Australia & New Zealand Magazine Pt 2.
You will, no doubt, recall me announcing with some pride my appearance in the UK magazine Australia & New Zealand as a columnist in their series called Expat Diary.
If you haven’t yet read my first ever article to appear on the shelves in a national UK Magazine (gloat gloat, well, you’ve got to while you can) then you can read my reprinting of it over at my post BobinOz. Available at All Leading Newsagents Now!
Even if you have read it, you may want to refresh your memory because here comes part two of my summary of the early days following our move to Australia. This is where you get to find out exactly what that “greatest day of our Australian lives” was, just as I promised in that first article.
This is the picture that accompanied the article in the magazine……
….. you will notice I’m not in the picture with my friends. Well, that’s because I’ve never met those people before in my life! I didn’t send in any pictures of my friends for the magazine to use, so they used a stock photograph. But honest, I really do have friends.
Honest! Really I do……….
Here’s the article.
Allow me to the recap on where we were last time. We had arrived in Australia but we were alone, we had no furniture, we hated the house we’d bought on the Internet, our daughter, Elizabeth, was miserable and if that wasn’t enough, it was raining worse than it ever did back in England.
My guess is we weren’t the only people to move out here and feel like this. I was even wondering if I had stumbled upon the origins of the phrase “whingeing Pom”. But we didn’t want to be whingeing Poms; we wanted to be happy Poms. And we wanted to be happy here in Australia. So what did we do?
This is going to sound really stupid. We bought a telly! But not just any old television, this was a 50 inch plasma TV and watching it was like going to the cinema! But we didn’t stop there, we also signed up for Foxtel, the Australian equivalent of Sky. I could now watch more Premier League football than you could shake a stick at! Well, that was me sorted.
Next, we needed to deal with our decoratively challenged house. We got a quote from a painter and decorator. “$11,000” he said. “Thanks, I’ll do it myself” I said. And off I went to Bunnings, the only Australian DIY shed, to buy some stuff. On the way, I stopped off at the bank. Who did I bump into in the car park? The very painter and decorator I’d turned down earlier. I told him where I was going.
“No, No, No! Get your supplies from the same place I do. Tell them you are working with me and pay cash and you will get 30% discount on everything. And if you need a carpenter, ring this guy. He’s local and he’s really good.”
Wow! How friendly is that? And he’s still a friend today. I also telephoned his carpenter mate and he came round to do some work. On seeing my little daughter he said “Hey, I got a little girl the same age. I’ll get my wife to ring your wife and perhaps they can hang out or something”. And they did! And our two families are still best friends today. Crikey, (as we Aussies say) we’ve even been on holiday a couple of times together.
Then my wife joined a playgroup, with Elizabeth of course. More friends all round! This making friend’s lark is just too easy, why was it so hard in England?
January 21, after thirteen weeks, our furniture arrived. It was like three Christmases at once. Elizabeth got all of her toys back and her bedroom began to look like hers again. Then on January 27, she started at kindergarten. She made lots more new friends and all of a sudden, she was really happy.
Then it stopped raining! Have you any idea how difficult it is to be miserable when you wake up every day to crystal clear blue skies, with a bright shiny hot sun slap bang in the middle of it?
By the time it was Elizabeth’s fourth birthday, less than four months after we’d arrived in Australia, we had friends, we had furniture, we were beginning to like the house, we had a happy daughter, we had great weather and….. we had a party.
About 25 children turned up and who knows how many adults. We had a fantastic day, Elizabeth loved it and we made even more friends. And at the end of it all, my wife and I flopped down into our settee, yes, we had a settee again, and we looked at each other and just went “WOW!”
That’s when we knew Australia was OUR home. Brilliant! I stuck the footy on the box.
Buy your copy at newsagents now! Or check out the Australia & New Zealand website where you can order it online.
Do you recognise the background? Yes, of course, it’s Bondi Beach.