Moving to Australia
By: Fran Cormack - Also see author's expat blog listingI’m not sure when the love affair started. Some people profess to have been struck by love at first sight. Ignominiously struck by Cupid’s arrow. And it may well have been that way. However, when I try and think back to where it all started, I really can’t answer.
Was it the very first trip, when I came and saw through young eyes, all the slendours she had to offer? Or maybe I was a slow burner, and the love grew after spending so many return visits with her? All I do know is that somewhere on that journey, I fell hopelessly in love.
Australia had my heart and I needed to find a way to spend my life with her. And not just in short, 4 weeks bursts. A plan was required. A plan that featured spending long lazy summer weekends on her golden shores.
And that was how it started. The long journey to permanent residency and a life on the North Shore of Sydney. Why it is such a long journey, I didn’t know. I still don’t know if I’m honest. I’m just happy to have the requisite 176 skilled migrant visa and know that I can stay here indefinitely. What I do know is that I found the services of an emigration agent to be priceless. Not in the literal sense, as their service did in fact cost me quite some cash, but in the sense that I was guided and steered through the whole process, end to end.
Without this, I would have faltered, crashed upon the rocks of broken dreams, and I know things would have taken me so much longer. Having 4 Corners of Sydney on my side meant that I could just do exactly as they instructed, when they instructed it by. Meaning that I was always on track to meet my self-imposed timescale of having my PR visa within 2 years. And the great thing was, somewhat coincidentally, I awoke on a bleery eyed morning after celebrating Australia Day, to an email from my agent congratulating me. It took quite some rubbing of the eyes, and squinting at the tiny display on my Blackberry, before the reality sunk in. I had been granted a full Permanent Residency visa. The planning for a new life down under could begin.
You could say, this is when the planning really started. Until this point, moving to Australia had been an idea. A concept. Something vague that might, or might not happen. Now it was happening. Where did I start? The only place I could. Telling my mum.
This was, and continues to be the hardest part of all this. My mum has known for years that I have wanted to live and work in Australia at some point. I just don’t think she thought that the point would ever happen. Seeing her little face as I told her that her only son was going to move to the other side of the world nearly made me rip my passport up. You see, I am from a big family and we have always been close. Weekly visits for dinner. Weekend trips out to the seaside. Creating a bond that you don’t really see growing. Until you try and break it. But break it I had to, knowing that in todays’ age of technology, she was only a Skype call away.
Family duties done, friends soon after, I then had the practical logistics to deal with. How do you close off a life for good? Over time you create this “presence”, this life, in the system. Only when you come to sever those ties do you realise how strong that presence is. Bank accounts need closing. Insurance policies need cancelling. Gym memberships and internet subscriptions likewise. Don’t forget your council tax, your TV licence, the online movie subscription. This list goes on and on.
Oh yeah, and then you have the small, or not so small if you are like most of the western world, matter of all your worldly possessions. I thought I was in a good position in that a life of travelling had taught me that you only really need the basics to enjoy a happy, fulfilled life. Yet, even without the burden of owning furniture, or even a television, I soon realized that I owned way too much “stuff”. Boxes and boxes of books that I have an unnatural sentimentality and attachment to. Clothes that could fit out an army. A different shirt for each day of the month. Enough footwear to shoe a centipede. Even with last minute downsizing, I still had 19 boxes of possessions that I had to arrange to ship to Sydney.
And yet, I have not seen these boxes since July. Still not arrived on theses shores as we speak. And guess what. Yes, you did guess. I have not missed them. To be totally honest, I am not even sure what is in half of them. It will be like an early Christmas Day when they eventually arrive, as though I am seeing a lot of the things for the first time. I feel another rummage through the boxes is imminent, closely followed by a visit to the local Vinnies and Salvos charity stores.
So here I am, in month 4 of my new life in Australia. I am still very much in a transition phase, slowly adapting to having a new home, after 40 years calling a different country home. I won’t pretend it has been easy. It hasn’t. It still isn’t. I came here on my own and am having to build up a whole new support network of friends. And this is working. I now have regular football matches on a Thursday and Saturday morning. Weekends are usually taken up with meeting friends for coffee, or more usually beer. Just this week I have done something I have threatened for years; signed up for Spanish lessons.
I don’t know what the future holds but that quite suits me. I have lived quite an unconventional life. And this has suited me. Still suits me. I never quite got around to settling in one place, mainly due to my endless curiosity about the world, and the frustratingly itchy feet. There is still so much to see. So many new cultures to explore. Foreign languages to struggle with.
But for now, for as much into the future that any of us can see, I pleased to report that I am still in love, enjoying the honeymoon, as I call Australia home.
About the author:After many years visiting Australia, finally applied for a got a permanent residency visa. Moved to Sydney in August 2012 and still trying to find my feet.
Blog address: http://www.francan.co.uk/ Twitter: @francisco71
Contest Comments » There are 2 comments
Great read written by a talented guy who also happens to be a friend....good to see that he has fallen in love finally!
G'ud on-ya mate! Nearly as good as a real Ozzie already. Just move out of the QUEER CITY and head north to QLD. Depends on your view of the tropics, but it has much to offer, and you will enjoy the many benefits of being a queenslander!! Enjoy life to the Full - Its Important. The girls up here in Surfers are of a different breed, they are incredibly beautiful. Get a board!!