Today is the day that the all the men of the Provan family first set foot on Australian soil. This is the day that will forever mark the start of our crazy new adventure. An adventure that came about as suddenly as our visa’s did.
For the benefit of those who might not know the beginning of the story – Ours isn’t a story of years of careful planning and discussion or lists of pro’s and cons and options. No…ours started suddenly…a spur of the moment job application, a whirlwind interview, acceptance and visa application process – beginning to end – a sum total of 4,5 months from the day of my hubby’s interview to the day he and our boys landed in Australia. Whirlwind is an understatement and I think some days it’s still pretty surreal that we have actually been here for a year.
Whenever I talk to anyone from home one of the first questions I get asked is how we’re settling in? How the boys are doing in school and how we’re finding Aus? The answers are pretty standard – we’re settled…boys are happy…Aus has been pleasantly surprising. But since this is my anniversary post (well technically not mine since I only arrived in Aus on the 21st April – so I’ll have to do another post when it’s MY anniversary! haha ;P ) I thought I’d elaborate a bit on how the first year has gone down. Today is the day that you get to hear all the weird little things that I’ve had to deal with over the past year. The things that make moving to a place you’ve never been to before – yes we moved to Aus without ever having even so much as visited Aus on holiday! 😉
What I can say is this – an international move is not for the feint hearted. The packing alone is enough to send even the most easygoing person running for the hills. By the time we had packed up our house – and by we I mean Gary and his wonderful wife Elena and their fabulous crew of packing angels from LSA Containers, that managed to fit the contents of my entire house into a 40ft container…..and that was only half the job! I unfortunately had the mammoth task, without an army of packing angels, to empty said boxes once they arrived! But sleeping on a mattress on the floor for 7 weeks while you wait for those boxes to arrive will quickly cure you of any unpacking woes as you eagerly await the day you see the truck arrive in your driveway just so that you don’t have to do thigh exercises to get out of bed in the morning. Needless to say we were ALL very excited the day the removal truck arrived, it was Christmas in June as we eagerly opened box after box and found things we’d forgotten we even owned! Side note – if you ever get tired of your household things, just pack them up and send them across the ocean for a few weeks, their value and your appreciation for them increases exponentially with each passing day. hahaha
Before I get too carried away, here is a tongue in cheek look at some of the funny and not so funny things that have happened over the past year:
- * Disclaimer – In South Africa there are Petrol attendants at fuel stations – you DO NOT ever put fuel in your own car. So now that we have that out there 😉 ….The first time I had to put fuel in the car, I had to call my hubby and ask him how the pump worked – sad, but true – don’t judge me! hahaha…also I didn’t know where I was and had absolutely no money on me and the fuel light had come on…I was freaking out pretty badly (I also have to say that I was really fresh off the plane, we’re talking like 5 days or something….I’m sure I was probably still jetlagged too.)
- The day after Christmas we were buying groceries at Woolies and the cashier, in her VERY Australian accent, asked me a question that I couldn’t understand, so I very politely asked her to repeat the question…which she did – still didn’t get it – I’m now looking like a deer caught in the headlights, she’s thinking I’ve come from another planet because how on earth can I NOT know what she’s asking me. So she asks a 3rd time (STILL don’t get it)…..by now I’m thinking I might just have to grab the bag and run, the line behind me is getting longer and the cashier isn’t getting any friendlier. She asks AGAIN and Somewhere in my subconscious I hear the end of her question as she says $10? Crisis averted….the poor girl is just asking me if I want to redeem the $10 credit I have accumulated on their store rewards card! To which the resounding answer is Heck Yeah!!! 😀 Christmas just lasted an extra day. :p (Note to self – next time pretend you don’t speak english and you might get the cashier to talk a bit slower, giving you time to figure out what she’s saying)
- Living in Australia you need to get used to seeing creepy crawlies. Spiderwebs are everywhere and the spiders in them are pretty scary looking – most of them are probably harmless, okay maybe not – given that Australia is known to have the deadliest of EVERYTHING – but they stick to themselves if you don’t happen to accidentally wander into their web – which is easy to do because those suckers build those things across pathways, between signs, trees….if it is upright and has something next to it, you can be almost guaranteed that a spider will find it and you’ll probably walk into at least one, because lets be honest, who actually looks for spiderwebs when you’re walking along the footpath…??? I’m just really thankful that I haven’t run into any REALLY big spiders…YET…
Living in a new country also brings with it new cultures and things you need to know and learn. The best thing you can do to make your life that much easier is learn the local lingo. Aussies like to shorten everything, and mostly they like to end it with an O. 😉 Just a few examples:
A petrol station is a Servo
A party (in teen speak) is a gatho
A bottle store is a Bottle-O.
Afternoon is arvo
And the shortest one, doesn’t end in an O but it makes me laugh….Sorry is Soz! :p
There loads more, but you don’t have all day and really I know you want to get to the pictures so you can SEE what Australia looks like. So a quick list of firsts from our first year and then it’s pictures!!
– The beaches and walks are amazing. There are so many coastal walks and national parks with beautiful walkways and paths for you to explore the beauty. They are all so well maintained and the views are out of this world. It was along one of these walks that I saw my very first killer whale breach the surface and a whole pod of dolphins make their way along the coastline, jumping and playing amongst the waves.
– I got to see Bon Jovi in concert again ( for the 3rd time!!! :D) It was amazing to attend a world class concert and get there and back on public transport without any long waits or traffic problems.
– We got to watch the Blitzbokke at the Sydney rugby 7’s. We had to be staunch SA supporters and cheered as the boys beat the Aussies to finish in 5th place. The boys and I had never been to the 7’s before and we had such a blast.
– Ethan went on school camp and saw the snow (snow is always exciting for those of us who don’t get to see it often :p) and hiked up Mount Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest mountain.
– We had a fabulous week away between Christmas and New Year. We spent the week on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland with our good friends and saw so many amazing places. We got to go 4×4-ing on Rainbow beach, which was the most awesome day. We spent a day on a pontoon up in Noosa and saw the Big Pineapple – and I did the tourist thing and took a pic in front of it ( much to my hubby’s horror…hahaha!). Aus has a range of “big things” (banana, watermelon, koala, etc…) and it is now on my bucket list to visit them all and take pictures at each one.
– Saw my very first koala and kangaroo.
– I had a huge blue tongue lizard in my yard!!! :O Okay probably not huge – but he was HUGE to me.
– We have spent many hours over the weekends exploring all the little towns and interesting places in and around our neighbourhood. We crossed the Hawkesbury river on a car ferry for the very first time.
Things we miss about home:
– Our family and friends. For someone like me who thrives on friendship and people, it’s been hard not knowing a lot of people. I have made some new friends and meet more people all the time…but there’s something to be said for OLD friends. So to all my old friends – LOVE and MISS you SOOOO much!
We have explored so many places and seen so many amazing things. Our first year in Aus has been so memorable. Do we regret moving, NO! Do we miss home, ABSOLUTELY! Given the chance to do it over again, would we? 100 times YES!! When we moved we knew this move was God ordained and God orchestrated and we see it everyday in the way He has provided for us and opened doors for us. It’s been a wild ride so far and I’m excited to see where the next year takes us.
I hope you have enjoyed this small peek into our Australian adventure and enjoy a few pictures from our year so far. I still have so many more gorgeous places to showcase, I might just have to do a 2nd post…
I thought I’d start with a few pictures of our neighbourhood, because that’s always one of the first things I wonder about when friends or family move to a new place I’ve never been. And I threw in a picture of the spider webs for good measure. ;P
We celebrated our first Christmas – which is always a favourite holiday for me.
Australia really has some of the most beautiful coastline.
There are magnificent mountain views and beautiful birds.
And of course boys having fun along the way
I hope you enjoyed this small glimpse into our first year!