2 years in NE Victoria

Old Nov 28th 2007, 10:52 pm
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Default 2 years in NE Victoria

Well I haven't been on here for a while as I have been too busy with life in general so I thought that I would update you all on how we are going.
We moved over September 2005 never having been to Australia before and on a 457 visa with hubby's work. We did have the added security of knowing that they had started the application for PR as soon as we received the 457 and that they were paying for it all so it really wasn't too much of a worry. However moving from Belgium to Australia with 4 kids and knowing no one was a bit of a risk. It was something that we thought that we could take on though as we had just lived in Belgium for 3 years and this was something that we had always thought about but never had the opportunity to do so what the hey. We arrived with a bit of cash but no house profits so buying was out of the question for a while. Or first jobs upon arrival were to set about looking for a rental and getting the kids into school which was all pretty straight forward. Our youngest had been in school for a year in Belgium but here couldn't even start Kinder (10 hours per week) until the following year so I found a couple of playgroups nearby which broke the week up a bit.
I made a lot of friends at the local playgroup, school and through my involvement in amateur dramatics and we were quite the local celebrities as the town didn’t have many migrants at the time. I am quite an outgoing person and enjoy a chat and a coffee so slipped into Wang life pretty quickly managing to find the like minded people who had seen something of the world beyond the town limits and we have made some really strong friendships.
Money was always a bit of an issue as things are not really all that cheap over here and we needed 2 cars so we decided to buy one outright and take out a novated lease for the other and this has worked well. Although Ian is on a good salary compared to most people that we know we underestimated some of the expenses of having 4 kids over here. Luckily his job included excellent health cover and various other little things that helped to ease the burden, but holidays and large expenses were a no go and still are really.
Our first year was really traumatic as Ian's father passed away and we had to rush back to the UK which hit us hard. Our eldest son hated it here and struggled to settle dropping out of both of the local schools and I struggled to get my qualifications recognised so that I could do my teacher training course. Through all of this though the local people were really helpful and friendly and we struggled through, moving rentals 3 times in the process . We didn't expect this to be easy but there was more than one occasion that I found myself looking at houses back in the UK and wishing that we were going back. But these thoughts were only there when things were at their lowest and all in all everyone was happy here. I felt that I was taking a lot of the stress as I could see how unhappy Sam was and Ian was struggling with his father's sudden illness and death. I was also ill with my arthritis which is partially stress linked so at times I felt really lost here. We had some links with people in Melbourne and went along to the ExPat meets there much to their amusement (a 3 hour drive each way) and this really helped. We also found some local expats which meant that I was able to sound off to someone over a cuppa and work through the harder times.
Our second year has been so much better in comparison (which is why we are still here probably ). I got offered a place on my course and our youngest started school. I also got offered the opportunity to direct a play with the local drama group and started helping to run the youth drama group. The play went so well that we won loads of awards at the NE Victoria Drama awards and we had a real laugh from start to finish. It was around this time that I began to see more and more how wonderful the opportunities are out here if you go for it and we began to settle more and more. My course was pretty full on being full time and it stretched me to my limits but it also gave me something to do for me which is what I seriously needed. (If anyone has any questions abut the graduate diploma of education just PM me). So at the end of this year I am a qualified teacher with a full time job for next year and the kids are all finally settled with our eldest starting TAFE next year.
We have bought a wonderful old house (between 100 and 150 years old) which was the old bakery in the town and we are getting plans drawn up to renovate. By the end of the work we will have a house that we would never have been able to dream of in the UK and although we will have a mortgage it won't be too bad and definitely nothing like we would have to struggle with if we went back.
So we are now living in a small community just outside of town and the kids go to the local country school. We have made some really good friends and are beginning to feel really settled as we head into our 3rd year. It has been a real rollercoaster and although people say that a lot you have to experience it to really understand just how much it is true. We have got through this by being able to support each other and by being able to rely on friends here when we needed to. I believe that we are very lucky to have had this opportunity and I constantly find myself wondering how this all happened. I have got a sense of humour that has helped with a lot of things and also I tend to try to look for the positive in life where possible as I work on the fact that it is up to me to make things work and if I don't put in the effort then noone is going to do it for me. We always would have gone back to the UK if either one of us had felt that we really couldn't copebut I know that Ian and the 3 younger kids have been happy since the second we arrived so it would have had to be impossible for me to carry on before we would have turned around and gone back to the UK. We also watched my parents go back to the UK from the USA and then return there after 12 months so that has always been in the back of our minds.
We are planning to take our citizenship test around May next year as soon as they will have us and I will not live it down if I fail as I will be teaching a lot of the subjects that they ask about .
Sorry if this has been rambling but good luck to all that are starting out and please drop me a PM if you are thinking of heading out to country Victoria and have any specific questions as I might be able to help.
Nicky
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Old Nov 29th 2007, 7:40 am
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Default Re: 2 years in NE Victoria

Great post Nicky. Really pleased about the job for next year. I guess I'll have to visit the other joint to see pics of the house.

Here's to the next xxxxxx years
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Old Nov 29th 2007, 10:29 am
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Here are some pics of the house and the latest trip to the snow which is about an hour drive from us (in the winter of course!).
Nicky
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Old Nov 29th 2007, 10:38 am
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Originally Posted by NickyP View Post
Here are some pics of the house and the latest trip to the snow which is about an hour drive from us (in the winter of course!).
Nicky
Lovely update....I'd been wondering what the "Wangaratta crew" had been up to. Well done to all of you
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Old Nov 29th 2007, 10:44 am
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Here are a few more photos of our time here and the bizarre lake with the dead trees is just down the road and is really crying out as a filming location for a horror film.
The kids really enjoyed feeding the parraots while we were on holiday in Lorne which is a very nice place to stay for those who haven't been yet. I have also added a photo of the bake oven in our house which will soon be in our study come library come no kids allowed room everyone in the town want us to set up a bakery again but I really don't have the skills or the private forst required for an oven that takes 3 days to heat up .
Nicky
ps I will add photos as the renovations go.
Forgot to say the drunken person with the Z is me getting my award for best drama at the Zonta awards night! and I have included a pic of Ned kelly as he lived near here and it was my maiden name so I can convince the locals that I was related in some distant way.
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Old Nov 29th 2007, 10:47 am
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Default Re: 2 years in NE Victoria

Originally Posted by Ozzidoc View Post
Lovely update....I'd been wondering what the "Wangaratta crew" had been up to. Well done to all of you
Thanks we are happy here and settled now in Eldorado (I kid you not that is what the town is called!). It has been an interesting couple of years but on balance great fun.
Nicky
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Old Nov 29th 2007, 10:59 am
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Notice the distinct lack of people on the beach this was because we were the only people stupid enough to think that October was like summer when we visitied Torquay . You soon get used to the temperatures though now I wuld be waring a fleece . The other pics are of the local creek which is our swimming pool as we don't have one in the garden but this is the next best thing.
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Old Nov 30th 2007, 3:53 am
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Originally Posted by NickyP View Post
Here are a few more photos of our time here and the bizarre lake with the dead trees is just down the road and is really crying out as a filming location for a horror film.
Good to read your update, Nicky. Glad to see you're all settled nowadays.

That lake is Lake Mulwala on the Murray, isn't it? We drove past it a couple of months ago and it's a truly weird-looking place. Looked like the creature from the swamp could arise at any moment .

I did some research on it when I got home and found that it's not a real lake as such, but a flooded valley (they left all the trees behind when they flooded it). Sometimes they partially drain the lake which makes the dead trees much more obvious than usual.

Don't know that I'd want to live in any of the waterfront houses along the shore - the view had a real nightmarish quality about it. It's an interesting place none-the-less and worth checking out if anyone's in the area.
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Old Nov 30th 2007, 3:57 am
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Originally Posted by NickyC View Post
Good to read your update, Nicky. Glad to see you're all settled nowadays.

That lake is Lake Mulwala on the Murray, isn't it? We drove past it a couple of months ago and it's a truly weird-looking place. Looked like the creature from the swamp could arise at any moment .

I did some research on it when I got home and found that it's not a real lake as such, but a flooded valley (they left all the trees behind when they flooded it). Sometimes they partially drain the lake which makes the dead trees much more obvious than usual.

Don't know that I'd want to live in any of the waterfront houses along the shore - the view had a real nightmarish quality about it. It's an interesting place none-the-less and worth checking out if anyone's in the area.
That was actually Mokoan which is just down the road from us but it is pretty much the same as Mulwala as they are both manmade.They are both seriously crying out for filming locations for some sort of spooky film. The water is always a dark and forboding colour and really choppy around the trees .
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Old Dec 1st 2007, 9:18 am
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Wow, can't believe you've been out this long. All the very best for the future.

Cheers

Ginny
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Old Dec 1st 2007, 12:51 pm
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Really interesting post Nicky & well done to you all for sticking with it & making it work!
Loved the pics too!
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Old Dec 1st 2007, 9:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Stitch View Post
Wow, can't believe you've been out this long. All the very best for the future.

Cheers

Ginny
Yep it has flown by . I am sitting here today eating warm croissants and drinking tea in the sunshine and all is good!
Nicky
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Old Dec 1st 2007, 9:51 pm
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Wow. Doing much the same here in Qld! Still finding it tough here mind you but there are days when you sit back and are amazed. Was at my son's swim carnival at school the other day. He got a couple of seconds and a fifth which is fab. When we first came out he could hardly swim!

Cheers and enjoy

Ginny
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Old Dec 1st 2007, 11:21 pm
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Originally Posted by Stitch View Post
Wow. Doing much the same here in Qld! Still finding it tough here mind you but there are days when you sit back and are amazed. Was at my son's swim carnival at school the other day. He got a couple of seconds and a fifth which is fab. When we first came out he could hardly swim!

Cheers and enjoy

Ginny
Glad to hear that you are starting to feel settled in the end it can be hard where ever you are it is just that perhaps different thigns are hard here. I have just been over the the cheese factory to buy yummy fresh bread and cheese for tea as it is pretty hot here today. My washing machine is on its way out so the mundane is never far away .I am trying to get the kids to tidy their rooms so it is pretty much a case of same old same old but with the bright sunshine and sound of birds (oh yes and a very nice bottle of chilled wine for later).
We are off swimming up at the local swimming hole later today so although we don't have the sea we do have a lovely swimming hole with a sandy beach so not too bad .
All the best.
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Old Dec 2nd 2007, 6:15 am
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Originally Posted by NickyP View Post
Glad to hear that you are starting to feel settled in the end it can be hard where ever you are it is just that perhaps different thigns are hard here. I have just been over the the cheese factory to buy yummy fresh bread and cheese for tea as it is pretty hot here today. My washing machine is on its way out so the mundane is never far away .I am trying to get the kids to tidy their rooms so it is pretty much a case of same old same old but with the bright sunshine and sound of birds (oh yes and a very nice bottle of chilled wine for later).
We are off swimming up at the local swimming hole later today so although we don't have the sea we do have a lovely swimming hole with a sandy beach so not too bad .
All the best.
Nicky

Ah, hope the day went / is going well. Sounds almost perfect!

Cheers

Ginny
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