Meet Sarah, She considers herself a curious Bug - an explorer if you like. Learn about her Expat life as an Australian living in Manila
2 June 2015| Last updated on 2 January 2018
I’m living in:
Manila, The Philippines
A bit about us:
We are from Perth, Western Australia. My husband and I and our two small children aged 3 and 4.
How long have you lived there?
Why did you move?
My husband’s asked him to come over to be a Project Manager. We saw this as a wonderful opportunity. For me this is an opportunity to explore new avenues – to repurpose my life, as I really want a change in career direction. We are excited to give our children the chance to experience a new culture and all that can bring to their little lives.
Why we like living here:
We enjoy the night life and family atmosphere. We can take our children out to night markets and explore the wonderful range of cuisine and have a great time together as a family. We also love that this culture is so different to our own. There is so much experience and learn about.
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There is great range and choice, and security is at a premium. You just need to be aware of noise pollution and traffic congestion. To travel 5km can take an hour. So you need to live very close to where you work and where your children’s school is.
What do you enjoy doing with your time?
Exploring all the different places we can visit and things we can do. We are still trying to find our preferred supermarkets and the freshest groceries. We enjoy visiting different market each week. We are looking forward to doing a lot of travel outside of the city over weekend breaks.
What top tips do you have for anyone considering a move?
Before you move:
De-clutter. Only bring the minimum to get by. When we are stationary for a while we collect a lot of ‘stuff’ which is just not necessary to everyday life. Use this opportunity to scale back.
Allow people the time to adjust to your move. This is not just happening to you. Friends and family need time to accept and grieve this change. People you don’t expect will step up, people you don’t expect will step back.
When you move: Take it one day at a time. Accept you will feel challenged, isolated, lonely and frightened. Accept the opportunity you’ve been given. Put yourself out there to meet people and experience new things. Say ‘Yes’ even when you don’t feel like it.
What do you wish you’d known before you moved?
How this would affect my marriage. As a couple you have to figure out where the common ground is and how to support each other and respect each other’s unique perspective.
What’s the best thing about being an expat?
It gets you out of your comfort zone, challenges you to think and behave in different ways. It feels liberating as much as challenging.
How do you keep a little bit of home with you as an expat?
I brought over a couple of sentimental items. Kid’s craft we had hanging at home, it’s hanging here.A glass vase filled with sea shells, sea glass and stones my husband and I have collected over the years.
The children’s duvet covers and their special blankets. We keep special rituals from home, and we have started to create new ones too.
Anything else you’d like to share with us about your expat experience?
Choose your attitude, accept it will be hard, but relish in the adventure.