What to Do When You Feel Homesick

It’s bound to happen. One minute, you’re loving New York to death and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. The next, a Facebook post of a faraway friend’s birthday dinner or a Crowded House song on a party playlist sends you into a spiral—suddenly all you want is sun, sand and a Bunnings’ sausage sizzle.

As an expat, a bout of homesickness now and then is to be expected. We’re a long way from home, and missing Australian friends, family and culture is totally normal.

Here are some things you can do in New York to get through it:

* Grab a coffee at an Aussie coffee shop. The coffee you get from the bagel shop down the street is just… fine. But it’s worth it to treat yourself to a properly made latte from an Aussie who knows their way around an espresso machine. Some recommendations for a Melbourne-style caffeine hit: Little Collins (Midtown East), Sweatshop (Williamsburg), Two Hands (Little Italy/TriBeCa), and Bluestone Lane cafes (all over the place).

Sunday morning swans 💙☕️✨

A post shared by Bluestone Lane (@bluestonelanecoffee) on

* Listen to an Aussie podcast. Podcast fever has hit Down Under, and there are some stellar offerings that will keep you in the loop on what’s going on back home. Chats 10, Looks 3 from ABC journos Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales is fantastic. And, of course, you can’t go past Hamish & Andy.

* Find a beach. For those who grew up or lived on the coast, there’s something about being near the waves. While American beaches will always fall short of our sparkling white sand and aquamarine vistas, sometimes just a hit of fresh salty air and the sound of the ocean can help a lot.

Some inspo for your weekend adventures 🌊 from @_carlybrownphotography_

A post shared by The Surf Lodge (@thesurflodge) on

* Have a roast dinner. When was the last time you had a good old Sunday roast? You could make it yourself… or you could gather some friends and go out. There are some great British pubs and restaurants that cater to Commonwealth tastes (and you might just score a Yorkshire pudding). Try The Churchill, Tea & Sympathy, or The Shakespeare in The William Hotel.

* Go to an AWNY or American Australian Association event. Know what’s better than being alone while you miss Australia? Being around other Australians! Having a good community around you goes a long way in helping to make a new city a home. It’s also great to be able to chat to people who understand your accent and your humour (with a u) and won’t snigger when you say the word “thongs”.

And finally – be thankful that we live in the age of FaceTime/Viber/WhatsApp and can call our loved ones back in Australia for free whenever we want!

When Will It Be Time To Go Home? Taryn Silver’s top 3 considerations

Living in New York is exciting. It’s full of ups and downs. And there’s nothing quite like it. I always tell friends that living in New York is like opening a Pandora’s box of excitement and adventure. Once you open it, you can’t close it. Living in America made me appreciate that despite the wonders of technology, Australia is still quite isolated.

Over the Summer I had a coffee with a friend, and she said that she felt she was ready to come home. Then Melbourne was named the most livable city in the world yet again. Americans are always asking me, “Why would you come here? I’d love to live in Australia, it’s so beautiful.” So I asked myself, would I ever be ready to come home? Should I go home? Here are three things to consider on this topic.

#1 Missing out on major life events

Living overseas means missing out on the big life events of your friends. A couple of years ago I Skyped into my cousin’s wedding, we’re the same age and had grown up together.  While it felt like I was there, it wasn’t quite the same. I wasn’t in any of the pictures and the weeks leading up to the wedding. I kept on dreaming that I would arrive last minute and surprise everyone. One of my best friend’s is engaged, and I know there’s a good chance I’ll miss her wedding too.

#2 ‘Nothing changes’ is a myth

One of my favorite haunts on the Upper West Side is Earth Cafe, they serve Toby’s Estate coffee, and more often than not I bump into Aussies looking for decent coffee. One expat, I bumped into had just returned from a visit home. I asked about her experience and she said,  “nothing changes.” But things do change back home, and sometimes in a sad way. The question is, do you want to be 22 hours away? My grandparents have aged rapidly this year, and it’s been hard not being able to lend a hand when I can. I worry that one day my parents could need me to be there.

#3 When it’s no longer fun anymore

Moving to America with very little family means giving up my well-established support systems and networks. That was abundantly clear when, as an exchange student, I found myself alone in the hospital. But right now New York is still fun. I’m meeting new people all the time and seeing more theatre than I ever did in Melbourne. Plus, I’ve just been home for Christmas! But it’s also hard, and I’ve always told myself that if it isn’t fun any more than maybe its time to come home.

I’m always flexible to reassessing my situation as it changes. Right now I just try to live every day, one day at a time. It’s very easy to get caught up in the what if‘s. And when that happens I remember that none of us really know where we’ll be in a year – I certainly never dreamed of coming to and living in New York City, and yet here I am…

About the author

Taryn Silver is another Aussie transplant who has been living in New York for over two years. Taryn recently graduated from Columbia University with an M.S in Strategic Communication and now works as a Senior Account Executive at Orangefiery, a communications consultancy. Taryn is also a classically trained Soprano with a Bachelor of Music from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and is still loves sharing her passion for music with anyone and everyone. Connect with Taryn on Twitter @vegemitecheese or on her website www.vegemitecheeseburger.com a place where Aussie and American culture come together.

Event: Act Like A New Yorker – A workshop that digs into the grit and grind of living in New York City using acting, movement and improvisation, April 4

For many Australians, New York City is surprisingly different to what we expected. And it’s the little things, like the way we converse and our sense of humor. But some challenges feel bigger and more confronting – like that confidence and assertiveness that New Yorkers exude ….

Led by Kate Lee, Act Like A New Yorker is an interactive workshop that uses acting, movement and improvisation to tackle some of the challenges of living in the Big Apple. Using serious fun, this event aims to connect our experiences and find our own ways of being seen and heard in this big, noisy city.

Event Details

Date: Tuesday April 4, 2017
Time: 6:30 – 8:30pm
AddressStudios 150, 150 West 46th Street,  New York, NY 10036
Tickets: AWNY/AAA Members $15, Non-members $20
RSVP: Book here to secure your spot!

What is an AWNY/AAA Member? Find out more about membership and benefits.


Introducing Kate Lee – Event moderator & AWNY Committee Member

Kate Lee works between the fields of education, cultural development and cross-disciplinary performance.

DSC_1561Her experience is as extensive as the continents and communities she has worked with. Kate has made theater in remote Australia, studied Japanese performance systems and performed in a legendary Samurai town. She has told the Orestia to seven-year old’s and watched in amazement as they debated women’s rights, revenge and trial by jury. She’s collaborated with scientists, mentored students, danced with people experiencing Cerebral  Palsy, made films with seniors, taught drama in some of the toughest schools in New York City, and used drama for English language learning.

Kate’s performance forms include text based plays, experimental performance, dance theatre, devised performance and film. She has worked internationally with OzFrank (Australia), the Lotos Collective (London), Suzuki’s Toga Summer Festival (Japan) and Witness Relocation (New York City). She has
 presented her research at ‘Zone 126 GradNation: Strengthening Families, Transforming Communities’, at the ‘Cultural Diplomacy in the United Nations Symposium,’ and ‘Creative Communities Conference: Risks and Possibilities’ at the Griffith Centre for Cultural Research. 
 
In NYC, Kate connects with other educators, individuals, businesses and communities to create projects and events that inspire, empower and enliven. See more at: http://www.katelee.space/

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Faces of AWNY: Hannah Collins

Hannah Collins shares her experiences of living and working and New York. She is currently working as a Marketing and Communications Associate at Community Resource Exchange, non profit consulting firm that helps build sustainable organizations and drive social change in urban communities.

Tell us why you moved to NYC?

I came to New York for a month long holiday in October / November in 2015. I loved it so much that by the start of December I had booked my ticket back here and started planning a move for April. My friends will tell you that I’ve always talked about moving to New York, but I am not sure if that’s true. My favorite shows growing up were Friends, Sex and The City, and Seinfeld, so maybe they influenced me more than I know!

Where in Australia are you from?

I’ve lived the last 11 years in Adelaide, but before that grew up on a farm outside of a tiny town of 3,000 people that was eight hours drive from Adelaide … a far cry from the cramped apartments and people filled streets of NYC!

Favorite NYC brunch spot

Juliette’s in Williamsburg or Jane on West Houston both have great food at affordable prices in nice settings. If you are looking for a great value bottomless brunch (and don’t mind if the food is a little basic) then Williams and Bailey in Williamsburg has $15 bottomless mimosas and bloody mary’s between 12 and 4 every Saturday.

Favorite NYC cocktail spot & cocktail of choice

I can’t go past Night of Joy for delish and cheap ($6 between 4 and 8) and the rooftop is really cute. A new bar opened up in Battery Park near where I work, a cuban inspired prohibition-era themed cocktail space upstairs at Pier A and their stuff is amazing. Plus they mail a postcard anywhere in the world for you as part of the experience. I tend to go for anything light and citrusy as a cocktail of choice.

How did you get into your job in NYC?

I work in a communications role for a nonprofit consulting firm in FiDi, Community Resource Exchange, or CRE. I worked in the nonprofit sector in Australia, so a lot of the communication roles I was applying for were in the nonprofit sector here, which I think helped to get me a job really quickly. I hit the ground running and started applying for jobs literally less than 24 hours after landing, which I also think helped. And I paid a designer friend to make me a custom resume template, which I think was the kicker to helping me find a job! I wasn’t one of the lucky ones who had a job before I came over, but just figured I’d be able to get one. That blind stubbornness has seen me through.

What do you like about being part of AWNY?

I love the events they hold – they aren’t repetitive or your normal networking experience – and you always meet someone new. I like the online community it fosters; you can always find an answer or learn something new from their social media.

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From Sports Marketing and Media to Benson’s on the LES. Meet Annie Morton – AWNY Startup Stories

Annie Morton moved to NYC in 2012 in a snap decision without a specific plan. Read here how she started her craft beer and burger bar, Benson’s on the Lower East Side.

How long have you been in the USA and what brought you here?

I moved to NYC in 2012, a snap decision based on a frustratingly stagnant role in Australia. I wanted to be my own boss rather than keep working at the mercy of someone else’s priorities. Hospitality was a passion of mine that I had always worked in part time, so I took the opportunity of a full time management role with The Australian NYC to learn the ropes from a broader business perspective.

Tell us about Benson’s and what made you want to start a New York Bar? 

Benson’s is a craft beer & burger bar in the Lower East Side. It’s a small space that makes you feel welcome and a part of our “family” of regular guests. I had planned to move back to Australia before opening a venue, but then an opportunity presented itself and I figured I should take advantage of it. I think I was also drawn to the challenge.

Bensons Interior

How long did you have the idea for this business and why did you decide to start Benson’s?

The timing was a bit backwards – the venue came first, then the concept, and finally the financing. All told, I started vaguely considering it as an option for New York in September, and by April we’d opened Benson’s. That’s a lightning fast turnaround! There were so many reasons we could have backed away from it, but the emotional support I had from friends and family was unbelievable. I also figured it was worth taking the risk, I’d have hated to not do it and always wonder what if?

Were you always in hospitality or was this something completely new for you? 

I’ve worked in hospitality since I was 14, but it’s only been my main career the last four years. In Sydney, I worked in sports marketing & media, an industry I love dearly. What I’ve learned is how similar each of these roles have been – I’m always still handling a bucket load of logistics, and dealing with hoards of people!

What has been your ‘Ah Ha’ / ‘I’ve made it in the USA moment’?

The real one is yet to come, but our first birthday at Benson’s was a good feeling.

Annie & Dave

Photo: Annie and her Business Partner David. 

What have been the hardest lessons in opening a Brick and Mortar business? 

Budgeting! As good & disciplined as you are, you can always be better. Also the challenges associated with finding and keeping quality staff in a highly transient city.

Are the customers transient or mostly regulars? Do you find business to be seasonal or quite steady? 

We get a steady stream of regulars, and any given night will see plenty of them stopping by. As our profile grows it’s been exciting to see people view Benson’s as a top destination for their trip to NYC, and it’s always our aim to convert all of our new guests into repeat guests.
There are certainly strong seasonal patterns, with summer being the quiet period. Business picks up considerably through Sept/Oct, and then very strong through the colder months right through to April. Cold weather brings on a hankering for burgers and craft beer I guess!

Bensons with people

Photo: Some of the clientele at Benson’s

Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?

For new guests, Yelp has been a huge advantage for us. We have some of the most engaging & positive reviews, and that has seen a huge jump in new customers. For our existing customers, Instagram has been the most effective way to let them know about a new special, or just to prompt them into making another visit.

Do you have any mentors, and how have people been with sharing information and their networks? 

Matt Astill & Glenn Treacher were great as we started out, they have all the experience behind them and an amazing network of contacts that I was able to use knowing I wasn’t being taken advantage of. It’s also been great having so many young Aussie entrepreneurs in the city right now, and the camaraderie of that has been really helpful.

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business? 

Think through every part of the set up and operations process. Project conservatively. Work hard (and be happy to). Check out the competition. Utilize your friends, family & colleagues as your best marketers.

Other than yourself, what piece of Australia have you put into your business? 

We have a couple of Aussie influences on the menu, with Cooper’s & Boags on the list as well as a lamb burger & the “Benson Burger” – a close take on the traditional burger with the lot. We celebrate the bigger holidays like Australia Day & ANZAC Day, but mostly are happy to dial back on the Aussie vibe and just present a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

What is next for Bensons?

We’re still perfecting the original, so maybe this time next year we will have an inkling of what comes next.

Do you have an offer or promo code you would like to share with AWNY members? 

Any brunch entree with three drinks for $28 – available weekends, 11am-4pm

Follow Benson’s at:

www.bensonsnyc.com

www.facebook.com/bensons181

www.twitter.com/bensonsnyc

www.instagram.com.bensonsnyc

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Love this AWNY Startup Story? Want more?

Register for our monthly newsletter and be kept in the loop for our upcoming Startup Stories event where you can hear more stories like this first hand and meet some of Aussie women entrepreneurs.

Blog – https://australianwomeninnewyork.org 

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Twitter – https://twitter.com/AUWomenNYC 

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Are you an Australian female who owns a business in New York?

If you do and you want to tell us all about it, email us at awny@aaanyc.org

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