It’s hard to know how to open this blog without resorting to a whole bunch of cliche’s about the craziness of moving countries with a baby in toe. As it’s been so long you can imagine how much has transpired. I now have a one year old proudly pushing his walker around just teetering on the line between walking and crawling as I write.
8 months ago we packed up 5 years of our collective London lives, after dark each evening cheekily adding new items to the neighbors garbage in the lead up. The amount of junk we had accumulated was mind boggling and we gave away what we could and the rest was either chucked or packed inside just 5 boxes to be shipped to Australia.
After much deliberation we decided that Obama was to live with Carlos’s family in Madeira. The trip to Australia and the amount of red tape we thought would be too much on the poor little boy and although I was sad I knew that he would have a very good life strolling around the streets of Madeira with a cat loving family there to look after him. Much better than our situation in London and also far less stressful than living in a small flat with two grumpy female cats in Sydney.
Our last night in Penge we had nothing but a few suitcases and a mattress on the floor of our apartment. I was excited to leave but nervous at the prospect of traveling with such a young baby. I didn’t want to be that parent that is met with eye rolls as I step onto a long haul flight with a baby. I know because I used to be one of those eye rollers. He was so well behaved and I feel almost as though the flight was quicker as looking after him stole most of my attention.
Our first leg was an evening flight to Doha en route to Phuket. We had booked a taxi to take us to the airport and quietly looked out of the window as the suburbs floated by slowly fading into darkness, watching as Londoners went about their business as they always do. We were about to be released from the clutches of this place which had once been our best friend but just so easily our worst enemy. We sat in silence our driver didn’t speak and neither did we. The day we had been waiting for had finally arrived and we were so exhausted by the lead up that we were just going through the motions.
Touching down in Australia on an unusually hot spring day we were filled with a renewed hope. London had taught us many things and has toughened us up. We are determined to do things differently this time, not just for ourselves but for our son. After spending many lonely hours looking after Elijah as a newborn it felt like such a relief to finally be able to have some help. Starting over was never going to be easy, even though I was home I knew that once the excitement of being back had subsided life would begin again, and all the little ups and downs that went with it. The first hurdle was getting Rob’s visa submitted, in the meantime I helped Rob study for his learner driver license and taught him how to drive. I knew that relying on public transport was a no go and my sister had very generously sold us her husbands old Toyota very cheaply so we had something to drive around. Within a few short months he had his P plates, gone onto a bridging visa, quit smoking and after a shaky start with jobs we both ended up employed together! And just recently Rob secured a gaming retail job very close to home which brings his current jobs to three. We’re only casually working but that’s okay because I have other plans. More about that in other blog!
Our first Christmas in Australia and it turns out Rob doesn’t handle the Aussie summers all that well – we ended up lugging a huge old aircon up the stairs and installing it precariously in our loungeroom window (I say us but all I did was open doors) It was a godsend over the holidays.
We got rid of one housemate (I won’t go into that here) and then gained another one in the form of a ginger tom cat. One day we were driving behind my mother on our way to my aunts and all of a sudden we saw a kitten fly out from underneath her car shortly followed by another. Shocked we pulled up on Silverwater Rd, Rob ran after one and scooped the other one off the road in his arms. We recognized them as some of the ferals living near our house, and came to the conclusion that, they had been hiding underneath mums car and were too afraid to jump out when she started it up. Unfortunately one died on the way to the RSPCA however despite a negative prognosis for the other one from the vets, the other one survived the night and continued to thrive over the next week. Unable to assure us that he would definitely be re homed we brought him home to foster him and ended up adopting him. We named him Lucky. He doesn't get on all that well with our female cats as they’re a lot older than him but we couldn't bear the chance that he may be euthanized as he deserved to live as he had clung so desperately to life.
So we have quite the full house, me, my mum, rob and bub and three ginger cats. Its been a real adjustment and there have been times where we have been unsure of whether we could even afford to pay the rent or our bills but we’re getting there slowly. I feel like living abroad can be somewhat glamorized and so I have endeavored to provide a real account of my experiences. A recurring theme of my blog has been the good and bad side of living in London. But now it’s the reality of coming home and losing that Independence of being an anonymous person in a big city. I have been caught out on a few occasions in Sydney braless with unkempt hair by old friends and associates (damn can’t do that here…) The safety and security of family is here but the independence is not. Probably one of the greatest parts of London was the freedom (or perceived freedom) But the pros far outweigh the cons here.
Being able to take Elijah to the beach even if he’s too young to quite understand it or pointing out the cockatoos sitting on our veranda of a morning. Being graced by the sunshine and enjoying drives around Sydney. Seeing how loved he is by everyone he meets and being spoiled rotten.
Despite the setbacks we have a renewed positivity here and we feel like we’re finally on the right track. When things get hard I see Elijah smile and I know in my heart we’re doing the right thing.