7 Year Update

Old Nov 25th 2012, 2:35 am
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Default 7 Year Update

Sorry this is rather a long post!

We are nearly at the point to celebrate our 7th year in Australia, so I thought I would give you all an update on our life so far.

I last wrote about our experience after three months of living here. Boy have things changed!

At that time we were living in a rental house which seemed nice, though there was only one air-con unit in the family room and ceiling fans in the bedrooms. The summer was pretty hot and that New Year's Eve it hit 40 degrees. Then the winter came and we were frozen. I stupidly didn't realise just how cold it can get here and we only had one heater in the family room. We ended up buying electric radiators which were expensive to run, but kept the chill away. In fact some days it was warmer outside than inside.

Mid 2006 we decided that we really needed to find a permanent address and looked at a few houses. Nothing really inspired us, so we started looking at building. I remember when we came over for our reccie trip in 2004 and I was scared off building by a rep who gave us a little too much information with selecting a block of land. I was absolutely blown off my feet when I saw what we could afford and we settled on a house built by Dennis Family who held our hand all through the process. In 2007 the house was finished and I felt like I had won the lottery! The whole process was so easy (apart from colour selection of bricks, roof etc), and the whole moving in part was stress free. We still had a rental house to clear out, but there was no worry about anyone wanting to urgently get into the old property and solicitors telling you at the final hour that you can move (as we'd had in the UK).

My temp job at Rosita's, that I had been in for two weeks at the time of writing my last update continued. I started there doing 9-3pm in reception and helping out in the office. Later on I was taken on permanently as Accounts Payable in a fulltime role. This is something I never imagined, had no qualifications for but thoroughly enjoyed it and (without being big-headed) did a good job. This was great until 2008 when I reluctantly took redundancy. Rosita's had built a new factory in Epping and it was just too far to commute, so I was back looking for work. With the cushion of a nice payout, made this a little easier to cope with. A week after being made redundant we all because Australian Citizens. Kev also at this point had been made redundant, the garage owner retired and shut up shop - but it didn't take Kev long to find work.

Zoe had enrolled into the local college to do Year 11 & 12 and made some lovely friends. We couldn't help comparing her new friends to her old friends. These kids were happy and polite (I'm not saying all her UK friends were like that, but there were a couple)!

She had a very good year at school but the following year she suffered with tonsillitis and had to drop out because of missing so much school. She amazed us and enrolled again the following year for Year 12, but this time with the distraction of a boyfriend she didn't do as well and was disappointed with her results. She had a couple of years of doing casual cafe work before being offered a permanent job with Telstra. She absolutely loves her job and the people she works with. Last year she took a trip back to the UK for a friends wedding (who incidentally emigrated at the beginning of this year to Australia) and, although she missed her friends when she came back; I think she's settled in her mind that this was a good decision. When we first moved here she said that when she's 18 she wants to go back to the UK and we said that's fine, as long as it's what she wants. She's now 23.

Adam on the other hand has struggled. He didn't settle at the school we selected for him and ended up leaving in Year 9. I found another school that catered for kids that struggle with mainstream school for whatever reason and the first year was good, the subsequent year was a big let down and now Adam is 20 with no qualifications. I don't believe this would have been any different in the UK, he just hated school and always had. Maybe there would have been more help for him, I don't know? He is now seeking help and hopefully in the future this will help him sort his life out. In the meantime we'll do the best we can for him.

Kev, Adam and I also took a trip back to the UK last year and although we enjoyed catching up with people we were keen to get on the flight back home. Most of our friends were still living in the same houses, but the landscape had changed in the places we knew well.

So where are we now, 7 years later?

When we originally looked at where to live in Victoria, we had been sponsored by the Victorian Government and that was why it had to be Victoria. We short-listed towns with Honda dealerships, because Kev wanted to work for Honda. When we first arrived and found the Honda Dealership, we were told they didn't have any vacancies. By a strange twist of fate, Kev went back there in 2010 with his CV and got offered a job. He's still there and is very happy!

My work situation isn't how I hoped it was going to be when I left the UK. My plan was to continue to do part-time but Rosita's ended up being full-time and from thereon we were spending money as fast as we were earning and it seemed impossible to cut back.

In late 2008 when I'd been made redundant from Rosita's I got another temp job within a couple of weeks and this turned permanent, but I hated it. Early 2009 we mutually agreed, work and I, that I would leave and I had never been happier. Worried about money, but happy to leave! I was then out of work for 7 weeks and had the task of dropping into agencies, phoning and emailing them to remind them that I was looking for work. This finally paid off on a Friday afternoon when I was offered a temp job working for a main Bendigo Employer doing data entry. This job was so easy and I was doing 9-3pm which was excellent! But of course the good hourly pay doesn't cover sick or holidays - so I had to be careful and when they advised there was a 3 week shut down over Christmas and New Year I started to panic again. They offered me extra work during this time in the finance department and from that introduction in 2009 I ended up being Accounts Payable permanently this year.

In 2010 Kev and I had thought seriously about buying a investment property. Our friend in the UK had several when we were still living there and I'd always thought what an excellent idea - if you can afford it. Zoe and her boyfriend were struggling to rent a place, Bendigo has a severe lack of rental properties and they were always last on everyone's list. We settled on a block of land on Zoe's birthday and built a house, with Dennis Family and in March 2011 Zoe and her boyfriend moved into their new place. I'm almost 100% sure there would have been no way that we could have done this in the UK unless we'd moved to a smaller property to free up some capital and then it would have been a real struggle. Even though we didn't have a big mortgage in the UK, there just didn't seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel with our payments.

So the 7 year itch hasn't materialised. I'm glad that we all had the chance to go back to the UK last year because I believe, it got rid of any demons that may have been lurking and for my part, it confirmed this is the place to be.

Life here is so much better than the life I had in the UK. When we first arrived here, I said to Kev "I know it sounds stupid, but the sky is so much bigger"! It still is, there's more room to be comfortable in the house and out on the road. Driving into town to do shopping on a Saturday is a far cry from attempting anything like that in Swindon. Here you can find a parking space and it's free! There aren't the crowds of the UK and I feel much safer here. Yes, we have the violence and rowdiness unfortunately, but overall I feel I belong here - which sounds a bit mad, but anyway. People here are more easy going and friendlier.

We have a lovely house with a pool, plus an investment property. There's money left, just, at the end of each week and Kev and I have enjoyed a few weekends away. I could never have imagined us living this lifestyle in England. The UK trip did cost a fortune, but it was something we had to do. But now that's out of our systems we can plan trips away to enjoy this wonderful land.

I still enjoy people picking up on my accent and I don't try (might be wrong with this) to pronounce things the Aussie way, i.e. yoghurt, pasta etc because I want to keep my English roots!

We were very fortunate though, at the time we emigrated the housing market was good in the UK and we got a good price for our house, also the exchange rate was at the highest around 2.4 so we had an excellent start.

So good luck to anyone coming out now, if you can afford it; it really is the best place to be, in my opinion.
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Old Nov 25th 2012, 12:43 pm
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Default Re: 7 Year Update

Great update, I always love to read how people are doing. So pleased things are going well for you and you are settled in your new home
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Old Nov 25th 2012, 6:23 pm
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Default Re: 7 Year Update

Thank you for an honest post, really good to read when only been here 5 months, especially the housing.
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Old Nov 25th 2012, 9:27 pm
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Default Re: 7 Year Update

It is lovely to hear a happy story.Long may it continue for you.
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Old Nov 25th 2012, 9:39 pm
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Default Re: 7 Year Update

Great update!!
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Old Dec 8th 2012, 9:27 pm
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Default Re: 7 Year Update

Glad to hear you and your family have settled well in aus. Great post xx
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Old Dec 9th 2012, 7:00 am
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Default Re: 7 Year Update

Great post. We are also loving being in regional Victoria and are also from Swindon! We've been here 3 1/2 years and are about to build......
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