We arrived in Melbourne one week before Christmas. Starting our new lives in Australia during the Christmas holidays, it couldn’t be more perfect. And, most importantly, it was the middle of Australian summer.
And yes, it was a dreamy Australian Christmas. Melting in 35 degrees on a horse farm in the countryside, having a barbecue and delicious salads like only Australians can make them.
The holidays and catching up with everyone kept me and my partner very busy the first weeks. However, then the question rose, what to do now?
I did not have much time to think about what to do in Australia before I left. Which, in hindsight, might have been a mistake.
I would advise everyone making a big move, to have something planned for the first months after you arrive, to make transition easier. Make travel plans, arrange an internship, already find a job, anything.
James found a job when still in Belgium and was starting at the National Australian Bank one month after we arrived. I probably should have looked a bit sooner as well, as I did not expect the job hunt to be as difficult and frustrating as it was.
When he started work, it was time for me to find something to do, I have always lived a very busy life, and I suddenly had all this spare time.
I started doing everything I never had the time for in Belgium. Binge watching a whole Netflix series. Reading books for hours in the sun. Going for adventurous walks. Sporting more and starting a yoga class. However, this was not enough.
I needed a job, but I wasn’t allowed to work yet on my visa. I decided to do some volunteering. I always wanted to help people living in poverty.
I searched and found a fantastic organisation, helping people experiencing homelessness, that welcomed my skills in strategic communication.
Having something to do during the day was a welcome change. I was meeting interesting people and doing exciting work in this volunteering opportunity.
The first months in Australia were overwhelming. I always wanted to live in another country, not necessarily as far, but it was harder than expected.
To anyone making a big move. Expect the first weeks or months to be difficult. Especially when you move to your partner’s home town, where he has a million things to do, and you only a handful.
It is when you get bored, you start missing friends and family and getting very upset because you are not able to go to your best friend’s housewarming or your grandparent’s anniversary party.
There will be many ups and downs, however they keep life interesting. The downs go deep, but the ups raise to tops you will never experience at home. So enjoy them, and things will get better. Just wait for it.
Feel free to leave a comment about your experiences moving overseas.