Meet PAULINE…she’s a Scottish cat-mummy, DIY-loving, marketer, who, along with her husband and 14-year-old son EMIGRATED to Australia four years ago.
Why did you emigrate?
I spent some years in Australia in the 1990s and moved back to Scotland ‘for two years’ in 2000, with my new Aussie hubby in tow…and plans to travel to Europe every weekend. 15 years down the line we were still living in Scotland and I’m not sure our numerous visits to IKEA really counted as weekend breaks!!
By 2015 our son was 14 and it was make or break time, so we sold all our goods and chattels (love eBay) and headed to Oz.
Was it a long decision making process?
Yes!! We had discussed the possibility of moving to Australia for years. It came up every time we went through a life-changing event – when we moved from a flat to a house; before our son started school; when he started high school; every Scottish winter…
What were the practicalities of emigrating?
It was a lot easier for us than many people who emigrate, as my husband was heading home, and all three of us had citizenship, but leaving secure jobs, a good school, a nice home and friends and family was scary at our age.
I did a huge amount of research before we left Scotland and we practically got off the plane and went straight to view a new house. We also lined up a great school for our son and I quickly found a job locally with a disability charity, which I still love.
Sydney was at the height of a property boom when we arrived and were lucky to find a small house that needed totally renovating. Four years down the line we are almost finished!!
How did the experiences between living in Australia in your 20s and 50s differ?
Hugely! This picture just about sums it up!
When my cousin, Louise, and I moved to Sydney in our 20s we took a backpack, bikinis and a smile!! We were invited to parties and boat trips at the drop of a hat, made friends in the pub and generally had the time of our lives.
This time we packed up a house, worried about schools, jobs, houses, cars, money, health and cats … not necessarily in that order. As my son was teenager, there was no meeting other mums at the school gate. Most people at our age have a fixed social group and many friends from the 1990s have long moved on. However, my husband’s family have been brilliant, particularly my sister-in-law who has become a really close friend. My husband had stayed in contact with some old friends and they have also been great. I am also (slowly) making new friends from various places – Sydney is a diverse city.
What do you do when you get homesick?
FaceTime is brilliant. It lets me stay connected to family and friends. Also I can go the beach or try and persuade someone to visit.
What are the best bits?
While the climate is the obvious thing, I don’t actually like mid-summer, I have freckles and burn really easily, but the other seasons are beautiful. We live less than ten minutes’ drive from the beach and it’s so lovely to just pop down, not having to make a huge trip. The pace of life is fairly relaxed here, but Sydney is a major city so there’s a lot to do. We live in a beautiful part of the world and I enjoy exploring that.
When there’s a family party happening back in Scotland, or a girls’ trip to Spain or a kid’s significant birthday I’m very aware that I’m missing out. No NHS (scary if you’ve no health insurance). Busy traffic! Blue tongue lizards in the garden (and sometimes house). Lots of large insects. And we got Peaky Blinders S5 later than the UK!
My son is now at university in Sydney, and will be there for at least another three years.
My husband and I have become DIY experts (due to lack of funds) and really enjoy that, so perhaps finding a new home that needs renovating?
What else floats your boat?
I do Pilates and yoga (yogalates!). I love walking the beach esplanade and taking a dip in a sea pool on a hot day. Catching a ferry to the national park. Playing with my two cats. Eating prawns and drinking chilled white wine with a sea view. Thai food at every corner! But also a nice cup of tea and watching Scandi crime. Not too different from living in Scotland really!
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