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Almost a year in Melbourne

Almost a year in Melbourne

Old Oct 25th 2007, 8:48 am
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Smile Almost a year in Melbourne

You often here people say that they can’t believe just how quickly the last year has gone. Never more true of our first year in Oz. It seems like weeks not months ago that we said all our goodbye’s and left behind our friends and family to boldly go into the unknown, well, Melbourne actually!

People generally still don’t believe us when we say that we didn’t know what we were going to do when we arrived, but it’s true. Sometime in that eighteen months of chaos, trade skills assessments, visa applications, countless e mails and a very difficult house sale we decided to stop worrying about the things we couldn’t influence.

After all, we had more than enough to do on the UK side of things that needed our full attention. If we had started to worry about housing, work, mortgages etc. in a place that we had never ever seen before that might just have just been one worry too many.

So, we decided that all worries relating to a future life in the southern hemisphere were not up for discussion until we landed in Oz. And that’s what we done. Checked into an airport Hotel a little bit bleary and jaded on the night that we landed, dropped the bags, ordered a couple of drinks and said ‘Right, what should we do with the rest of our lives?’

This I imagine is not a great game plan for those of you with children and as we only brought our dog with us, things were I’m sure a lot less complicated for us in comparison to those of you planning a move for a family.

Also worth mentioning, we are not (nor never will be) millionaires, we sold everything we had and didn’t make huge amounts on the sale of our property as the area we come from never quite hit the property hike we kept reading about. We probable brought over a little less than the average if you believe the stats on the net.

We had one month holiday accommodation booked in St Kilda and we figured enough money to see us through twelve months if we used the ‘mortgage deposit’ fund.

What we did have though was a determination to do whatever it took to make it work, and so far so good – it’s seen us through to this point.

Here’s how we are finding things so far

The people -Got to be honest here. I read a number of posts on line when still in the UK describing terrible anti pom sentiment being rife here. Maybe we are very lucky but to a person, we have only found the Australians very friendly people. It’s true that they are very direct but also very straight! Yeah, you get your fair share of teenage road racers (Hoons) wheel spinning their way around Safeway’s car park in the small hours and no night out is complete without seeing the odd bleached mullet drinking tins of Bundaberg Rum and Coke whilst singing AC/DC songs very badly, but then you tend not to stop these people to enter into a conversation.
One of the reasons we fell out with the UK was the rise in violent crime and disorder, we don’t feel that here.

Let me share one thing with you that will always stick in our minds – We had been here three weeks and were sitting in a café the week before last Christmas with everything we owned piled into the car we had just bought that was parked outside. We were in the process of moving from our holiday accommodation into our rental, for some reason we couldn’t collect the keys until 5pm so we were making some coffee last as long as we could while keeping all our worldly assets in good view. The lady who was serving us picked up on our accents and took pity on us for not having any family around us at Christmas time and invited us to spend Christmas day with her and her extended family! So obviously we initially suspected all the obvious ie. nutter, religious zealot, serial killer etc. but as we had no other plans (or friends) we went along and met a wonderful family who not only treated us like their own but had actually wrapped boxes of chocolates as gifts for us so we were not left out of the proceedings. I tell you, a very humbling experience. We have stayed in touch with this family and catch up for a meal every couple of months. I’ve actually met two other ex-pats who have had similar Christmas invites! Not with the same family I might add.

Very pleased to say we have made some good friends in a short period of time. We are the only poms on our estate and everyone stops to speak which is nice.


The place - We had never been to Victoria prior to getting off the plane but it’s a great place for us. Within three hours drive you can be well along the great ocean road, inland to some great country side and the snow fields in the winter. Never been city dwellers and never liked spending too much time in them but Melbourne is a beautiful place, big and airy, new and old, fast and slow. Great for catching live music and you can overdose on sport any given weekend. Very clean too!

The traffic can be a bit of a pain, but that’s a city for you. If you settle somewhere within reach of one of the train lines it makes life simpler.

Renting, we were lucky I think. We spent the first three weeks on line checking the rentals available every morning and then driving around visiting in the afternoon. Three weeks after we touched down we were moving into a four bed roomed furnished house in a suburb about 30 mins from the city centre and ten minutes from the country (Rowville). Still there, starting to look to buy soon. TOP TIP – Bring a laptop and make sure your rental has an online link up. Save you so much running around.

Banking, Tax, Medicare, buying the Car etc. It all seemed to fall into place, you’re not the first persons to do this. We had opened accounts from the UK with ANZ and only good things to say about them. TOP TIP – Keep a UK credit card and a UK account, you won’t get a credit card here until you have a job and you need them for quite a few things (paying road tolls, topping up phone cards……debit cards aren’t as accepted here for a number of things!).

Getting to see a Doctor is a doddle! Most medical centres have a number of doctors on call and are open early until late. Dentists a little more difficult but at least you can get to see one.

Private medicals insurance here is not the luxury it is seen as in the UK. It’s very common and not that expensive. It’s in you interest to take it out as after the age of thirty your income tax gets loaded every year above the age of thirty for those who don’t have private insurance. Worth noting, as an immigrant no matter what age you are, as long as you join a scheme within one year of arrival you join a scheme at the same rate as a thirty year old. For nationals the cost climbs up after the age of thirty.


Cost of living - Something’s are cheaper than the UK some things not. Forget about the comparisons the day you stop earning pounds. Depends how you budget yourself I guess.

The Weather, bloody hot summer and autumn (not whinging!) and surprised how cold the winter was (handful of ground frosts and cold winds too).

Work, there is a lot of work opportunities. In the UK my wife worked with children with special needs (integration aids they are called in Oz) and after some initial work in childcare centres which she did not enjoy, took herself around the local schools with a bag of résumé’s and had a lot of casual work within a couple of weeks. One of those positions has now become a full contract we are pleased to say. I was a Fitter & Turner many years ago and been in Occ Health and Safety for a number of years more latterly. Took me two weeks to land a job back in OH&S when I finally put my CV through an agency (we did give ourselves three months chill out and acclimatise time after arriving). Had that job a couple of months in that position and got offered another job, where I am today. Lots of short term or twelve months contracts about but that seems to be more the norm here than the UK in my opinion.

Family visiting - Fantastic when they arrive and then breaks your heart all over again when they leave. Don’t think that one will ever get easier.

The health system! Had the poor luck to be rushed into Hospital for a surgical procedure, our private medibank care had not kicked in (has a cooling off period) so went in through the Oz version of the NHS. Nothing bad to say about the facilities and the staff were wonderful. I’m told if I had been private, I would still have travelled to the same hospital for the procedure but just recuperated in a private clinic.




So all in all, things have been good for so far.

I’m not saying that Australia is a great big Shangri La where everyone hugs each other and the rivers flow with beer. I know of people who have decided it’s not for them and returned to the UK and for them that must be the right thing to do. All I’m saying is it has suited us so far.

We think it’s suited the dog too, hard to say as he doesn’t say much but he keeps himself busy chasing possums up tree’s.

The reasons that brought us here was the search for that old cliché of a better quality of life, the thing that motivates almost all of us to leave behind security, familiarity, friends family and less than great weather.

And have we found it? I honestly think we may have.

I believe that it’s not until you have begun working and doing ‘normal everyday’ things that you can measure how well you are settling. Three months travelling around was fantastic but doesn’t leave you any idea of how settled you will be when you are both back in day jobs and looking forward to the weekends again.

My only advice to any of you who are reading this and about to take the huge leap of faith that is emigrating in search of that ‘improved quality of life’ is to ask yourself what exactly does that mean to you.

If you’re Aussie dream is the Ute, the boat, the house on the coast and the huge flat screen TV. Good luck and I wish you all the best in that.

Or is it the urge to simply experience a new life where hopefully you will be happier in yourselves than you are in your current one?

In our limited experience it’s the people who fall into the latter category who seem to be making it work. Not saying that’s the Gospel, just what we have found.

You do have to work hard at it and when one of you is down or family sick the other person needs to be strong and positive. There’s big emotional ups and downs that catch you when you least expect them and it does test you. But keeping positive and keeping has helped.

So, have we got more friends here than the UK? Of course not.

Are we earning more here than we were in the UK? That would have to be a no too.

Do we know what the future will bring? Absolutely not.

Are we happier? Yes, lots!

It may all change tomorrow, who knows, but for now…life is good.

Rambled on here a bit longer than intended but hope it’s give some perspective to people planning to make the move…..and if that’s you. The very best of luck to you.
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Old Oct 25th 2007, 9:31 am
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Default Re: Almost a year in Melbourne

Thanks for a great post.

My parents are coming out here in a week (we came out here in July but they miss me) and the first thing my Dad said on the phone was that he wasn't looking forward to saying good bye again! However i say that we are going to make some fantastic memories!

Thanks again,
Karen
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Old Oct 25th 2007, 10:31 am
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Default Re: Almost a year in Melbourne

What a great update! Full of great advice and information. I really enjoyed reading it so thanks for posting.
Hope all continues to go well with you and your family.

All the best
Alex (aiming for WA)
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Old Oct 25th 2007, 11:03 am
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Fantastic post
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Old Oct 25th 2007, 11:05 am
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Sounds like you have made a great start and met some nice people

Continue to enjoy your new life and I hope it continues to give you everything you wish for .
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Old Oct 25th 2007, 11:27 am
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Default Re: Almost a year in Melbourne

[ QUOTE]

One of the best updates iv'e read that, thanks.

Interesting and informative.

Well done, and best wishes.

Dave
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Old Oct 25th 2007, 1:36 pm
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Default Re: Almost a year in Melbourne

What a great post just goes to show there are some very genuine people in the world what a nice thing to do to invite you to share Christmas with her family.
I wish you both well and hope that you continue to enjoy a happy healthy new life together in Oz.
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Old Oct 25th 2007, 1:49 pm
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Default Re: Almost a year in Melbourne

Great post.

So glad to hear that you are happy in your new life. I think to travel hopefully should be your motto!

Thanks for the insight and the tips. Will be taking them on board!
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Old Oct 25th 2007, 9:16 pm
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Great post, all the best!

Debbie
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Old Oct 26th 2007, 10:32 am
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Default Re: Almost a year in Melbourne

Originally Posted by Mike H View Post
You often here people say that they can’t believe just how quickly the last year has gone. Never more true of our first year in Oz. It seems like weeks not months ago that we said all our goodbye’s and left behind our friends and family to boldly go into the unknown, well, Melbourne actually!

People generally still don’t believe us when we say that we didn’t know what we were going to do when we arrived, but it’s true. Sometime in that eighteen months of chaos, trade skills assessments, visa applications, countless e mails and a very difficult house sale we decided to stop worrying about the things we couldn’t influence.

After all, we had more than enough to do on the UK side of things that needed our full attention. If we had started to worry about housing, work, mortgages etc. in a place that we had never ever seen before that might just have just been one worry too many.

So, we decided that all worries relating to a future life in the southern hemisphere were not up for discussion until we landed in Oz. And that’s what we done. Checked into an airport Hotel a little bit bleary and jaded on the night that we landed, dropped the bags, ordered a couple of drinks and said ‘Right, what should we do with the rest of our lives?’

This I imagine is not a great game plan for those of you with children and as we only brought our dog with us, things were I’m sure a lot less complicated for us in comparison to those of you planning a move for a family.

Also worth mentioning, we are not (nor never will be) millionaires, we sold everything we had and didn’t make huge amounts on the sale of our property as the area we come from never quite hit the property hike we kept reading about. We probable brought over a little less than the average if you believe the stats on the net.

We had one month holiday accommodation booked in St Kilda and we figured enough money to see us through twelve months if we used the ‘mortgage deposit’ fund.

What we did have though was a determination to do whatever it took to make it work, and so far so good – it’s seen us through to this point.

Here’s how we are finding things so far

The people -Got to be honest here. I read a number of posts on line when still in the UK describing terrible anti pom sentiment being rife here. Maybe we are very lucky but to a person, we have only found the Australians very friendly people. It’s true that they are very direct but also very straight! Yeah, you get your fair share of teenage road racers (Hoons) wheel spinning their way around Safeway’s car park in the small hours and no night out is complete without seeing the odd bleached mullet drinking tins of Bundaberg Rum and Coke whilst singing AC/DC songs very badly, but then you tend not to stop these people to enter into a conversation.
One of the reasons we fell out with the UK was the rise in violent crime and disorder, we don’t feel that here.

Let me share one thing with you that will always stick in our minds – We had been here three weeks and were sitting in a café the week before last Christmas with everything we owned piled into the car we had just bought that was parked outside. We were in the process of moving from our holiday accommodation into our rental, for some reason we couldn’t collect the keys until 5pm so we were making some coffee last as long as we could while keeping all our worldly assets in good view. The lady who was serving us picked up on our accents and took pity on us for not having any family around us at Christmas time and invited us to spend Christmas day with her and her extended family! So obviously we initially suspected all the obvious ie. nutter, religious zealot, serial killer etc. but as we had no other plans (or friends) we went along and met a wonderful family who not only treated us like their own but had actually wrapped boxes of chocolates as gifts for us so we were not left out of the proceedings. I tell you, a very humbling experience. We have stayed in touch with this family and catch up for a meal every couple of months. I’ve actually met two other ex-pats who have had similar Christmas invites! Not with the same family I might add.

Very pleased to say we have made some good friends in a short period of time. We are the only poms on our estate and everyone stops to speak which is nice.


The place - We had never been to Victoria prior to getting off the plane but it’s a great place for us. Within three hours drive you can be well along the great ocean road, inland to some great country side and the snow fields in the winter. Never been city dwellers and never liked spending too much time in them but Melbourne is a beautiful place, big and airy, new and old, fast and slow. Great for catching live music and you can overdose on sport any given weekend. Very clean too!

The traffic can be a bit of a pain, but that’s a city for you. If you settle somewhere within reach of one of the train lines it makes life simpler.

Renting, we were lucky I think. We spent the first three weeks on line checking the rentals available every morning and then driving around visiting in the afternoon. Three weeks after we touched down we were moving into a four bed roomed furnished house in a suburb about 30 mins from the city centre and ten minutes from the country (Rowville). Still there, starting to look to buy soon. TOP TIP – Bring a laptop and make sure your rental has an online link up. Save you so much running around.

Banking, Tax, Medicare, buying the Car etc. It all seemed to fall into place, you’re not the first persons to do this. We had opened accounts from the UK with ANZ and only good things to say about them. TOP TIP – Keep a UK credit card and a UK account, you won’t get a credit card here until you have a job and you need them for quite a few things (paying road tolls, topping up phone cards……debit cards aren’t as accepted here for a number of things!).

Getting to see a Doctor is a doddle! Most medical centres have a number of doctors on call and are open early until late. Dentists a little more difficult but at least you can get to see one.

Private medicals insurance here is not the luxury it is seen as in the UK. It’s very common and not that expensive. It’s in you interest to take it out as after the age of thirty your income tax gets loaded every year above the age of thirty for those who don’t have private insurance. Worth noting, as an immigrant no matter what age you are, as long as you join a scheme within one year of arrival you join a scheme at the same rate as a thirty year old. For nationals the cost climbs up after the age of thirty.


Cost of living - Something’s are cheaper than the UK some things not. Forget about the comparisons the day you stop earning pounds. Depends how you budget yourself I guess.

The Weather, bloody hot summer and autumn (not whinging!) and surprised how cold the winter was (handful of ground frosts and cold winds too).

Work, there is a lot of work opportunities. In the UK my wife worked with children with special needs (integration aids they are called in Oz) and after some initial work in childcare centres which she did not enjoy, took herself around the local schools with a bag of résumé’s and had a lot of casual work within a couple of weeks. One of those positions has now become a full contract we are pleased to say. I was a Fitter & Turner many years ago and been in Occ Health and Safety for a number of years more latterly. Took me two weeks to land a job back in OH&S when I finally put my CV through an agency (we did give ourselves three months chill out and acclimatise time after arriving). Had that job a couple of months in that position and got offered another job, where I am today. Lots of short term or twelve months contracts about but that seems to be more the norm here than the UK in my opinion.

Family visiting - Fantastic when they arrive and then breaks your heart all over again when they leave. Don’t think that one will ever get easier.

The health system! Had the poor luck to be rushed into Hospital for a surgical procedure, our private medibank care had not kicked in (has a cooling off period) so went in through the Oz version of the NHS. Nothing bad to say about the facilities and the staff were wonderful. I’m told if I had been private, I would still have travelled to the same hospital for the procedure but just recuperated in a private clinic.




So all in all, things have been good for so far.

I’m not saying that Australia is a great big Shangri La where everyone hugs each other and the rivers flow with beer. I know of people who have decided it’s not for them and returned to the UK and for them that must be the right thing to do. All I’m saying is it has suited us so far.

We think it’s suited the dog too, hard to say as he doesn’t say much but he keeps himself busy chasing possums up tree’s.

The reasons that brought us here was the search for that old cliché of a better quality of life, the thing that motivates almost all of us to leave behind security, familiarity, friends family and less than great weather.

And have we found it? I honestly think we may have.

I believe that it’s not until you have begun working and doing ‘normal everyday’ things that you can measure how well you are settling. Three months travelling around was fantastic but doesn’t leave you any idea of how settled you will be when you are both back in day jobs and looking forward to the weekends again.

My only advice to any of you who are reading this and about to take the huge leap of faith that is emigrating in search of that ‘improved quality of life’ is to ask yourself what exactly does that mean to you.

If you’re Aussie dream is the Ute, the boat, the house on the coast and the huge flat screen TV. Good luck and I wish you all the best in that.

Or is it the urge to simply experience a new life where hopefully you will be happier in yourselves than you are in your current one?

In our limited experience it’s the people who fall into the latter category who seem to be making it work. Not saying that’s the Gospel, just what we have found.

You do have to work hard at it and when one of you is down or family sick the other person needs to be strong and positive. There’s big emotional ups and downs that catch you when you least expect them and it does test you. But keeping positive and keeping has helped.

So, have we got more friends here than the UK? Of course not.

Are we earning more here than we were in the UK? That would have to be a no too.

Do we know what the future will bring? Absolutely not.

Are we happier? Yes, lots!

It may all change tomorrow, who knows, but for now…life is good.

Rambled on here a bit longer than intended but hope it’s give some perspective to people planning to make the move…..and if that’s you. The very best of luck to you.
Just shows what a positive attitude can do. Well done on your first year here.

Ann x
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Old Oct 26th 2007, 10:39 am
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Default Re: Almost a year in Melbourne

[QUOTE=Mike H;5465430]You often here people say that they can’t believe just how quickly the last year has gone. Never more true of our first year in Oz. It seems like weeks not months ago that we said all our goodbye’s and left behind our friends and family to boldly go into the unknown, well, Melbourne actually!

Mike,

Read your thread with interest.

We are looking to move to Melbourne in Dec / Jan. Waiting for our visa at the moment, we have Case Officer just waiting for meds to clear - has been 7 weeks on Monday, so shouldn't be too long now.

I also work in Health and Safety and it is nice to know that there is plenty of work out there. I have looked at the legislation and the principles appear to be the same as HASWA.... Did you have to do any bridging qualifications or did they accept your UK quals? I have MSc in Safety, Health and Env Management, NEBOSH Dip, NEBOSH Certs National General and Construction, OHSAS 18001 Lead Auditor and am an examiner for NEBOSH.... 14 years experience in consultancy / civil engineering - construction. Any tips you can give me in looking for a job will be greatfully received.

I am glad that things are working out so well for you and I hope to be posting a similarly positive post sometime in 2009.

Stay in touch.

Laura
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Old Oct 26th 2007, 11:46 am
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Default Re: Almost a year in Melbourne

Originally Posted by Mike H View Post
You often here people say that they can’t believe just how quickly the last year has gone. Never more true of our first year in Oz. It seems like weeks not months ago that we said all our goodbye’s and left behind our friends and family to boldly go into the unknown, well, Melbourne actually!

People generally still don’t believe us when we say that we didn’t know what we were going to do when we arrived, but it’s true. Sometime in that eighteen months of chaos, trade skills assessments, visa applications, countless e mails and a very difficult house sale we decided to stop worrying about the things we couldn’t influence.

After all, we had more than enough to do on the UK side of things that needed our full attention. If we had started to worry about housing, work, mortgages etc. in a place that we had never ever seen before that might just have just been one worry too many.

So, we decided that all worries relating to a future life in the southern hemisphere were not up for discussion until we landed in Oz. And that’s what we done. Checked into an airport Hotel a little bit bleary and jaded on the night that we landed, dropped the bags, ordered a couple of drinks and said ‘Right, what should we do with the rest of our lives?’

This I imagine is not a great game plan for those of you with children and as we only brought our dog with us, things were I’m sure a lot less complicated for us in comparison to those of you planning a move for a family.

Also worth mentioning, we are not (nor never will be) millionaires, we sold everything we had and didn’t make huge amounts on the sale of our property as the area we come from never quite hit the property hike we kept reading about. We probable brought over a little less than the average if you believe the stats on the net.

We had one month holiday accommodation booked in St Kilda and we figured enough money to see us through twelve months if we used the ‘mortgage deposit’ fund.

What we did have though was a determination to do whatever it took to make it work, and so far so good – it’s seen us through to this point.

Here’s how we are finding things so far

The people -Got to be honest here. I read a number of posts on line when still in the UK describing terrible anti pom sentiment being rife here. Maybe we are very lucky but to a person, we have only found the Australians very friendly people. It’s true that they are very direct but also very straight! Yeah, you get your fair share of teenage road racers (Hoons) wheel spinning their way around Safeway’s car park in the small hours and no night out is complete without seeing the odd bleached mullet drinking tins of Bundaberg Rum and Coke whilst singing AC/DC songs very badly, but then you tend not to stop these people to enter into a conversation.
One of the reasons we fell out with the UK was the rise in violent crime and disorder, we don’t feel that here.

Let me share one thing with you that will always stick in our minds – We had been here three weeks and were sitting in a café the week before last Christmas with everything we owned piled into the car we had just bought that was parked outside. We were in the process of moving from our holiday accommodation into our rental, for some reason we couldn’t collect the keys until 5pm so we were making some coffee last as long as we could while keeping all our worldly assets in good view. The lady who was serving us picked up on our accents and took pity on us for not having any family around us at Christmas time and invited us to spend Christmas day with her and her extended family! So obviously we initially suspected all the obvious ie. nutter, religious zealot, serial killer etc. but as we had no other plans (or friends) we went along and met a wonderful family who not only treated us like their own but had actually wrapped boxes of chocolates as gifts for us so we were not left out of the proceedings. I tell you, a very humbling experience. We have stayed in touch with this family and catch up for a meal every couple of months. I’ve actually met two other ex-pats who have had similar Christmas invites! Not with the same family I might add.

Very pleased to say we have made some good friends in a short period of time. We are the only poms on our estate and everyone stops to speak which is nice.


The place - We had never been to Victoria prior to getting off the plane but it’s a great place for us. Within three hours drive you can be well along the great ocean road, inland to some great country side and the snow fields in the winter. Never been city dwellers and never liked spending too much time in them but Melbourne is a beautiful place, big and airy, new and old, fast and slow. Great for catching live music and you can overdose on sport any given weekend. Very clean too!

The traffic can be a bit of a pain, but that’s a city for you. If you settle somewhere within reach of one of the train lines it makes life simpler.

Renting, we were lucky I think. We spent the first three weeks on line checking the rentals available every morning and then driving around visiting in the afternoon. Three weeks after we touched down we were moving into a four bed roomed furnished house in a suburb about 30 mins from the city centre and ten minutes from the country (Rowville). Still there, starting to look to buy soon. TOP TIP – Bring a laptop and make sure your rental has an online link up. Save you so much running around.

Banking, Tax, Medicare, buying the Car etc. It all seemed to fall into place, you’re not the first persons to do this. We had opened accounts from the UK with ANZ and only good things to say about them. TOP TIP – Keep a UK credit card and a UK account, you won’t get a credit card here until you have a job and you need them for quite a few things (paying road tolls, topping up phone cards……debit cards aren’t as accepted here for a number of things!).

Getting to see a Doctor is a doddle! Most medical centres have a number of doctors on call and are open early until late. Dentists a little more difficult but at least you can get to see one.

Private medicals insurance here is not the luxury it is seen as in the UK. It’s very common and not that expensive. It’s in you interest to take it out as after the age of thirty your income tax gets loaded every year above the age of thirty for those who don’t have private insurance. Worth noting, as an immigrant no matter what age you are, as long as you join a scheme within one year of arrival you join a scheme at the same rate as a thirty year old. For nationals the cost climbs up after the age of thirty.


Cost of living - Something’s are cheaper than the UK some things not. Forget about the comparisons the day you stop earning pounds. Depends how you budget yourself I guess.

The Weather, bloody hot summer and autumn (not whinging!) and surprised how cold the winter was (handful of ground frosts and cold winds too).

Work, there is a lot of work opportunities. In the UK my wife worked with children with special needs (integration aids they are called in Oz) and after some initial work in childcare centres which she did not enjoy, took herself around the local schools with a bag of résumé’s and had a lot of casual work within a couple of weeks. One of those positions has now become a full contract we are pleased to say. I was a Fitter & Turner many years ago and been in Occ Health and Safety for a number of years more latterly. Took me two weeks to land a job back in OH&S when I finally put my CV through an agency (we did give ourselves three months chill out and acclimatise time after arriving). Had that job a couple of months in that position and got offered another job, where I am today. Lots of short term or twelve months contracts about but that seems to be more the norm here than the UK in my opinion.

Family visiting - Fantastic when they arrive and then breaks your heart all over again when they leave. Don’t think that one will ever get easier.

The health system! Had the poor luck to be rushed into Hospital for a surgical procedure, our private medibank care had not kicked in (has a cooling off period) so went in through the Oz version of the NHS. Nothing bad to say about the facilities and the staff were wonderful. I’m told if I had been private, I would still have travelled to the same hospital for the procedure but just recuperated in a private clinic.




So all in all, things have been good for so far.

I’m not saying that Australia is a great big Shangri La where everyone hugs each other and the rivers flow with beer. I know of people who have decided it’s not for them and returned to the UK and for them that must be the right thing to do. All I’m saying is it has suited us so far.

We think it’s suited the dog too, hard to say as he doesn’t say much but he keeps himself busy chasing possums up tree’s.

The reasons that brought us here was the search for that old cliché of a better quality of life, the thing that motivates almost all of us to leave behind security, familiarity, friends family and less than great weather.

And have we found it? I honestly think we may have.

I believe that it’s not until you have begun working and doing ‘normal everyday’ things that you can measure how well you are settling. Three months travelling around was fantastic but doesn’t leave you any idea of how settled you will be when you are both back in day jobs and looking forward to the weekends again.

My only advice to any of you who are reading this and about to take the huge leap of faith that is emigrating in search of that ‘improved quality of life’ is to ask yourself what exactly does that mean to you.

If you’re Aussie dream is the Ute, the boat, the house on the coast and the huge flat screen TV. Good luck and I wish you all the best in that.

Or is it the urge to simply experience a new life where hopefully you will be happier in yourselves than you are in your current one?

In our limited experience it’s the people who fall into the latter category who seem to be making it work. Not saying that’s the Gospel, just what we have found.

You do have to work hard at it and when one of you is down or family sick the other person needs to be strong and positive. There’s big emotional ups and downs that catch you when you least expect them and it does test you. But keeping positive and keeping has helped.

So, have we got more friends here than the UK? Of course not.

Are we earning more here than we were in the UK? That would have to be a no too.

Do we know what the future will bring? Absolutely not.

Are we happier? Yes, lots!

It may all change tomorrow, who knows, but for now…life is good.

Rambled on here a bit longer than intended but hope it’s give some perspective to people planning to make the move…..and if that’s you. The very best of luck to you.
fantastic post
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Old Oct 26th 2007, 6:51 pm
  #13  
so far so good
 
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Default Re: Almost a year in Melbourne

thank you for taking the time to do a fab post update, so glad things are working out for you, just proves you dont have to have loads of money to make it work sometimes it helps but the right attitude and determination goes along way
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Old Oct 26th 2007, 7:19 pm
  #14  
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Default Re: Almost a year in Melbourne

Originally Posted by Mike H View Post
You often here people say that they can’t believe just how quickly the last year has gone. Never more true of our first year in Oz. It seems like weeks not months ago that we said all our goodbye’s and left behind our friends and family to boldly go into the unknown, well, Melbourne actually!

People generally still don’t believe us when we say that we didn’t know what we were going to do when we arrived, but it’s true. Sometime in that eighteen months of chaos, trade skills assessments, visa applications, countless e mails and a very difficult house sale we decided to stop worrying about the things we couldn’t influence.

After all, we had more than enough to do on the UK side of things that needed our full attention. If we had started to worry about housing, work, mortgages etc. in a place that we had never ever seen before that might just have just been one worry too many.

So, we decided that all worries relating to a future life in the southern hemisphere were not up for discussion until we landed in Oz. And that’s what we done. Checked into an airport Hotel a little bit bleary and jaded on the night that we landed, dropped the bags, ordered a couple of drinks and said ‘Right, what should we do with the rest of our lives?’

This I imagine is not a great game plan for those of you with children and as we only brought our dog with us, things were I’m sure a lot less complicated for us in comparison to those of you planning a move for a family.

Also worth mentioning, we are not (nor never will be) millionaires, we sold everything we had and didn’t make huge amounts on the sale of our property as the area we come from never quite hit the property hike we kept reading about. We probable brought over a little less than the average if you believe the stats on the net.

We had one month holiday accommodation booked in St Kilda and we figured enough money to see us through twelve months if we used the ‘mortgage deposit’ fund.

What we did have though was a determination to do whatever it took to make it work, and so far so good – it’s seen us through to this point.

Here’s how we are finding things so far

The people -Got to be honest here. I read a number of posts on line when still in the UK describing terrible anti pom sentiment being rife here. Maybe we are very lucky but to a person, we have only found the Australians very friendly people. It’s true that they are very direct but also very straight! Yeah, you get your fair share of teenage road racers (Hoons) wheel spinning their way around Safeway’s car park in the small hours and no night out is complete without seeing the odd bleached mullet drinking tins of Bundaberg Rum and Coke whilst singing AC/DC songs very badly, but then you tend not to stop these people to enter into a conversation.
One of the reasons we fell out with the UK was the rise in violent crime and disorder, we don’t feel that here.

Let me share one thing with you that will always stick in our minds – We had been here three weeks and were sitting in a café the week before last Christmas with everything we owned piled into the car we had just bought that was parked outside. We were in the process of moving from our holiday accommodation into our rental, for some reason we couldn’t collect the keys until 5pm so we were making some coffee last as long as we could while keeping all our worldly assets in good view. The lady who was serving us picked up on our accents and took pity on us for not having any family around us at Christmas time and invited us to spend Christmas day with her and her extended family! So obviously we initially suspected all the obvious ie. nutter, religious zealot, serial killer etc. but as we had no other plans (or friends) we went along and met a wonderful family who not only treated us like their own but had actually wrapped boxes of chocolates as gifts for us so we were not left out of the proceedings. I tell you, a very humbling experience. We have stayed in touch with this family and catch up for a meal every couple of months. I’ve actually met two other ex-pats who have had similar Christmas invites! Not with the same family I might add.

Very pleased to say we have made some good friends in a short period of time. We are the only poms on our estate and everyone stops to speak which is nice.


The place - We had never been to Victoria prior to getting off the plane but it’s a great place for us. Within three hours drive you can be well along the great ocean road, inland to some great country side and the snow fields in the winter. Never been city dwellers and never liked spending too much time in them but Melbourne is a beautiful place, big and airy, new and old, fast and slow. Great for catching live music and you can overdose on sport any given weekend. Very clean too!

The traffic can be a bit of a pain, but that’s a city for you. If you settle somewhere within reach of one of the train lines it makes life simpler.

Renting, we were lucky I think. We spent the first three weeks on line checking the rentals available every morning and then driving around visiting in the afternoon. Three weeks after we touched down we were moving into a four bed roomed furnished house in a suburb about 30 mins from the city centre and ten minutes from the country (Rowville). Still there, starting to look to buy soon. TOP TIP – Bring a laptop and make sure your rental has an online link up. Save you so much running around.

Banking, Tax, Medicare, buying the Car etc. It all seemed to fall into place, you’re not the first persons to do this. We had opened accounts from the UK with ANZ and only good things to say about them. TOP TIP – Keep a UK credit card and a UK account, you won’t get a credit card here until you have a job and you need them for quite a few things (paying road tolls, topping up phone cards……debit cards aren’t as accepted here for a number of things!).

Getting to see a Doctor is a doddle! Most medical centres have a number of doctors on call and are open early until late. Dentists a little more difficult but at least you can get to see one.

Private medicals insurance here is not the luxury it is seen as in the UK. It’s very common and not that expensive. It’s in you interest to take it out as after the age of thirty your income tax gets loaded every year above the age of thirty for those who don’t have private insurance. Worth noting, as an immigrant no matter what age you are, as long as you join a scheme within one year of arrival you join a scheme at the same rate as a thirty year old. For nationals the cost climbs up after the age of thirty.


Cost of living - Something’s are cheaper than the UK some things not. Forget about the comparisons the day you stop earning pounds. Depends how you budget yourself I guess.

The Weather, bloody hot summer and autumn (not whinging!) and surprised how cold the winter was (handful of ground frosts and cold winds too).

Work, there is a lot of work opportunities. In the UK my wife worked with children with special needs (integration aids they are called in Oz) and after some initial work in childcare centres which she did not enjoy, took herself around the local schools with a bag of résumé’s and had a lot of casual work within a couple of weeks. One of those positions has now become a full contract we are pleased to say. I was a Fitter & Turner many years ago and been in Occ Health and Safety for a number of years more latterly. Took me two weeks to land a job back in OH&S when I finally put my CV through an agency (we did give ourselves three months chill out and acclimatise time after arriving). Had that job a couple of months in that position and got offered another job, where I am today. Lots of short term or twelve months contracts about but that seems to be more the norm here than the UK in my opinion.

Family visiting - Fantastic when they arrive and then breaks your heart all over again when they leave. Don’t think that one will ever get easier.

The health system! Had the poor luck to be rushed into Hospital for a surgical procedure, our private medibank care had not kicked in (has a cooling off period) so went in through the Oz version of the NHS. Nothing bad to say about the facilities and the staff were wonderful. I’m told if I had been private, I would still have travelled to the same hospital for the procedure but just recuperated in a private clinic.




So all in all, things have been good for so far.

I’m not saying that Australia is a great big Shangri La where everyone hugs each other and the rivers flow with beer. I know of people who have decided it’s not for them and returned to the UK and for them that must be the right thing to do. All I’m saying is it has suited us so far.

We think it’s suited the dog too, hard to say as he doesn’t say much but he keeps himself busy chasing possums up tree’s.

The reasons that brought us here was the search for that old cliché of a better quality of life, the thing that motivates almost all of us to leave behind security, familiarity, friends family and less than great weather.

And have we found it? I honestly think we may have.

I believe that it’s not until you have begun working and doing ‘normal everyday’ things that you can measure how well you are settling. Three months travelling around was fantastic but doesn’t leave you any idea of how settled you will be when you are both back in day jobs and looking forward to the weekends again.

My only advice to any of you who are reading this and about to take the huge leap of faith that is emigrating in search of that ‘improved quality of life’ is to ask yourself what exactly does that mean to you.

If you’re Aussie dream is the Ute, the boat, the house on the coast and the huge flat screen TV. Good luck and I wish you all the best in that.

Or is it the urge to simply experience a new life where hopefully you will be happier in yourselves than you are in your current one?

In our limited experience it’s the people who fall into the latter category who seem to be making it work. Not saying that’s the Gospel, just what we have found.

You do have to work hard at it and when one of you is down or family sick the other person needs to be strong and positive. There’s big emotional ups and downs that catch you when you least expect them and it does test you. But keeping positive and keeping has helped.

So, have we got more friends here than the UK? Of course not.

Are we earning more here than we were in the UK? That would have to be a no too.

Do we know what the future will bring? Absolutely not.

Are we happier? Yes, lots!

It may all change tomorrow, who knows, but for now…life is good.

Rambled on here a bit longer than intended but hope it’s give some perspective to people planning to make the move…..and if that’s you. The very best of luck to you.
Sat here with glass of wine in Manchester reading your thread. Our Visa granted oct 16, just waiting for house to sell.

That was a brilliant read, refreshing and honest.....Thanks, my wine tastes better allready....

Justine
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Old Oct 27th 2007, 9:54 pm
  #15  
East Mids to Vic
 
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Default Re: Almost a year in Melbourne

Thank you so much for your post...our visa is going through at the moment and we are looking at heading to Melbourne...we hope!
You gave so much useful information

Glad that its going so well for you

Thanks a lot
Laura
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