In this week’s Across the Water, Martin Grant talks to Fiona Schoonens, originally from Blackrock, now living in Perth, Australia.
I am originally from Blackrock.
Parents names and names of family?
Pat and Brenda Smyth. My sister is Karen and she lives in the UK.
When did you leave and why?
I was unemployed and wanted to go to Australia to try to find a job.
I am so glad I did as I met the love of my life over here.
We are now married almost a year with a gorgeous two month old baby girl Sophie.
What’s your occupation?
Currently, I am a full time mum.
What’s the biggest difference in settling into your new home?
I found it hard at first to settle in.
I missed the Irish people and the atmosphere.
However, there is a lot of Irish here. I found it hard to become familiarly with the area.
Is the social life much different from home?
Yes and No. There is more variety of places to go out in Perth.
However, the pubs and clubs are a lot stricter on drunken behaviour, closing times and stuff like that.
How do you like to relax?
I really enjoy watching TV and films with my husband.
Have you been home since leaving and what changes have you noticed?
Yes, I have been home twice.
I was home in November and I noticed the Old Shopping Centre is closed.
It is very sad, I have a lot of fond memories.
What’s the best and worst things about being away from home?
Best thing is the weather and the new adventure that I have experienced.
The worst thing is missing home and familiar surroundings and people.
Have you plans in the future to return home to Ireland for good?
At the moment no, but perhaps some day!
Name one thing from home that you wish you could buy in your local store?
Ham and Cheese Jambons - out of hot food counters. I miss them so much!
Have you a message for your friends and family?
Hello to all my lovely family and friends. I miss you all and can’t wait to be home again to introduce you to my beautiful daughter Sophie.