The Beginning

expat issues, wedding

I thought perhaps I’d share the tale of how I came to live in Australia, as I’ve never told that key part of the story in these pages. I’m here, but maybe you’d like to know why and how it came to pass that you’re reading my Down Under jottings.

A lot of expats moved here with a job or an Aussie spouse. I had neither. I moved here because I’d fallen crazy in love with an adventurous partner-in-crime who had a hunch that Australia was, as they say, a lucky country.

Things had gotten a bit crazy in the States in late 2008, or so I inferred from the delightful finance wiz I’d started dating just a few months earlier (and, also from watching the news and my plummeting 401K). Rather unfazed by the idea of moving continents, and curious about the booming economy Down Under, my free-wheelin’ boyfriend started hatching a plan to see if he could potentially migrate on a skilled work visa, and asked me, if he eventually went to Australia, would I consider going with him.

Have you ever been in love? What was I going to say but yes.

It all seemed incredibly remote to me – this possibility was out in the ether of dreamland somewhere. It was real to P-i-C, but not to me. I went about my life and thought so little about it, that it’s wild to think about my obliviousness now. Perhaps if it had been Canada or Europe, I might have better wrapped my mind around it, but I had almost no reference for Australia.

This went on for months, living my life, enjoying my sweet boyfriend who, it became ever clearer, was the man I’d spend my life with. And, I assumed all this waiting and normalcy would go on for much longer, as skilled worker migration often takes ages to reach approval.

So, you could say it was one of the biggest shocks of my life when one night, maybe six months after our initial conversation, P-i-C arrived at our usual Friday night unwind party with my work friends and whispered in my ear that he had been approved.

I feigned sickness, leaving the party in a hurry, to worried looks from my friends. And then I went home and paced the floor all night and cried for two days straight. Poor P-i-C must have been shocked by my reaction. I’m normally level-headed and calm.

The next three months were insane for me. P-i-C saw no reason to wait on going and starting to settle in to our new life. I, on the other hand, had a job that I could not just drop and things to take care of. A lot of unrelated things happened in my family and personal life during that period, which made it easily the toughest time I’ve been through. It was all about one foot in front of the next, and a lot more tears.

The highlight (and, honestly, one of the stressors) was that P-i-C and I put together a commitment ceremony on the beach in our home of Sarasota, FL. We hadn’t been marriage serious when he applied, so he was considered a single person and couldn’t get married before he went to Oz, but we still wanted to do something significant on our shores. P-i-C even knew a great guy who played the didgeridoo who agreed to open our ceremony. Our friend Rob “officiated.” My family read poems we’d picked out. Our costume designer, my friend Marcella, spent many late nights with me building my dream rainbow-skirted dress and ribbon “veil”. My best girlfriend Kristin, who I can never thank enough, flew down and helped me with everything, including making our cake. Another dear friend Tina, an actress from New York, came down and sang and played her guitar for a sing-along of “All You Need Is Love.” My friend Amy took photos. We had a smashing party in the lobby of my theatre, and I was blissed out from the experience. Though we put it all together quickly, it was incredibly meaningful.

P-i-C flew to Australia not too long after that, and began to set up all the basic life things. That’s his story, though. As for me, it took a few more months to wind down with my job, actually tell people what I was up to, sell most of my possessions, and get ready to go. P-i-C and I worked through the paperwork for me to join him on a Prospective Marriage visa, which would grant me the ability to live in Australia, as long as we got married within a year.
For the last month, I stayed with my mom for some quality time together. I got a book about Australian history, Bill Bryson’s Australian travelogue, and started reading blogs of Americans in Sydney. Finally, it was time to go. I was done with tears and was looking forward as I packed two gigantic suitcases, and headed South to begin the part of my story that you find in the rest of these pages.

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4 thoughts on “The Beginning

    1. C. In Oz

      Yes, I realized that even friend who I don’t talk to all that regularly didn’t exactly know why I moved here, so thought I should clear things up. And, I agree – a great reason that’s worked out beautifully. 🙂

    1. C. In Oz

      It was a beautiful event – exactly how we wanted it. I only regret that we couldn’t have given people more notice. I would loved to have shared it with more of my friends and family.

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