I have been thinking a fair amount about the different places I have lived and worked throughout my life. Kind of logical as I am just about to make another move in a couple of months….
The other day we ran into some people we know already for years. They are from South Africa although from Portuguese origin.
We got talking about emigrating and they told me that they had lived in Australia since 1999. At the time they had thought about emigrating for a while and had explored several European countries including Portugal.
As it was always while ‘being on a holiday’ they realised that it would be very hard to choose a country suitable to move to without having that holiday feeling.
However South Africa got too much for them. They applied for a residence permit for Australia, got it and moved with two little girls to a country where they had never been before. There was not a job lined up, no house, no nothing. They just went and took their chance!
Places I lived and worked
We all know that ‘holiday feeling’ that makes you want to stay and live in the place where you just had that wonderful time. I definitely have that. I have special places everywhere, in Australia and in many European countries. Australia however has been the only country giving me that feeling and where subsequently I emigrated to.
I lived in London for a total of 5 years. However I did not really choose to live there. It happened to be the home town of, my then, boy friend who is now my husband.
It seemed better that I came to London because I had more chance to find work there. Keith had tried to find a job in the Netherlands but struggled to do so. He did have a stint as a cook in a Dutch prison but that was not exactly the career of his choice!
London was certainly not my favourite as it is such a huge city. It is so different from places I was used to such as The Netherlands and Switzerland. I was hanging out in Switzerland a fair bit doing season work in restaurants. I love the country, still do and hopefully one day I get to spend some time there again.
There are still very good friends living there. I worked with them in 1985 in Wengen, a ski village in Berner Oberland. We have spent countless New Years eves together, saw each others kids grow up, are all foodies and love cheese!
Kind of essential for living in Switzerland because during the winter months it smells of cheese fondue and raclette everywhere.
One of my ideal destinations
One of the places I personally had set my mind on was the Italian part of Switzerland, Ticino. This is the area of Lugano, Locarna, Ascona and the Lago Maggiore. Ticino is on the sheltered south side of the Swiss Alps and has a unique warmer climate than other parts of Europe on that latitude. I adore that area and speak the language.
At the time I had almost achieved a one year Swiss residence permit but then I met my future husband on an Australian trip. We tried at a later stage to get in to Switzerland but it was virtually impossible for Keith to get a work permit there at the time. So we left for Australia instead…..
Places I have moved to..
It makes me think about reasons why people move places. I moved to Zurich, Switzerland because I had organised work and a summer season work permit during my Uni holidays. As I loved it in Zurich, I actually returned for 5 more summers.
I joined Keith in London because he was living there and I wanted to be with him. It wasn’t always ‘roses’ during that time especially the first half year when I had a job I did not like very much. I had to travel 1.5 hours by tube to get there and back.
I like to illustrate what travelling for 1.5 hrs meant in the context of a country like The Netherlands. It would be like travelling more than half way across the country to get to a job I did not like.
But hey, when you move to another country you kind of start at the bottom. I found that out while living in UK and Australia. As a result I am now a firm believer that this is the case for many people who emigrate.
Reasons to move to Australia
We moved to Australia because of the weather, nature and its laid back way of life. We knew that these factors were very much part of the Australian way of life as we both had spent time in the country before we emigrated.
Australia has a wide range of weather types, from tropical in the North to moderate and rather harsh in Tasmania and South West Australia. But it is all there.
The scenery in Australia is in one word beautiful. However the ironic thing is that a large percentage of Australians don’t explore it. After all Bali is so close and so are Fiji and other tropical islands. And these destinations are often cheaper than travelling in Australia.
We have often looked at taking the kids to Central Australia to see Ayers Rock and The Olgas. I can assure you, it requires a bit of saving!
So in the end I have had a number of reasons why I decided to change countries. They were obviously strong enough to make a commitment. And now I have decided to return to Europe. What are my reasons, you could ask?
I usually say that I miss ‘real’ cheese, cobbled streets and little alley ways…!
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