On the 28th April 2008 I began a new life.... Me and Steph left my parents house at 9.30am with both sets of parents and sisters in tow...and 4 suitcases. I travelled down with my family and Steph with hers. The journey was quiet, I dont think actually thought that day would come....but it did and it came quickly for me. We travelled from Tamworth to Heathrow stopping for a meal along the way at what would be the last proper 'British Pub'.
Conversation went well considering the reasons we were there, photos were took and memories were made. It was the last meal we would have with our families for a long time.
We cotinued to Heathrow, this time the journey was almost silent. You could feel peoples emotions starting to surface. When we arrived at Heathrow we had 5 hours till our flight at about 10pm. The checkin was open 3 hours before the flight so we had 2 hours to pass. We had a snack and some drinks, but everyone knew what was coming and just didnt mention it. We found out that the checkin had opened early and we decided to just go and get it over and donw with. The checkin was easy...we got our double allowance with no probs and our seats were the ones we had already reserved. So with the bags gone there was only one thing left to do.
The goodbyes our side departures were very emotional and tears were from everyone....i've only seen my dad cry twice and this was the second. I knew my mum and my sisters would cry and boy did they!! Stephs family were no different.... the floodgates just opened. My mum gave both me and Steph St. Christophers. I dont know who but some one said 'Dont look back....' We walked through the door and we didnt.... The goodbyes were heart wrenching. We had been told not to take family to the airport, but we did and I am glad in a way, although it was the hardest thing I have done.
The flights with Singapore were great, no complaints. We only stopped in Singapore for 5 hours...time for showers and a meal....and back on a plane. I slept for most of the first leg...so was wide awake for the second making it long and boring.
We landed at Adelaide airport at 8am on 31st April....in the rain...the last thing anyone expects... We were met by the free SA Meet and Greet service, they were friendly and gave us a ride to our rental and loads of info including a UBD. They took us shopping to Brighton Foodland....was a shock....the supermarket was tiny and reminded me of an old Happy Shopper!! Asda and Tesco it was not..... We only got the basics and went back. By this time, although they were great, I just wanted the M & G people to go away...sounds nasty, but we wanted time to take some info, sights, sounds and smells in. Our rental was in Marino, a small bedsit but big enough for 2 of us...would recommend it to any couples as great base to start. We were minutes from the train station..which would become our lifeline till we got a car.
After a cuppa the first thing we did was walk to the beach...the closest being Seacliff.....it was just surreal...finally being here and being too tired to care. We lasted until 9pm and we asleep until about 11am the next day.....
With in the first day we had done TFN(internet), driving licence(in the city), applied for Medicare cards(in the city too) and went to Westpac...we had opened the account in the Uk 6 months before so was just a case of identifying our selfs. To be honest I found most of these processes quite straight forward...we had visited a tourist office and got a map with all the important government places marked one....and a collection of train, tram and bus timetables to fine our way. We also got mobile phones each....just we had number to pass to job applications.
I think the public transport here is excellent....some may agree and some might not but I do. The '2 hour ticket' is great.....
The rest of the first week here we visited the usual places like the city, glenelg, and marion and a range of beaches. Every was new and unfamiliar.....
We bought a car in the second week....a small 1991 Mazda 323....its a great little car and cheap to run. Car was from a place called 'All About Cars' on South Road. Second hand cars cost quite a bit more here, which for some cars here is shocking!! But...as good as public transport is a car is a must.
The second week I used some of my contacts, made before we left, to find me a job. I had 2 interviews and got offered both jobs. I choose the one that sounded the best and started the week after.....i last 4 days, it was rubbish....not what the interview made it sound like. On the thursday, when I got home I told Steph I wasnt going back. I rang the job I turned down, explained the situation....amazed to be offered the job again...took it!! Better money than the last too....! I actually earn more here than in the UK. I am still in this job and its great....It was also a relief to be earning money again.
Steph was looking for jobs in retail....they seem to want degrees for shop work here. Steph had interviews but never heard back of any....seems normal here! Eventually after 3 months Steph landed a job at a jewellers....more of a salesperson position. She didnt like it but perservered with the 15 hours a week they gave here. During this time we were looking for a rental, as we needed to be out of our bedsit. We first looked in the common area like Hallett Cove....but we decided that it was a bit far out for us. We wanted to closer to city, beach, night life and everything really. We chance upon a new build in Oaklands Park in the Real Estate section of The Advertiser and went to the open. The house is great and we applied immediately for it....we found out we had it about 2 days later. We found the rental process really fast and efficient. We moved in at the beginning of July.
We bought nothing with us at all....so bought all our furniture here brand...the haggling is unusual but you get used to it. We shopped at Le Cornus, Ikea, Truscotts and bought second hand goods of PIA, and anywhere we saw with good prices. We furnished our home for a about $4000.
Unfortunately on the same day Steph lost her job...was told it wasnt 'working out'....so of course the job hunting started again. All the interviews and no call backs. After another month a casual job at Le Cornus customer service came about and Steph started there....got 2 full weeks and not heard from them since. The joys of casual. So the job hunting started again......it went on this way for a few more weeks. I mentioned to mate at my job that she was looking.....and he knew the local Foodland manager....2 weeks later she is full time in Foodland....Adelaide is defo a 'who you know' city. If you have contacts...use them....!!!
We have made some good friends here so far....and had wonderful times. We still miss old friends and making new ones takes time and hardwork....you have to get out and meet who you can. I think we all say we will integrate with the Aussies.....but it takes time....we are only just meeting our neighbours and having beers with the lads at work. The friends we have made here so far have been priceless in keeping us focused.
We have had bad times too.....Steph has had homesickness a lot more than me....and is only just getting over it....but she is ademant we are here for 2 years at least. We speak to our family once a week through Skype.....Thank god for the internet!!!
When I first saw Adelaide the city and the beached are lovely.....when you get in the suburbs, some like terrible......some look better. It kind of grows on you and you accept it for being what it is.....a bit slow, laid back.....but its defo a culture shock!!! The shops dont have the choice you are used too....the pubs are different....the drivers are crap....but your learn to get round these....and go with the flow!!
Right now we are loving it here, coming up to 6 months and we are only now starting to settle....
just looking forward to seeing the summer now.....there is so much more to see!!!;)