Faces of AWNY : Angela Chamberlin

Why did you move to NYC?

I moved to New York with my husband, James in the middle of winter 2011. James had been offered a secondment with his firm and we had always wanted to live in NYC.

Where did you live in NYC?

We lived in a very tiny but very spunky apartment on Wall Street. We loved the ease of having the subway and every convenience at our doorstep. And we still miss our wonderful doorman and concierge!

What did you love most and least about NYC?

We loved the seasons of New York. We loved rugging up and the novelty of the snow in winter; pumpkin spiced lattes and seeing the colorful leaves in Central Park in Fall; the joy of Spring after a long winter; and sweltering through summer sitting by the Hudson river in Battery Park – each season offered something new to explore in the city. However, New York can be a hard city so we missed the easygoing nature of Australians.

What are your favorite advice tips to give to someone moving to NYC?

Say yes to every opportunity (at least for the first 6 months!). When we were new to New York we said yes to every invitation that came our way. It was a great way to meet people and try new things.

Memorable ‘Only in New York’ moment?

There were many – the celebrity sightings (Sarah Jessica Parker, Hugh Jackman and Donald Trump to name a few) of course were a highlight. I think the most ‘Only in New York’ moment was my company being acquired by Google and subsequently working for them. It was a huge opportunity professionally for me and was something I never even dreamed of!

What were the highlights of living in NYC?

For our 3.5 years in New York, we enjoyed everything the City had to offer. From Polo on Governors Island and Gala Balls at the New York Public Library, to sampling many fabulous restaurants, exploring different neighborhoods, we wanted to see and do everything. We made many wonderful friends who became our family while we were away from Oz and who I still consider some of my dearest. We travelled extensively in the US and made trips to Europe in the summers and the Caribbean in the winters.

What did AWNY offer you?

When we arrived in New York we were given a harsh welcome to the city with the sidewalks covered in snow and freezing winds. We knew no one when we arrived but thankfully I found out about AWNY and a coffee morning just 10days after we arrived. I bundled up and went to my first of many AWNY coffee mornings. It was such a huge help and comfort to meet so many wonderful Aussie women! For the first weeks in NYC the women I met through AWNY became my lifeline for all my newbie questions. After a couple of years I joined the AWNY committee that I loved being apart of. I miss my AWNY friendships and the events very much. I hope that the organization continues to be wonderful support for Aussie woman like it was for me.

Why did you move back to Melbourne?

The time came when we thought we had achieved everything and more than what we set out to achieve and it was time to move on from the amazing life we had built in NYC. It has been incredibly hard for James and I to leave our friends and NYC but workwise and personally we were ready for something new.

What do you miss from New York?

As we approach the 6 month mark here in Melbourne we still miss NYC terribly (that city just steals your heart). We miss the seasons and all that NYC has to offer – there is always something new and fun to see and do! Although I love almost everything about New York there is one thing that I don’t miss – the dirtiness of the city!

Do you have any advice for moving back to Australia?

Allow plenty of time to pack and come ready to enjoy the beaches and fresh air.

What are you doing now you are back in Melbourne?

We are slowly settling into Melbourne life. We are enjoying some great work opportunities and capitalizing on our experience abroad. A highlight has been walking from our Southbank apartment to the MCG to watch the mighty Hawks play and even being there to see them win the premiership – what a welcome home present!

Any noticeable differences in the work environment between US and Australia that you’ve reflected on since returning to work?

We have found the work ethic quite different. Americans are very appreciative to have work and therefore work very hard. Although Australians are generally hard workers it’s a different situation.

Photo – Angela Chamberlin and her husband James Chown at the MCG in Melbourne
photo credit: Angela Chamberlin