We are moving to Melbourne, Australia for 5 months. There I said it. It is so much easier to say than it is to put together. Can you imagine moving somewhere for 5 months? Think about finding a place to live and finding someone to rent your home. What to leave out for while your tenants are there? What to do with the objects in your home that are special to you? What to do with your cars? What do to with your mail? What to take with you for a foreign country that you have never been to? How to plan for leaving a Northern California winter and land in a full blown Australian summer (well, that sounds great actually). But then also plan to be there through fall as well? If your brain is starting to smoke at this point, then you can relate to what I have been going through for the last year or so, maybe longer.
Frankly I am not sure WHEN the decision got made for us to go to Australia, but I remember HOW it got made.
My husband is a law school professor at Santa Clara University. This is his second career that he created for himself after working for the federal government for 12 years as an arms control negotiator—a career that he liked and was good at, but was not very family friendly. So, we moved to Northern California from Washington DC for him to attend law school. Our son was three when we got there and our daughter was born two years later, while my husband was will in law school.
After graduation and clerking for a year, he then worked as an attorney for two years. And while the money and benefits were great, he just didn’t love it. And anyway, the end game goal for law school was always for him to eventually become a law school professor; his first graduate degree in public policy wasn’t helpful for that.
One of the many benefits for being an academic is not only is it much more family friendly, but it also means a sabbatical every seven years after you achieve tenure. His first sabbatical came while he was working at a St. Louis University Law school. Our oldest was a freshman in highschool and I had a well-paying (if not exciting) job. Uprooting the kids for a semester just seem didn’t worth it at that moment in our lives, so he spent his first sabbatical at home. It wasn’t nearly as satisfying as he had hoped, so I know that when the second sabbatical rolled around, we would most likely head off to somewhere else.
He qualified for his second sabbatical our daughter’s senior year in highschool. Going away that year was out of the question, so we decided to take it after she graduated.
So many things to balance. My husband wanted to go to a university that had colleagues interested in international human rights—his passion. And he wanted an English speaking environment. He got very excited about the idea of Oxford or Cambridge or London. While I love those places, I was not interested in spending winter in a cold, snowy and grey environment. I was thinking of warm sunny places like Spain or Portugal, but the language difference meant that these locations were off. So in order to meet his English speaking requirement and to avoid my winter weather aversion, Australia made it to the top of the list. And so we are heading off to sunny and warm, English-speaking Australia very soon.
Slowly, bit by bit, all the details are sorting themselves out. We found a place to live through SabbaticalHomes.Com—a website service that is available to anyone, not just academics. And we found someone to rent out place through the same site.
We have a neighbor who will scan and then email our mail to us. Cars are still an issue, but we have a few leads on ideas for them as well.
I have had extra storage cabinets installed in our condo garage and been mentally figuring out what I am packing to store, what I am packing to take and what I will leave out. Some of my everyday things that mean something to me will be stored away and I will buy replacement dishes and silverware. (Next year our daughter can use them in her apartment at university.) While most closets will be cleared out, some things on the top shelves are okay to leave, like sleeping bags and extra suitcases. Fancy clothes packed away, summer and fall clothes coming with us. Yoga, tennis, swimming, workout gear coming with us, winter clothes put away. And on and on and on.
Now I don’t mean to sound whiny, because I recognize what an opportunity it is to get to explore a whole other part of the world. We will get to visit New Zealand, the Great Barrier Reef, all sorts of fun places in Australia and even Indonesia. And I am closing up my marketing consultant business and taking the time to write and reinvent myself once again.
I know that after all the work, it will be worth it because my husband will get to write his third book in an environment that excites him. And while I spend some time worrying about missing my kids and finding friends, I am starting to look forward to spending time in a new environment, away from my responsibilities at home. I welcome the time to write, to explore and to just be in a place that is new and different.
As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!