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16 months and still happy

16 months and still happy

Well, it’s been 9 months since I last took the time to look in on expats, I guess that’s a good sign that we are happy and embracing our new life! We are living on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland and despite it taking over a year to find permanent work and spending most of our hard earned pounds, struggling to make good friends, and missing people at home more than I dared imagine, life is pretty damn good!

Well, it’s been 9 months since I last took the time to look in on expats, I guess that’s a good sign that we are happy and embracing our new life!

We are living on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland and despite it taking over a year to find permanent work and spending most of our hard earned pounds, (and therefore having to give up on our dreams of owning the 4 bed with a pool for now), struggling to make good friends, and missing people at home more than I dared imagine, life is pretty damn good!

We have 2 children now aged 4 and 6, the eldest is at the local state primary and is very happy and doing very well. If you want your child to be pushed academically then it may not be the place for you. It is a school of over 1000 children, which concerned us a lot at first because his school in the UK had only 300 students and we felt he struggled there, but it goes to show that size really doesn’t matter! I feel there is far more parental involvement here than in the UK and I find that to be very positive all round. The facilities are good and I have no complaints at all about it. Our other son is in daycare 3 days a week, (his choice not mine!!), and he  loves it. I am not as happy with it as I would like to be but I can see how it helps him socially and gives him an outlet that I would probably not provide at home. My issue with it is that the children have no one-to-one time and shy children are definitely left out, but I think this could just be this particular centre and as my youngest is far from shy it isn’t an issue for him.

It has been incredibly difficult to find work for my husband who is a CAD engineer. There are jobs around but they tend to go to Aussies, as UK qualifications don’t seem to be recognised and the pay is frankly appalling!! Unless you are in a position to set up your own business with excellent financial backing, or you go into a profession that is well paid, don’t come here expecting to be rich! I’ve read so many people comments saying this before we came over and to be honest I always skimmed over those parts, (who wants bad news, right?), but it is completely true! I know that for the kind of work my husband does we would be better off in a city but coming here was about starting a new life and although I love Brisbane to visit I am not keen to live there (or any other city). Just personal preference. I have met other people from the UK here who say the same.

On the flipside our quality of life is beyond comparison. We live in a rented 4 bed, 2 bathroom home with a pool and loads of room in the garden for our boys to play. It’s a 10-15 minute walk to beautiful beaches, shops, restaurants, school etc. There are wild kangaroos living over the road from us and we see cockatoos (black and white), lorikeets and countless other beautiful birds and other wildlife every single day. I still haven’t got bored with all the wildlife even though I probably see the same things most days, (I’m a bit of a nerd like that!) and yes, we have seen redback spiders, brown snakes, red bellied black snakes and other scary stuff but for me that’s just part of why we are here. I love it!

{mosbanner right}As for being homesick, well, I’m not sure at the moment if that will ever go away. My parents recently came out for a month, but after they went back I was far more homesick than before they came. Similarly my best friend from college came out just before Christmas and I miss her more right now than I have the whole 16 months before that. I am, (finally), making some great friends here but it has been so, so slow! It seems that most people I have met have moved here from somewhere else, interstate or overseas, and people generally don’t have family nearby so on the surface we are all in the same boat, but I have met so few people that I can feel any depth of friendship with. We were really lucky to know some people near Coolum before we came out, (my husband’s old school friend and his family), and I made friends with a lady over the road at our first rental house who has stayed a very good friend. Without these friendships I’m not sure if I could have coped and having been super critical of people going back because of homesickness before I came out, I now really understand the desperate loneliness you can feel. It has often felt really superficial, going to peoples’ houses for barbecues and having some drinks, all good fun but nothing deeper than that. I’m not saying I haven’t met nice people, I have met some wonderful ones but it has taken all this time to feel that I have a circle of friends, real friends. Of course, that could just be me!! I’m not the life and soul of the party anymore.

All in all we have no regrets. It isn’t how we imagined it would be. Some is better, some worse. I can only say how it has been for me and my family and I can honestly say that if ever I even begin to question what we have done I just look at how happy, healthy and fit my children are here compared to the UK, and there is no doubt in my mind that we are in the right place. I could go on about how much I love this place but I am being nagged to go to the beach which I think says it all!

Good luck to all who are yet to make the move. My main advice would be to stay as open minded as you possibly can and not set your expectations too high. Hopefully it will be better than you thought. The forum on this site is a great place to get advice and information but until you are living here you will have no idea what it’s like. I can’t stress that enough!

Cheers for now