The move to Australia has been a long time coming but now that I’m here it all feels very abrupt.
The Englishman got wind of a potential Sydney posting months ago so we’ve had plenty of time to get used to the idea. But no matter how organized the packing job, or how much advance planning you do, I’m not sure it’s possible to totally prepare for a move like the one we’ve just done.
Even for the seasoned traveler, this latest trip has been a challenge. It probably didn’t help that the weeks before our departure were utterly chaotic.
We spent one final week in dreamy Algajola, our favorite Corsican vacation spot, and then it was a whirlwind tour of the west coast of the US, London, and the North of England to see friends and family and sort out work logistics and an inexplicably stressful few hours at Heathrow Airport before finally getting on board the 22 hour plane journey that would take us to our new and distant home.
Upon arrival, I was alarmed to find my ankles had swelled to twice their normal size, and worried what other havoc all the time in the air had wreaked on my body, but thankfully everything seems to have returned to normal.
We left a record-breaking heat wave in London and arrived in the depths of Sydney’s winter – which was about the same temperature.
We were greeted here with blue skies and mild sunny days, and since arriving I haven’t reached for a coat once.
And the weather isn’t the only pleasant thing on offer here. The incredibly diverse offering of fresh and authentic of Asian food and the overwhelmingly tropical landscape here reminds me of my childhood in Hawaii.
And the stunning water views of the Opera House and the imposing Harbor Bridge are reminiscent of the San Francisco Bay with its own arching wonder of engineering.
So even though I find myself very far from everything familiar to me, I do feel oddly comfortable here.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been house hunting, and as soon as we got here, we were thrown into the Sydney rental market, which I quickly discovered to be cut throat and immensely competitive scene. But we persevered through miniscule kitchens moldy bathrooms and outrageous prices and have finally found our little temporary dream house.
After living apart for so long, the Englishman and I find ourselves living and working in incredibly close quarters, which is a definite shock to the system.
For the past few years we have been functioning with an abundance of time and distance between us and now all at once, we are sharing a very small living space – a beautiful yet tiny studio we are staying in until we can move into our house, and working space – the broom closet that is the BBC’s Sydney Office.
So there is a lot to get used to in our antipodean life. And I find the contradiction of the massive size of this new country and our experiences so far of sharing a tiny sliver of it amusing.
We are also sharing our new home with a plethora of unusual birds. One of the most striking things about being here so far, are the many species of birds that are constantly flapping and meandering around.
The Ibis in particular with their long spindly beaks and impressive wing span look almost prehistoric and seem so out of place crossing a big city road or poking around picnickers in the many, many expansive parks throughout the city.
Having never really even given Australia any thought until moving here, I am finding it to be a welcoming and inviting place. Good weather goes a long way in my book and the vast blue skies, seemingly endless green spaces and of course the majestic coastline have already won me over.
The wonderful food, friendly people, and inexplicably good thrift stores and flea markets are icing on the cake.
With two months down and many more to come, I am looking forward to exploring this giant country and I am prepared to be surprised.