This time 30 years ago, me, my ex husband and two kids (which included a 3 month old) sold everything and went to start a new life in Australia. It wasn’t ever a dream of ours, it was just that the opportunity came when my ex was offered a job in Melbourne so we decided to sell up with the intention of never coming back.
At the time the job was offered we had a two year old and I was expecting a second child, and where my husband’s new boss was sympathetic to a degree, he wasn’t prepared to wait for months for my husband to start his new position so I was left behind for a few weeks trying to sell a house and keep everything going until he came back just before our second child was born. Three months later we were on our way.
Luckily for us my husband’s firm put us up in a rented house for three months while we looked around for our own place to buy, (we called the police one night when we thought we had burglars but it was just a possum on the roof, yeah, that didn’t go down well) which eventually we found in a place called Sunbury, a small up and coming town which was a really nice place with most of the houses very similar to the ones seen in “Neighbours”, large bungalows with huge gardens ideal for families. So there we were, ready to start our new life. One of the first thing’s I did was to get my older child into a nursery just so he could make new friends and have some sort of routine after dragging him away from everyone he knew and of course he loved it, which left just me and my girl all day everyday, so in order to go anywhere I learnt to drive but never had the confidence to drive very far, in fact I’ve not driven for 25 years and never missed it.
What I hadn’t bargained for was the wildlife. If it walks, swims or flies in Australia then it bites, even if it’s not poisonous so the spiders became an issue. I did used to have a fear of spiders but living there cured me of that as we have absolutely nothing here compared to the so many different species that can harm you there. Unfortunately all the snakes in the area we lived were poisonous so there was no way I was prepared to let the kids play out in the garden, and there seemed to be plagues of things that only lasted a couple of weeks but you just felt like you were getting attacked from all angles.
Before we emigrated I had heard that Australia was a bit behind the times when it came to how they treat women but I wasn’t convinced of this until we decided to go out one Saturday night. Where we lived there were three pubs in the centre of town (c’mon how many do you need?) so we got a babysitter, got dressed up and decided to try them. Believe it or not I wasn’t allowed in two of the pubs because I was female so we tried the third. As we walked in it was obvious that the ladies didn’t really frequent the pubs where we lived, as it was full of men in vest tops, shorts and flip flops, to say that we stood out like a sore thumb was an understatement, we didn’t even finish our drinks before we decided to leave and that was the one and only time we ventured into the bright lights of our town centre for a night out.
I tried, I really did but I was becoming really homesick. I missed my friends, my social life, my job and as much as I’d made a few friends in Oz I was never going to adapt to going to the odd tupperware party as the highlight of my social life, so although I understood why my ex didn’t want to come back (it is a man’s country) he could understand why I couldn’t stay. We came back after two years but there’s no regrets, I’m glad I went even if it wasn’t for me and I would say to anyone that if it’s what you want then go for it.
The grass isn’t always greener.