ONE YEAR ON
Hard to make these posts anything but rambling, but I will try to be informative too. This post is based on our experiences and my thoughts, feelings and opinions.
A bit of history, we are here on a temporary 163 Business Owner Visa, in order to get this visa you have to own a business in the UK that meets certain criteria including years trading, asset value and turnover. It is a 4 year temporary visa, during which time you have to reside in Australia for a certain time, own and manage a business for 2 years that again meets certain criteria including turnover. For various reasons, we did not make it to Adelaide until we had only 2 years and 6 months remaining on our visa, this did place us under some pressure to start up a business fairly promptly so we would be able to meet the criteria to hopefully gain PR.
I won’t dwell too much on the start up of a business as it won’t bother most people on here, but will say it was a real culture shock, doing business here is very different to how we used to do it in the UK (same type of business) and takes some adjusting to, at first it is hard and frustrating, but you just have to learn to adapt to the aussie ways and work with them. UK supplier references count for Jack, and you have to prove yourself to everyone. If there were any other way we could have got here, we would have, in my opinion this is a fairly difficult visa. I would say though, that in our dealings, immigration SA have been very helpful and approachable.
So we arrived, one year and 4 days ago! To weather much as it is now to be honest, bit warmer maybe. I think we arrived at a good time of year, as it is not too hot, but you are heading in the right direction, to arrive at the start of winter must make it harder to settle. We have been to Adelaide a few times before, so knew where we were headed and I would recommend a recce trip if finances permit, but would have to say, even knowing what you were heading to, you still can’t really know what it is like until you make the move. The final goodbyes we abosulutely heartbreaking and we arrived feeling more guilty and displaced than we could have imagined. I think things ran pretty smoothly for us all considering and although we made some mistakes in rushing out to do some things, looking back, I can’t see how we would have done different.
The feelings of “hell, what have we done” lasted a fair while for us, some people love it from day one, I would have to say it took us a long long time, probably around 10 months to start to feel really settled. - that is not to say it was awful for all of those 10 months, but it creeps up on you, until one day you feel you are ‘home’. Not knowing where to buy things, constantly having your nose in the UBD, all help you to feel unsettled, but if you can mix it in with trips to the beach, McLaren Vale or something, you get a perspective on why you came. I still miss friends and family terribly, but have made some good friends here too and that really helps. In the beginning there are people who will go out of their way to help, so take them up on their offers, for me there were a few and to name some of the names - DonnaT and JoBozNOllie, Nat and Skittle, really helped me to feel there was someone there, and I thank them for making me feel welcome (if I missed anyone I don’t mean to)
Work wise, I can’t really comment, it has been and continues to be hard going for us, made all the more so by our daughters arrival, she is a welcome surprise, but it means I can’t work.
Suburb wise, as I say, we have visited before, so had some idea of areas, I have relations in the south, so north was never an option for us, it wasn’t that one is better than the other, just we wanted to be near them. It felt like it would be great to not be tied to any area, to just pick wherever you wanted, in reality, it is hard work narrowing down a suburb, as you don’t really have any idea of schools, where you will work, reputation of an area etc etc. We had a wide search area and chose to buy a house as I am not a fan of renting and our 40ft container was arriving 4 weeks after us! We viewed many houses and the opens system is good for this as you feel under no obligation and can race around making gut decisions which are probably right for you. Dependant on where you come from in the UK, there are not many bad suburbs here, and not what you would expect to find in the UK as a bad area. I think if you can narrow it down a bit before you arrive, you stand a better chance, with one area to focus on, because to be honest, no matter where you live, the surrounding area will become familiar and homly to you. When we arrived, the market was brisk and there was not much time to think, now, looking from the outside there seems more property available although it still seems to be selling fast, but in weeks not days. Having really followed the house prices thread, I took a look on real estate last night at a particular area we concentrated on when we arrived, and I would have to say that houses in the $400k ish mark appear to have risen only 40-50k in that time, so they have continued to rise but not as dramatically, looking at 3 bed houses in that area, they appear to have dropped slightly (only $10-20k). Where we live, houses are moving, and I would say prices are holding their own at present.
Schooling, I viewed 3 schools that I feel were close enough to our home, and would have been happy with all 3, we came from a newly built, good local primary back in the UK, and the standards and facilites are very similar. There does seem a more relaxed style here to the academic content, and the kids are doing well, one settled really easily, the other not at all for the first term, which was very difficult, as he was so outgoing previously, but he has come good now. I am happy with the standard of reading, maths seems to have less emphasis placed on it, but confidence building and respect have great emphasis on them which is great. We did lots of out of school activities in the UK, and do different ones here, so not better or worse on that front. Kids here seem to move schools reasonably frequently, so there is no stigma of being the new kid, and I don’t think it would be too much drama to move them if they didn’t settle or you moved area.
Cost of Living, taking all things into consideration, I think the cost of living is very similar to the UK.
So to sum up, We are not of the ‘living it loving it’ brigade, but we are living it here, and enjoying what SA has to offer (which can take some adjusting to) we have changed our outlook on life a bit and are maybe a bit more relaxed (well sometimes!) and will never regret coming, even if we don’t stay forever.
That ended up a fair old ramble, if I missed anything :) just ask.