Creating A New Life In Australia
By Christine Carrington
This story was prepared as a result of a request from the Editor of the Brits Abroad website who was calling for articles from British expats. Christine gave us her permission to publish her story here…
This is our Perth, Australia experience if it is worth anything to you. We arrived BLIND in Perth after me nagging my husband for 10 years it was a better lifestyle than the United Kingdom.
Leaving Home Comforts For A New Life
Why Blind? First of all, my parents and their relatives had family living abroad – scattered across the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia and South Africa so we had met this part of the family over my childhood and this culminated in me having the ‘need’ and ‘urge’ to always live abroad.
Plus my eldest sister was born in Kuala Lumpur as my Dad was in the Royal Air Force. She has never set foot outside of Britain and is hardly likely to.
I found my United States relatives nice, but when we went to their country to a family wedding, I felt that the American way of life was too self obsessed and materialistic and I was worried about the gun culture.
My Aussie relatives, whom we had met over the years, were cheery, laid back, open and honest people and we related well to them. This was one of my reasons for picking Perth.
My Dad’s sister and brother came to Western Australia in the late 1950’s on a 10 pound ticket, so we had well established family links here, in between the feuding!!
We did not visit Perth or Australia first due to our financial situation. We just sold up our UK home, most of our belongings and PLONKED ourselves (me, my diabetic husband and two children – one an adolescent) on our WA family whom very very kindly agreed to let us stay with them initially.
Trials and Tribulations of Moving
Without the contact and support of our family here, I am certain we would have given up and gone back to the UK a long time ago. I was also at a point in my nursing career where I was looking for a change from the norm of clinical nursing and I needed something else to focus on apart from my family.
I was unable to settle into any sort of clinical ward work in Perth so I spent two years working on telephone triage at a place called Health Direct, a 24 hour telephone triage service not dissimilar to NHS Direct.
I worked twilight hours there from 6pm to 2am – not conducive to a happy home and social environment but I was still at the point where beginning to form new bonds and break away from my well found UK ones was too hard for me. So I plodded along without any sort of social life for a while on these shifts.
Eventually I reached burnout stage and I was desperate to start afresh and also heal some wounds left from emigrating so I left Health Direct and established the Initial Welcome relocation service.
I recognised the need for new emigrants to have access to support and social stimulation as soon as possible from my own experiences, so our business aimed to achieve that.
I also felt that there was something more I could contribute to nursing, outside of the clinical setting and I became the Perth outlet manager for a nursing recruitment agency, Nursing Australia.
My husband Steve had always worked in the same company in the UK since leaving school and although it took me 10 whole years of cajoling into emigrating and leaving his comfort zone, he started doing very well as the sales manager for his 50% owned company.
He worked his way up from door knocker to sales representative to sales manager and he was the best selling representative for the company in WA within three years. He has never looked back and over time, he has persuaded me to stick it out and stay here rather than give up and head back to familiar territory.
Finding Happiness in Australia
My eldest daughter was 13 when we arrived here and she settled into a public school system with the usual adolescent ups and downs we felt sure we would have also experienced in the UK.
She is now happier here and wants to see the UK again but only for holidays – she is not hankering after the Old Country which I did for a very long time.
My son is a now a true blue Aussie and is very happy here.
My next step is to get some of my UK family to visit so that they can see another way of life from what they know now. My parents have already made one trip here and did extremely well considering their health issues and they felt that we had adapted well although at the time they came, we still had not established a proper home base here.
Our experience as a whole has been that the positives of the upheaval have certainly outweighed the stress of emigrating and any negatives made us sit up and take note of just how much is on offer to ‘Mr and Mrs Average’ of this world – it is just a matter of finding the right path for you.
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