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Old Oct 14th 2004, 10:27 am   #31
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Default Re: Rab's Story

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Originally Posted by rab
I can and will probably give as realistic an opinion as you are likely to hear. And I’ll start by saying that moving from the UK to Australia is a tough game, tougher than you could imagine when you make your first enquiry.

I'll be honest too and say that with absolutely everything going for me I have found it an awful upheaval like you just wouldn’t expect.

For lots of British people Australia is the ultimate Mecca - sunshine, barbecues, sea, and laid-back lifestyle. All that is here for sure but you need to build a foundation upon which to enjoy those things.

You see in the UK I had a good job on whatever plus salary plus bonuses and car, health scheme etc, paying a fortune in tax but enjoying the job managing a business in Manchester and Leeds. I had a beautiful house in Lancashire, a happy marriage, lovely quiet life in the hills, with the Lake District 45 minutes away, Liverpool the same distance.

My wife is Australian we married in 2000 in Adelaide and she had lived with me in the UK since 1998. Every time we came to Aus we fancied giving it a go - the cheap house prices were an amazing attraction, especially in Adelaide.

The giving up of work and setting off was the easy bit, all the forms, security tests, health checks etc were just part of it. We even brought the cat.

When we got here, especially for me as a Brit there seemed to be so much missing. My wife Mary started work at the university here and got straight into applying for work as she is 28 and keen and still needs to prove herself. I wanted a bit of a break after 16 years with the same firm.

After eight months I had no job still, no house, we had a nightmare selling our house in the UK - it only sold in June this year after going on the market in July last year.

I think May was my lowest point before we found a buyer for the house in the Britain. I wrote this in my diary: -

“We just need a chance to make everything work again.

“I went to the storage unit and unpacked three boxes today and when I did so I unpacked neatly wrapped drill bits, clean tools, clean tool boxes, loads of things wrapped in cling film and cardboard. All those things were like our new life all ready to go, all sorted out, all going to be right.

“I think Australia will continue to be foreign until we lay down some proper roots ... even then there are many things about Aus which I think will stay strange.

“With Mary though I think I will be happy here even when things are frustrating. It’s almost like our trip to India but with India you know it’s going to be difficult – with Australia I never expected it.

“We have not got off to the best start. I have found it hard … very hard. And it’s punched me on the chin like I never expected. I opened those wrapped tools today. I opened the plastic film, I opened the cardboard, slit the tape with my knife. And every thing I unwrapped was like a part of me being freed here. I know it sounds stupid. It is stupid.

“But when I went through those things today I felt those same emotions as when I wrapped them.

“And I think that will help.�


As for living here there is a lot to see, a lot of sport going on. But I am 40 and set in my ways a bit and have found it hard adapting.

I didn't apply for work as I wanted a break – but then I wished I had as I got quite bored in the winter. Not that I am not energetic - I always got up early every day and was always busy - but sometimes it is hard being without the money we had before. I applied for about 12 jobs and had three interviews which all went well but I have a sneaking feeling they think foreigners are a gamble and I bet in each case the Australian got the job.

I hate the sport here - all Aussie Rules, and no proper football coverage on TV. The TV is shocking - all ads and no quality. There is so much red tape here – you need to hire an electrician to wire a plug! I hate the pubs and places to go they are so awful – gambling machines like you’ve never seen before, so smoky just simply horrendous.

I thought it would be a lot like Britain – but there it is very different. I hated the traffic and the prices of everything in “rip-off Britain� but this winter in Adelaide and for many reasons I would have gone back at the drop of a hat. I hated being defeatist too so I guess that’s why we have stayed. I was only really here for Mary and just hoped it would get better.

In Britain I lived 100 miles or so from my mother but there is a big difference between being 2 hours from your mum and 24 hours and AU$2000 away!

On the positive side the weather is amazing – we’ve just had the winter and that was about three months of 10 degrees and a bit of rain. Even on a July day when it is supposed to be winter it can be 23 and sunny out there! There is so much to do if you can get out and about and want to do sports, especially water sports. The city of Adelaide is a beautiful city full of parks and big wide streets, free flowing traffic and so close to the sea.

It is surrounded by hills and forests and if you like wine it is the best place on earth to be! I always knew we ought to get somewhere nice to live and was in the right place for that instead of Sydney with its high-priced real estate.

The day things changed was in August.

I got a call from the guy who was to become my boss, not in the job that I could have done with my eyes shut, but a job that was a real challenge but with an organisation held in the highest regard here. I won’t say what it is doing but in that moment I got back my whole confidence and sense of belonging and fulfilment.

The job is amazing. I was out today visiting clients about an hour from the city. I am already working fewer hours than in the UK and feeling less stressed at work. The country is getting brown as the summer dryness begins. Today was about 38 where I was and as I write this the thunder clouds gather above this amazing city.

I see it all in a different light now – the people are now in this with me, not the aliens who greeted me strangely, yes the TV is still crap and the pubs are poor, and there is nothing but AFL on the sports news. But it is starting to become our home. That process will come together fully in two weeks when we move into our house in the hills, the sea in the distance, the gum trees and our fields around us. I can’t wait to buy my first cow, to bring home the dogs we want to acquire, and to unwrap the furniture and boxes we packed in Britain so many months ago.

Everyone has their dreams so I am not going to preach. I love it here for now. We’ll see what the future holds. But watch it, watch Australia carefully because this land of dreams and eternal youth will turn round and smack you in the mouth with a fist of reality so fast as to look at you.

My heart goes out to anyone else making this move. Good luck and stick with your dreams!
Rab
Rab,
What a fantastically honest and moving post, thank you for sharing.

All the Best
ACE
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Old Oct 14th 2004, 11:38 am   #32
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Default Re: Rab's Story

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Originally Posted by GLR
Rab

Your post has certainly moved a lot of people on this board. I was just wondering whether it would be worth posting a link to this thread into the Oz Immigration board as that is where the early stage prospective migrants tend to hang out (many with rose tinted spectacles on! ). I think that they'd benefit enormously from your post. I was planning to post a link there myself but thought that might be unfair to you.

Cheers

GLR

Go ahead. I am happy for you to quote or reference what I wrote because it was all true ... well ... OK I admit (and I feel humbly embarassed and sorry for this after all the good wishes that have been sent to us both) but my wife is not really Mary - that's her middle name!!! You know - a just in case sort of thing :-)

But yeah do that. I dislike Australia less and less each day but still fail to truly understand the "rose tinted" stuff. About the time we left the UK there was this programme on the TV about people moving "down under" - can't remember the proper name - but most of the episodes I saw were about people really struggling with Australia.

I mean, who in their right mind would leave their job, their home, their family, friends, their routines, a lot of their possessions, their car, sometimes their pets, their culture, and really their whole comfort zone?

I did it and think I will survive. But it is tough, so enjoy the ride, enjoy the experience, enjoy Australia, but be prepared for the difficulties - big time!

I mean yes, there is something here for everyone to replace what we had back home, but not always is it easy to find. If you like general stuff like music and going out, going for a drive or shopping then all that is here and it's good. But if you like to walk up the Old Man of Coniston in the Lake District on the weekend, drink a pint or two of Marston's Pedigree after, or pop down to your local football ground to watch Preston against Gillingham or whoever - you just can't do that here, well you can some things but it's not quite the same.

Again, good luck...

Rab
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Old Oct 14th 2004, 10:55 pm   #33
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Default Re: Rab's Story

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Originally Posted by rab
I dislike Australia less and less each day but still fail to truly understand the "rose tinted" stuff. About the time we left the UK there was this programme on the TV about people moving "down under" - can't remember the proper name - but most of the episodes I saw were about people really struggling with Australia.

I mean, who in their right mind would leave their job, their home, their family, friends, their routines, a lot of their possessions, their car, sometimes their pets, their culture, and really their whole comfort zone?
That second paragraph does make you stop and think

It took me some time before I came to like and settle in this country, but now that I have I wouldn't go back. I would also be concerned about how much the UK has changed again. I just read a post about how the people in Australia drive with lead boots:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonyonthemove
Are the lead diving boots given to you for free when you get you licence to ensure that "pedal to the floor" acceleration at every possible opportunity that seems to be the norm here?
and wonder what has changed. Comparing the driving in the UK, when I was last there, and the driving now where I am, it all seems slower here. (more infuriating, but slower).
 
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