Born in Latvia during the Soviet era, Mrs Anya Wooden recalls a largely happy childhood in which families spent the warmer months in summer homes pursuing outdoor recreations.
Anya's immediate family and grandparents shared a two-bedroom apartment residence for many of those holiday seasons.
Anya subsequently left the Baltic state to study economics and administration at a Scottish university. Her studies were partially subsidised along the way through a range of part-time jobs including sales assistant work and performing as a clown at birthday parties!
Anya believes that a perceived lack of proficiency in English may have prevented her from establishing a career post-university in fields in which she was newly qualified, coming to work in hospitality instead.
However, during her time living in Scotland Anya met her Australian-born, future husband, Andrew. Anya credits Andrew as being open minded as to their future, but ultimately the prospect of an extended family support network in Australia influenced their decision to resettle "Down Under".
Although Anya initially lamented the lack of diversity and age in the built heritage of Australia, the natural beauty of Lake Macquarie inspired her to want to live in this region.
Anya also indicates that while she obviously cannot visit her European based family as often as she once did, social networking and biennial return trips have helped her stay in touch.
This work by Lake Macquarie City Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License