In case you haven’t heard….
In a mere 7 days, Rory and I will be embarking on a journey we have prepared over a year
We will be moving to Melbourne, Australia to pursue careers in secondary teaching and zoology lab work. While this was an easy decision to make in the beginning, it has been very taxing in terms of logistics, emotions, and preparedness to move all the way across the world and start a new life together. While we are both leaving our homes, friends, and families, we are excited to have a fresh start in the middle of an amazing city together. Here’s how it all started and what has gone into the process of moving abroad.
When we first started dating after camp, we knew that we wanted to have an end game where we could both live in the same city and have a normal relationship. We initially decided to move to New Zealand, but quickly realized that Auckland was far too expensive for us and the visas were outrageous in terms of waiting time and expenses. After weeks of Googling and using connections, I was able to find an education company called Leading Out that would enable me to start substitute teaching in New Zealand or Australia. After interviewing and sending various emails with the agency, the company convinced me to take a shot in the dark and move to Melbourne to work in the secondary public school system. Leading Out has been extremely helpful with my visa process, housing, and logistics of moving to Melbourne. I have been able to text my boss at all hours and ask whatever I want and he has been such a huge asset to feeling comfortable about moving. The company has connected me with a group of like-minded American and Canadian teachers whom I have already learned so much from.
After deciding on Melbourne, we had to get started on our visas. Rory’s visa was a piece of cake because Australia is part of the Commonwealth. It took him approximately a day to complete and receive his Working Holiday visa. My visa required certified copies of various documents that proved I was American and also insisted that I had a certain amount of money in my account to acquire the visa. I was lucky in the sense that I didn’t have to go to an embassy – all of it was online and after submitting my documents I received my visa within a day. All of the paperwork proved to be completely worth it and when I called the Australian embassy they were very helpful and polite. After that, my mom quickly found a deal on flights to Melbourne for $435 from LAX with 2 checked bags and 2 carry ons each. It was a miracle and all seemed to be falling into place.
Finding housing proved to be a whole different ball game. I signed on to my job in November, received my visa in January, and started looking for apartments and share houses in February. Melbourne has a very booming real estate market, so basically everyone is looking to snatch up an apartment on the spot. I had gotten mixed reactions from Australian friends and my family – they all told me to wait until I got there to decide on an apartment, but my anxiety just couldn’t let that happen. So I searched and searched, getting a couple nibbles here and there on my inquiries, but nothing serious enough to actually nail down. I became very discouraged very quickly and decided to wait a couple months to see if I could find anything closer to our moving date.
In April, I started looking again and found a nice one-bedroom apartment about an hour outside the city. I thought I had gotten it all figured out and felt an immense amount of relief. But come the 3rdweek of May, the apartment unfortunately fell through and we were back at square one. Rory was in Kansas at this point, and I basically lost all my marbles and had a pretty severe anxiety attack. I felt like we were going to be homeless with no money and no aspirations in the middle of Australia!!
A day later I get a message on one of the share house websites from a nice student who suggested we take a look at his one bedroom apartment on Flinders Street – which happens to be the city’s main street. It was perfectly priced, furnished, with a kitchen, TV, laundry service, and even a printer! We knew that we had gotten extremely lucky to be in the heart of the city and quickly signed on to take over the apartment.
Around this same time, Rory got a couple leads on jobs in the lab tech industry. It looked like he would be able to find the perfect type of job for his degree as soon as we got there, which also took a huge financial weight off of our shoulders. I also received my VIT registration, which meant that I could legally teach in Australia and was registered in their system. Everything once again settled into place and we were able to breathe again.
There have been many details – such as switching bank accounts, getting shots, going to all of our doctor and dentist appointments, and packing up – that I have left out, because they are pretty run of the mill and seem quite boring to me. But all in all, we are seriously moving to AUSTRALIA in 7 days!! I couldn’t be happier to finally fulfill my dream of living abroad and to be able to live in the same country as my best friend. We’re not sure how long we’ll stay, and we’re not sure how anything will turn out, but we can only hope for the best. We have had so many Australian friends come through the woodworks for us – our friend Fab from camp is holding down the fort and giving us tips from Melbourne, a wonderful couple named Brenda and Michael from my church have set us up with various connections, banks, churches, and friends, and we have found many people in Facebook groups who have been helpful and supportive. Some say we are crazy, others say we are adventurous…. We are just trying to live life to the fullest and really explore what’s out there for us. With no strings attached, while not try it all out and see what happens?
I will be posting updated via this blog on our journey and the true toils and trials that come with it. I don’t feel like social media is that honest anymore, so I promise to keep things real and never omit the hard times that come along with the fancy pictures and smiling faces.
Thanks for reading and talk to you in the Land Down Under!