03 Feb 2007 3:53 PM
|Well, well, well. I bet nobody out there in Aussiemove world will remember me then? You're all new names on this forum now, all with plans and dreams to move to the other side of the world. I remember being like that. We had so many dreams; most of which have come true. But you know what? Dreams aren't always where you think they'll be.
Let me elaborate somewhat. This isn't meant to be a gloomy post, or a post to try to put anyone off moving here. It's a post to counterbalance the glossy images you have about life in Australia. You are all, I'm sure, educated folk who are doing so much research into your move it's silly! You will know about areas, schools, employment, finances, food costs...well, everything down to the cost of a postage stamp! What you won't know, and can't know, is how you will feel when you get here. That's impossible to prepare for.
What you are doing, for the majority of folk out there, will be one of the most difficult things you will ever do in your whole life. Trust me on that, it will be. The stress you are now under, and will continue to be under even when you first get here, will be enourmous. I have seen people break marriages up over this once they arrive; I've watched a friend have two nervous breakdowns; I've seen people (mainly women) doping themselves up on anti-depressants to get through the day. Do not underestimate what you are going through. Look after yourselves and your health.
Adjusting to another life in a far away country is incredibly challenging to say the least. Those of us who've been here for years, hand on heart, can still say I'm puzzled by some aspects of it! I don't have a clue why folk insist on searching my handbag when I come out of a shop, if I was going to nick anything I'd go through the checkout, they never ask to look in my bag that route! Or why the heck some folk can't afford a pair of $4 thongs to put on their feet? I don't get it. Haven't they seen the dog poo on the pavement or the glass lying around? But there you go. That's the way it is here. The Aussies are pretty chilled out folk who never rush to do anything (especially here in W(ait) A(while)) except get to the pub on a Friday arvo to start the weekend off. They are mostly friendly, but I'm never sure whether they mean it or not. When the checkout chick asks me 'how're you going today?' I'm so tempted to say 'Do you really give a damn?' then start telling her how my 7 year old has been wrestling all morning with his little sister, knocked off my best vase and smashed it and how the cat crapped on the sofa! I don't really think she's that bothered really!
I've tried to make Aussie mates, but it's difficult. They have their network already made up. They also have differnt ways to us and a different sense of humour. Mine is pretty sarcastic/ironic, most Aussie women don't have a clue. I've got UK mates now. They get it!
The our social life here, when you have kids, revolves around socialising at peoples houses, or them socialising at yours. Remember, babysitters are a thing of the past for most folk! Especially parents like us who only trusted a family member to take care of the kids. At first barbis where fun, after this length of time, we're over it! We don't care if we ever see another snag or steak again! That's not meant to sound ungrateful in the slightest, it just gets a little boring after this amount of time and that being the only social outlet.
Trips to the beach or the park; you know what, we take those places for granted now. They're there, just down the road, but the novelty has worn off somehow. The kids are no longer bothered with the beach, which is great for us as we are really fair skinned and have a helluva time rubbing suncream in with sand covered hands!
The sunshine; you know I used to complain in the UK about not being able to go out with the kids because it was rainy and cold! Now it's the same thing here, only it's because it's way too hot! Traipsing around in 35+ degrees is not much fun. The kids look like they could swim the channel with the amount of white gloopy chemical suncream they are constantly smothered in. Oh, and those lovely meals we were always going to have, sat outside on our patio? Ain't gonna happen, not unless we can eat one handed and use the other to swot the flies away!
The cost of living has gotten silly over here in Perth. House prices have rocketed. We have been very fortunate in that department, we're lucky. There are many poms here who cannot get onto the property ladder or have to live in some pretty undesirable areas in order to do so. Food shopping; what's that all about? It is very expensive to eat here. I've even tried doing the shopping at markets/supermarkets and butchers. By the time I've spent money on petrol going to several different shops, it all works out the same...damn expensive! We had some friends over from the UK a few weeks ago, they took us to Northbridge for a meal. The bill came, and thank God they were paying is all I can say! It was over $200. They thought that was cheap. Erm, not when you're earning Aussie dollar it's not!!!
Holidays; erm, what holidays? With me being a mere uni student (still) and us living on Daves wage, we don't have holidays. Getting out of Perth to anywhere costs and arm and a leg! So, we invested in a tent. We've been north and south a few times. It's only when you live in Perth that you realise just how damn big and isolated this place really is. Yet, it's so small at the same time. It's a very insular place, a bit hick-town still and the councils will fight tooth and nail not to let tourist business folk build anything resembling a tourist attraction.(The natives are still reeling over the daylight savings hour that came into effect! They actually tried to stop it because that extra hour of sun would fade their curtains and furniture!!!) After years of doing Hillary's Boat Harbour/ The Boat pub/ Kings Park and Whiteman Park, we need something more here. Please.
So, we will be here until November 08 when I qualify. Then we're off back home, to good old Blightly. The need to be home has finally cracked us. Don't underestimate the feelings of homesickness, of needing to feel like you belong. They can be all consuming at times. These feelings have been my constant companion for the last two years. Not much fun I can tell you! It's funny though, when we were in the UK we would bitch and whine about the UK. We'd critisize it's politics/laws/social systems etc, and it's only when you leave it, and live somewhere else, that you realise that this new abode has political issues/class injustice/lawlessness/social problems all of its own. It's no different. So a return to Blighty is on the cards for us. This time we will change our lives back home, within reach of the family we didn't think we'd really miss but do!
Good luck to you all on your way here. But before you leave the UK, take a long hard look at what you're leaving behind you. Those things might be more important than you think.|