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2 Year Update and (VLong) Last Post

2 Year Update and (VLong) Last Post

Old Oct 15th 2007, 5:36 am
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Default 2 Year Update and (VLong) Last Post

Two years ago this very morning we arrived at Brisbane International ready to start our new life. For anyone interested, I have noted a few of the highs and lows of the last 24 months, and there’s been a few.

The decision to uproot the family and move the other side of the world was made back in 2003. We were looking at moving within the UK to the south coast but soon realised this was well out of our price range. We soon started discussing the possibility of moving overseas and after much debate and research (much of it on BE…cheers all) into living costs, visa’s, schools etc…..we decided to have a punt at Oz. I decided on a DIY application so started to pull all the doco together and concluded that the best route was on a 139 as we had a ready made sponsor in Brissy in the form of my Wife’s Uncle. So, after 18 months of blood sweat and tears, we had visas in our passports. Over that 18 month period we had sold/binned a house load of gear, sold the house, move into rented and packed our life into 15 tea chest boxes, 5 suitcases and a bunch of hand luggage. There was always the lingering thought about doing the right thing, I left a very good job with all the trimmings but the yearning to go got the better of us, so 7th October 2005 the five of us waved a tearful goodbye to the relies at Heathrow and were on our way.

Traveling with three kids under 10 was always a worry for us but as it turned out, it wasn’t too bad. Plenty of entertainment for the sproggs on the plane and it was a bit of an adventure for them anyway. We had 6 days in Singapore which was probably a bit too long looking back. Most of the time was spent being homesick and recovering from jet lag. It’s shopping bloody paradise…even the above street malls are linked by underground malls. I would have preferred to stay on Sentosa Island away from all that shite. The walk along the river in the evening was nice.

So, on to our new home, we were lucky enough to be greeted by relatives who took us straight from the airport to a breakfast buffet on their balcony, in the sunshine. We had a rented place at Wellington Point sorted for the first couple of weeks. Done my first oz barbie, a lump of steel over a blazing fire! We all slept for 13 hours the first night.

I had no job or interviews lined up so that was something always niggling at me. We had decided that the first week would be set aside to get our bearings and have a leisurely look around. We had the use of a car, which was great. We had a day out a Burleigh Heads and another at Broadbeach, the kids got boogie boards and had a fantastic time in the surf. Wellington Point is a lovely suburb with good access to the bay. I made use of an internet café in Capalaba for the job search, got a couple of interviews and landed a job within 5 weeks at an engineering company, crap pay but a start. I must say most of the job agencies I visited were shite, many do not want to see you in person and simply refer you to the website, I cut that day short and headed to the Down Under bar!

We decided on Carindale as a base as we had the 2 eldest signed up for Belmont State School, after research and several recommendations. I can say we have not been disappointed, both have settled and are doing well. Our little fella starts there next year. We signed up for a 6 months rental and payed up front to secure as rentals were scarce back then. Ended up buying the car we borrowed, change twice since then and only having one car is a problem here with all the kids activities etc......

My wife suffered from quite severe homesickness when we first arrived as she had some close friends back home and was initially stuck at home while I was out to work. It has taken a good year or so to establish a small network of friends, but contacts through the school are usually the way it happens. I suffered much less although I’m very close to my family, getting out to work soon gets you meeting other folk. I think you need to get out there and not sit back and wait for it to happen, easy to say I know. The first Christmas here was very hard work but our gear arrived form the UK Xmas Eve and the relies rallied round for us.

While renting in Carindale we started to look at property in the area. Carindale itself would have been nice but was quite (and still is) overpriced in my opinion. The estate agent called it ‘wanky’ but he was a bit of a nob anyway. As we didn’t have the massive wedge many people seem to be bringing with them, we needed a home loan and were limited to what we could look at as I was still on a crap wage. We had a choice of a small lot with a newish house with not too much work to do….or….a larger plot and older property that maybe need some tlc. We plumped for the later and in some ways it was possibly the wrong thing to do. We have less time to enjoy the country as I’m DIY’ing but we do have room to live. It’s a nice high position with a small pool and a verandah that looks out west so we can see all the spectacular sunsets and the amazing thunderstorms rolling in. As the house process have gone up we do now have a bit of equity that does give you piece of mind and probably justifies us jumping into the property market earlier than we had planned. In hindsight I would have rented for another six months but c’est la vie. One thing I will say here is the cost to move house here is huge, estate agent fee’s, mega stamp duties, look into it before you buy your first property here as you may not be able to move for a good few years.

My folks visited during our first Autumn for a few months. They were well taken with Brisbane and have made noises about coming out here. We moved into our new place while they were here, they were a great help with all that. It was great to see them and sad to say good-bye at the airport. They are out here this Christmas so I’m thinking the heat will put them off the thought of moving here!

Since moving into the new (old) place, I have moved jobs, back into IT for now, the money is better but it just reminds me of why I wanted to get back into engineering. The location is great, right in the CBD and I have a fantastic view over the city. I love the Friday atmosphere in the CBD on Friday arvo/evening/night. I bus it in and out which takes an hour door to desk and vise versa. Beats the 1-2 hour bash round the M25 every day.

Financially we are much worse off here but seem to be able to stretch the money a bit further. Being paid monthly is a bitch after going back to and getting used to weekly. In terms of lifestyle, we haven’t really settled into any kind of routine as yet apart from my work and the 2 eldest at school. We have managed a few trips out, Coolum for a long weekend and a couple of trips to Hervey Bay to visit a rely there, beautiful places. The new year will be a challenge as my wife starts a degree and the youngest starts prep.

There is no doubt we have done it tough over the past 18 months, at one point searching the house for a few bucks to buy some snaggs, but somehow we seem to manage, as many do. We aren’t saying ‘lets go home’ as much as we used to. Medical costs have come as a bloody shock, we really didn’t research that enough, makes you appreciate the NHS a bit more. I recently had a small pay rise, which we used to get Private Health cover…..still grates that you have to pay out even with cover! Get cover within a year of getting your Medicare card to avoid big penalties!

A few things stick in my mind and I will never forget, an emergency stop for a koala one evening or early morning driving off to work and stopping to stare at a joey who just starred back at me and hopped away, two huge wild dear in the local bushland with antlers like tree branches (and I was on foot – gulp) and the amazing lorikeets, galahs and flying foxes, what an amazing country – apart from the cockies, termites, spiders, flying praying mantis…

We are on our way to becoming citizens but I don’t feel like an Ozzie (it has only been 2 years after all!), more a Queenslander, I really got into the State of Origin this year. I still stay up late Saturday’s and get up early midweek to watch the footy and avidly check the BBC website for the footy updates, I was born a Gooner but will follow the Roar and the Broncos. I guess dual citizen, sums it up nicely.

The children have really adapted nicely, they have started to get the Aussie twang, have tons of opportunity here for sport (all strong swimmers now), music, sun, sea and surf plus good prospects for when they leave school/uni. It has been a good move for them without a doubt but I still can’t get used to them wanting to walk barefoot everywhere! Most of the kids here seem to have manners, yes you do get the odd ferule kid but generally they are respectful. I remember my first trip to the Suncorp Stadium on the bus, all the kids I thought were footy yobs getting up to let the old folk sit down.

Oz - its not for everyone obviously, still not 100% sure it's for us (about 80% at the moment but rising every day) but we plan to stay and see what happens over the next few years. A bit backward in some respects granted but you can't sit back and expect it to happen for you. I can't really see myself struggling through another English winter, although with summer fast approaching here......naaaah.

So, there you have it, my last post to BE, I’m sure there’s tons I’ve missed. I would like to thank all those that provided support and advice on our journey, hopefully some of my previous ramblings will provide a few insights for others following in our footsteps. Best wishes and good luck to all.
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Old Oct 15th 2007, 7:04 am
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Default Re: 2 Year Update and (VLong) Last Post

great update - shame you say it'll be your last post
best of luck to you all
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Old Oct 15th 2007, 8:17 am
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Default Re: 2 Year Update and (VLong) Last Post

Yes agree, great post and shame it's your last but I suppose there is a time when you know and have learnt all you need to and just want to get on with life.

Good luck and thanks for posting, enjoyable reading x
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Old Oct 15th 2007, 9:31 am
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Default Re: 2 Year Update and (VLong) Last Post

thankyou for sharing that with us and in echoe of whats just been said shame its your last,
i would like to give you one last karma if i may........
sarah
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Old Oct 15th 2007, 11:17 am
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Default Re: 2 Year Update and (VLong) Last Post

Great post, sorry it will be your last, but you have a life to fulfill
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Old Oct 15th 2007, 12:04 pm
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That was a good read, thanks
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Old Oct 19th 2007, 11:41 am
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Default Re: 2 Year Update and (VLong) Last Post

Great post Plug! Heartfelt and well written.

Hope you'll pop back in from time to time
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Old Oct 20th 2007, 1:03 pm
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Really great post, well done
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Old Oct 20th 2007, 6:42 pm
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Well done to you all.
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Old Oct 20th 2007, 7:19 pm
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Default Re: 2 Year Update and (VLong) Last Post

thanks for a great post. I hope that things continue to get better for you and your family.
keep us updated
bec
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Old Oct 21st 2007, 7:53 pm
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Great post, really enjoyed it, very honest.
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Old Oct 22nd 2007, 9:03 pm
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Wonderful post - but, please keep us posted x
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Old Oct 23rd 2007, 6:21 am
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Default Re: 2 Year Update and (VLong) Last Post

great post.
thanks for taking the effort to write it. all the best
Dom
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Old Oct 24th 2007, 4:20 am
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Default Re: 2 Year Update and (VLong) Last Post

Great post - very honest. i hope u all continue to go from strength to strength
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