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Old Dec 26th 2007, 11:00 am   #1
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Default 'A little less DAUNTED in Oz - The first five years!'

Seems I accidently broke the rules by posting my link to web site (sorry) so here goes, it may be a bit of a jumbled mess but hopefully some of it makes sense:

Tomorrow it will be one month since we landed at Perth International airport. The journey was long and boring but I can’t fault Singapore Airlines, every aspect of their service was excellent.

We were supposed to leave my friends house, where we had spent our final night in the UK, in style! I had booked a stretch limo – which unfortunately didn't show up due to the chauffeur forgetting to set his alarm clock!! NOT a good start, and for the first time the stress really got to me and I spat the dummy big style! The Limo Company, on receiving my frantic call, sent a minibus to collect us and our 6 suitcases so we did at least make it to Manchester Airport in plenty of time and saved ourselves the cost of getting there! (Every cloud has a silver lining hey?)
We were met at the airport by a friend who drove us down to the Bunbury area where we had booked some temporary accommodation for 2 weeks. I guess this was the second thing that didn't really go according to plan! The accommodation, whilst being clean and perfectly sufficient for a couple of week’s holiday, was not really what we had expected. It was very small, bearing in mind we had 6 massive suitcases which filled the living area alone, and it didn't feel very secure. I was very aware that I had with us an awful lot of valuable items and I wasn’t confident it would be safe to leave it all in the accommodation whilst we were out. Maybe I worry too much, it has been said, but when my friend offered to put us up at his house I could have hugged him. It proved to be the best move we could have made in terms of settling in quickly. He and his family made us feel like part of the family from the moment we arrived and he even took a couple of days off work to ferry us around to get Medicare etc etc all sorted. I still find it very hard to understand how someone can welcome relative strangers into their home and make them feel so welcome.

We didn't have much of a problem finding a rental. The papers are full of them and I didn't experience any of the shortages that I had read about on here. I am guessing that the problem is more relevant to those suburbs nearer Perth City, though I could be wrong have just been lucky. (I know it’s hard to believe but I AM occasionally wrong)

Within 49 hours of arriving I was in the enviable position of being offered 2 jobs! I hadn’t planned to work straight away but when I saw the advert in the paper on arrival it was just what I had been hoping to find. I didn't want to take the chance of not applying and then regretting it later when I was ready to start work. Jumping straight into work has been a bit of a mixed bag. I managed the first week at full time hours, starting at 5am, but come the weekend I was a mess. Physically I was worn out and mentally I felt enormous guilt at leaving the kids in a strange country with a pretty much empty house. I decided that I had done too much too soon and rang work to say I wouldn’t be returning on the Monday, planning to look again once the kids went to School in February, picking up a shop job or something similar to keep me ticking over in the mean time. Work was amazing! They asked me to go in and see them which I did the following day and they offered to reduce my hours to as little as I wanted, on the same rate of pay, still on contract so I can accrue sick and holiday entitlement, and then once the kids go to school I can increase my hours/days to as many as I like – with the intention of getting back to full time hours at some time in the future, when I am ready. So I am now working just 2 days a week which means I have plenty of time to try getting these kids out and about and meeting others of their own age. Unfortunately, finances won’t allow me to stay at these hours for long but for now we are ticking carefully over and watching our pennies, or should that be cents?

Having found a job it was obvious that I was going to need a car so hired one for 3 weeks at a cost of $1350.00. An expense I could have done with out but working on the basis that you need to speculate to accumulate it really was a necessity. The funniest bit was that it was an automatic car (no manuals available) and I had never driven an automatic before. It’s a bit of a wake up call when you hit the brake then aim for the clutch, only to hit the brake for a second time!! Driving over here is pretty much the same, thank goodness, apart from the undertaking which I am now getting used to. The biggest problem I am having is keeping to the speed limit! They are lower than in the UK and I have to keep a constant eye on the Speedo. One of our first purchases was a Tom Tom Sat Nav which has been worth its weight in gold – I love my Tom Tom! Oh and fuel! To fill up the car (a Honda Accent – I think) would only cost me $40!!

Medicare, Family Assist etc were all pretty straight forward. Bunbury has an office that deals with it all so I landed with a large folder stuffed full of important documents and it was all processed pretty painlessly. ONE thing that did take me back a bit, probably only relevant to single parents, is the paperwork involved with Family Assist. Now I’m no expert on this BUT the way I understand it, to get the single parent supplement you need to show that you have taken reasonable action to obtain Child Maintenance from the absent parent. Having an assessment from the CSA in the UK is not sufficient, and CSA in Australia will still need to contact and assess the absent parent. I understand the reason behind it but wish I had found this out before I left the UK so I could have pre warned my ex in person. The CSA in UK strikes fear through most people I know who have had any dealings with it BUT my experiences of it here are the complete opposite and I put the phone down feeling confident that they were there to help and not just stir up a whole load of trouble.

The kids are loving it. Just being able to be outside makes so much difference. With hindsight we came at probably the worst time of year in terms of them. The schools broke up for the Summer holidays a couple of weeks after we arrived along with the sports clubs and teams. We have our contact details left with every club and association in the area but for now I have 2 kids desperate to find some friends and feeling a bit left out and lacking confidence. We are off to buy bikes next week which will give them a bit more freedom to go out and explore. Mark spent a day at school for the new Year 8 intake and thoroughly enjoyed it – despite his protests at having to go. Rachel really didn't want to go for the final week and for fear of upsetting her I didn't make her go. With hindsight it was the worst thing I could have done, she should have gone and hopefully made a couple of friends to while away the summer holidays with. Too late now I guess!


Setting up costs for the house haven’t been as high as I was expecting. I guess that’s mainly down to the fact I bought with £s and not $s – and once I start spending $s it all becomes relevant BUT for now I was pleasantly surprised. I have done a spread sheet of all the costs to date if anyone is interested in preparation for their move (email or pm me).

Utilities have been pretty straight forward to organise, the phone was switched on 12 hours after I requested it. The internet has taken a bit longer, mainly due to the Christmas holidays holding the post up with the software BUT I should be all hooked up shortly. $49.95 per month for Broadband, 5GB which I didn't think was too bad compared to some of the other price plans I came across!

SO at the end of our first month has Australia delivered the goods? YES! Definitely!!! Emotionally it has been hard. The first couple of weeks especially, I found myself close to tears frequently with the frustration of what I needed to organise. I found the best thing was to make lists and tick each thing off as you did it. Normally as I ticked one thing off the list I would need to add two more onto the bottom but I am eventually getting to the bottom of it and it is a great feeling. It has been really hard at times, keeping a smile on my face for the kids when all I really needed someone to hold me and reassure me that it was really going to be ok, and picking the kids up when they have spoken to their Dad back in the UK, whilst I feel guilty for taking them away from him. The tears and panics are now diminishing (at least for now) and I am beginning to get out and meet people. Cranni, Bridie and Jan have all been lovely (Cranni I will get down to see you – hopefully next week when I get my car) and its comforting to know that they are nearby and I WILL see more of you once I have myself into a bit more of a routine.

Well that’s about it for now. I want to get outside and have a couple glasses of wine now it’s a bit cooler. On the subject of the weather – it’s glorious. Very hot but we have coped to date!!

Mandy, Rachel & Mark xxx
Ps I am going to try put blog addy in my signature

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Old Dec 26th 2007, 12:51 pm   #2
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Default Re: 'A little less DAUNTED in Oz!'

Brill post Mandy. Hope everything continues to go well for you and yours. have a lovely Xmas and New year.

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Old Dec 26th 2007, 1:05 pm   #3
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Default Re: 'A little less DAUNTED in Oz!'

Fantastic post!

So glad that things are working out. Your kids are lucky to have such a plucky Mum!

Glad that you have made time to have fun with the kids and for yourself.
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Old Dec 26th 2007, 1:20 pm   #4
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Great update Mandy

May your happiness continue
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Old Dec 26th 2007, 4:01 pm   #5
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Default Re: 'A little less DAUNTED in Oz!'

Thanks for putting this all down, must've taken a bit
of your time

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Old Dec 26th 2007, 5:52 pm   #6
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Default Re: 'A little less DAUNTED in Oz!'

Quote:
Originally Posted by daunted View Post
Seems I accidently broke the rules by posting my link to web site (sorry) so here goes, it may be a bit of a jumbled mess but hopefully some of it makes sense:

Tomorrow it will be one month since we landed at Perth International airport. The journey was long and boring but I can’t fault Singapore Airlines, every aspect of their service was excellent.

We were supposed to leave my friends house, where we had spent our final night in the UK, in style! I had booked a stretch limo – which unfortunately didn't show up due to the chauffeur forgetting to set his alarm clock!! NOT a good start, and for the first time the stress really got to me and I spat the dummy big style! The Limo Company, on receiving my frantic call, sent a minibus to collect us and our 6 suitcases so we did at least make it to Manchester Airport in plenty of time and saved ourselves the cost of getting there! (Every cloud has a silver lining hey?)
We were met at the airport by a friend who drove us down to the Bunbury area where we had booked some temporary accommodation for 2 weeks. I guess this was the second thing that didn't really go according to plan! The accommodation, whilst being clean and perfectly sufficient for a couple of week’s holiday, was not really what we had expected. It was very small, bearing in mind we had 6 massive suitcases which filled the living area alone, and it didn't feel very secure. I was very aware that I had with us an awful lot of valuable items and I wasn’t confident it would be safe to leave it all in the accommodation whilst we were out. Maybe I worry too much, it has been said, but when my friend offered to put us up at his house I could have hugged him. It proved to be the best move we could have made in terms of settling in quickly. He and his family made us feel like part of the family from the moment we arrived and he even took a couple of days off work to ferry us around to get Medicare etc etc all sorted. I still find it very hard to understand how someone can welcome relative strangers into their home and make them feel so welcome.

We didn't have much of a problem finding a rental. The papers are full of them and I didn't experience any of the shortages that I had read about on here. I am guessing that the problem is more relevant to those suburbs nearer Perth City, though I could be wrong have just been lucky. (I know it’s hard to believe but I AM occasionally wrong)

Within 49 hours of arriving I was in the enviable position of being offered 2 jobs! I hadn’t planned to work straight away but when I saw the advert in the paper on arrival it was just what I had been hoping to find. I didn't want to take the chance of not applying and then regretting it later when I was ready to start work. Jumping straight into work has been a bit of a mixed bag. I managed the first week at full time hours, starting at 5am, but come the weekend I was a mess. Physically I was worn out and mentally I felt enormous guilt at leaving the kids in a strange country with a pretty much empty house. I decided that I had done too much too soon and rang work to say I wouldn’t be returning on the Monday, planning to look again once the kids went to School in February, picking up a shop job or something similar to keep me ticking over in the mean time. Work was amazing! They asked me to go in and see them which I did the following day and they offered to reduce my hours to as little as I wanted, on the same rate of pay, still on contract so I can accrue sick and holiday entitlement, and then once the kids go to school I can increase my hours/days to as many as I like – with the intention of getting back to full time hours at some time in the future, when I am ready. So I am now working just 2 days a week which means I have plenty of time to try getting these kids out and about and meeting others of their own age. Unfortunately, finances won’t allow me to stay at these hours for long but for now we are ticking carefully over and watching our pennies, or should that be cents?

Having found a job it was obvious that I was going to need a car so hired one for 3 weeks at a cost of $1350.00. An expense I could have done with out but working on the basis that you need to speculate to accumulate it really was a necessity. The funniest bit was that it was an automatic car (no manuals available) and I had never driven an automatic before. It’s a bit of a wake up call when you hit the brake then aim for the clutch, only to hit the brake for a second time!! Driving over here is pretty much the same, thank goodness, apart from the undertaking which I am now getting used to. The biggest problem I am having is keeping to the speed limit! They are lower than in the UK and I have to keep a constant eye on the Speedo. One of our first purchases was a Tom Tom Sat Nav which has been worth its weight in gold – I love my Tom Tom! Oh and fuel! To fill up the car (a Honda Accent – I think) would only cost me $40!!

Medicare, Family Assist etc were all pretty straight forward. Bunbury has an office that deals with it all so I landed with a large folder stuffed full of important documents and it was all processed pretty painlessly. ONE thing that did take me back a bit, probably only relevant to single parents, is the paperwork involved with Family Assist. Now I’m no expert on this BUT the way I understand it, to get the single parent supplement you need to show that you have taken reasonable action to obtain Child Maintenance from the absent parent. Having an assessment from the CSA in the UK is not sufficient, and CSA in Australia will still need to contact and assess the absent parent. I understand the reason behind it but wish I had found this out before I left the UK so I could have pre warned my ex in person. The CSA in UK strikes fear through most people I know who have had any dealings with it BUT my experiences of it here are the complete opposite and I put the phone down feeling confident that they were there to help and not just stir up a whole load of trouble.

The kids are loving it. Just being able to be outside makes so much difference. With hindsight we came at probably the worst time of year in terms of them. The schools broke up for the Summer holidays a couple of weeks after we arrived along with the sports clubs and teams. We have our contact details left with every club and association in the area but for now I have 2 kids desperate to find some friends and feeling a bit left out and lacking confidence. We are off to buy bikes next week which will give them a bit more freedom to go out and explore. Mark spent a day at school for the new Year 8 intake and thoroughly enjoyed it – despite his protests at having to go. Rachel really didn't want to go for the final week and for fear of upsetting her I didn't make her go. With hindsight it was the worst thing I could have done, she should have gone and hopefully made a couple of friends to while away the summer holidays with. Too late now I guess!


Setting up costs for the house haven’t been as high as I was expecting. I guess that’s mainly down to the fact I bought with £s and not $s – and once I start spending $s it all becomes relevant BUT for now I was pleasantly surprised. I have done a spread sheet of all the costs to date if anyone is interested in preparation for their move (email or pm me).

Utilities have been pretty straight forward to organise, the phone was switched on 12 hours after I requested it. The internet has taken a bit longer, mainly due to the Christmas holidays holding the post up with the software BUT I should be all hooked up shortly. $49.95 per month for Broadband, 5GB which I didn't think was too bad compared to some of the other price plans I came across!

SO at the end of our first month has Australia delivered the goods? YES! Definitely!!! Emotionally it has been hard. The first couple of weeks especially, I found myself close to tears frequently with the frustration of what I needed to organise. I found the best thing was to make lists and tick each thing off as you did it. Normally as I ticked one thing off the list I would need to add two more onto the bottom but I am eventually getting to the bottom of it and it is a great feeling. It has been really hard at times, keeping a smile on my face for the kids when all I really needed someone to hold me and reassure me that it was really going to be ok, and picking the kids up when they have spoken to their Dad back in the UK, whilst I feel guilty for taking them away from him. The tears and panics are now diminishing (at least for now) and I am beginning to get out and meet people. Cranni, Bridie and Jan have all been lovely (Cranni I will get down to see you – hopefully next week when I get my car) and its comforting to know that they are nearby and I WILL see more of you once I have myself into a bit more of a routine.

Well that’s about it for now. I want to get outside and have a couple glasses of wine now it’s a bit cooler. On the subject of the weather – it’s glorious. Very hot but we have coped to date!!

Mandy, Rachel & Mark xxx
Ps I am going to try put blog addy in my signature
Brilliant Update Mandy

Keep them coming.

All the best.

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Old Dec 26th 2007, 7:40 pm   #7
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Default Re: 'A little less DAUNTED in Oz!'

Brilliant post Mandy may you continue to carry on enjoying wishing you and your kids a fab 2008
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Old Dec 26th 2007, 11:34 pm   #8
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Default Re: 'A little less DAUNTED in Oz!'

Mandy, that all sounds so positive

Great update and am really pleased that it's all going so well for you
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Old Dec 26th 2007, 11:54 pm   #9
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Default Re: 'A little less DAUNTED in Oz!'

So pleased to hear you have settled.

All the best

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Old Dec 27th 2007, 12:19 am   #10
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Default Re: 'A little less DAUNTED in Oz!'

ey up Mandy,

nice post chick, we arrived on the 27th nov too, the flight was ok and kids slept all bar about 5hrs. they were little B***ards in those 5hrs but you cant have everything! LOL

Glad you're settling in ok and the kids are fine. keep getting yourself out and about, you're doing great..

S-j, Si, Will, Joshy, Daniel and Abi xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Ps. We had 16 bags!! We had to pay a porter at the airport, with 3 kids in pushchairs! it was a laugh a minute i tell you
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Old Dec 27th 2007, 12:39 am   #11
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Default Re: 'A little less DAUNTED in Oz!'

Great post Mandy

Not sure if this is any help, it doesnt say what age kids...

http://www.bunbury.wa.gov.au/index.php?pageId=479
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Old Dec 27th 2007, 1:15 am   #12
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Default Re: 'A little less DAUNTED in Oz!'

Glad to hear you are settling in Mandy
Maybe we'll get the chance to meet up again
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Old Dec 27th 2007, 5:55 am   #13
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Default Re: 'A little less DAUNTED in Oz!'

Hope you continue to settle well.The children will settle better as soon as they have some friends to hang out with.Until school starts are there any children of similar ages in the ex-pat community you could meet up with?
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Old Dec 27th 2007, 8:42 am   #14
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Default Re: 'A little less DAUNTED in Oz!'

You've definitely hit the ground running. I hope you haven't forgotten to sit back and enjoy. Great post, well done on everything.
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Old Dec 27th 2007, 10:17 am   #15
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Default Re: 'A little less DAUNTED in Oz!'

Hey ! really pleased your settling in Down Under, keep the updates coming.

Dave

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