I have decided that this will be the last blog entry about our move to Australia. Part of me feels that I’ve really put myself out there by writing down my innermost thoughts on our experience of trying a new life, and surprisingly, I’m not a natural ‘sharer’ of all things personal.
It hasn’t been easy to remember or recount some of the more difficult times, although there have been many more such episodes that I haven’t written about. Suffice to say that I’m much more resilient (and wiser) than I used to be, and that those things could have happened wherever in the world we may have been at the time.
I have some other plans that I’d like to work on, and for my writing to take a different direction now that I’ve finally had the courage to share my words with you. Thank you for taking those first steps alongside me.
I’ve been asked the question many times, ‘What’s it like to move to another country?’
I would like to reassure anyone thinking of taking the emigration plunge that if the itch is there, that you should scratch it and see for yourself.
Your experiences will invariably differ from someone who is identical to you in every imaginable way; your dreams, hopes, fears, strengths and weaknesses are what make you a person and you can’t base your assumptions on someone else’s life.
Only you can tread those waters for the first time and see if it makes you want to swim further out, or reach back for the shores you have left.
What’s my life like now, I hear you ask. Well, two months ago we became eligible for Australian Citizenship after four years here. My children are better swimmers than i could ever have imagined, thanks to the incredibly high standards of the swimming coach they had when we first arrived here.
My son has qualified as an Australian Surf Lifesaver following hours and hours of rigorous training on the beach and in the sea that had me watching him in panic from afar. He’s just got his first car, and hopes to pass his driving test soon.
My daughter has discovered a love of horse riding, which also had me watching in panic from afar as she has gained confidence and too much speed for a mum to be comfortable with.
They have developed ‘dual accents’ – a true blue Aussie one for school, which they cannot replicate for the lives of them when they get home, and so slip into their easy familiar Yorkshire vowels.
They have grown in confidence, and the prospect of travel does not fill them with the same trepidation that consumed their parents four years ago.
We have visited some of the most visually stunning places on earth within Australia, it is hard not to wax lyrical about just how lovely it is without sounding self-congratulatory and smug. But at the same time, we still go to work and school, argue over emptying the bins, hanging the washing out and cleaning up after the famous Dougie dog that we adopted.
There are no glamorous sunset cocktails to be had on a Tuesday evening when someone’s school uniform has gone missing.
I am fortunate to have met many lovely people here, and to work among some genuinely inspirational and selfless colleagues who have become my friends. I live quite far away from work, which means that I don’t have an enormous circle of ‘3am-emergency-call’ type Australian friends immediately around me who would miss me if I ever left these shores.
Although I wish that was different, life at the moment is what it is and I am very blessed and content with the friends that I do have. I have to keep reminding myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that truly special relationships take time and effort to evolve, which is what makes them lasting and worthwhile.
If I had any wishes granted to me now, it would be that I had the money available to go back to the UK and visit my family as my parents can never travel here again due to health concerns.
I look forward to what life holds for the older, newly-independent me. I’m more open to possibilities; these days, the thought of exploring new horizons and ideas now fills me with curiosity and a sense of ‘Why not?’ This world is small and our time here is not guaranteed.
So hold your breath, and step off the edge into the unknown. No one will ever give you this day to live again, so make sure when you look back on your life that you laughed hard, loved completely and tried something new in between.