Lois Nicholls is pregnant and heartbroken when she leaves her country of birth, South Africa in 1997 to begin a new life in Australia with her husband and toddler.
Through a series of anecdotes, she provides a snapshot of her emigration journey with candid, humorous and touching accounts of her new life on foreign soil. Battling through endless Brisbane summers, she tells of her struggles to make friends, coming to terms with leaving her family behind and understanding the quirks of living in Australia.
She candidly reveals business blunders, career crises, the trauma of her two-year-old son’s repeat circumcision, her husband’s kidney removal and many more unexpected events. While South Africans and Australians speak the same language, she discovers there are profound cultural differences which stretches her sense of humour to the limit.
While this is not a ‘how to’ on emigration, it does cover many pertinent issues an expat may encounter: What schools to choose? Where to live? The agony of moving – again, the old school tie connections and the ongoing split allegiance and yearning for immediate family and old friends.
Lois does not for a moment romanticise about life away from her familiar surroundings. If anything, she tells it like it is – even owning up to avoiding the annual Christmas letter for fear of not measuring up to her glamorous counterparts in other parts of the world.
Most of all, this short, snappy book delightfully illustrated by her daughter, Lara, allows established Australians a tiny glimpse of an immigrant’s impression of living Down Under. It will also strike a chord with new and established immigrants who will no doubt relate to many of the humorous episodes mentioned in the book.
And for those contemplating a permanent move to Australia, ‘Aussie, Actually’ will reveal the everyday experiences not covered in the emigration manual!