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5months down under


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Hi Everyone,


Hope you are all well.  Welcome to a long overdue update on our relocation… its an edit of the letter I emailed to family/friends, plus some recap - for those that are interested and gathering research/sourcing answers to questions.


My heart goes out to forumites that have experienced difficulties in Aus.  I can empathize with your situations much better now than ever before, and it is brutal to have to endure.    I am guilty of reading and feeling the emotion with which other posts have been written, and then not responding them.   But know that if it is read, it is thought of and felt, and much love is sent! 


Here we are in June 2016 already, and entering our 5th month in Aus.  Time has flown by, and when we look back we’ve actually done quite a bit in the short time we’ve been here.  Homesickness does drag it all out somewhat, and we miss RSA very much.  The kids and DH are in the thick of it, me too a bit more now that I’m occupying my days with working which makes it a little easier (to not dwell on the missing….)  


We are in regional NSW where my hubbie got work.  We were given temporary accommodation to start, which served as our relocation allowance.  We are still staying in the same house, and have signed a long-term lease now.  It works out well and is close to work, and schools.   It is quite cold at the moment (Coffs).  The houses here are so different to South Africa, but like SA are not equipped for the cold.  It would help if we had more clothes and blankets but they are all still waiting to be shipped.  Luckily the winters are short, so by August/Sept the cold should be a memory.  This house is brick on the outside and then the inside walls are cardboard.  No just kidding, not cardboard.  It’s a hardboard, a little bit thicker than cardboard.  But not much!  All in all feels a bit fragile (to me) even though it’s an old house and has stood for years  lol:D kidding! :P   Still, s'affers can count themselves very lucky with their brick houses, I think it may have a lot to do with cost of, and labour availability - being that it is much quicker and takes less labour to put up drywalling than lay bricks for internal walls, perhaps?  From our own building experience, albeit in RSA, drywalling is as expensive as brick.


DH is enjoying his work and its challenges.  Our Dom, such a boffin, and he is learning new things again!  By the end of it all there won’t be a thing the King won’t know ;)   - DH is in IT – and it’s been an awesome move for him career wise!


My daughter of 14 is doing really well at school.  This term she came top in her grade for Art, in the top 3 for Maths, and second in her class for English.  She is very proud of her high marks.  A good start to high school!   (Waldorf/Steiner for the win!)  She skypes her BFF in RSA regularly, and is still on chats with old school friends.  She has made some nice new friends too, and finds the opportunities to pursue music and drama here much more accessible and exciting.  She has a job too!  She is working at the local bakery – she works some shifts after school, from 4-5pm, doing the close-clean-up; and also works a 4hr shift on a Saturday/Sunday which is part cleaning/part serving customers.   Needless to say, she does dishes and cleans floors at work, so I feel bad to ask her to do same at home K  but then I succumb to the fact that she does need practice at home too, and she is quite good at it ;)   Anyhoo, work makes her tired but she loves having a job and earning money – the big laugh comes when she makes teenage demands at items that just must be had, and we ask her if she’d spend her own money on said item.  Quite often the answer is no, or a wide-eyed southpark stare :huh: lol:D

To be fair, for the most part, we all pull together quite well with the housework.  It feels so easy actually, but I think its because we are still living with borrowed things, so we have much less than we’d actually live with if all our stuff was here.   Like in the kitchen, we only have a couple of pots, and 4setting simple dinner service, a couple of other dishes.  There are more wine glasses than any other item actually :D and wine, which I’ve never drunk before, has become a bit of a regular thing.  It makes me feel happier?! :oh, is that kinda sad  K  Aaaanyway,  when all our stuff arrives it may collect more dust, but it is going to be nice to live with it all when we can eventually get it here.

There is a Steiner primary school but we couldn’t afford to commit to it when we first moved here. I wish there were a Steiner school to yr13 for us.   There is a Steiner primary school but we couldn’t afford to commit to it when we first moved here.  My son of 11 is happy at the local public school, and is also doing fine academically, although it’s a bit hard to gauge just how well on the academics side of things.  I think public school doesn’t offer the best on that front.  We’ll have to wait for a report to see.  On the sports side though he is doing very well.  He has been scouted to play all rugby’s.  His first choice is Rugby Union.  We weren’t’ sure his age group could play so he signed up for Rugby League, and tried his hand at AFL but didn’t make the side.  He didn’t enjoy League too much, but it was all he had so he did his best.  When Rugby Union opened up there was no holding him back from that.  After playing a school AFL game, he was spotted and called onto the club side by their coach.  So he had to give up one otherwise between matches and practices he would be playing rugby Mon-Sun!!!  Gees!! How did that happen??  Rugby isn’t even his ‘main’ sport.  So now he is only playing Union and AFL, and surfing and skating in-between.  

Personally, I would like him to get over rugby asap!!!   I know surfing and skating aren’t hundreds-safe either but at least one isn’t dependent on the sense of other teammates.   He’s also joined the chess club, which I think will also help his golf game.   There are some kids clubs in the container which I’d love him to try, I think he’ll be good at this game and the idea of him walking around a golf green makes me sleep better.  Lol!  Also, I need to put him to work earning millions of dollars asap :P

Bullying seems to be a real problem but I also think it has everything to do with the developmental ages the boys are at, I remember this being an issue amongst the boys in my daughters 5 & 6yr classes.   There is a particular boy of aboriginal decent – aboriginals, or even a small% connection, seems to equal ‘untouchable’ - it’s really quite sad because it just puts their community into further dysfunction when the adults in the situation ‘fear to tread’ and these kids are allowed to call the shots L Surprisingly, racism was never an issue for us in RSA, and now we’re living here suddenly we have to have these discussions.  Besides all that drama but ;) he has a great group of mates that live locally, is happy and has fun every single day.


We’ve been really lucky on the vehicle front too.  Up to a few weeks ago, we were borrowing a car from DH’s manager at work, and we are also quite friendly socially.  And a friend of ours came across a bargain buy in Canberra – a little Mazda 121 (1996) for $800 – in fair condition with low mileage (134000km) for its 20yrs – she bought it for us on a pay-it-forward basis, and so that we could be less dependent and own our own car.   So awesome!  We feel really blessed.   I caught the plane to Canberra and we road-tripped it back here for the weekend.  We had a great road trip.  It’s a cute little car; roadworthy with new tyres, just needs some fixing/tweaking here and there.  And then we also bought a Honda CRV (2004) ($6000-loan) a few weeks before.  We love our CRV.  DH fixed all the loose things on it, and it is just like new.  It’s awesome.  Best car!!!

It was really awesome to see my friend.  To see someone from RSA here makes here more ok, in a weird way. 

Rego (registration) is due now in July and August – that’s about the most expensive part of the whole exercise.    As I understand it and fyi to some, each year you have to have the car serviced, pay for your insurance annually, and your registration for the year.  My friend at work who just moved from out of state just spent $1500 on getting her car all papered up – so some saving to do there.   On the upside, we now have 2 cars - so come and visit; we have a car for you to drive.    All this car purchasing happened to happen over the same time!!   Amazing ;) !! 


Back in RSA we have a loving family renting our house, which helps heaps in covering some of the costs!!  It has been difficult to keep two households going, and on only one wage (60k start, now 70k after review, next review soon).  We basically just dug ourselves a little deeper into that crappy red space.   The sale of the house was set to fund pets and containers coming across.  This has not happened.  Our cats have been in a cattery since we left.  the same friend that we are renting our house out too is also looking after our pets.   The dog and the cats are so happy to be reunited – very special we are very grateful the situation has worked out this way.    We still have to send money to RSA, so it is helping a lot now that I am working and earning too and we’re working hard to get on top of all the debt we’ve managed to rake up.  The house is also still on the market.   


I have temp work, helping with backlog filing, and it is going fine.   It’s not the best work but it is work. There is a management changeover at the moment, an episode you may have seen before – lots of tension, and distrust, and whispering –….  ah, if people were just nice to each other so much more would get done and so much knowledge would be shared! I pretty much keep to myself and try to keep up with my work.  My weekly pay injection gives me the hope to keep on keeping on! Despite all the office politics, the people are very nice.   

All is on track for a new job start in August which will mean a walk to work, now that we have all these vehicles K – I am filling in for someone who is going on maternity leave.  It’s not permanent but it is for a long(ish) term and working for a really nice guy I used to work for in jhb :o Wonderful!!  Looking forward to that! 


Anyway that’s about all our news and basic goings-on. 


P.S.We didn’t have TV for years, back in RSA.  We have TV now though, and it has been nice to watch programs and the news, adverts even, to get to see what Aus is about.  It does suck you in though, and I am already heavily attached to programs like House Rules :D For those of you that have TV, if you’re keeping up with The Voice Australia, get those votes in for Adam Ladell :whome: making South Africa and Durban proud :ilikeit:  


And!!!  Jeremy Loops is planning a tour to Aus in November 2016 to a city near you ;) 


edit: typO's & spacing x

Edited by MelG
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Hi Mel, thanks so much for taking the time to update us on your life here in Oz. I think reading peoples journals is one of my favourite parts of this group. What people are able to overcome and accomplish in such a short time is really inspirational. I am glad that we are not the only ones that have not sent for our container straight away. We have been in Melbourne 8 month's now and our furniture is still back in our old SA apartment. I guess our situation is quite different to most as we have the advantage in that the apartment is owned by my in-laws who have not charged us any rent during this time. We wants to make sure we were really settled in one place before shipping, in hindsight this has worked out really well for a few reasons, 1 we are now moving States, from Melbourne to WA and 2 we have been able to add items that we want put onto the container. My mother in law has been buying things that are cheaper in SA. So it has worked out ok for us. I like you though cannot wait to our furniture to arrive. We have also been living off borrowed items and I chuckled to myself when you spoke about having little in terms of dishes and glasses. I didn't want to buy too much in Australia when we had so much to arrive. So yes we live with the necessities of life. But life is good.


Thanks so much again for your post and all the best ?

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Hey Emma,  


Ye I can't wait for our things to get here.  In hindsight there is much I wouldn't have brought but it's all packed now so coming it is .,., soooooon!!   That's nice that your mom is filling up with things from SA.  Awesome actually.    And what a blessing not to have to move it all cross -country.  Isn't it amazing how things work out!?!!  I'm sure there is a blessing for us in it all too, i don't wanna move but ;) 

Life is good, but i'd love to have my things.  Also not buying anything cos we have so much already, albeit not here.  Poor hubby stares longingly at guitars, but no ways!  We have 6! coming :D  And my clothes, :oh my clothes :))     My mom is coming in November to visit, and there are few small things I am adding to her packing.   


Best of luck with your move.   :D I feel like us s'affers are like the voortrekkers of old, or the workforce of Zim (sending provi$ions home:) - we have it so much easier on both fronts though ~()~ 

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