brought us this awesome show, which  you really need to see to believe.  The kids will love it. They may, like mine, go home and make up their own stinky songs which they’ll sing for days, however, you can always lock them in the attic if it gets annoying!!!

Mr Snotbottom with Tom by his side were the perfect combination of funny and silly, and had the kids full attention from the instant they stepped onto the stage. Mums were chortling, dads were sniggering and the kids were guffawing! Book now!!

 

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‘Kiddy stand up at its best ★★★★’ Adelaide Advertiser

‘His songs were pretty gross, and the orangutan was hilarious’ – Poppy – Head Honcho, The Wilson’s of Oz

‘Is fart a rude word? Aweeeesomeeee’ – Monty,  Stinkiest Wilson of Oz

‘Had the kids in stitches… Parents won’t feel left out.’ Herald Sun

‘He’ll have your little ones in a laughing frenzy. Hilarious and clever kids show. ★★★★’ Rip It Up


Dates: Tue 11 Apr – Sat 15 Apr: 1pm

Duration: 50 Minutes

Suitable for all ages

Venue: Melb Town Hall – Lower Town Hall, Cnr Swanston & Collins Sts

Buy Tickets Now!

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You can find Mr Snotbottom on Facebook!! Give him a like!

Best of British presents – Balloonatics

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It always feels a bit weird walking out, back into normal life after a show like this. When you’re hurled head first into a crazy world of comedy balloon modelling, loud music, and nutty jokes, with an insane sort of Scottish Army Cadet leading the party, I’m not sure you’re ever the same again!

I only had one child to look after at Balloonatics this afternoon, however, she was whipped up into a mad frenzy of giggles which made controlling her and her squeals pretty tricky!  The kids were positively encouraged to shout out…. no….. bellow out answers, and lots got a chance to hop up on stage and give the Kilt wearing Balloon Master a hand. The sound effects were hysterical, the soundtrack was perfectly matched to each gag, and it was obvious everyone LOVED it! This show was particularly brilliant because it had as many gags for the parents as the kids. It was fun for us all; energetic, pretty crazy, a little bit rude, and OMG I think he ate a bogey!

This show was written by Chris Henry to encourage families to get together, enjoy something as one and all make the most of not taking life too seriously. He achieved this today, with bells on!!!! It was the one time I wished I’d had the whole Wilson gang together!

Poppy and I laughed heaps; she shouted, squeaked and jumped up and down far too much for my liking, but we had such a great time. It’s noisy, chaotic, very, very funny, and well worth running to the Exford Hotel to get a seat.

Balloonatics has to be one of the top family shows at the Melbourne Comedy Festival this year! It caters to everyone’s sense of humour; not only that, it takes you on a wonderful, utterly insane journey that you just want to keep travelling.

The Balloonatics Army motto: “You don’t have to be good at something for it to be fun”…. Something we could all do with remembering as we head back into our now somewhat dull lives….


 

‘Phenomenally funny. ★★★★★’ Huffington Post

‘Can I give 100 out of 100?’  Poppy Wilson, The Balloon Boss, The Wilsons of Oz

‘Undeniably entertaining. ★★★★’ BroadwayBaby (UK)

‘Energetic and friendly.’ Adelaide Advertiser

‘Recommended Show.’ Fringe Review

‘Pitched perfectly.’ Primary Times (UK)


 

Duration – 60 Mins

Suitable for ages 4+

Sun 9 Apr: 12pm;
Fri 14 Apr – Mon 17 Apr: 12pm;
Fri 21 Apr: 4.30pm;
Sat 22 Apr & Sun 23 Apr: 12pm

Venue – Exford Hotel, 199 Russell St, Melbourne

Full:$15.30 Concession:$10.30 Family ticket:$40.30

BOOK HERE

Chris Henry is also starring in Ignorance is Chris which is in Melbourne as part of his world tour!! It’s just for the grown ups (yay for us) and has had RAVE reviews, so you don’t want to miss it!!

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