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.
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.
I don’t quite know what I’ve let myself in for. In a moment of mad enthusiasm, and in a bid to assuage some of their larger doubts, I have committed to my work clients in Europe that I’ll stay visible to them by making working trips to Europe at least three times per year.
When we first announced our move, I felt it was an important thing to do. After all, Australia didn’t just sound like it, it actually, literally was on the other side of the world. “But hey, I’ll still see you every 12 weeks or so,” seemed like the perfect antidote to the initial wave of questions and doubts that followed my revelation. Now, freshly back from the first of these ‘contact trips’, I wonder what I’ve let myself in for.
Two years ago, when we came on our research trip to Canberra, we holed up in a hotel in Gungahlin and discovered a lovely Chinese restaurant, just a few doors down.
It was a small incentive against the backdrop of our move, but the food was so good that we promised ourselves we’d go there again on our first night in our new country. We did, and despite our jet-lag, the food was every bit as good as we’d remembered.
Last night we found ourselves there again – we’re on first name terms with many of the staff now, and it remains our restaurant of choice for family birthdays and celebrations, or just when we feel like a treat.
Whenever you make a big change in your life, it’s inevitable that you consider the odds of failure too – of falling flat on your face while others shake their heads and whisper: “I thought that might happen.”
This comes to mind most frequently when friends ask us if we have jobs lined up and waiting for us in Canberra and we say: “No, but we’re starting to look already and hopefully we’ll find something soon after arrival.” At this, they usually raise their eyebrows and the conversation shifts to the Australian weather: “Still, you’ll be arriving in time for summer.” Continue reading