For more than a year now, you’ve been reading about my thoughts and feelings on our move to Canberra. But, as I have mentioned, there are other members of the CBRbound family too, so over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing their views of our move and our new life here in a series of craftily incentivised questionnaires. First up is 12-year old Maxi-CBRbound, who was bribed into participation with the promise of a bowl of snacks.
What did you think when you first heard us talk about moving to Canberra?
I felt excited but at the same time lost for words. I had been on holiday to Australia twice before and had loved it. When I heard we might be moving, I was almost too happy to speak.
What did you think about it after we had visited Canberra on our research trip?
I liked it. It wasn’t the most exciting part of that holiday as we spent the whole time looking at houses, schools and cars, but the houses seemed really nice and the weather was so much warmer that I was used to in Denmark.
What was the most exciting thing about moving?
I loved the idea of moving because I thought we’d get the chance to do lots of things that you just can’t do in Scandinavia, like surfing and just being able to enjoy the outdoors more.
What was the scariest/saddest thing?
The saddest thing about moving was losing all my friends and being 15,000km away from everything and everyone that I knew.
What was difficult about the process of moving to Australia?
At first, I found the accent a bit strange (but people said the same to me about my accent too). In time you get used to it though.
What did you think when you first arrived?
I remember landing at Canberra Airport and looking out of the window and being really shocked. You see, they have these statues of kangaroos next to the runway but, being new, I didn’t know they were statues, so I thought that, clearly, kangaroos were just everywhere in Australia, and I remember that made me excited to see all the other Aussie wildlife too, like koalas and wallabies and emus. I also remember that it was a really sunny day and wondering if it would be unbearably hot for me.
Did it take you a long time to feel at home here?
I didn’t really feel settled until the shipping container with all our furniture in arrived – that was months later – and when our dog came home from quarantine.
Can you think of one of the first things that made you feel at home here?
Definitely getting Mr Pup back.
Can you think of anything you found difficult at first?
I definitely found it hard to make friends. I suppose that just takes time. Oh, and I found that Aussie attitude of ‘having a go’ whether you’re keen or not quite hard to get used to. Sometimes I just prefer to opt out of stuff but I’m learning that that’s not very Australian.
What have been the best bits about moving to Canberra?
I’d say the best bit has been the warm summer weather – last summer we went swimming in the creek at Uriarra Crossing and that’s something we never would have done in Denmark. Even Pup came.
What were the worst things – were they the things you expected?
Well, like any 12-year old, I like my gadgets and I’ve been really shocked at how bad the internet is here. I never thought such an advanced country as Australia would have such terrible wifi.
What advice would you give to anyone the same age as you whose family is planning to move here?
Be aware that the winters are colder than anyone ever tells you. Make sure your family finds a house that is well insulated and has underfloor heating – they call it ‘in-slab heating’ here. Otherwise when winter comes, you’ll be freezing. Oh, and don’t throw out all your winter clothes before emigrating because you assume that Australia is a hot country. It is, but not everywhere and not all the time.
What are you looking forward to in your second year in Canberra?
I’m looking forward to moving from our rented house to a house of our own. Hopefully one with a bigger garden so my brother and I can play outside with the dog more. Gardens in Canberra seems to be quite small so it’s rare to find a house like that. My brother wants one with a swimming pool too, but I’m not sure if that’s a possibility.