Gatherings of expats invariably lead to one conversation topic, things you wish you’d done and things you wish you hadn’t.
These aren’t confessions of the stag/hen night variety, but wistful glances back at the process of moving to Australia and learning some lessons of relocation the hard way.
So, for today’s post, 18 months after our move, I’ve put together a list of the best and worst three decisions we’ve made in our journey to a new life down under.
Optimism wears many disguises but none so utterly convincing as the start of a new sports season.
Last weekend, rugby league got back underway in Canberra and, amid a sea of green polyester merchandise and a flurry of beer-buying, we were back at the Canberra Stadium, among friends and toasting the heady possibility of a winning season for the Canberra Raiders.
Of all the family, it’s fair to say that Mrs CBRbound is the most home-loving. And when I say home, I mean Britain, because that’s what it will always be to her. So it was with curiosity and not the occasional lump in my throat that I read her thoughts on our big move and what it has meant to her.
This week’s guest blogger is Mrs CBRbound.
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
A few days ago, the CBRbound family went to a housewarming party for some friends here in Canberra. The timing of the event was significant in that it both signalled and echoed our own trajectory as new migrants.
Every now and then, you catch yourself saying something and wonder at the significance of it. While this may sound strange – after all, your own thoughts can hardly be a surprise to you – there is something about articulating them that gives them a slightly different form, and allows you to recognise their existence more readily.
Luck is a funny thing. When we first arrived in Canberra, last November, one of the things I was sure I’d miss most about Europe was football and supporting my favourite team, Liverpool. More than that, I was concerned that I’d struggle to fill the gap that left in my life.
As a potential solution – and as part of my policy of ‘make the most of your new life by trying new things’ – I signed up for a season ticket (known as a membership here) for Canberra’s local rugby league team the Canberra Raiders.
The Canberra Raiders in action.
Our final short flight to Canberra was filled with excitement.
The countdown has begun. In just two weeks, we will be rolling out the red carpet for our first overseas visitor, my mum, Nanny CBRbound.
The boys are excited, and I think Nanny is a little bit nervous. This will be the longest trip she’s ever taken, by far.
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.
My return visit to Copenhagen is at an end and, after a 24 hour stop-off in England, I’ll be on my way back home to Canberra very shortly.
Being back among familiar faces and places has been simultaneously fun, exhausting, repetitive and like I’ve never been away. But being here has also taught me something about why it’s hard to be away from our former home. Continue reading
The latest Qantas ad campaign makes much of the airline’s role in reuniting families.
Being a long way from anywhere else can do odd things to your sense of belonging, and it stands to reason that Australians have good reason to feel special about the notion of ‘coming home’ as they’ve invariably travelled a pretty long way to do it – whether domestically or internationally.
This was made clear to me the first time I visited Australia, back in 1999. As we crossed an endless, parched looking coastline, stretching left and right of the aircraft, the pilot, with a sense of occasion, announced that passengers could get their first glimpse of Oz by glancing out of the windows. After a suitable pause, he added: “We’ll be landing in Sydney in approximately five hours.” It’s a big old place. Continue reading