The symmetry of leaving

The cover of a book: Living In Australia, Beginner.

Perhaps we are ready for the next book in this series, Living In Australia Intermediate Level?

I’m in Denmark. Exactly a year ago, together with the rest of the CBRbound family, I was preparing to leave an empty house and follow a long-dispatched container of furniture on the long journey south from Copenhagen to Canberra.

We landed in Australia on Hallowe’en and overnighted at a Sydney airport hotel, where a tired and emotional maxi-CBRbound was too shy to say the words ‘trick or treat’ to the check in staff, even though a handful of sweets was on offer to every child who did.

The next morning, we took a final short flight to Canberra, to another empty house and to start a new life. Continue reading

Planning a holiday from your dream destination

The Surfers' Paradise sign that gives way to the beach.

Surfers’ Paradise seemed to be an Aussie equivalent of the Costa Del Sol when we visited.

What do you buy the person who has everything is often cited as the classic conundrum, but we’ve recently chanced upon a new one: where do you go on holiday when you’ve just emigrated to your dream destination?

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Something fishy

A fish and chip shop menu in Australia.

Anyone for non-specific battered fish?

Things you never anticipate when you move to Australia…

Fish and chips have been a favourite family treat for the CBRbound clan for many years. Whenever we visited family and friends back in the UK, our journey from the airport usually went something like this: “What’s for dinner tonight?”

“What do you fancy?”

“Can we stop and get fish and chips?”

And so we did.

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Global networks

An Emirates Airbus A380, seen through the glass of an airport departure lounge.

The loneliness of the long distance traveller.

I have just returned to Canberra after the second of my regular working trips to Europe. As a freelancer, one of my biggest concerns about announcing our move to Australia was the reaction of my clients. To calm their nerves about whether the relationship would continue to be workable from Australia, I committed to regular return visits. And, thus far, things seem to be working pretty well.

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Fight club

Moving to Australia from Denmark has provided us with some stark opportunities for comparison. Most notably, in the way our kids – mini- and maxi-CBRbound, now aged nine and 12 – become assimilated into the Aussie way of life. As this happens, it’s understandable that we idly compare how they might have turned out if we’d never made the move. It’s like a personal version of the movie ‘Sliding Doors’ is constantly playing in our heads.

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Credit crunch

Despite being in Australia for more than six months now, there are still things that take us by surprise. Mostly, when we are caught off guard, it has little consequence other than to teach us something new – like a new piece of Aussie slang, or the curiosity of getting a day off for the Queen’s birthday when they don’t get one in Britain – but occasionally the surprises are slightly more problematic, as we found when applying for a credit card this month. Continue reading

A healthy tip for new migrants

As a new migrant to Australia, there are some things that take longer than others to understand. And none, save pensions, seem more complex to me than the issue of healthcare and private health insurance.

I’d like to say that we’ve cracked it and that, below, you’ll find a short précis of all the things you’ll need to know as a new arrival in Canberra, but that’s far from the truth. But what I have cracked is a little tip that so important that I shudder to think that we may have missed it. Continue reading

A cautionary tale about finding work in Canberra

Researching a move to a new city in a new country is a lengthy and fraught process. The slightest missed detail can have profound consequences for your prospects in your new home.

I’d like to think that we were meticulous about looking into our move to Canberra. Indeed, the only things that have really impacted us have been a misunderstood detail on Mr Pup’s documentation (cost: A few thousand dollars and an extended stay in quarantine) and our decision to hire the Marx Brothers to handle our furniture removal (cost: lots of mess and damage and endless angry phone calls).

Oh, and the small matter of looking into the employment market here.
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In the territory of the lost souls

I was reminded of them in Copenhagen, and it was a timely reminder.

I’ve often considered that life abroad consists of various phases. From post-arrival disorientation, to the honeymoon period when everything seems perfect, to integration and establishing a balanced perspective on your new home’s strengths and weaknesses.

But then there are those who never settle, who are always in search of something better. I call them ‘the lost souls’, and it’s important to guard against becoming one of them.
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