Well, it's finally come. A year ago today Mrs Short, the short Shorts and I landed in Sydney with 7 suitcases and various holdalls. A few hours later we landed in Melbourne with not one single suitcase. Nice welcome, Qantas!
I have to confess to times when I thought we'd be back in England (or Europe at least) by now, but here we are & here to stay... at least until July!
It's been a bizarre journey of ups and downs for us. Having been promised a posting to Brisbane before we signed up, towards the end of my training in Melbourne that changed to Sydney, then to Melbourne & finally to Adelaide. We'd been to Brisbane & Sydney before & had friends in both, & by the time Melbourne was on the table we'd lived there for 6 months. We arrived in Adelaide knowing how to spell it!
We lived in 3 different hotels for a total of 6 1/2 months & the poor kids had one box of toys between them. I've sat 11 practical exams and about 30 writtens with more to come (but I have a Diploma and an Aussie licence to show for it) and Mrs Short has here nursing registration in both Queensland and South Australia.
Like a few others here we've not managed to sell the house in Enlgand, but now it's rented out to friends. A lot of money disappeared down the mortgage hole until that happened though! We're still making a net loss, but at least now it's more-or-less manageable.
The short Shorts have settled down well into their new school and are making progress. At their level (primary) it seems a lot less stressed than in the UK. Class sizes are roughly the same but there seems to be more sport & more outside visits. Wish there were proper school lunches, though.
So what have we found out so far?
We like Australia, but it's by no means a paradise. A lot of things seem stuck in the 70s (Life on Mars?!) which is frustrating, but people seem generally more friendly and happy to help. It is proving hard to make Australian friends though. Cost of living seems roughly the same as the UK. Some things are better, but some worse. We're astonished that there is no double-glazing here!
Adelaide seems a nice town, particularly to raise a family in. I'd have difficulty in recommending it as a holiday destination, though; there isn't the vibrancy or joie de vivre of other places.
We love the wildlife, the beaches, the ease with which you can get "far from the madding crowds". We love the ease with which we can get into and get about the city centre. We love just going to the garden to get a lemon for the G&T!
Are we going to stay? At the moment our plan is to give it 5yrs (ie another 4) and review things then. However there are work issues which could change that at any time. It's been undoubtedly the hardest year of our lives and with the benefit of hindsight we would probably not have made this move but that's more of a work issue than an Australia one. However when you are given this sort of opportunity, if you don't take it you'll always wonder "what if..?" We took it, and while I wouldn't go as far as to say it's "Heaps Good" I'll settle for "Heaps not bad"!
Ps The above is all IMHO. You're quite entitled to your own!