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

House.jpg

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

Postcard from Merimbula

A few months ago, I asked the question: where do you go on holiday when you’ve just moved to your dream destination?

Several readers posted great suggestions and a few weeks ago, we had a long weekend away to check out a place that probably outscored other recommendations by about three to one – Merimbula.

Two children run along a deserted beach at Merimbula.

Australia seems like it can offer everyone their own private beach.

Continue reading

Ask the family: Mrs CBRbound

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.

A close-up pic of Mrs CBRbound.

This week’s guest blogger is Mrs CBRbound.

Continue reading

Ask the family: Mr Pup speaks

A cockerpoo dog.

Mr Pup still shudders when he thinks of his time in quarantine.

The member of the family who had the most difficult journey to Australia was our family dog Mr Pup. The many weeks of quarantine were particularly hard on him, not to mention us. A full year later, I asked him about his first year in Australia and whether the upheaval has been worth it. Continue reading

Ask the family: Our youngest shares his thoughts

In the second of my guest blogs, nine-year old Mini-CBRbound uses his best handwriting to share his thoughts experiences from his first year as a Canberran. It’s not for the faint-hearted, he paints a good picture of deprivation in the early months after our move, but it perks up towards the end. Mini’s participation bribe was an extra hour on the Xbox – I can hear the squeals of excitement from the rumpus room right now.

A boy leans against the side of a bed while filling out a questionnaire.

Mini-CBRbound adopts a curious writing position to share his views of a year in Canberra.

Continue reading

Ask the family: Canberra through the eyes of a 12-year old

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.

A boy writing answers to a questionnaire.

Maxi-CBRbound deals with what he termed: “Extra homework.”

Continue reading

Canberra, city of literature

Four authors sit at a table during a Conflux session.

A panel of authors ready to share their tips at Conflux 11.

As a writer, one of the big attractions of moving to Canberra was the observation from afar that the city had a vibrant creative community and the kind of writers’ networks I could only dream about in Copenhagen.

Over the past few months, I’ve been dipping tentative toes into these waters and have travelled from daunted, to doubtful, to impressed. Continue reading

Canberra confessions

Canberra, seen from Parliament House.

For many, Canberra means parliament and embassies, but for us it has been so much more.

This past weekend has been one of those special ones. You know the type, where nothing spectacular takes place and yet, on the Sunday night, you find yourself looking back and smiling contentedly at the simplicity and happiness of family life.

It brought something else to the surface too – a recognition that the way we think and speak about life in Canberra had morphed from slightly forced, positive thinking, to a genuine appreciation of what we have already built here in six short months.

Continue reading

Rolling out the red carpet

An aerial shot of New South Wales from an aircraft window.

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.
Continue reading