30 Oct 2005 12:54 PM
|I haven't been on here in ages and I don't recognise any of the names anymore! Where are all the old faces? I can only imagine....getting a new life down under, just like us!
I used to get some really good advice on this site, and we made a few nice friends along the way (hi Carmel, let's get together soon!) so I thought it would be nice to give something back and hopefully help all of you Aussie Wannabes in the process of your rollercoaster ride of immigration!
We landed on the 10th July 2004 and have settled in the northern suburbs of Perth. We are renting at the moment whilst our lovely house is being built. God, those aussie builders don't half move! Must be rocket fuel in those beer bottles!Our house is being built to our own specification and I will be truthful here, it's a home we could've only dreamed about owning in the UK. It's nice and big, with 4 beds, 2 baths, a family room,large kitchen, seperate theater room and utilty....oh, and a bloody lovely pool in the backyard!
There are four of us, me, Dave and our two little uns. Dave and the kids had absolutely no problems settling in to their new lives. Me on the other hand, that's a different story. The first 6 months were sheer hell. The homesickness was all consuming at times and I continually planned my escape route from this place. I missed my family so much, I longed for old familiar places and faces. I tended to gravitate towards negative people who hated this place with equal passion. That was a big mistake. I should've focused on people who would bring me up notdrag me down. There's the first piece of advice! Surround yourself with positive people, they will help you see this place for what it is and not what it isn't.
After about 6/7 months it started to get better for me. I had enroled into uni and was enjoying my course, the kids were very happy and Dave, well, he was like a pig in sh*t here! He has loved his new life from day one, so no worries there mate! Then my wonderful Dad became seriously ill. That worst nightmare that I would have whilst still in the UK was coming true.The complete sense of utter helplessness was terrible. I wanted to be in the UK supporting my Mum, but I couldn't. I had responsibilites here too to my own family. On the 8th July he passed away very peacefully in his sleep. I jumped on a plane and headed home.I landed on the the 9th of July, exactly one year to the day that we'd taken off from Heathrow and left the UK behind us.
As you can imagine, it was a pretty awful time and the circumstances for being back home amongst the family fold, were not ideal. I have to say though, I landed at the most beautiful time of year and all the old homesickness came back to me. The long summer evenings, the amazing countryside and the history, it was so good to be home. After two weeks I had to return. I can say though that if it hadn't been for Dave and the kids being here in Oz I wouldn't have gotten on that plane. I wanted to stay and support my Mum. Leaving her completely alone at the airport was indescribably awful.
The first month back here was the worst I've encountered. I just wanted to return home, every single day. The rows it caused between me and Dave were countless, that's an odd occurance as we don't usally row. Then I don't know what happened. Was it the healing process of time, was it the fact that Dad's death has woken me up to the fact that nothing lasts forever and that I should live each day to the fullest, was it the fact that I see my little family here so damn happy? I don't know, but all of a sudden I started to see this place through different eyes.
The things that used to drive me potty no longer bother me. I couldn't give a damn that people walk around with no shoes on, or that the shops have archaic opening hours! I don't give a stuff that the supermarket is not a patch on Tesco's and that I can't get Mr Brains faggots! I'm not bothered that the telly is absolutely, utterly crap...I just get another glass of wine and phone my mates up for a natter!
I suddenly feel very proud that we are here and have managed to get through it all. We've done what a lot of people only talk about down the pub on a wet and windy Sunday arvo. It has been the most amazing journey and one I will never regret taking. Is it forever? Who knows. Life has a funny way of throwing spanners in the works and anything could change at any minute. All I will say is this, this life down under is for the here and now and I going to enjoy every single moment of it.
here are my few bits of advice to you lot still in the UK, hope it helps a bit:
1) If you are using the Commonwealth bank they will charge you for everything. Change to a bank that has lower charges or none altogether.
2) When renting a property dangle the carrot of 6 months up front rent money. Bring over any references you have that you feel will help you. be prepared to look at some shi*t-pits and be prepared to compete with other people for the houses up for rent. It's a bit dog eat dog!Oh, and try to rent a place with aircon...you're gonna need it!
3) Bring over your no claims bonus details from the UK. If you don't, they'll sting you over here.
4) Be prepared to pay stamp duty on almost everything!!
5) Don't keep converting money back into pounds. You're not earning pounds anymore, it just confuses the hell out of you.
6) Don't keep comparing things to the UK, very difficult I know, you're in Australia not the UK with sun, it's bound to be different.
7) When you start work, be prepared to start at the bottom again. You will be offered crap money probably to start off with, Dave was. He's now been promoted and had his salary doubled. The Aussies like to make sure you are good enough at your job before they pay you what you're worth!
8) Part time work is a bit like hen's teeth, a bit rare and hard to come by. It is out there but it's highly competetive.
9) Supermarkets are not in the same league as the UK. The trolley's look like they've be dredged from the canal and the choice is nowhere near as varied. Food prices are pretty much the same as the UK. I go to the Wanneroo markets for all of my fruit and veggies, great quality and it saves me about $10 a week. I get everything else I need from Coles. You soon get used to it and hey...the shopping get's done a hell of a lot quicker because I don't get distracted by all of the choice!!!
10) Be prepared to be homesick. Ladies, this will probably be you. men seem to just get on with it, so fickle!
I can't think of anything else. I just wanted to let you all know that this whole business of re-settling takes time and a heck of a lot of effort. We've seen people come and go in the space of two/three months. Damn silly if you ask me. Nowhere near long enough to tell whether you can settle into a place. This emigration lark is the hardest thing I have ever done. Divorce, death and house moving have nothing on this escapade I can assure you! We've seen marriages break up through the stress. It's a bit like having another baby when a marriage is bad on the pretext it will bring you closer together! Not a chance! Same goes for this. You need to be incredibly strong together to survive this.
I totally understand now the time it takes to rebuild a life. Ours is still a work in progress, but it's one that I'm sure will be spent in Australia.
Good luck to you all
30 Oct 2005 1:32 PM
Great post and so true.
How can people make a decision based on a couple of months when generally it has taken at least 2 years planning to get here in the first place!!!!
Each to their own, if we were all the same life would be boring!!!
We have been here 6 weeks and are loving it, we did that much stuff with our son yesterday that we would have never done back home (sorry uk).
You are right in many things you say in your post, but we are in a different country and have to adapt to how things are done here but at least it makes you slow down a bit as well.
Have a glass of wine for us too, we wouldn't swap what we have now for what we have left behind.
Good luck to all.
Alan & Sonia|
30 Oct 2005 1:42 PM
Good to hear from you again, you probably won't remember me but the last time I spoke to you was at the A/move meet in Kings park at the beginning of the year. I think you had just got your place at Uni and you were so excited.
I agree with everything you say in your excellant post, especially about the homesickness. At times this can be so overwhelming and the feelings of loneliness are indescribable. I am so thankful to all the positive friends who have given their support during the bad times we have had. We even went back to the UK for a holiday in June/July just to try and ascertain exactly where we wanted to be. Some people thought that we wouldn't come back but we proved them wrong. We came back, bought a house, Tim got a job and now we are just waiting to be granted permanent residency.
It's been nearly a year since we first arrived here in Perth, that year has been a rollercoaster ride, we have been incredibly unhappy at times but at other times have been so thankful for the things this journey has given us. Our children have so much more freedom/opportunity here, we have made some great friends and come across so many friendly, helpful people.
It does take time and sometimes we forget that it has taken years to build our lives in the UK, yet we expect it to happen overnight here in Oz.
So to all the people at various stages of this move, be patient, battle on and don't give in.
Tracy, I wish you the best of luck and hope this country gives you everything you dream of.