5th October 2015
So I was randomly thinking about expectations of moving to Australia. As opposed to moving across Australia, which is what I guess I should be thinking about. I’ve been asked a lot if I’ve started packing yet. Should I have started? I haven’t even thought about it.
The thing is, I’d never intended moving to Australia. No, let’s get that right. I never EVER intended moving to Australia. My impression of the land Down Under was sand. I saw lots and lots of sand. Beautiful sandy beaches, yes, but predominantly, desert sand, Ayers Rock or Uluru, and I know there is beauty in all things, but really, it left me… cold. Kind of ironic. But that’s the other thing – I don’t mind cold. My favourite season back home was always Autumn. I’m a green hills and valleys kinda kid, so Europe was fine by me.
I did venture as far as America. First to Texas. Which was all flat and covered in sand, oh, and cactus. It took me 15 years to recover from the parched barren nudity of the landscape before I trundled back. I liked the East Coast, because guess what? Yep, it has green, leafiness. I also did DisneyWorld (I bought the dream sold in the holiday brochures) – it was fake but fun and OK, you get the picture – America grew on me. But I could never see myself living there. Or anywhere outside Europe.
I guess the fact that we moved to South Africa surprised me as much as anyone. Growing up, my impression of Africa was that it was green and leafy, but in a jungly sort of way, so it was full of killer creatures and utterly scary. South Africa is scary, but not for those reasons, and the landscape was very different. We didn’t stay long, but I fell in love. I loved it for many reasons, but probably not because it was green and leafy. More golden and grassy.
So we moved to Australia. Or to be more precise, a regional steel/mining town in South Australia. The driest state on the driest continent. Good! My kind of place.
I’d come round to the idea of moving to Australia after doing some detailed research, which consisted of buying a magazine on Moving to Australia. (To be fair, our internet connection was horrible, and largely non-existant in South Africa, so it was entirely due to lack of alternative sources, honestly – nothing to do with laziness).
And it had pictures of these beautiful quaint houses. Largely in QLD or NSW I suspect. Because there was green there. And I looked forward to moving to this idyll of weatherboard houses, with leafy green backdrops and long stretches of never ending silver beach.
Thus, we moved to Australia. To Boganvillia, nestled on the Eyre Peninsula, just where the outback meets the sea, and it is fairly not-green here. In fact, to those who don’t suffer from colour blindness, you’d say it was positively red. Because outside of the saltbush, not much else survives the parching summer heat. Oh, and the other thing: the houses aren’t all so picture-perfect.
There’s a reason for this. And that reason is that houses really aren’t that important to South Australians. Certainly those living in this neck of the woods. (Or saltbush). Nope, what’s important here is boats. So I realised, I could be of service to the Australian government, particularly when deciding on who to grant visas to when applying for residence in South Australia. These are my top questions for future inclusion on the visa application:
Just kidding – there is more to life in South Australia, but fishing is a big part of the coastal lifestyle. 😀
But despite not sharing a love of fishing, I realised I really like living here. It isn’t postcard-ready in terms of prettiness, but it has a rugged charm. The beach isn’t a long silvery sweep, but it still doesn’t get crowded. There isn’t a lot of greenery, but that’s because you get so many days of sunshine each year. And as it lacks rainfall, it means the climate is much drier and easier to cope with. We don’t have a huge variety of shops, but you can buy all the essentials in town. And the cost of getting to the city is exorbitant, but there’s so much going on locally, you don’t need to head to the bright lights too often. People here know how to make their own fun.
So maybe that’s why I’m not rushing to get packed up, because I feel like I’ve put down roots here, and the thought of upping sticks and leaving is one I don’t want in my head for long.
But, every time I mention moving to Brisbane, EVERYONE has something positive to say and tells me we’ll love it. So, I guess that’s OK. But you’ve got big shoes to fill Brissy. Whyalla might be small, but it has a big heart.