Right, here’s the thing, it all just kind of happened. We were lucky enough to be given permanent visas for Australia, meaning we can live here indefinately. When I say given visas, it wasnt that simple. Matt had his skills assessed, they even wanted his University notes (the Doomsday book was the first port of call). We had Police checks, blood tests, medicals (even the kids) and had to tell them about our family history. It is a wonder we got through, but somehow we did! Once we received our visas we only had a year to emigrate from the date of our police check or medical, whichever was earlier. Selling our house took quite a while. Two sales fell through due to banks withdrawing previous mortgage offers to buyers down the chain due to the Global Financial Crisis. We eventually sold the house and moved into a rental in March 2009. In order to extend the amount of time we had to emigrate we had to have our visas stamped. To do this we had to visit Australia. We decided that as Matt had a good contract we would wait until that finished before moving and booked a holiday to Perth to have the visas stamped. The holiday was booked for 1st May 2009.
In the middle of April an agent contacted Matt to say they had seen his credentials on Linked-In and they had a company who were looking for somebody just like him. The role sounded good, too good to ignore so Matt agreed for the Agent to put him forward for it. A few days later he had a telephone interview and shortly afterwards he was told they wanted him…..immediately, in Melbourne. Matt explained we were going to Perth on holiday in one week and that the holiday had been booked for two weeks. They wanted him to start straight after our holiday. This meant we had 7 days to tell everyone we were not coming back from our holiday and to sort out our worldly belongings. The other problem was that they couldn’t give Matt a contract until he passed their security checks. These were extensive….it was for the Federal Government. We had to make a judgment call. We told everyone that we were going and made arrangements for removals to come, wrote blank forwarding address letters for my mum to complete at a later date, gave away as much of our possessions as possible, told friends, work, schools, doctors, dentists …you’re getting the picture. It was mad!
We were saying goodbye to everybody without even having a work contract for Matt. The Agency could have been making it all up for all we knew and we would arrive in Melbourne to be told, sorry but there has been a problem…. One hour before we set off for the Airport, after we had sorted as much as we could out and said our good-byes, the contract was emailed through. I cannot begin to tell you the relief….Phew! Have I mentioned we never do things easily? Another issue was that if you are emigrating to can apply to take extra luggage before you book your flights. As we were only going on holiday we didn’t do this when we booked. So we only had an allowance of 20 kilos each.Trying to prioritise everything you need for at least 3 months with one suitcase each when you have kids and a new life to start isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do. We managed though. None of that bothered me. It was the good-byes that were, of course, the hardest.
It’s a strange thing moving to the other side of the world. You prepare yourself for it, you know it is going to happen, but it was much harder than I expected. Hugging somebody and not knowing whether it was going to be for the last time was hard. Parting company with every member of family and friends you have made over thirty plus years was hard. Not knowing if or when you are going to see some of them again was hard. I did find myself sitting down, forgetting why we were going and wondering why on earth we were bringing so much misery upon ourselves. We did it though. We did it together. We are a Team; Matt, the kids and me. They make me strong.
It was easier once we parted company with everybody. Easier than I thought it would be anyway. We had to focus and look forward. We had to start our adventure and not dwell on the past. Fortunately we were so busy once we arrived, we didn’t have time to ponder. We just got ont with it. I’ve noticed we are good at that. Of course, we all miss our friends and family and the familiarity of where we lived but we keep in touch with everybody on Skype and we have our adventure to keep us busy!
Today Georgia and Marcus had their very own ‘adventure’ in the back garden. Somebody had thrown mud into Marcus’ face. Who could that be, I wonder?
I’m no Miss Marple super sleuth, but even I managed to work this one out….