We’ve been living in Australia for just over a month now and the question I get asked most often is ‘how are you settling in?’ As more and more people ask that I figured it was time to start implementing my resolution to try and keep this blog reasonably up to date. Overall living in Australia isn’t dramatically different to the UK although there are lots of little differences (Cadburys chocolate doesn’t taste as good but there are more flavours and Woolworths is a supermarket) There are many aspects of settling in to a place that won’t happen for us for quite some time; until we have jobs and our own place to live we can’t really get a grasp on shopping, commuting etc.
So far there have only been a couple of aspects of life in the UK which we’ve missed. The most noticeable is the NHS. Here they have Medicare which is similar but a little more complicated. There are some areas which aren’t covered (for example dental, optical and ambulances) so you have to pay private or have health insurance. For the things that are covered you sometimes have to pay and then claim, at which time you may get all or some of the cost back. It is hard to get registered with one particular doctor or surgery, but there are plenty of walk in clinics. It feels like I’ll still be trying to figure out the medical system years down the line.
In terms of what we haven’t missed it has to be the obvious one – the weather. Having just come from a UK winter both Chris and I are finding the phrases used on the weather forecasts here entertaining. ‘The first chills of winter’ were upon us before the temperature had dropped below 20 degrees Celsius and this week the wind chill factor made it a ‘bitterly cold’ 12 degrees. One thing I’m yet to get used to is the fact that it’s often colder inside than out during winter as the houses aren’t heated so well.
I’ve been trying to keep a list of differences I’ve noticed as I know in a year’s time I won’t be able to list them nearly so easily. I wonder how long it will be before it seems normal to hang the washing on the line, to buy tomato paste in yoghurt pots, to have beetroot in burgers (a definite improvement in my opinion) and to call flip flops ‘thongs.’ At what point will Cold Rock ice cream cease to be a novelty (I’ve never been a great fan of ice cream but it seems that adding nerds or Crunchie bars to it can change that!) and will I be able to add an ‘o’ to the end of everything without finding it funny? As for driving, well that’s a whole other blog post.
Whatever little things we may laugh or complain about we’re generally doing well; feeling as settled as we can be and knowing that we’re in the right place. At times we may feel impatient to have jobs and a place of our own sorted but we know those things will fall into place in God’s time and until then we’re grateful to everyone both in the UK and here in Australia who has encouraged us, prayed for us and supported us through these first weeks of transition.