Would you believe it? Little old BobinOz has gone into print. Yes, I’m on shelves. I think it is only in the UK, but I’m on sale in newsagents and I’m even available in Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s. And it’s a right riveting read..
No, I haven’t written a book but I have started to write full page monthly article called “Expat Diary” in a magazine. The magazine, which is called Australia and New Zealand, is essential reading for anyone thinking of moving down under.
Now I should have been bragging about this a while ago, I think it’s been out for about three weeks now, but I actually forgot. That was until I got an email from one of my readers, Chris.
He said “Hi Bob, just read your article in the July issue of Australia & New Zealand magazine, recognised your pic straight away, I said to myself “That’s Bob” and read on with interest……”
As I said in my reply to Chris “Hahaha! Fame at last! Now what I am waiting for is for someone to walk up to me when I am standing in a queue at the post-office or something and say “good Lord, aren’t you BobinOz?”
Fame at last indeed! But I’m not letting it go to my head. Anyone wanting my autograph is most welcome to stop me and ask and I’ll see what I can do.
So what did I write about? This….
Can’t quite read it? Okay, here’s the whole article in full. For those of you who have read my entire series on Moving to Australia I don’t think you’ll discover anything new, but you will get a very fast paced summary of our first months of life in Australia. For those who haven’t read my entire series on Moving to Australia, where have you been?
Here’s the article…..
Prepare for landing!
It was November 2007 when we were finally flying over Australian soil, preparing to land at Brisbane’s International Airport, clutching our visas and one-way tickets. The final step of the process was to validate the visas by entering the country.
As the officer at our control point leafed through our passports, I was strangely expecting to hear the words “I’m sorry sir, there seems to be some kind of mistake…..”
But I didn’t and we were in! As we passed through the checkpoint, struggling with our double luggage allowance, we knew we were now officially “Australian residents”.
Even more exciting, within two days of our arrival we were going to be picking up the keys to our new house. We had promised ourselves we wouldn’t do it, we would just look online, see what was available.
We liked one house a great deal from the very first and even more so when the price was reduced. So we spoke with the realtor and checked it out. But in the end, we stood firm. “Buying a house on the Internet would be stupid” we both agreed.
Weeks later, a call from the estate agent. “The seller is keen to do a deal before he returns to Taiwan next week, why don’t you make a silly offer?” he suggested. So we did. And we’d bought it! What a great idea this was, it’s saved wasting money in rented for 6 months and from having to move twice and pay two removal fees.
What could possibly go wrong?
On the Friday, when we picked up the keys, we found out. The house had been tastefully decorated with 18 sets of pink curtains, 14 sets of fluorescent lights, brown smoked glass mirrors (full length) stuck to the walls in three locations and gold rimmed smoked glass doors on all showers and walk in wardrobes.
Strangely, none of the Real Estate pictures had picked up on these details.
We were told the house had been empty for five months. Not strictly true. You know all those spiders and other creepy crawlies that almost put you off coming to Australia? They love vacant possession and they’d all moved in.
No wonder the place didn’t sell to anyone who HAD seen it.
More bad news. Our removal company, who’d collected all of our furniture on October 23, had said we would almost certainly receive our worldly goods before Christmas. I can tell you with even greater certainty that we didn’t.
Even more bad news. Our little girl was pining for home, big time. She missed her friends, her old bedroom, her toys, her playschool and she missed her proper home.
She was miserable.
We’d bought a sat nav so we could find our way around and Elizabeth actually asked if we could set it to take us back to our old house. She would also say things like “I think I’ve left something behind in our old home, can we go and look for it?”
So to sum up, we were sharing a house, which we secretly hated, with critters, we had no furniture, our daughter was unhappy and to top it all, it had started raining. Relentlessly, everyday, non stop. All in all, things weren’t so good.
But in an amazing turnaround and testimony to how welcoming this country is, within four months we all had what was, and probably still is, the greatest day of our Australian lives. We had friends, we had fun, Elizabeth was happy and it was the day we knew Australia was home and we’ve never looked back since.
Everything fell into place easily, like a kid’s jigsaw, you know, not many pieces but all quite big. I’ll explain those pieces next time.
There. Now I suspect you all want to know what the greatest day of our Australian lives was. Well, at least I hope you do. You could go down to the newsagents and buy a copy of the August edition of Australia and New Zealand magazine. It’s only £3.99.
Or you could keep swinging by this website because I will post my next magazine article in about a month’s time.