Those who know us well know that we get antsy – especially me (Dawn). We have been home for a year after our 6 month adventure last year in the Bahamas and Nicaragua and pretty much the minute we arrived home, the planning for the next adventure began. We loved cruising and sailing in the Bahamas and were contemplating what next. Then an opportunity for Paul to work overseas came up. Just like with our move to Malaysia, Paul forwarded me the email that his company was looking for someone to move to X. Just like Malaysia, my response was an immediate, “that sounds great”. So where is X?
This all got started last fall and there were lots of ups and downs and wondering if we would actually be going. Finally in the spring, it was all confirmed and we will leave Canada at the end of August. I have been to Australia, but not Melbourne, but every one I meet just raves about the city and it is supposed to be one of the most livable cities in the world. Unfortunately it is also one of the most expensive. Paul went in January and June this year and so he has gotten to know the city and really liked what he saw. I feel like we learned so much from our time as expats in Malaysia and I think I have a better idea of how to successfully transition and live overseas.
Common Questions We Get Asked:
The plan is for us to be there for 2 years.
What do you do about your house?
Just like when we went to Malaysia and last year when we were away, we will rent out our house. This time we really contemplated selling the house as it would be less hassle and ultimately Paul and I would like to move to a smaller house downtown. However, the kids were loud and clear that they really didn’t want us to sell the house. Yes, we listened to our kids and let them weigh in on a very important decision. This leads right into the next question.
How do the kids feel about the move?
Honestly, when the move was confirmed and we told them, 2 out of 3 of them were on the floor crying. Since the possibility of this move came up last fall, we were very open with the kids about the possibility. However, this year they have all really enjoyed being back at their school, in their routines and with their friends. Ella will be 9 this year and like many 9 year old girls, her friends are really important to her. So far she is also our homebody who doesn’t love change. If you asked her now how she feels, she will probably give you a sideways thumb – she is sad to be leaving, but I think she also knows that this is a fun adventure. The boys (at 5 and almost 7) are easier to transition and seem to have an easier time. This is why we opted to keep the house to provide some consistency for the kids and a familiar place to return home to. We totally recognize that our kids have not had the most stable and consistent young lives and that hasn’t necessarily been their choice, but ours. We both believe strongly in the value and benefits of travel and the opportunities that living overseas gives our children. But especially as they get older, we know we need to balance our wishes with theirs.
Where will you live in Melbourne?
We will rent in Melbourne and we would like to live in the inner suburbs (which in Australia means about 5 km outside the Central Business District, where Paul will work). In an ideal world, we would like to live somewhere close to amenities and transit, so that we can live without a car. Melbourne is expensive, especially since we want to live so centrally. We will be looking at smaller homes, but in a great location, and will still be spending a ton on rent. While we have been scouring the internet for rentals to get an idea of what we are looking for, we will wait until we arrive to find a place.
What about the kids and school?
School in Australia starts at the end of January. The kids will attend the local public school, but we will wait until January to put them into school. This will give us time to get settled and give us time to explore Melbourne and we have already booked a few weeks in Bali in the fall. Since this means the kids will be out of school for 7 months (what a great summer vacation!), I will do some informal homeschooling with them.
Will you work?
Not initially. I am really looking forward to having more time as I have found the pace of life too busy when I am working full time. I know eventually I will get bored at home with the kids all in school, but that is how it will be in the beginning. My visa does allow me to work and I eventually might try some supply teaching or something casual.
So you will arrive in Australia in August?
I mentioned that we are leaving Canada at the end of August, but why would we rush directly there? We are using the opportunity to travel for 6 weeks en route to Australia. It was hard to pick where we wanted to go and early front runners were Japan and the Philippines. But in the end we will spend a month in India, a new place for us and somewhere we have wanted to visit for a long time. We will also spend 4 nights in Amsterdam on the way to India because if our plane has to land there, we may as well visit for a few days. After India, we will have 5 nights in Bangkok because we love Southeast Asia so much, that we just had to spend a few days there. Since Ella and Gavin will both be celebrating birthdays on this trip, we let them choose where they wanted to go (choices were Bangkok, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur). Ella carefully researched options and they decided on Bangkok. We will arrive in Melbourne October 6th.
Some photos of Paul’s trips to Melbourne this year.