The homecoming king

Mr Pup on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River.

Mr Pup wants to go for a swim. Are you coming?

It all started with an innocuous email, which contained an invoice from Sydney’s Eastern Creek quarantine facility.

If we’ve got a final bill, then we must have a release date for Mr Pup, we reasoned. And sure enough, after a bit of email and voicemail tag, on Friday night we learnt that Mr Pup could come home the next day.

It’s a three hour drive from Canberra to Sydney, and we’re still new enough to Australia to be wary of roos on the road at dawn and dusk. Our plan had been to drive up the night before, stay in a cheap motel and be waiting outside the quarantine facility, Blues Brothers-like, when the doors opened in the morning. But this was the night before, and there was no time to book a hotel, we’d have to do the six-hour round trip in one go.
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Close-up of a snake.

Luck and Gungahlin’s local delights

Luck is a major determinant of your fortunes when you decide to choose a neighbourhood and a home from 15,000 kilometres away, and I’m happy to report that ‘the lucky country’ has so far blessed us with a fair amount of fortune.

A mere month ago, Gungahlin seemed an exotic name for an outer suburb of a city we’d researched but didn’t know too much about. We reasoned that, given Canberra’s reputation for being easy to get around, even if Gungahlin turned out to be as dull as an Eskimo’s diet, there would be plenty of other options within easy reach. Continue reading

The lifeline of social media

I’ll admit to being a relative newbie to social media. I’ve been on Facebook for a few years and I’ve got a rarely-checked Linked-In profile, but the world of tweets, blogs and other stuff remained a relatively closed book to me until a few months ago.

That’s when I decided to blog about our move down under. Partly as a way of keeping friends and relatives in touch with our news, but also as a way of documenting and offering tips for other people in a similar situation – when I had searched for a blog or website on the personal experience of moving to Canberra, I couldn’t find one, so I decided to write one myself. Continue reading

Early lessons and challenges

Two weeks into our new life and we’ve learnt a few things that are worth noting for future migrants.

In our preparations for the move, we found plenty of near-encyclopaedic lists of tips for what to do on arrival, covering all the essentials such as registering for Medicare, setting up a bank account, or how to exchange your driving licence for an Aussie one. But here are a few things that we wish we’d known, or known more about, before we arrived. Continue reading

A little boy waits to mount a pony.

Pony riding at sunset

Each member of the family had their own special reason to look forward to life down under. For our youngest son, the big attraction was the chance to learn to ride horses.

He’s been asking for a few years now, but both the weather and the language proved to be barriers in Denmark. “When we get to Australia, you can start,” we’d said. This week, we made good on our promise. Continue reading

Welcome to Canberra

So, we’ve completed our first week in Canberra and, while it’s been peppered with highs and lows, I have to say that we’re still very happy to be here.

Since our arrival to an empty house, we’ve been on the receiving end of two mercy dashes by friends and their extended family, had offers of help via social media from people we only know via tweets and blog posts, and we’ve had our first tastes of family life here in Australia’s capital. Here are a few highlights:
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How Mr Pup fell foul of the law

Sometimes, things just go wrong. There’s no-one to blame, there’s nothing that can be done to fix it, you just have to deal with the fall-out.

In our case, the thing that went wrong was a tiny detail of a small aspect of Mr Pup’s import documentation. It turns out that he was given the wrong type of tick treatment before he left Denmark. As a result, he needs to be re-treated, then re-tested, and must serve an extra 21 days’ quarantine to ensure he wasn’t infected beforehand.
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Reality bites

There’s a pivotal scene in The Lord of the Rings when, with mankind facing its darkest hour during the siege of Helm’s Deep, those trapped within the castle’s walls look to the east and see Gandalf the wizard arriving with reinforcements to save the day.

It was hardly Tolkien-esque, in that we didn’t have orcs and other beasts clawing at our door, but we did have a fairly dark hour this week, and we did have a saviour from the east to lift our spirits and help us to go on. Continue reading