(Over) Half a Spin Down-Under
Okay so I’ve seemingly fallen into my usual trap of meaning to post for ages and then, well, forgetting! You see I’d planned on posting about being in Australia for six months a month ago when it was actually relevant. That’s not to say it’s not still relevant but the title doesn’t sound as snappy as it did. However now that I am in the mood here’s my thoughts on our first six months here.
First of all it best be said right out of the blocks that describing the past six months as a roller coaster, while cliché, is pretty much spot on. There’s been some rather big downs from losing a close family friend before we left to a serious family illness to so wonderful ups such as finding an awesome football club to play or smashing my personal best running the Canberra Half-Marathon. To put a positive spin on the whole thing emotionally it’s been character building; tougher than I thought it would be but then most things always are. One thing that did occur to me was how hard it must have been for the original £10 Poms and the settlers before them. Not only would it have taken a heck of a long time to head home but communications back home would’ve been as pedestrian. At least we’ve had the luxury of the Internet, Skype, Email etc. The modern world really is quite a blessing!
As for Canberra itself it’s a city that definitely suits us. I know that for many young couples Canberra isn’t quite as “happening” as it needs to be but then we’re thinking of starting a family and for that Canberra trumps pretty much anywhere else in Australia. That’s not to say Canberra is perfect, far from it, but overall it’s definitely the place for us no question. From a health/fitness perspective as well it’s fantastic; plenty of cycle lanes and heaps of places to go running. While I was knocked off my bike whilst living here I would say that cycling here is safe than back home if for no other reason than the amount of off-road cycle lanes. You can, if you like, cycle to and from most places in Canberra which I think is brilliant.
We’ve also had the luxury of giving the snow fields a go this year and, while I never did much skiing/snowboarding back home I was impressed with the facilities and the snow. I find it somewhat amusing that I’m more likely to snowboard here than I was back in Bristol. What was even more surprising was that, while they do manufacture snow during the season, there was so much natural snow this year that they stopped doing that mid-August and even extended the season! I’m really looking forward to going again next year and hopefully for a couple of days as well.
Work wise finding a job was pretty tough, at least in the IT field. As Canberra is a mostly Federal/Governmental city most jobs in the IT sector require citizenship. That’s not to say there’s no jobs as there are it’s just for non-citizens the market is drastically reduced and slightly tougher to get interviews and offers. It took me three months pretty much to secure employment after moving here and was only able to go that long thanks in part to the wife already working and savings. So if you are in the IT sector and heading here to Canberra bear this in mind or be massively aggressive when it comes to looking for work.
So yeah, it’s been an interesting seven months here in Canberra and things are just getting more and more exciting. We’re looking at buying a house which is an experience in itself not to mention that we’re heading in to our first full Australian summer which if reports are to be believed is going to be hot! I’m also going to have my first even Spring birthday and am most looking forward to spending Christmas with the wife’s relatives in Western Australia. Here’s to the next five months as I’m sure they’re going to be interesting.