I’m sometimes not sure. I wanted to come here for so long it almost became something that I had to do. It was like I couldn’t quite see my future past getting out here.
Now I’m often a bit late to the party. As I’ve already said it took me a little time to find my feet in my 20s. Most people make the big move in there 20s or early 30s. But I kept pushing it back. Merchandise Planners are inherently risk averse (that’s it blame the job, not the fact I’m a great big scaredy cat). So I wanted to set up my life so I had something to come home to. Buying a property and building a career.
Then along came my nephew followed by my niece, I couldn’t bare the thought of leaving when they were so small they might forget who I was.
So I got to the point where my life was great. I’d found my niche. Great job, brilliant friends, and finally confident enough to get on with things.
But I couldn’t not do this. It was like another me was driving it forward. She filled out the Visa forms, booked a shipper for all of her stuff, and eventually got on that plane.
After an emotional goodbye with my best friends, and most of my family. It fell to my parents to take me to the airport. Oh you think you’re going to be upset and you know your mum will shed a tear. But when you look at your Dad and he’s losing it. Game over. Had to weep my way through security, who didn’t give a shit and made me throw away some of my liquid stuff. Cheers guys, super sensitive (but good security so swings and roundabouts).
I actually sat at the gate seriously considering forgetting the whole thing. Telling myself they wouldn’t mind if I asked for my suitcase to be taken off the plane.
Then you get here in June and realise that Melbourne winter is actually pretty bloody cold. That factual documentary “Neighbours” has been lying to the Uk for years. They wore nothing more than a light sweater in winter, they must have been freezing!
Now winter here is definitely not as cold as winter at home. But they do seem to be in denial. It’s cold indoors with the reason given that you don’t need insulation as it gets so hot in summer. But surely the insulation would keep you cool in the summer!!
I own an electric blanket now, like a Nanna.
The homesickness at the start was hard. Our dept designer at Debenhams was from Melbourne and told me “There will be tears, but you have to give it at least a year”. She was right, oh God were there tears. My brother FaceTimed me from a family occasion down in Swanage, handed me around so everyone could say hello. It was a beautiful summer day in Dorset, and a freezing winter evening in a hotel room in Melbourne. I kept a smile on my face for the length of the call and pretty much fell apart after.
But this is where the friends you make here come in. They become your family. A few weeks later whilst staying with my friend Bethan, after a particularly bad day I decided to phone home. Thought talking to my Mum would sort me out. Tip: NEVER DO THIS!!! One word from my Mum and I lost it, crying so hard I couldn’t speak and made her cry. At some point during this convo Bethan came home from work took one look at me a walked straight back out. I thought, what a cow. Until 5 mins later she came back with fizzy wine!! Now that’s a friend.
Making other friends outside the ones you were lucky enough to already know from the UK is hard. You suddenly realise when arriving that you haven’t actively sought a friend since primary School. It’s like weird dating, you meet people and then have to decide to text them. But are you a texting them too soon, or leaving it too long? You soon realise that everyone’s in the same boat, and no one has an agenda.
Now here I am over 3 years later, strangely stuck on this place. Well it is the most liveable city in the world for the 7th year running. I still feel a bit transient, like nothing I do is really permanent. Is there another country, city or challenge out there. As the Clash say “Should I stay or should I go now” I don’t know, does it matter that I don’t know?
My friendship group has expanded and I have people here I can call on. But do they ever really replace those who helped form you character in the first place? Do they need to?
I do feel like a different more confident person. I know I can do this now, I could pick up everything and do this again. But do I want to? There are still some things in life that I’m scared of, but I think I’m ok with that. Maybe that’s the next challenge.
Jesus, So many questions.
But my advice if you’re thinking of doing something life changing. Just do it! Jump, you just have to catch yourself sometimes.