Thursday, 11 April 2013

Hi there! I come to you today from the big smoke Walthamstow to be exact, E17. I've come up to London today just for a nose about,  and am going to see a friend in Essex later, So great to be back in London and this area isnt familiar to me, but its really great. I'm currently in a pub called the Nags Head having a very nice Pizza and Pinot for 10 quid. (free wifi too!)

Ofcourse I don't really know where Ill end up living but Im drawn to east London, I've never lived there before, and Walthamstow in particular just seems to have a nice villagey feel while being on a tube line straight to Victoria and central London.

Its expensive, but in comparison with Sydney? not so much, ofcourse it depends how much you end up earning etc, but it can be done, we'll see what transpires anyway...

Things are still going well, I think its quite difficult for both mum and I being together 24 hours virtually and Im still adjusting, so all things considered its going ok, but probably good that Im coming away for a few days. The weather is still bizarrely cold for April, but slightly warmer than it was, but Im ok at present,  dressing well, utilising the Ugg boots etc!

So, am I missing Australia at all? No, still nothing, I've been in touch with a couple of friends but I really don't feel nothing, it certainly doesn't compare with the shock of moving to Australia, which really felt like a wrench. Sometimes its like the last 7 years never happened. However, that's not to say I haven't changed and grown with the experience I do feel I have and I certainly don't feel that I'm going backwards. But the feeling of belonging is there, just for info today I have had small convos with several people, asking directions, talking about the weather, news etc etc. that never happened in Sydney, so much just seemed so superficial....

So all's good I feel this inner feeling of peace, that I haven't felt since I left the UK, I have no urge to go anywhere,  just want to soak everything in! I also love that I'm allowed to have a point of view and not seen as weird for having one! People here actually participate in debate and points of view are welcome! what a relief after years of dumbing down and the frustration of the passive Aussies who don't speak up on anything (on the whole) so frustrating.....

Sorry, I cant yet give you any negatives! 

Notice in pub: "When you're tired of London you're tired of life" Samuel Johnson 1709 :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

A day to remember

So, Thatchers dead, she lived to a good age, though she suffered ill health at the end.... As a social worker and therapist (I don't only believe there is such a thing as 'society' I have spent my working life trying to improve it for everyone) I cannot mourn the passing of someone who represents the total antithesis of everything I believe and hold dear and try to live by. Despite my compassion for all living things....

Good riddance to a despotic, psychopathic manipulative power crazy bully. It is because of her that we now have a govt of snotty Eton boys doing their best to dismantle our health service and further down Thatchers road of everyone for themselves, and kicking and exploiting the most vulnerable in our society when they are down.... Sorry but I'm not one big sorry..... I for one will be drinking champagne tonight in honour of this great society!!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Back two weeks now!

Hello All! ( she says optimistically!) well I've been back tow weeks now and am free of jetlag and feeling pretty good. Its been as I kind of expected really, I have been a bit stick in mums front room BUT Im happy there at present. 

The weather has been bizarre, much colder than it was when I was back last Christmas, but dry, so I am still able to wrap up and get out and about. the cat doesn't seem to bothered by the cold and he loves central heating! 

So, I was anticipating That this would feel different from my visits back over the last 7 years, and it does, but not that much, there's not the urgency to see people as there's plenty of time so I don't feel like I'm 'on tour' as I did in previous years. I obviously feel a bit in limbo not having work and not really knowing exactly where Ill be living yet. However, it feels ok, it feels right.

These will sound like very small things I know, but they just make me feel at home, first people understand what Im saying, they know what 'pompeyblonde' means! the music they play in shops and restaurants is quality, no soft rock! The supermarkets are fabulous, its not a problem being a vegetarian, there's brilliant choice. These are not huge but what they do is add up to a feeling of being comfortable. 

I worried that I wouldn't be appropriate in shops...pack my own bags? be too familiar?... this has not been a problem at all, I have found people to be very friendly and haven't felt stupid in that way once. 

So those fears haven't been realised, I've applied for three jobs, so there are jobs there which I'm qualified to do, so that's good. Of course I wonder how much competition there will be but I'm pretty confident ill find what I want, even if it takes a bit of time.  

I cant wait to catch up with more of my friends and family, and I'm just enjoying feeling comfortable and like I'm in the right place!

More to follow! :)

Saturday, 23 March 2013

I'm back!!!

Hello Dear Readers! I come to you from Heathrow Airport when Im having a very nice fried egg sarnie and mug of tea! Well Im here and I can only hope that poor Leo is too… I cant collect him for another 2.5 hours.

Flight was pretty excruciating as ever, I was in Premium economy which was good, but no business class. Probably the best thing about it is that the cabin is small only 32 seats so no queuing for the loo etc and its quieter, but to be honest I think standard economy if you’re on the A380 is not that much worse, for quite a bit less cash.

Part of the problem though, is that a few factors impacted on my ability to enjoy the flight, firstly the regular realisation, during the trip,  that poor Leo was in  the hold and wondering how he is… couldn’t help it, it’s such a long flight. Secondly the general exhaustion! the last two weeks in particular, and not sleeping well. I was up at 7 on the day I flew out and literally spent 5 solid hours packing,  still had two extra bags which I had to sent separately, I should have organised the shipping better…doh! Anyway, all done now and couldn’t have done it without my flatmate Jane, she’s been great and took me to the airport and helped me so much.

Well, it is chilly for March! But what a feeling to open the airport doors and get that blast of proper cold, it almost felt festive!  And everyone at Heathrow has been very friendly and helpful! Must stop asking girls in shops how they are going though…. Hehe!

Well here I am and initial, very initial impression is it feels good! Even though  left perfect weather in Sydney I must say 27 sunny cooler evening now… and I flew into grey clouds and rain, it still feels good, I did call my mum though and remind her to whack the heating up! 

This is an amazing experience, I feel like I’ve been to outer space or lost in time! I’m liking it! It was weird saying goodbye to good mates in Australia, but at the end of the day we’re all in pretty much constant contact aren’t we? And one of my good Aussie mates will be over this July to do some walking in The Lakes, so we’ll meet up then, its just such a long way, I cant emphasise enough how big the world is when your strapped in a seat, at least Leo could lie down!

Its 8:15am and two blokes are having a beer, don’t you just love airports? 

So what’s the plan? Well I think  a few days kicking back and getting over it all, and then I need a new plan of action, looking for a job, working on my website for my private practice, and of course catching up with friends and family. I hope Leo settles in ok after his ordeal, poor thing and the difference in temperature for an Aussie cat! I think Leo might have to start his own blog!

I do feel a little bit foreign, even though everything is quite familiar, and isn’t it funny hearing really posh people? You never do in Aus, barristers sound the same as plumbers, which is quite nice in a way. Not that there isn’t snobbishness in Australia, its just different.

Just getting another cuppa, I hope Leo is getting fed and watered too! 

It also feels different this time to the other times when I’ve been visiting. Well the best thing is that I don’t have to do that flight again in three weeks…. But it just has a different feel, its good it feels fresh, I feel relaxed, I’m sure I’ve a few bumps to come though, we will see. No more long haul for me for a while, might pop over to NYC at some point though, my last journey from Aus was so horrific I thought that Id probably never return! 22 hours to LAX….   But now I’m back in the world!  I can go on European city breaks! Hurray!! 


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The last few yards.....

I come to you from Camperdown cemetery, one of my favourite places in Newtown.... Maybe a bit odd... But it's a wonderful place. The cemetery has been full for many years so all the graves are old, it is in fact the second oldest in Australia. Well as we all know that's not that old, but still.

What's fascinating is the stories, you can do a cemetery tour and hear about the convicts, the aboriginal people the immigrants and colonialists who really did it tough. The shipThe Dunbar sank in Sydney Harbour in 1857 all but one passengers drowned. Almost there and a storm sunk the ship, the memorial is here and is testament to the perilous nature if travel at that time, thousands drowned in the harbour, apparently not many people could swim at the time.

Why were they coming? Mostly to fulfill their jobs building the colony, some had just been on leave back to dear old Blighty and were returning.

And so here am I suffering sleepless nights and minor delirium at the prospect of flying premium economy this time next week! Certainly puts things in perspective for me! Those people were tough and steadfast, they had to be, and people think I'm brave for making the moves I make, very lucky that's for sure.

lucky to have the chance too to return, one many immigrants didn't get, don't get for various reasons. Lucky to have had the opportunity to live overseas, to meet new people and to test myself, well in the 21st century way! Nothing like the original settlers, even the settlers 30-40 years ago, with no Skype, phone calls every few months etc etc

Most of these people were born 12,000 miles away and are buried here,a lovely spot, a world away from where they started. I wonder how they felt about that?

I wonder also, what it was like for those people who returned? I've been back several times in the last 7 years, but what's it like to go back after 10/20 30 years? I'm grateful for the chance to see the place I was born in with fresh eyes, to see myself through fresh eyes!

Watch this space! :)

Saturday, 23 February 2013


Adelaide, it really has been like visiting an old dear friend. None of the harshness of Sydney, literally a breath of (hot) fresh air! Fabulous to catch up with friends, real friends, people I hope I'll keep in touch with forever. Interestingly only one is
British, all others are Australian.

It's like being able to exhale... Being able to be yourself and other people understanding, and just knowing where you're coming from. I feel like I've been nourished this weekend! Ofcourse Adelaide is quiet, it's near impossible to get people out in the evenings, which is another reason last night was so special.

It's also been very timely to remember that time 7 years ago when I landed in Adelaide knowing nobody, really having no idea what the future held (who ever does?) in those days I had to go to the library to access emails and apply for jobs, North Terrace is beautiful, the city really is a stunner. Arriving in December I was soon to discover everything was pretty much shut until the end of January! It took three months to get a job, and here I am going back to probably the same, but of course not quite the same as I know how things work, it was a shock initially the system, or lack of it here.

I might have a wander to North Terrace again and see what's in at the museums, maybe the zoo.... Very pleasant indeed!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

One Month to Go!! (gulp)

Coming to you today from Sydney Airport as I prepare to fly to Adelaide for the last time! (well for a good long while any way) flight delays give me a nice window for an overdue update!

OK... so yesterday it was officially one month till I fly out. the last few weeks have been very up and down in many ways. I had a week off work in which I managed to sort out loads of my stuff and work out exactly what I'm shipping.... only about 8 boxes plus some clothes and pictures.... Wow its liberating to free yourself of "stuff" I tell you!  

Also Leo had his Rabies jab, which I discovered is quite painful poor love! Still he's all set now, ready to go.

On the whole I still feel really positive about the move, I have had a few 4am moments when I've had moments of terror, but they really relate more to having no job or anywhere to live, understandable really, and experience tells me that eventually that will all be sorted. I'm lucky because I can stay with mum in the interim, I have a bit of cash to keep me going so I'm feeling ok about it at the moment. 

You know that point just before you go to the hairdressers where you decide that in fact your hair looks fine as it is??? and that a change might not be a positive one? what is that all about? anxiety of some sort I guess. Its a bit like that for me when I ponder on living in the UK again, Things that were weird to me when I got here seem normal now, so obviously the reverse will also be true, what was normal, taken for granted will now seem a bit weird.

I was watching an old episode of Graham Norton the other night. the actress Anna Friel was talking about living in LA. She said that at first all the cheerfulness and friendliness seemed false, but that after a while she decided that it was quite nice... I know exactly what she means, it used to be confusing to me how people in shops would ask "how I'm going?" but I'm used to it now, I quite like it.

In 7 years I've changed and I'm so I guess I feel that if I'm friendlier, more laid back, my experience of the UK and of London will be different. But if all else fails, I know I can adapt! 

Another thing I'm sure of is that I don't regret this experience. people have said to me, "so it hasn't worked out for you then?" Well the older I get the more I realise that life is in fact all about the journey, I just don't think I'm really one of those people who is going to find their place and just settle in. I've been extremely lucky to get the chance to live overseas on the other side of the world, my qualifications just happened to match what Australia was looking for in 2005, things are different now. 

What an experience to work in two different states and with people from all over the world, especially here in Sydney. To study for a masters with some of the top in  the field of therapy here too. If I'd stayed in the UK would I still be working for Portsmouth Social Services? Probably..... I'd probably have paid off most of my mortgage, have a good pension... but hell I could be dead tomorrow! and if I am Ill know I squeezed the pips out of life as best I could! 

So what am I hoping for in my new life? I want to go back to London because I left 20 years ago and part of me always regretted it. I had a relationship break up (notice a pattern here?!) so returned to Portsmouth, my default position! But I always wondered what it would be like to go back and be earning reasonable money, I was always a student or a low earner before, you know? so I could actually really enjoy the city. I have no definate plans of where Ill live because another one of my resolutions is no more than a 30 minute commute, maybe 45 if its very easy! The commuting here has finished me off.

Ideally I'd like a 3 day a week job, so that I can really work on building up my private practice in the UK, having practiced here for 2 years I've got good experience, but of course there'll be differences in the UK. Ill probably be sharing at first at least especially if I'm working part time till the practice takes off, that's ok my experience if sharing here in Sydney has been positive, I've quite enjoyed it.

I'm wondering how it will feel saying goodbye to Adelaide?  have to say that since moving to Sydney I haven't missed it, I miss the weather though! But I do have a big soft spot for a lovely town, and it is a town.....Adelaide was good to me and I'm thankful I landed there first! 

To be continued! :)

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Square Pegitis......

Square Peg Round Hole......

People have been asking me lately, 'so are you still sure you doing the right thing?' They are usually very caring people who are just enquiring, but I have to say I have no doubts....

I've had a bit of time to think of late as on my birthday night out, the day after Australia day, I twisted my knee (ouch). Silly shoes... wet weather etc.... So due to lack of mobility I'm stuck at home though not actually sick...merely incapacitated.

Yesterday I had a bit of a moment, I had called a cab to get to the Doctors, it took two hours to arrive in a major city at 10am... I was waiting outside leaning on the wall... and by the time I'd missed my appointment, phoned the cab firm about 5 times...I was in floods of tears.... I thought I just hate this bloody country!!...but it wasn't that the cab was late, it was more feeling vulnerable.. and suddenly having the complete and total knowledge that I'm in the wrong place and how very very hard it is trying for 7 years to fit in and at what cost??

In the words of the lovely Hugh Jackman...'Who am I' ? I can barely bloody remember at times! What do I believe in? my whole sense of identity and has been challenged over and over here, but I don't blame Australia per se for this, I think its really a case of being the wrong woman in the wrong place.

Just the fact that there are very few people who would even understand what I'm talking about here! Expats are as obsessed with weather and beaches and 'isn't everything great' the indigenous British love to moan about the weather and 'isn't everything shit'!..... and you cant be different, and I am different!

As I think I've said before, expat life in Adelaide was very different from expat life in Sydney. People in Adelaide tend to be on permanent visas from the skilled migration list, people with trades, nurses, social workers, OT's etc... In Sydney they tend to be sponsored by corporate organisations, and on temporary visas generally younger people without kids who aren't sure if they can or will stay. That's not to say Adelaide expats don't go back, they do, but they have slightly different motivations for coming, generally you don't move to Adelaide for your career. 

So In Adelaide I tried to fit in with the families, and here I've tried to fit in with the corporates, I wont say I've been totally unsuccessful, but of the friends I still have in Adelaide most are in social care....correction they all are!...some Aussie some British... and that wasn't planned its just how it is. I guess its a question of values and taste?... They are not threatened/confused... by me, they look forward to my company and visa versa...I don't feel like a spare part...just like most of the people I know and love in the UK....

So, summing up this current little crisis, if I could leave this afternoon I would! I don't expect or want my life to be perfect....I don't expect everyone to like me, or me them, but as human beings I think we all need to feel accepted and loved... most of the time anyway! Bring it on!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

And on that note....

"The first step to getting what you want is having the courage to get rid of what you don't" Anon
Well, yet again I've been slack on the blogging front...but that is about to change!  Im now really on the countdown to my return...only 10/11 weeks to go...

Two things have been consuming my thoughts lately, one is how to totally declutter my life and just ship the absolute bare essentails back, I feel that the short term process will be painful, but that overall this will make for a far smoother transition. A good friend suggested the first step was to get an inventory done, so thats what I've started, I have several boxes under the house which at some point Ill have to dig out...

But when you think about it, why keep boxes of stuff under the house anyway...just in case??

This brings me to the 'Zen" of decluttering.... of our attachment to inanimate objects, our fear of losing our 'things' Also its the time of year when we are all reminded over here in Australia, that things don't really matter people do...Bushfire season is upon us.

Over my seven years here Ive heard  several people speak from the still smouldering rubble of their family home, things along the lines of  'we're all alive and that's what matters' it puts things right back into perspective. Whats difficult is when objects are imbued with emotion...(as lets face it everything in human life is.. when you scratch the surface....) photos, letters, Dads glasses, Grandmas coat..... these things are really hard to let go of, because people are hard to let go of....

Having said all that I have downloaded a couple of books to my new Kindle.... (yep, space saving at its coolest, pink case and all!) and Im reading about how to do it.... I'm looking forward to it, and finding it very interesting the feelings that are being unleashed in the process...

Kind of on the same note, Im wondering what Ill miss?  and that feeling is becoming more acute as the day approaches.... fear again is ruling the day at times, will I find myself trapped forever more in mums tiny living room, watching endless Downton Abbey...with the curtains drawn... (fades the furniture) Gahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! then I kind of shake myself out of it... give myself a kindly slap... 'snap out of it'!! 'Youve done it before you can do it again!......'  etc etc....

the other week I dreamt that they didnt have a seat for me on the plane and they made me sit all the way to London on a dining room chair...when I got there I was feeling angry and couldnt decide if I should go and complain and demand my money back or simply collect Leo and move on..... I think Ill move on....