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Let’s get straight to the big news of the month. You have probably heard me stress over what is next for our family: do we stay in Australia as expats longer or head back to Canada. We have spent months weighing out each of our options, rehashing our priorities and debating what we should do. Starting 2018 without any clear plans (or trips!) was hard and I do not handle indecision well.
WE HAVE MADE A DECISION! We are leaving Australia at the end of June to move back to Canada in time to start school and work in September. This was so not an easy decision to make!
We have come to really love our Australian lives here and at 1.5 years into it, we have just started to feel truly settled in the last 6 months. There are so many things we love about Australia, Melbourne and our life here. Here is a sampling:
- the mild climate – we are outside all of the time
- living in one of the world’s coolest cities – awesome public transit, parks and services, amazing restaurants….
- Aussie culture – everything feels more relaxed here with its “no worries” attitude
- our local school – amazing community, progressive educational strategies and even having uniforms
- amazing places to explore on weekends and holidays – this is my fav thing about being expats: the ability to explore and travel, from a home base
- camping – we have really gotten into camping while we have been here
It does feel so good to be able to move forward and live our lives without the constant dialogue of what next. We have just less than 5 months here in Melbourne to really dig in and appreciate the things we love here. I know it will go by incredibly fast and I know that change is always hard, but I am super excited for what the next year has to bring.
Did you read our December 2017 Update?
Our 2018 Plans
It feels so good to type that! As a planner, not knowing when we and if we were moving or even what trips we would be taking this year wasn’t fun.
Easter – we are doing an epic road trip from Melbourne to Uluru in a Land Cruiser. We figure we have driven from Toronto to Disney World, so we are ready for this! Our Land Cruiser has a roof-top tent, making us super hard-core and 100% Aussie.
July & August – we never like to transition directly from one thing to the next, so we will be traveling for two months on our way back to Canada. Over a month into 2018 and I finally get to do some travel planning, my favourite hobby! Our plans are fluid, but we will definitely be visiting Malaysia and Indonesia. Miles (and all of the kids) are really excited to revisit Ipoh, where we lived in Malaysia, as well as some of our other Malaysian favourite places. We will get to Bali, but want to visit Indonesia beyond Bali and hopefully do a week volunteering on Java. Ella is obsessed with all things Percy Jackson and Greek mythology so we have promised her some time in Athens. We have thrown around the idea of a quick tour through the Balkans. Lastly we will finish up with some time connecting with friends and family in England and celebrating Paul’s cousin’s wedding.
September – back to school and work for ALL of us. I am sure I will write a blog later about how drastically my life (and all of our lives) will change when we revert to a two working parent family. But, we have plans…that’s all I am saying!
So with the big announcement out of the way, let’s re-cap our highlights from the month. January is school summer holidays in Oz and while we had nothing big planned, we made full use of it. With Paul mostly back at work after Christmas, it was lots of me and the kids 24/7. Which of course is really lovely and I definitely feel blessed to have the time with them…but it was tiring! Luckily we were all quite happy when it was time to head back to school at the end of the month.
Melbourne, we love you!
The longer we spend here, the more I feel head over heels in love with this city. I never get tired of going into the CBD and always get a buzz from the awesome vibe the city possesses.
Not one to keep the kids at home over the holidays, we did lots of day trips into the city. I am not normally an art person, but one of the highlights was the amazing free Triennial exhibit at the National Gallery of Victoria. Huge, large-scale art pieces kept even the kids engaged with thought provoking discussions on global migration, consumerism and the role of technology in our lives.
The kids did a free circus workshop in the Botanic Gardens, which was super fun. We had some play dates and bicycled through some parks around us. We had some pretty long Monopoly games. We dog walked daily for our neighbours that were in Canada (and we really missed them!). We went to the movies and trampoline parks and then all of a sudden, it was over!
I love experiential gifts and my brother’s family gave us surfing lessons for Christmas. Isn’t that so appropriate for us Canadians living in Australia? For some reason we chose a really hot (40 degree day) on a weekend during summer holidays to use our voucher. The water was literally alive with people everywhere! The kids and Paul did great at their lessons regardless, but I opted to use mine at a less busy time.
Melbourne weather is notorious and “four seasons in one day” is often lamented to describe it. Another Melbourne weather phenomenon is the “cool change”. Within an hour, the temperature can drop 15 degrees when the cool change comes through. It doesn’t sound that strange, but it is the weirdest thing to experience. The hot northern air coming off the outback suddenly switches to the cold air coming off the ocean from Antarctica, and wham, cool drop. Every one loves to talk and predict at specifically what time the cool drop will come through on the given day. While we were out at the beach doing our surfing lesson, the cool change swept through, dropping from 40, down to 20!
A Week Camping
We didn’t have any major trips during the school holidays, but we did have a week camping at one of our favourite National Parks in Victoria, Wilson’s Prom. This place is so popular that we had to enter a lottery for a campsite last year in June.
While the actual campsites aren’t very private (think a big huge parking lot), the beach, river and hikes totally make up for it. We usually camp on weekends and it felt so luxurious to have a full week in one location. As an added bonus, Ella’s good school friend was at the campsite directly beside us.
We spent the days swimming at the beach, coercing the kids into some hikes and relaxing. I love how our kids make friends with other kids whenever we go camping and they can be so independent roaming the campground on their own. This campground even has a pretty slick outdoor cinema, where we saw the awesome new Jumanji movie.
Back to School
School started back at the end of the month and while we were sad to see our lazy summer days end, every one was quite excited for the return to school. The kids are 6 months behind their Canadian grade levels, so they were very excited to finally start Grades 5, 3 and 1. I was excited to have some more time to myself and be able to get back to the blog. The kids have had a great start with lovely teachers and are really excited for what the rest of the year brings.
Top Instagram Posts in January
Our most popular posts on Instagram were definitely some of my favourite photos from January. They all showcase classic Australian summer activities and remind me what great holidays we had in January.
Posts Published this Month:
Given that the kids were home with me all of January, I am actually impressed that I managed to get any posts done! Don’t forget to check out our 2017 Travel Year in Review where we share our best beaches, adventures, campsites and more from 2017.
- Family Travel Planning – Our Methods – we share our tips for how we plan amazing family trips
- The Best Campsites Near Melbourne – we have seen a lot of Victoria and these are our favourites
- 57 Countries in Photos – a photo from each of the countries we have been to
- Kerala Itinerary and Highlights – itinerary suggestions for a trip to Kerala, India