Posted by: learningwoman | January 26, 2008

Where to live?

We’re moving to Australia. Not immediately, but after nearly twelve years of my living here in England, A. has allowed himself to be persuaded that life in Aus will afford us a different and in some ways better experience.

Last year at about this time, when it was dark and the boys and I had been confined by the rain, to the house for the second day running, I lost the plot. It was A’s sleep in morning and by the time he came down I was not in a good mood. The first thing I said to him was not ‘Good morning darling, how did you sleep’, but;

‘That’s it! We have to move. I’m not living my life like this. All I’ve done this morning is shout at the kids to calm down, stop climbing on the furniture and make less noise. They’re little kids! They should be able to shout and climb and run and jump and if we weren’t stuck in the house, they could. We have to think seriously about when we’re going to take them to live in Australia!’

Poor bloke. What a way to wake up hey?

However, even though his face automatically set into that pained expression he gets whenever I talk about home and the possibility of relocating, he’s a good egg and he listened anyway.

 This time, for the first time, he seemed to agree with me and suddenly started working out the finances, reading books about settling in Australia and beginning to tell his friends about the proposed move. Not his family, he’s not quite ready for that yet.

We’ve discovered that because we’ve been married for more than five years and have children together, he doesn’t have to get in on skills but will be able to get a spouse visa which takes a lot of the pressure off.

We’ve organised a driving holiday to the East Coast in August, to have a look around and see whether there’s anywhere that takes our fancy as a place to live. We have to be far enough away from a city but near enough to reach one in an hour or so, which is a compromise for us both. It has to be somewhere near the sea, (my requirement) and somewhere with fun, good schools for the boys. There are lots of other things to take into account and it’ll be interesting to see how we feel when we get there.

I think S. is fast getting to an age where he’ll find it more difficult to uproot than it might have been before, so we’re planning the move for sometime in the next couple of years.

It’s nervous-making for me too. Although it’s my home country, I’ve lived here for a long time, learning the customs of another people, the humour, how to blend in and stand out etc.. It’ll be interesting to see how I fit back in to life in Australia. As a people, we’re louder, more brash, more straightforward, with fewer rules and gratuitous politeness. I talk now of the sort of politeness designed to stave off any unwanted intimacy. The sort that, through habit mostly, holds the world at arms length.

Of course, I’ve spent the whole of my time, (apart from the travelling) living in the suburbs on the borders of London and the Green Belt in Kent, so I’m not suggesting it’s the same everywhere you go. This is all just my experience of life here.

I’ve made lots of friends here and A. has lots of family, who we see often and who are lovely. It won’t be easy to move but when I think of the rewards for us and for the children, I just know, on balance that it’s the right thing for us to do.

I don’t wish for an easier life, it’s pretty easy here. I wish for a more ‘outside, alive life’. I wish for space for the boys to run until they fall exhausted to the floor laughing. I wish for the beach and the sand between our toes, I wish for long bicycle rides with a picnic at the end. I wish for blue skies and sunny days. Shorts worn to school and swimming in the pool in the afternoons. Camping trips on the weekend, diving into waterfalls, letting the sun dry the water on your skin.

This was my experience of childhood and I’d like our boys to have a taste of it too.

As well, I think it would be easier there for me to be more physically active. Until I was twenty-six and moved here, I swam four times a week and cycled every afternoon for miles. I was in good shape and I felt great.

I’ve had two kids now and I got a bit lazy, so I’m plump at the moment but I think, given a bit of sun and the opportunity to be active, I’d slip back into my old habits of activity and energy.

In the meantime, I’ve joined the gym (again) and now that the year has properly begun, I look forward to shedding some of these pounds before we go exploring for our new home.

Think I might join Slimming World too…. 🙂

PS: Happy Australia Day!



  1. This makes me giggle because there was a blog I used to read from an Englishman married to an Aussie. He wrote long wenging blogs about how he hated it there and how is wife refused to move to England.

    It is fun to hear, in a rational and non-self pitying way, why you want to go back home. (that is a compliment although I am not sure it reads like one) 😉

    Many years ago, I read a book by Neville Shute called “A Town Like Alice” and I fell in love with Australia. It does not paint a picture of it as an easy place, quite the contrary – but the wide open spaces and the way you can get lost and still be near civilization appealed to me.

    The Aussie lead, Joe, kept talking about how Alice Springs was a bonaza place and I have always wanted to see that for myself.

    I wish you well getting home, settling back in.

  2. Thanks Fallenangel, I like getting to my blog and reading your comments. 🙂

    That Englishman was probably at an earlier stage of settling in than I am. I had that stage too, being excessively homesick, finding fault with everything English and wishing I was somewhere else. I think it might be one of the phases you have to pass through when you move to a different country. The ‘comparison stage’ 🙂

    Australia IS an amazing place. I hope you get to see it one day.

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