So, after a short period of spending time in the city pretending we owned a waterfront apartment and spending days feeling like we were really only on holiday, we had to buckle down to reality and find somewhere real to live.
Having two almost-teenagers in tow that we had uprooted from everything familiar to them, this was not a decision to be taken lightly. We had to get it right first time, and the pressure was on.
We had some money in the UK that couldn’t be transferred until we had validated our Australian bank account. Now we needed to spend it on boring, everyday things such as a car and a house rental bond.
The Husband had spent fraught Skype time explaining the intricacies of international money transfer to his parents. They had been assigned to assist with the task of ensuring our money reached us without it making any kind of inadvertent detour towards unscrupulous scammers.
Faced with the very real possibility that one mis-typed digit could spell potential catastrophe and homelessness for our shell-shocked family, he rang his mum one final time to walk her through the actual act of depositing the money.
I could vaguely hear fear, patience and trepidation creep into his voice as they solemnly completed this task over the phone, thousands of miles apart. Both of his parents shared this burden of responsibility with reasonably good outward spirits, no doubt masking their insecurity that the failure to get it right was the difference between us being able to establish a life here and…well, the alternative was too scary to think about.
We went and arranged the purchase of a car and viewed some properties to rent, eventually settling on a house some miles away from the city in a pleasant area. The Husband tottered off to the bank, still suffering from his suitcase injury from a few days before.
And…the money wasn’t there.
No. Heart-stoppingly, it really wasn’t.
It. Wasn’t. There!
They’d said it would take a few days to clear but oh no…the much-feared drug barons were surely dining out on that one, mis-typed digit right now!
Frantically checking the holding account, we confirmed that the funds had left the UK some days beforehand. We had a house bond to pay for, we had a car that we had placed a deposit on and now we couldn’t pay for it today as planned! The horror!
We retired to consider pooling our daily allowance of what we could withdraw from the bank and using that to try and bargain an extension to our financial commitments. The Husband walked into the bank branch to try and discuss our predicament.
Having explained our woes as the bank teller tapped our account details into the system, she then looked up with a puzzled expression and said slowly “Why would you want to make multiple withdrawals for little amounts when you have all this money sat in here? Why not just withdraw what you need now… after all there’s plenty in here?”
The Husband met her gaze with what can only be described as slack-jawed gratitude as her words sank in. He hardly dared to hope that what she appeared to be implying might be true.
“What do you mean?” he blinked.
Patiently, as if talking to a toddler who has temporarily lost sight of his mother in the supermarket, she repeated her words. “There’s plenty in here. Your money appears to have just cleared. How much would you like to withdraw?”
To this day, the staff in that bank recognise The Husband as the slightly delirious, eternally grateful and deranged Pommie who performed an impromptu Happy Dance in their branch.
We could pay for somewhere to live, and even a car to get us there! The relief and joy were overwhelming! We could start to build a life!
It was very comforting to know that The Husband’s parents, unused to the weight of such huge electronic responsibility, are indeed quite capable of performing international money transfers and outwitting the criminal gangs whom we were so sure had our life savings earlier that day.
We are forever grateful that they fulfilled this challenge, and even more grateful that they wore their best glasses to do it!