sorry - very looooong post :o
3 months ago (or 13 weeks) today we arrived in Adelaide to grey miserable rainy skies. The rain continued all weekend – much needed here but not the arrival we had expected! So much has happened since then it is hard to think we have not been here so much longer.
Rentals – We attacked getting a rental head on. Every morning at 9am laptop was on with mobile in hand. We looked for any rentals in the general area (Flagstaff Hill down to Aldinga) that looked any good and called to see them. Some had gone; some looked great online but were awful when we got there, some where lovely but just not in the right place for us with me not driving yet. One day we saw so many awful rentals I wondered what we had done! Then we had a stroke of luck – we saw a rental advertised with no pictures as it had only just gone on. We managed to get in quick to see it, apply and get it before too many people even realized it was around. We were incredibly lucky as we now have a beachfront home (29 steps from door to beach :)) with a lovely big back garden for Dawn and the puppies to play in and a front deck where we can sit and watch amazing sunsets. On the other hand we have seen people struggle to find a good home and have to make compromises along the way.
Driving – Before arriving we had heard the horror stories of Aussie drivers plastered over the forums. From Greg’s point of view he say he finds it easier to dive here than Exeter and that yes people do shoot in front of you without indicating, there is NO driver courtesy here at all so don’t expect anyone to let you in/out of anywhere, and being overtaken on the left is odd but overall not as bad as we had expected. From my point of view I have now started lessons and am already driving into the CBD after just 5 hours so cannot be that bad!
Weather – Beautiful!!!! We have had some rain but nowhere near enough for what the state needs but even on rainy days somewhere you see a glimpse of blue skies. There is none of the grey dreary dampness that the UK winters had. When we first arrived it was late autumn here but still over 20 degrees. Now we have had weeks of cold weather which the houses are just not designed for you can see why people say it feels so cold here – specially at night. The skies are really blue and seem so big here – even on a cloudy day it does not feel like the sky is on your head like it could in England. We are used to long drawn out winters but already here our Aussie neighbour is saying the blossoms will be out soon for spring!!
Work – something we have not really looked into as both of us now have businesses set up here. We were again lucky finding a work unit for Greg – a huge place about 3 times bigger than the UK with an office for less per month than we paid in Devon. Everyone is so helpful here and we have found that if an Aussie can help you they will. We had some signs done at the printers and contacted them for a quote on some business cards which she then set about designing for no extra charge! I have had work in already so it feels good to be earning dollars and Greg gets going on Monday so fingers crossed both businesses will work out here.
Friends – people are people wherever you go and you will always get surprises when dealing with people. We came over with a circle of people we had chatted too online and have kept in touch with some, become good friends with some and others just seem to have disappeared getting on with their lives. We have met some good people here and have some great friends now so feel incredibly lucky. We took every invite we got (and still do) and have met so many people! My calendar is so full that it makes a change to have a day in which is completely different to our life before.
School – Dawn absolutely loves her kindy and was asking to go back to school after a week of holidays (so nice to feel so loved) Teachers are stricter here and remind me of when I was a kid. They are not afraid to shout if needed and demand respect from the kids which is great. Dawn is thriving here and her favourite teacher is the strictest!
Adelaide - We had no expectations of Adelaide when we arrived as we had never been to Australia before (yes we are mad) and what we have seen so far suits us fine. The CBD has plenty to offer and worth taking a trip into Chinatown for lunch at $5 for all you can get on your plate! The suburbs around the city while great for some do not suit us, they feel too crowded with lots of houses crammed along streets, busy roads with huge billboards and hundreds of car lots. We looked around the foothill suburbs when we arrived too and while very pretty and leafy they are also hilly (not good for 4 year old on bike) and felt too much like we were still in Devon which we liked but wanted to feel like we now live in Australia. For us, particularly me, the Aussie dream included a beach so we traveled around the far southern suburbs when house hunting. Port Noarlunga South and the surrounds were not on our top list in the UK of places to live and it was more for the rental we moved here originally but we now love the place and all it can offer for us.
Our Life – When we started out this process I am not really sure what we expected or what we were looking for. We knew we wanted a better life for Dawn to grow up in. Children stay children longer here which is one thing we liked about Adelaide when looking into it from the UK and it has not disappointed us. We wanted a feeling of more space which we certainly have. Life is more chilled out but the days go so fast it is hard to describe.
Don’t get me wrong – everything is not a bed of roses. The houses here are colder , you have to start everything from scratch so the smallest thing can seem frustrating when you don’t know which shop to go too for something etc, you miss familiarity, established friends and family are a long way from you.
We have a beautiful home, we have good friends and we are happy so we have definitely done the right thing for us and I can never imagine going back to England now. After only a short time I know I am home and can only look forward to the rest of our lives here.