I’m Sandy of Sandysviews blog, Sandy isn’t a girls name, Sandi is a girls name. Sandy is the Scottish abbreviation of Alexander which is my real name, but everyone calls me Sandy. I’m a New Zealander who spent 22 years in England.
Why did you move abroad?
I was going to go travelling when I left the army, but I didn’t. Instead I waited until I should have been settling down and buying a house. I went abroad because I felt like I’d made a mess of everything in New Zealand. I ran away to see what I could make out of a life overseas.
How do you make a living?
I work in sales, I sell things. Actually it’s not that simple, I’m a Business Development Manager, I worked in media for years in London. Radio and magazine advertising sales for a while. I also worked in International Inflight Magazine representation which was pretty cool. When I got too old to look the part of trendy thrusting bright young thing in media, too old being 30, I turned to Insurance where you are encouraged to look older and sensible, like you know a bit about everything and how to insure it. So I after my glitzy media career, I started working in commercial insurance sales for a few years. I’d continue but you’ve fallen asleep. You’ll be sorry you did when your stuff catches on fire and you thought insurance was too boring to take any interest in though.
How often do you communicate with home and how?
Not often, I’d call once a month or so, say hi to my mum. I used Facebook a lot to keep up with what was going on back at home and show people what I was having for dinner or amusing videos of animals.
You are as far as New Zealand as it’s possible to get and everything happens at home while you are asleep because England is 12 hours behind New Zealand in the opposite time zone. You dread the phone call in the middle of the night. Nobody ever rang with good news in the middle of the night. If the phone goes while you are asleep, chances are somebody has died. It’s not a good way to be woken up.
I loved all the history everywhere. Coming from a young country like New Zealand where all we have is the most incredible and beautiful sights of natural wonder everywhere, it’s nice to see an old Castle, or a man riding a horse mounted on a plinth here and there.
What did you miss most?
I think what I missed most was home, New Zealand, all the time, every minute of every hour of every day when I wasn’t thinking about something else. That and ice-cream in a cone from a dairy.
What did you do to integrate and meet people in your new home?
I left the house and there they all were, right there.
What Customs/Habits did you find strange about your adopted culture?
Apologising for something that was somebody else’s fault. For example an English person would say “I’m terribly sorry, but you’ve just stood on my foot”. Also the Morris Dancing. There’s just no place for it in modern culture. Watching a dozen grown men dance about waving handkerchiefs with bells on their socks to accordion music is just plain odd.
What is a Myth about your adopted country?
St George didn’t really slay any Dragons. Apart from that all the myths about the British are facts.
Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in?
Seeing as I’ve returned home to New Zealand, the last country I lived in was England. The cost of living is much the same with some significant differences. It would become very tedious if I was to explain the detail but to summarise, the cost of living in New Zealand is quite similar to England now. Although more importantly, the quality of life is much better in New Zealand than in England. Unless your quality of life is measured by your ability to view world-class art/music/theatre and impressive man-made structures in which case New Zealand is a bit rubbish. All we have is the worlds greatest natural environment, peace and freedom with a generally friendly and helpful demeanour in our populace. We also have very good ice-cream and beer.
What advice would you give other expats?
Don’t be an expat, Just be yourself. You’ve moved abroad, neither denigrate your origin nor your destination as not being as good as the other. Use the knowledge you’ve bought and enjoy the knowledge you’ll gain. Combine the two into making your own life experience better. Don’t play one-off against the other. The grass isn’t greener on either side of the fence. It’s just the grass you have to make the best of because it’s now under your feet.
When and why did you start your blog?
My father died suddenly in 2009 and I had to speak at his funeral. Because he wasn’t one for telling us anything about his life, because I’d left home to go to Boarding School then joined the Army. Because I’d lived abroad for most of my adult life, I knew very little about my father. I decided to write my own life story down as I’d had an interesting life. I’m also quite opinionated and vocal, I have a lot to say. I decided to write down my view on things after I’d written my life story. My view on things became Sandysviews, it’s an eclectic blog serving no purpose. When I write anything I have to be happy that each post fills my own criteria. It must be informative, educational, inspirational, amusing or entertaining or ideally more than one of those things. I have no timetable to post stuff on it, only as something occurs to me that I have a mind to write down. Sandysviews has now been seen in 190 countries. I’m hugely proud of that. I write to entertain other people, I wouldn’t do it just for myself.
So there you go. Now I want my button.