At the time, we didn't view it as a kickstart to major change. Our year in Australia was intended to be more of a pause or a break from our current lives. Sure, we were excited about what doors it may open and my husband was doing the groundwork to maintain employment in AUS in case we fell in love with the land down under, but we were coming back...at some point.
In early August 2016, we landed in Sydney with what simultaneously felt like everything we owned and not nearly enough for a year away. I was filled with excitement to leave behind the monotony of what our lives had become, but also anxious for what was to come. Now, everything was new. Everything was fresh. And it couldn't have come at a more opportune time.
The next three weeks were spent driving up the coast toward our new home, Mackay. Never heard of it? Don't worry. I hadn't either. And honestly prior to our take off, I hadn't done much research. It was the best location available to us, so we took it.
We settled into the temporary housing provided by my husband's job, we got the girls into school, my husband started work, and I dominated the domestic life. It was a busy month with lots of change including moving into our long term apartment rental and navigating the simplest of tasks. Even the grocery store seemed overwhelming. With all the cultural similarities between the US and Australia, it was also completely unknown territory. I couldn't even understand what they were saying...in English!
"After smoko, I might go down to the bowlo s'arvo for a schnitty and bevvy with Tommo and then I'll head back to the misses and have some din-din with the fam and watch some soapies on tele. Hopefully on the way, I don't get pulled over by the coppers coz I don't have me rego."
Over time we fell into a groove. We joined a gym, we joined the mountain bike club, we were making friends, and my husband was learning the ins and outs of social healthcare. We even adopted some Aussie slang. "Stop whinging on Facey!" And as our routine started to gel, our lives felt completely transformed. The stress melted, and we were happy. Life was just simpler.
But then, just like that, the year was up. We debated staying, but realistically Mackay wasn't a long term solution. We missed the mountains. We missed the seasons. We missed adventures safe from deadly snakes, spiders, and jellyfish.
One thing was for sure. Our standard quo in the US was no longer an option. Find out how we transitioned home next time.