Aussies Of The Bay – Christine Gee

Name, job, part of the San Francisco Bay Area you live in

Christine Gee, Research Specialist, UC Berkeley, El Cerrito

When did you first come to the Bay and what’s the backstory there?

I first came to the Bay area in 2006 for a post-doc at UC Berkeley. I stayed for nearly four years on J1 visas, and then returned to Australia to work at the Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne. However, while I was in the US I met a fellow, and long story short I ended up getting married to an American and moving back here.

Hardest thing about moving here?

Family and friends are so far away. Also, I really can’t wrap my head around the fact that I may never live in Australia again. Also, and perhaps more trivially, the lack of really good iced coffee, you know that kind with ice cream and whipped cream.

Favorite Bay Area memory to date?

Getting engaged on the Golden Gate Bridge is up there. Also riding the cable cars from Powell St. up the hill standing on the side and running/walking the bay to breakers.

What impact has being Australian had on your life here? In dating? In work?

People don’t always understand my accent. Once in a bar, I asked for a Chardonnay and got a shot of Jager. Let’s just say it was NOT what I had in mind. I have also gotten a soda instead of a cider!

I work in a pretty multinational environment at a university, so I suspect there is less impact from being Australian at work than there might otherwise be. I still occasionally come out with some slang that has everyone confused though. Who knew that arvo and fortnight were not universal concepts!?

Most American thing you’ve experienced in your time here?

A county fair, complete with show chickens and pig races and giant smoked turkey legs.

Best advice for anyone who is thinking of coming over?

If you have the opportunity, you should take it. You never know where it will lead and probably you will have fun.

Any additional thoughts?

As my husband says its a lot easier to get a cat into the US than a wife and I was unemployed for a while with no status after we first got married. My cat however just needed a rabies shot and an airfare and she was good to go. The photo is from a trip to Sonoma with my husband and an Aussie friend.

Where we live deer regularly wander in the grounds and on the road, as do turkeys! The turkeys actually are a bit mean and I have been chased by one!!!!


Tyler Trumbull


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