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Old Jan 12th 2017, 10:54 pm   #1
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Default Second chance, one year in: I hoped I would like it here.

Without boring folk with our backstory we have had a rollercoaster of a decade since we left the UK in January 2007. We have had some wonderful times, without doubt, and much happiness and joy but also some tough times and lots of indecision and regret (and a few helpings of bad luck). We came to Australia (via two years in NZ) to live in January 2009 but returned to NZ in the August. In retrospect, of course that wasn't long enough, but I would not be told

We've arrived in Newcastle almost a year ago. At the time our oldest daughter was overseas in the US and Europe due to arrive just a couple of days before O week at ANU where she had decided (to our enormous relief) to accept an unconditional offer to attend made in November. My husband was offered a job on Christmas Eve so although we knew moving to Australia was on the cards much earlier we arranged it all within a few short weeks over the Christmas period. We weren't prepared to leave our daughter in NZ at uni so we were waiting for her to make up her mind while trying to play it fairly cool and flesh out options in NZ. Fortunately we have more experience with international moves than is decent so it pretty much all went without hitch and quite smoothly.

I hoped I would like it here. I have visited pretty much every year since we emigrated because my mother lives in Port Stephens. The six months we lived here in 2009 were not a fair run for various reasons and we had had some years to reflect on that and to decide that Australia was the best option for us. In the year prior to moving here I lost count of the number of times we drew up pros and cons lists for places in NZ against Australia, specifically Newcastle and every time Newie came out head and shoulders above. So I had every reason to believe I would at least like it at least a little more than last time.

Happily, it turns out I was wrong: despite a difficult year for me (first baby flying the nest, realising that continuing studies is going to be a bit more tricky than anticipated, adjustment stuff, etc.) I have fallen completely in love with Australia, and specifically this scruffy little city with its endlessly stunning coastline. I can see that in time we'll have a very good life indeed here. Right now it's a good life, for sure, but we need to put the work in over the next 5-10 to get ourselves into a decent position to feel secure and really make the most of the gorgeous lifestyle this country offers.

Our oldest kid is enjoying her time at uni and surprised herself by really loving Canberra - we've certainly enjoyed the weekend visits we've made to it but as we are "old" I didn't expect that would predict her feelings about it. Our younger daughter started at the local comp, which I'll confess we all held our breath a little about (older one attended private on scholarship) and she turned down an offer to the local selective performing arts school because her first impressions of the comp were so warm and it's lovely to go to school just a few minutes away so all your friends are close by. Kid knew what she was doing (though we WORRIED at first) as she has had a brilliant year, studied some really interesting stuff, has adjusted to the "comp experience" really well, and won an embarrassing haul of prizes at prize giving. She's loved learning to surf in school time and just enjoyed the whole experience (apart from when it's 30+ as her school has no aircon!!!). The pastoral care at her school outstrips that of the $30k per year school older daughter attended and she is learning to deal with people from all walks of life, which is a good thing. She has made a really nice group of friends and has teachers who really care about her learning. It's not perfect, of course, but so far, so good!

So this year is all about starting to get ourselves into a more secure, more comfortable life here. This includes steps into completing my studies and sorting residency. I hope to report back in a year that we have achieved at least that I'm so glad we came and gave Australia a second crack.
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Old Jan 13th 2017, 2:37 am   #2
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Default Re: Second chance, one year in: I hoped I would like it here.

What a lovely post . It's nice to hear a report from somone who has settled well and knows they've made the right decision.

We, too, are enjoying our "second crack" at Australia, having bounced between AU & NZ a couple of times.
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Old Jan 13th 2017, 9:25 pm   #3
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Default Re: Second chance, one year in: I hoped I would like it here.

Excellent update BB. Glad you've come to love the place and that your girls are doing well.
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