I wrote about the concept of the “three-year itch” about six months ago in my post called Moving to Australia and Missing England.
Well, I say “wrote”, but it was more of a video post. But when I decided to cover the same subject for a recent Australia and New Zealand magazine article, I couldn’t just send them the video, could I?
So I wrote about it and this is what went to print in the May edition of the magazine.
The Three Year Itch.
My wife, daughter and I have now lived in Australia for just over three years. I’d heard about the “three-year itch”. Apparently, it is after this period of time that us Brits start pining to return back to “home”. So how are we all feeling about that? First, let’s recap on the story so far.
In October 2007 we packed all of our worldly goods in one great big container and sent it in the direction of Australia. 16 days later we were on a one-way flight to Brisbane.
But our first four months in Australia were tough, we had no furniture, no friends and it didn’t stop raining. I missed the pub, my football and the taste of great British beer. My wife missed her family and friends and my daughter, Elizabeth, wanted her toys back.
Our new house was a mess but at least the swimming pool was fun. But eventually our furniture (and toys) arrived, Elizabeth started school and we all started to make new friends. The sun came out and we went to the beach.
We went on an amazing Australian road trip from Brisbane, to Sydney, Melbourne and then along the Great Ocean Road before returning back home through some major inland towns.
We discovered the beauty of camping, we especially enjoyed our week on Stradbroke Island, it was like going back in time 20 years. It was a land of wild kangaroos, koalas and no traffic lights. But after a long period of great weather, heavy rains returned. Very heavy rains! In our short time of living here, we’ve come to understand that Australia is certainly a country of extremes and disasters.
Whilst we’ve been here we’ve had devastating bushfires in Victoria. A massive storm cell that ripped through an area known as The Gap, just 10 km or so from where we live. We’ve had cyclones and some of the worst flooding this world has ever seen.
We’ve even had non-weather related disasters. Like the major oil spill off the Sunshine Coast. Then we had some idiot try to take a shortcut across the Great Barrier Reef in a tanker loaded with 650,000 tonnes of coal. Perhaps he wasn’t aware he was travelling through a World Heritage listed area and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
These days, the mental image we had of Australia being a sun kissed paradise that’s hot, sunny with clear blue skies has certainly been replaced by the reality of what can sometimes be a very harsh environment. And now, here we are at the 3 year stage, we are at the “three year itch”.
So have we had enough of Australia? Are we pining to go back to the UK? To answer that question, I have had to dig deep and revive an old Cockney slang term. Not on your Nelly! For those of you who are not cockneys, here are some synonyms.
Not in a million years; not likely; not on your life; no way; no way José; when pigs fly and finally, not for all the tea in China. Australia is now our “home”. Pubs have been replaced by BBQ’s and parties. I’m playing football again and we have friends and toys.
We’re staying put.
This is not the magazine, this is the blog. So you can have the video as well…….