Hang out the flags

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I have a difficult relationship with flags and the past few weeks haven’t helped. From the loutish behaviour of a few English football supporters in Marseille, to the feverish nationalism surrounding the Brexit vote, to the trampling of flags following the exit of the England football team from Euro 2016. Flags have a lot to answer for.

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Awakenings

It’s 3.30am in Canberra, and I’ve managed the jet lag from my trip home badly. For an hour now, I’ve had this line from a song going round in my head: “Twenty-five planes this year, and it’s only July.” It’s from a favourite Everything But The Girl song and, as sleepless thoughts go, it took me on an interesting journey.

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Trial and error

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.

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Blink and you’ll miss it

I often have cause to reflect on the serendipity that has brought us to Canberra and how, if our timings had been just a little bit different, we may never have made it here at all.

It’s three years now since our Australian residency visas were granted. Back then, after a couple of years of getting our documentation in order, gaining all the right evidence of Mrs CBRbound’s professional skills, and securing state-sponsorship from the ACT government, everything aligned in a wonderful post-Australia Day email which told us that we could start planning a life down under. Continue reading

Putting down roots

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It all happened very quickly, but last week we bought a house in Canberra.

So, we bought a house. There’s no way of tip-toeing around that one, so there it is. We bought a house.

As a new migrant, this is no small undertaking. There are the exchange rates to consider… are you cashing in your foreign currency at a rate that won’t make you fume in a few years time? There’s the fact that you have little credit history with which to support any mortgage application. You also have to familiarise yourself with a buying process that is rather alien, particularly if you buy in an auction. And then there’s the psychological question of: what does this really mean? Continue reading

Close-up of a spider on a window.

Snakes, spiders and sharks

Snakes, spiders and sharks probably represent the unholy trinity of creatures that new migrants fear the most (notwithstanding those spoof stories about drop bears – and they are spoofs). But what’s the reality of living cheek by jowl with Australia’s deadliest animals, and how much do they actually figure in our everyday lives? In reality, not much. Continue reading

An education

Moving to a new country is a giant juggling act. You can’t know everything about your new home from the moment you arrive but you strive to gather enough information about the essentials so that nothing critical falls to the ground and smashes.

Occasionally, you miss something – like when using the wrong type of tick treatment cost Mr Pup an extra three weeks in quarantine. And a few weeks ago, we missed something else that we probably should have known about, but didn’t.

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