Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Swappin' Countries with Kristen: Fall vs Spring

For anyone new around these parts, Erin is an American who lives in Australia, and Kristen is an Australian who lives in America.  The two of us regularly talk about our experiences and lives swapping countries.  One of the most bizarre things to get used to when moving to a continent located on the other side of the planet in a different hemisphere is the opposite seasons. 

Basic facts:
American fall (Australia doesn't call it "fall"; it's called autumn) = September, October, November = Australian spring
Things that Erin typically associates with "fall" = football, MLB post season, fall leaves, Halloween, Thanksgiving, boots & sweaters
Things that Kristen typically associates with "spring" = Melbourne cup and racing season (spring carnival), just the fact that it's getting warmer and the end of the year is nearing so I always felt the need to get my life together and spring clean all the things.
Erin:  I live in a country that doesn't care much about American football (aka "gridiron").  We have ESPN.  It's an Australia/New Zealand programming version of ESPN.  We get football games.  But, you get one choice.  Whatever the programming director of ESPNAuNZ chooses and is able to show due to contractual obligations with American channels of ESPN, ABC, CBS, Fox Sports.  That's the game you get to see.  Sometimes it is live, and other times it's shown on a delay.  Oh, we have Fox Sports too, but they don't show American football.  They are showing things more interesting to Australian viewers.  So, any of my football viewing is occurring during Spring now.
Football "viewing" through online updates can be stressful

Kristen: In Australia, both football seasons - the NRL (National Rugby League) and the AFL (Australian Football League) - go from March to October, but regardless of which country I am in, I have never been a fan of football. KC is though, so it's always on during the American football season. I never pay attention, I'd rather read and can tune his shouts out easily. However, I have been to a couple of games and I enjoy it way more in person, and the atmosphere is insane compared to a game back home.

Erin:  ESPNAuNZ does show post season baseball games.  I'd care about them a whole lot more if my Astros were contenders.  Instead, I watch this Astro play ball a lot more often than I watch MLB games on tv.

Kristen: At home, spring always meant the spring carnival or 'racing season'. When I was 18-19, I worked at the racecourse, but at about 20-21 I started attending the races instead of working them. We definitely take our races seriously at home and it's just the thing to do. It's not the classiest of events (unless you pay lots of money) but it's always a good time. I'm very lucky I moved to Kentucky and I still get to attend the races often in American spring.

Erin:  Fall leaves.  Not happening right now for me.  Let's be honest, Texas isn't really known all that much for the changing fall leaves anyway.  Instead, now, I get Jacaranda trees in bloom. 

photo source
Kristen: Spring is beautiful no matter where you are, and you can see above how gorgeous Sydney is in the spring. However, at home the leaves don't really fall off trees in autumn quite like the spectacular way they do in Kentucky. I mean, science is science and the leaves do still fall off, but there is something about the way the America I know does fall.

photo source
Erin:  Halloween is growing here in the 8 years since I've moved.  C'mon, we know that America is great with marketing, advertising, and commercializing things.  So, yes, Halloween is a big deal in America.  It was my favorite holiday.  I have never dressed up in costume for Halloween since I moved here, and I used to do it all the time in America.  Last year was my first time to hand out candy...oops..."lollies" to trick-or-treaters, and I ran out!  I was better prepared this year. 

Kristen: As Erin mentioned, Halloween is picking up in Australia, but it was non existent when I was a child. I never dressed up, I never went trick or treating. I never had kids come to my house either - mum said she got her first trick or treater the year I left, and she had no candy for him. I did dress up for Halloween once as an adult - 21 or 22? Megan and I did a ghost tour I think and we dressed up as a 'sailor' and a cheerleader. We were the only people in costumes that we saw all night. We didn't care, because we were like 22, so whatever. I wish I had photos! I have dressed up for a few Halloweens since I moved here though, this past Halloween was the first that I didn't.

Erin:  Thanksgiving, oh, Thanksgiving.  This is the holiday that I get the most homesick because Australia doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving.  And, I know all my loved ones are getting together stuffing their faces with yummy goodness and watching football games together.  My guy has done a pretty great job at learning recipes (he's a much better cook than I am) and presenting a Thanksgiving meal for me.  Last year, some of our loved ones got together for it.  I still get overly emotional every Thanksgiving, missing my family and all, but the outpouring of love and support from my close circle here is nothing to sneeze at.

2015 Thanksgiving Australia

Kristen: I like Halloween, I like Christmas.. I have no strong feelings about Thanksgiving. Like Erin said, we don't have anything like it. It's very important to my mother in law though, and she takes it super seriously, so I obviously attend. I'm not a huge fan of the food - though I still eat it because, you know, food. I really like all the sales that happen online around this time.

Erin:  Wardrobes change with the seasons.  I ain't gonna lie.  I love putting on some boots and wearing hoodies.  But, I love flip flops, sandals, and cute dresses even more. 

Kristen: I think I fail my blogger certification because I am not as in love with fall fashion as others seem to be. I like sweaters and stuff, and I feel more comfortable in more clothes vs shorts and a tank, but the only plaid I own is a scarf. I have tried to buy things before based on how they look on pinterest, but I end up wearing them once and feeling like an idiot and getting rid of them. Like the below, I was so excited to look all 'fall-y' that I wore what I wanted regardless of the weather, and you can see my friend in flip flops, so.. yeah.

Erin:  I've always said that spring is my favorite season.  Yes, it's still bizarre for me to think of "spring" as September, October, and November, but accepting differences is imperative to embracing life as an expat.

Kristen: Basically what Erin said. You can complain and compare all day, constantly thinking of home or how it 'should' be, but that will only make your life as an expat harder. Instead, just eat some candy and be grateful that you have the opportunity to experience two very different countries and all their differences.

We will continue to share some joint posts based on questions from you, some of our blogger buddies (thanks to those who contributed).  Keep an eye out for those.  Who knows when they'll happen.  This ain't an assignment, and we aren't on a specific timeframe. 

Do you prefer fall or spring?


  1. This is such a fun idea! We went to New Zealand in March this year and it was so weird to go from the very start of spring here to the beginning of their autumn, which was more like a British summer to be honest.

    I love that Kristen's advice is to eat some candy ;-)

  2. i love seeing the contrast. i love love that you had a thanksgiving last year - and i remember the snaps/post from that and it made me happy! hope you do it again this year. and glad halloween is picking up down there! i mean - it's just so fun! love this series!

    xoxo cheshire kat

  3. well obviously i knew what this one said as well but you are right, it's fun to look at all our hair colours and styles haha. i can't wait to see what else we come up with!

  4. ... But a ginormous bowl of mashed potatoes looks amazing, no matter which side of the world you're on! I love that your loved ones celebrate Thanksgiving with you. Although I hate Halloween (since it's my bday and I hate sharing) so I would love being in a place that didn't care for it! Also in your top pic in front of the Texas seal, you remind me of Leslie Knope!

  5. I prefer fall, but Ohio springs are always soggy and bug-filled and muggy. I love the spring Australian pictures- such a beautiful country! And it's so special that your man puts together a little Thanksgiving for you! It'd be tough to be so far from home and in a country that doesn't recognize the holiday!
    I love this little series!

  6. I love this! I'm probably going to type the same thing to both of you.. but I would have a hard time adjusting. It's probably best to embrace it how you can. :) I enjoy the fall holidays a lot, so I think I would miss those too. My friend in Taiwan is just dying for some Pumpkin pie. She said you can get them at costco... but not the ingredients. And her apartment is too small to make a normal batch of mashed potatoes, etc. Sad day. :( Fun that Halloween is up-and-coming in Australia. I like winter best, and I am in the biggest minority ever there. Its kind of hard to love spring/fall in KS, because we only get 1 month of each. It's just super hot summer for 5 months, and pretty darn cold (but not that snowy) winter for 5 months. Whomp Whomp. XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  7. This is a really fun idea, I hope you continue the series! Ideas: Old food you miss, New food you love. Language - Like specific expressions, I know everyone's speaking English. Making friends - Do you ever feel the cultural divide? I lived in France for a couple years and really struggled as an ex-pat with feeling "apart." And I always felt a little sad and lonely at TG too.

  8. I think I could pass on Thanksgiving. To me, it feels like Christmas without the presents. Or maybe I should pass on Christmas and give up the presents and just go for the food? I guess it would still be different if I was in a different country though.

    Fun theme. :)

  9. I love this post. So funny to see it from both of your perspectives.
    Ahhh - sending you hugs for Thanksgiving next week!

  10. It would be so hard for me to completely change seasons like the two of you have. Christmas is the winter for me, fall is during football season, I am just stuck in my ways. But I think it is cool that both countries have things about each season to look forward to. I am with Erin in that I would be homesick at Thanksgiving. It is my second favorite holiday behind Christmas because FOOOOD!!!!

  11. I don't know that I could adjust to the total flip like that. We call it fall because leaf fall down :) Kentucky is for sure the prettiest state to view fall in, so Kristen picked a good spot!
    I actually don't have strong feelings about Thanksgiving either, we've never done much and the food is meh. Not my thing. I would NOT be able to live with Halloween though, that is by far my favorite holiday.

  12. So much fun! It's great seeing your different perspectives. I couldn't imagine not trick or treating as a child! I'm glad it's becoming more popular now because those kids were missing out! It's so sweet that your husband makes sure you still have a lovely Thanksgiving meal. That's where I would really miss my family too. Living in LA, weather-wise there is not much difference between Spring and Fall. I loved Spring when I lived in MN because NO MORE SNOW! But I also loved Fall for the beautiful colors and cooler temps but HATED what came afterwards. :)

  13. I love that y'all did this because y'all literally just traded countries! I think that besides missing family, missing watching the Aggies live has got to be the hardest part! We have friends that live in California, and they still say how weird it is to watch the game two hours earlier than usual, but it's still not the same as Australia!

  14. I still have your reply to one of my comments asking for questions/suggestions. I haven't filed it because I'm trying to think of any contributions!!

    I loved reading this!!! Especially as someone who has been to Australia so I have a vague knowledge of the country (though I was there February-June, so not during this time frame at all).

  15. This is such a great series! I love seeing all the differences. I would definitely miss football if I lived in another country-it's such a big part of fall here, especially in Texas!

  16. Love this! What a great idea for posts.

  17. I could not imagine life without being able to watch MLB regularly. It would pain me at my core.

    I love when you do these posts because it makes me feel smart when I talk to people from Australia. Like I actually know things!

  18. Brilliant :) Your Aussie family are sweet to try and help you feel less homesick. I don't really have an equivalent holiday that I can imagine not celebrating - Christmas maybe? I think if I moved somewhere that didn't celebrate Christmas I'd find that pretty rough. I love the jacaranda! So pretty. Certainly makes a difference from autumn colours, I'm not sure which is prettier...

  19. I've pretty much fallen off every sports wagon I used to live on, but I used to care a LOT about football and baseball... I think younger me would really be devastated if I couldn't watch games live!

    Thanksgiving is one of my least favorite holidays, but its arrival is one of my favorite times of year, if that makes sense. The day itself has always been stressful and oftentimes painful, which just happens sometimes with divorced parents. But Christmas has always been celebrated on two days, Easter we broke up into Easter Sunday and Palm Sunday, etc. Thanksgiving was always about picking one and hearing it from the other, or running around crazily trying to be everywhere. But I digress. Anyway, for me the T-giving weekend kicks off the holidays officially, and I really think I would miss it if it weren't a cultural thing! I'll drink a toast to your expat Thanksgiving this year though :)


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