I don't post on here like I used to years ago when going through the visa process but still read things very regularly. Hoping that a bit of an update may be helpful for some.
So, we moved from a small village in Essex to Gold Coast in August 2014 after many many years going through the visa process (since 2005 !!). My struggles with AHPRA are well documented in my previous posts from years back so I wont bore you with that. Suffice to say it was never a decision to come here that we took lightly lol
Hubby and I (nurse), 2 boys aged 11 and 8 when we moved and a dog. I was lucky in that I applied for a job with Qld Health before we arrived, interviewed by phone and actually got 2 job offers. Major stresses with selling the house and all the usual emotional pressure before we left - (my car blew up on the motorway 5 hours into taking the dog to quarantine a couple of days before we flew !!!) stress much !!
We stayed in a lovely dog friendly house in Brisbane for the first month while we decided where to live. I started work within a few days and we did all the initial banks / Medicare stuff easily. Hubby had been so busy at work for years before we came out - long commutes and long days. Leaving home at 5am and returning 9pm every day, so we decided that I would work and he would do childcare / looking after house and spending some well earned time with the kids. That was by far such a fantastic choice and we appreciate we were lucky to have that choice. He has done so much with the boys and has really had a ball. I'm so glad and grateful he has been able to do that.
The job offer I took up is on the southern fringes of Brisbane, so we settled for our first year in Coomera. Coomera has a bit of a rep locally and agreed there are some not very pleasant pockets, but where we were was a body corp estate with roving security patrols and a swimming pool complex / gym etc. It suited us very well for the first year as reasonably close to work, a good school nearby and close to theme parks and the hinterland, northern NSW etc etc - too much to list.
Hubby stayed at home for 9 months and then found work - it is casual but that is our choice for now as he always gets regular work and we plan it around my shifts and all the boys social engagements !! We are now settled and he will start looking for something permanent soon.
I/m still in the same job from when I started in 2014. I don't love it - but its a good job and I know I'm very lucky to have a full time and permanent contract. I get to go to work in jeans, lovely air con, nice colleagues and good pay. I was top of band 6 nursing scale back in the UK. I'm now just on the RN scale (choice as I've had opportunity for promotion) and take home over the 100k mark which is just amazing. In addition to that, I love that I get accrued study leave - it was always difficult to get study leave in th UK due to funding. I also get a lump sum paid in my wages twice a year to go towards training or study. I'm also very much looking forward to long service leave when ive been here long enough !
The children have settled really well now and have plenty of mates and are heavily into soccer. The youngest did take longer and only now is saying that he loves Australia very much - many times I found him cradling a photo of his old soccer team and sobbing. It broke my heart at the time and I thought OMG what have I done to my poor children. The eldest barely had a backward glance and has raved about it ever since we landed.
At the beginning of 2015 we started looking at buying a house. We only had a small deposit as we lost money on the UK house when we sold and also all the setting up costs etc etc over here took a big dent. We knew we didn't want to buy in Coomera, the area is developing so fast and the new Westfield development here as well as the "new Southbank" will be great. However for us buying a house that although is lovely, new spacious etc is great, we wanted something a bit different than rows and rows of houses on tiny blocks all the same.
We worried so much about whether we woud be accepted for a mortgage with only me working and a small deposit plus we'd been turned down for credit when trying to get a laptop 3 months after arriving. We bought one car outright when we first arrived but needed a 2nd car for when both of us were working so applied and were successful in gaining car finance - not a new car, just something reliable. We mistakenly though if we had car finance and showed that we are good payers that this would go for us when applying for a mortgae - durrr it did the opposite as it cut down the amount we could borrow for a home loan. We approached 2 mortgage brokers in June last year - one laughed us out the office and said with our deposit and just me working not a chance !!! I went home and cried for hours and drank too much wine before i picked myself up and we went to another broker. Totally different and we got mortgage pre approval within a few days. We didnt have a huge budget obviously but thats fine - we are not McMansion people plus we liked the idea of having a small mortgage - more money for enjoying life !!
We fell in love with Tamborine Mountain from a tv programme that (the gorgeous) Phil Spencer did years ago. We made sure we visited on our reccie in 2012 and since we moved, just found ourselves gravitating towards there all the time - so thats where we bought - our beautiful little quirky cottage with a wraparound veranda (my must have). We back onto the rainforest, have half acre with a creek far below, peaceful and quiet oh and a huge renovation to do lol, but its perfectly liveable for now. We are doing bits and pieces as we go along and loving every minute. I know its really soppy buu I love the mountain so much and the beauty up here makes me so emotional every day. i consider myself the luckiest girl in thw world to live somewhere so amazing.
The boys settled well into their new schools - at the start of the soccer season last year we enrolled them into teams up here so they would make friends locally and therefore be happier to leave the Coomera schools - it worked a treat. The youngest goes to one of the 2 primary schools up here. Its much like his UK village school - very community minded and small, only 200 ish pupils. The one in Coomera had 1000!!!. My eldest is a bit brainy and won a scholarship to the local private school which he loves. They both have an amazing social life! Hubby and I have just started taking steps to give a bit back to the community - he has joined the SES and I have just done some basic training with Wildcare
Commuting to work - we worried about this re the distance, but have both been doing it every day since August. We both work shifts so never stuck in traffic. It takes me 50 mins door to door which is on a par with my 5k trip to work in the UK in rush hour ! We both use it as a chill out time, listening to loud music etc. For us the commute is the trade off but its so worth it to travel a bit extra but to get to live where we do.
Fauna - We expect a lot for where we are - lots of huntsman but no redbacks. Several pythons - one wrapped around the veranda post for a few day at Xmas - we left him be until he started eating the lorikeets which upset the kids - I know it happens and that's life, I just don't want to see the drama played out in front of my eyes !!. Hubby sprayed him with a little water and he slithered off into the forest. We had a brown coloured snake laying at our front door - hubby screamed like a girl and we called the snake catcher as we were'nt sure if he was a brown - turns out he was just a brown tree snake but better safe than sorry. Lots of beautiful birds, bush turkeys, possums, goannas and a couple of wallabies.
We've had so many trips out, time away, lunches and picnics, we just seem to have the time to do it here. There are so many amazing places within reach - we could never be bored. My parents have just been over from the UK. We took them up to Fraser Island, Tangalooma, a few days in Maleny, Noosa, Springbrook, Surfers, theme parks, boating on the Tweed River and so many other amazing places.
The weather - Can be the best and worst! Lovely to have blue skies nearly all the time and feel warmth on your skin, lovely to be cold enough on winter evenings at least up here to have the log burner going and to go to a pub with a real fire. The most fantastic storms with crazy lighting shows. On the flip side the weather can be scary. Those storms are amazing to watch from your home but can be terrifying if out in it with super heavy rain and the hail wow that's something else. There's been a few days where I've though phew its a bit too hot, but to be honest its nowhere near as bad as i thought. Yes it can be a bit relentless at times but everywhere's set up for it. I don't feel its stopped us from anything apart from doing some hiking in the National Parks which we will do now the cooler weather is arriving.
Financially we are better off here even with hubby working part time and all the trips out etc. We lived month to month in the Uk but thankfully don't do that now which is lovely.
The only down side for me is family. None of us have been homesick at any point. I remember at the 3 month mark waiting for it to happen and it never did, I know we are very lucky with that. Since weve been over here I've missed the birth of my nephew and obviously other family get togethers. I still say that my only thing against emigration is the awful guilt I feel. My whole working life as a nurse has been about looking after other people and making people feel better. So when my mum and day cry because we and their grandchildren are here and they are there its the worst feeling in the world. By us being here I have broken their hearts and made them cry, they have never tried to stop us but I know how heartbroken they are and for that, the guilt I feel is terrible and will alway haunt me i think. I try not to think about it as if I did I just dont know. We all miss our friends and other family members of course but nowhere near as much as I though we would.
We feel maybe a trip to the UK will be on the cards this year or next but although I would love to see everyone, I don't really feel I want or need to go back for a holiday at the moment. It will take all of our leave, cost 10k$ for flights and there are so many places I want to visit here, so we will see.
Wow sorry that's a bit of an essay - I reckon people have fallen asleep by now. To sum up, yes we are Oz lovers, we put too much time and money and effort into this for it to be something not to stick at and it never has been. I know we are lucky in that my small family and I all love it and are happy here. We have thrown ourselves into living and experiencing life here and right now wouldnt want to be anywhere else. I love love love it here. Who knows what's round the corner though ?? We were never unhappy in the UK either though and certainly werent running away from life there, we just wanted to experience life in Australia. We had previously travelled extensively through the UK and Europe so we don't miss that aspect.
Anyway i will sign off there and am going to try and contribute a bit more to the forum. If I can help anyone with anything else pls let me know