Moving to Australia

Five years ago today I arrived in Australia to start a new chapter in my life.  I can't believe how quickly yet how slowly those five years have gone by.  So much has happened; in fact I think the last five years here has been way more eventful than any given five years that I lived in the UK. 

So many people (mainly Australian) ask me "do you like it here" and I feel the pressure to say "oh yeah I love it", as I assume that this is the answer they want to hear.  The answer I would need to give would be way too long winded, so I just say something like "yeah most days".

For you see, I am a truthful gal and for me a more realistic answer is that I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to live here, and that some days I do love it and some days I don't.   Now, before anyone gets all defensive and wonders why I don't like it here all the time, I will make it clear that it's not that I don't like Australia, it's just that some days I don't like being a fish out of water or as Sting put it 'an alien in New York'.  I am becoming less of an alien as time goes on; I've got used to saying 'alright' to people and them actually answering me "yes thanks" instead of "alright' straight back at me.  (For, to me 'alright' is a greeting, much the same as 'hiya')

When the sun is shining and the sky is my favourite shade of blue I do indeed love being here.  When I can drive for an hour and see my Mom instead of having to fly for 24 hours to see her, then yes indeed, I do love it.  When I can take the dog to the beach after work and walk along a glorious beach with hardly anyone around, then hell yeah I do love being here.

But some days I long for Blighty.  I just can't help it!  Recently I wrote about how much I loved bonfire night.  It's one tradition that I really miss as it was a tradition that made me me.  Sure, I'm making new traditions but sometimes they seem harder to develop, maybe because they are new to me, and the fact that the nature of a tradition it is something that needs to be repeated regularly to become a tradition at all.  Will I ever get used to Christmas being not cold and not dark at 4pm.  Not on your nelly!

I read a blog this morning from ladybirdlikes and it took me straight back to England.  It was a list of things i heart about summer and I felt the pang of homesickness for the tune of the ice cream van, the sound of English seagulls and a pint in a country pub beer garden.  Homesickness is a weird thing, it seemingly comes from nowhere and it can be as fleeting as it can last for days.

All this homesickness malarkey aside, today I am grateful for all the things that I do love about Australia, and here are some of these things:
  • the wide open spaces
  • being able to see the horizon on all sides
  • the beautiful red earth that reminds me of an INXS film clip
  • the smell of eucalyptus trees on a hot day
  • the arty-ness of Melbourne
  • the fantastic Vegie Bar on Brunswick St (my favourite place to eat in the whole world)
  • the fact that houses look so different (there are exceptions but in the main houses do look different)
  • there is always something interesting to do on a Sunday
  • the supermarkets don't close at 5pm on a Sunday 
  • there are great places to eat out, many of which are reasonably priced
  • my family are here and I love being able to see them regularly
  • houses tend to be bigger and more spacious
  • the sound of cicadas in the evening
  • having the beach so close (and a good beach at that!)
  • being able to grow plants and trees that I previously could only wish for
  • warm summer evenings with the smell of BBQ's in the air
  • I feel safe in my home
  • sunshine
  • fewer people = fewer queues!
This wasn't a pre-planned list, but more an on the spot list of things that have sprung to mind.  I'm sure there will be other things that I'll wish I'd added here that will pop into my mind over the next few days, but that's the lot for this post.
So for the last five full and full on years, I am grateful.  I also feel such gratitude to have been given the opportunity to live my dream.  Here's to the next five years, whatever they hold.

Happy days
Jo :)


Brown Paper & String said...

Jo! Hi, so great to meet you. I feel like we are living each others lives in reverse - if that makes any sense?! I have been living in the UK for 5 years after making the move from New Zealand. Reading your list made me pine for home. Isn't it funny how even if you are living in the most fantastic place you still can't help pining for 'home'. We are moving home this time next year and I feel a bit scared about that. Maybe I have become quite 'English' and will feel like a fish out of water in my own country?
Take care

Jennifer :: The Blissful Brush said...

Hi Jo:: I am Australian but have lived in a few placed overseas and can relate to what you are saying. Some days when I lived in Munich I so loved it and was so grateful to be there, and then there were some days I thought "what on earth am I doing here with these rude people".

My husband is Irish, and although he considers Sydney home, he often misses Ireland - mainly his family, although when we visit he always tells me that he could never live there again. It's odd isn't it.

Loved your list of things you love about living here.
Jenn x
PS: Have you received your Kath Kidston gift yet? My rug arrived and I L.O.V.E it!

Jo said...

Thanks for the comments. Sorry it's taken me a while to reply!

Jo it does seem that we're living lives in reverse doesn't it? And it's funny that we're both called Jo too! How exciting that you're moving home next year; lots of organising and preparing in store for you I'm sure. Enjoy it all
Jo :)

And Jenn, you and your hubby sound settled in Sydney. Isn't it amazing how people adapt so differently to moving countries? My hubby would be on the plane back to England in a shot if I said the word!
No sign of the bag yet! Glad you got your rug; that would have been a huge parcel! Which one did you choose in the end? My fave was the last one. Will you be posting about it? I will pop over for a gander.
Jo :)

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