Knee Deep in Down Under

Raising my expat American family in Australia. We live with Autism, Dyslexia, Cricket and deadly snakes, bugs and wild weather. My life is managing kids, a part time job, husband and my manic need to write about my opinions.

Cecelia is a winner of Top 25 Australian Moms - 2013

What's the best part of raising a family in Australia?

I suppose I shouldn't try to get away with just typing EVERYTHING! My kids go to schools with no metal detectors. There is a presumption of safety in our schools here. If I'm late to pick them up I can call a friend to grab them rather than call the office and have someone submit a DNA sample to authorize. We have a school calendar based on the calendar year and not a farming schedule. There are lots of little breaks or holidays in between the terms so there isn't one huge break at the end. I love the universal uniforms for school kids. Sure the uniforms are specific to the school they attend but all kids are wearing some sort of uniform. It cuts down on over all clothing expense, creates a sense of ownership and pride in the school and it eliminates the dreaded obvious separation of poor kids and wealthy kids. It helps identify kids are wrongly out of school and helps cut down on them getting into trouble.

Families are important in Australia. All the shops have separate family bathrooms so you don't have to take a screaming baby or whiny child into a crowded public bathroom. This can save the sanity of parents and non-parents alike. In Sydney a family only pays for one child in the family. The rest travel for free. As any parent will tell you, free is good.

I honestly can't see myself living anywhere else again.

In what ways is Australia unique from other places you've lived or traveled?

I have lived all throughout the US but Australia was my first venture out of my homeland. I was stunned by the generosity shown by Aussies. Total strangers would stop to help me with my stroller on the train and be shocked when I thanked them. A young man on the bus overheard my conversation about not being sure how to get to a shopping center and as we exited the bus he motioned for me to follow him. He walked us a good 10 minutes out of his way to show me where I needed to go. On the bus ride home the bus driver turned off the bus to climb down and help me fold up the stroller and get on board with my 3 children.

Movie theaters and stadiums allow you to bring in your own food and drink. We can pack a cooler full of snacks and drinks for the kids and go to the rugby game. It makes life so much easier knowing what my kids are eating and saving what money I can.

It's a sin to mention Australia without mentioning it's beautiful land and inhabitants. There are colors so striking and beautiful found in plants and animals that at first I was sure they were fake. Australia may be the land that Evolution forgot but Mother Nature certainly makes up for it!

What do your kids love most about living in Australia?

Only my oldest child remembers living in America so this is a hard question to answer. I would say they all love swimming on Christmas day. All three were pretty horrified to learn that there is no break between the terms in American schools. My youngest is a True Blue Aussie now and eats Vegemite sandwiches several times a week.