15 years ago this week, my parents packed up all of our belongings, sold their house in Wellington, said goodbye to their families and trekked across the ditch to Brisbane with two young children in tow.
For a month we lived in a motel made up of little brick houses with green roofs, across from the transport office (a lucky location considering it took my mother three tries to gain her Australian drivers licence). No jobs, no house, no furniture and two children distraught at the thought of losing their beloved ‘blankies’ on their own trip to Australia in a shipping container*, my parents are the real MVPs.
We moved into a house a few weeks before Christmas and endured our first Australian summer. In which half the time we were dying of the heat, and the other half we watched our backyard fill up with water inch by inch and prayed it didn’t come into the house – thankfully it never made it, though we did get close. In January we celebrated the first birthdays away from our extended family and our friends and Dad finally found a job.
Those first few treacherous months aside, and the difficult times that have followed in the past 15 years, I don’t think any of us can imagine continuing a life where the washing would turn to ice instead of drying.
So here are 15 things Australia has taught us:
- Be loud. Be you. Be confident.
- There is indeed a place on earth called hell, and that is 40-degree heat without air conditioning – and having to run across the road shoeless.
- Prepare for the unexpected.
- A seat belt on a hot day can give an almost similar burn to a pan straight off the stove**.
- You can get sunburnt after spending five minutes in the sun. This includes walking across the university campus from one class to another – true story.
- The underside of your feet can be sunburnt from any surface in summer.
- Once November hits, mozzie repellent is not only recommended – but is actually added to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
- So is sunscreen.
- And aloe vera.
- Aloe vera fixes everything.
- So does paw paw ointment.
- Ants can bite and it really hurts??? ****
- Bottle shops are always open. When we first moved here you can’t buy food on a Sunday, but you could buy booze. Australian logic = everything.
- Every catholic event has an open bar.
- Rugby clubs consist of South Africans, Kiwis, English and a token Australian.
Cheers to 15 beautiful years in such a beautiful country.
Cheers to my brave parents for taking the trek.
And cheers to Australia for having us —— even if we are still on Visas….
* Spoiler; they never did see those blankies again. On purpose – thanks mum.
** Maybe a slight exaggeration, but by god those things heat up.
**** Yes everything in this country is trying to kill you. No one believed my brother until it happened to them.