Our expat blog of the month: Wandy McNoble Down Under

  • expat in Australia
    ©Wandy McNoble Down Under
Blog of the month
Published 2018-11-16 11:00

Wendy comes from Mississauga, Canada. After travelling around Europe, including France, the UK and Sweden, she finally moved to Australia where she is a teacher, with her husband. Today, Wendy is a happy mom of two children: Ella who is three and Oliver who is six months old. Wandy McNoble Down Under is her blog where she talks about her day to day life and travels around the land down under.

Tell us briefly about your expat life and where you’re originally from.

I’m originally from a city called Mississauga, which is a city neighbouring Toronto in Canada. I’ve lived in a few different countries, starting with France when I was 17 where I did a year-long student exchange. Then in university, I did a year in Sweden at Karlstad University during my undergrad. After university I moved to London, England where I lived for seven years, working as a teacher. I met my British husband in London, and we moved to Melbourne, Australia in January 2013, shortly after we got married. We’ve been in Melbourne nearly six years now, which I can’t quite believe! We both work as teachers and have had two children since moving here. Our daughter Ella is three years old, and our son Oliver is six months old.

What brought you to where you are now?

When I was living in London, I had a lot of Australian friends and was always interested in Australia being my next country to explore. To be honest, I stayed in London a lot longer than I originally intended, and was pretty settled in terms of life and career. I knew I wanted to have one last adventure before we had children, and after a long, rainy winter in London, the idea of a bright, sunny country was very appealing! We chose Melbourne as my husband had spent a few months in the city during his gap year, and we already had a few friends living there. Melbourne has an excellent reputation, and it’s consistently voted the world’s most livable city. Melbourne is also host to a lot of major, world-class events such as the Grand Prix and the Australian Open, which was very appealing to us. It’s funny, I originally pictured beaches and sunny days when I thought about Australia, and Melbourne is not really like that at all - it has pretty cold and rainy winters (by Australian standards), but we love the culture and character of the city so much. We thought we’d only stay for two years, but instead, we started our family here and have become Australian citizens!

What made you want to start a blog?

The blog was the avenue we chose to keep our families, in both Canada and the UK, up to date with our lives in Australia. Over the years it has been a great way to document our experiences, accomplishments and thoughts about our time in Melbourne. It has been especially important to me since having children; I don’t think I would have remembered half of the things we’ve done in the sleep-deprived days of small babies if I hadn’t written about them at the time! The blog keeps my memories of Australia alive, and I love looking back on our time here.

Writing a blog is also a personal challenge for me, as I have never felt like I’ve been much of a writer. I did a degree in mathematics, and I teach mathematics, so there is not a lot of creative writing involved in my professional life. Keeping the blog has allowed me to create something personal, and although it is far from perfect, I am proud that I have kept it up for the past six years and developed my writing at the same time.

Tell us what your blog is about and how our readers can make the most of it.

The blog is mainly about our day to day life and travels. If we visit a particular attraction, event or restaurant in Melbourne I’ll write about our experience of it. I like sharing my current favourite recipes, books, TV shows and products as well. For the past three years, the blog has centred a lot around our lives with children, so it might appeal to parents with small children who want to travel or move abroad, and for anyone living in Melbourne.

What are your next projects in terms of your expat life?

Well, we have decided to make the move to Canada next year! Therefore I will no longer be an expat, although my husband will. I haven’t lived in Canada for 13 years, so it still feels like it is a new adventure for me. It will also be interesting to see my home country through the eyes of my British husband. I am really excited to be living near my family again as it has been quite challenging to raise two children when you don’t have any family support around! I can’t wait for my children to have regular contact with their grandparents and develop that special bond. We plan on visiting England regularly so that we can see my husband’s family more often, along with all of our friends in the UK. Although we love, love, love Melbourne, the huge downside to living as an expat in Australia is that flights to Europe and North America are expensive and long, especially when you are travelling as a family of four during the school holidays. A flight from Toronto to London now seems like a very short “hop across the pond!” We are also looking forward to exploring more of Canada and the United States.

I want to continue to write on the blog when we move to Canada, for the personal reasons stated above. However, I’m in a bit of a conundrum when it comes to the blog’s name, as we will no longer be “down under” so the name won’t apply any more!