Amanda Jarosz said the family was “lucky” to have been in Ferndale for the annual Woodward Dream Cruise, where they got to see a replica of the Ghostbusters’ car, Ecto-1.

Amanda Jarosz said the family was “lucky” to have been in Ferndale for the annual Woodward Dream Cruise, where they got to see a replica of the Ghostbusters’ car, Ecto-1.

Photo provided by Amanda Jarosz


Australian family travels across the world to live in Ferndale for 6 months

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published September 10, 2019

 The Jarosz family — Amanda, Charlotte, Thomas and Steven — has moved from Australia to Ferndale for six months as part of Amanda’s service leave from work.

The Jarosz family — Amanda, Charlotte, Thomas and Steven — has moved from Australia to Ferndale for six months as part of Amanda’s service leave from work.

Photo provided by Amanda Jarosz

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FERNDALE — It takes more than a day’s worth of travel to get from one of the largest cities in Australia all the way to Michigan.

The seemingly endless flights had to start somewhere, and for the Jarosz family, they started in Perth.

When the opportunity arose for Amanda Jarosz to take a long service leave from her job at a financial planning company in Australia, she, along with her husband, Steven, and children Thomas, 8, and Charlotte, 7, packed up their belongings and headed to the airport at the end of July to travel across the world to settle somewhere for six months.

The family decided early on they wanted to make their way to the United States, but choosing which state proved to be difficult, as they wanted to find a location that would be safe and community-minded.

The family picked Michigan after discovering that they had distant family members living in Frankenmuth, Grand Blanc and Wixom with whom they could connect. But as for where they would call their home base and live for the next six months, the family decided to select Ferndale.

“We found Ferndale specifically because there was a lot of online presence, particularly on Facebook and other means, where it just seemed like a very nice community,” Amanda Jarosz said. “There was lots of events going on to encourage people to get together, and it just seemed like it had a real good feel to it.”

In the more than a month that the family has lived in Ferndale, the city has been a perfect fit — better than they expected.

“We found that everyone in Ferndale is really friendly,” Amanda Jarosz said. “We’ve had a number of people that we’ve met going out of their way to help us and everything.”

“When we got here, within two or three days … it felt very normal to be here,” Steven Jarosz said.

They already have visited Frankenmuth, and they took a trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes this past weekend. They also plan to travel to New York and Texas for multi-day trips during the next couple of months.

A highlight of their time spent in Ferndale, Amanda Jarosz said, was being able to attend the Woodward Dream Cruise, which occurred within the first few weeks of her family’s stay in the city.

“We were lucky enough to be here for the Dream Cruise,” she said. “That was really amazing to see everyone get together for that, and we couldn’t believe the amount of people and how big it was.”

The family, and especially the children, are looking forward to experiencing the fall and winter seasons of Michigan, as Thomas and Charlotte have not taken part in Halloween nor seen snow before.

“They’re really excited for things like Halloween,” said Amanda Jarosz. We don’t generally celebrate that at home, so there’s never been trick-or-treating.”

“My kids have never seen the snow. I think I’ve seen it twice in my life throughout my travels. So we want them to see snow. We want to know what it feels like to have a jumper on, on Christmas Day,” Steven Jarosz said. He added that for those not familiar, “jumper” is a way of saying “sweater.”

That’s another aspect of the stay the family emphasized, which was getting their two children to experience a world outside their own country.

The family had traveled for small vacations here and there before, but never something like this, and that was the point, according to Steven Jarosz.

A stay-at-home dad, Steven Jarosz is a big believer in traveling so that his children can broaden their horizons and see a world outside of Australia. And to do so effectively, he didn’t want to go on just another holiday and come home.

“The kids will get so much more living here for the six months instead of a four-week holiday,” he said.

“(The children have) been loving it, especially because, as a family, we don’t usually get to spend this much time together,” Amanda Jarosz said.

With the rest of 2019 to look forward to in the United States and the state of Michigan, the Jarosz family confidently can say that they made the right decision to settle in Ferndale.

“Obviously, the day we’re flying out from Australia, you can get a lot of emotions and you hope you’re doing the right thing, because you’re going to the unknown, but five weeks into it, I love every day,” Steven Jarosz said. “I sit out on the porch every day and pinch myself and say, ‘I’m here!’”

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