It seems funny that it's a year since my last post where I rejoiced the fact that we had finally received our visa, and yet it's only now that we're in a position where we're confident it's actually going to happen.
The reason it's been a year is simply because that's how long it has taken us to sell our house. In fact, it's been longer than that because we originally put the house on the market when we first started the visa process, then took it off again because it wasn't selling, and then finally put it on again when we got the visa. What a nightmare! But finally it is sold (subject to contract):
The buyers aren't in a chain so it looks like we could be emigrating in weeks, rather than years which it was beginning to look like. I suppose it hasn't really sunk in yet. I guess I ought to start planning - we're not just moving house, we're moving life!
Now things are actually happening and I don't feel in suspended animation anymore I guess I'll finally have something to write about. Actually I'm kidding myself, quite a lot has happened in the last year. For a start, we went back to Oz a second time at the end of last year. Mainly out of necessity than the desire for a holiday. When you receive your PR (permanent residency) visa you have a year to validate the visa or it expires. What that basically means is that we each had to get a stamp on our visa in Australia, and because the visa didn't get granted until we we're in Singapore on our way out to Oz the first time, it was too late to get the visa included in our passports for when we entered Oz - bummer! Of course, we completely expected to have sold the house within a short time after returning from our recce trip so didn't think the validation deadline would be a big issue. How wrong were we! It's not even as if they take the date as being a year from when the visa is granted - it's actually a year from when they received the medical and police checks prior to granting the visa, which for us was the beginning of Feb - 6 weeks before getting the visa.
We could have done without the expense of having to take another trip to Oz within a year. Don't get me wrong, we had a fantastic time again, but it was £££ that we could have used for settling into our new lives. The whole reason why we couldn't emigrate before selling the house, i.e. not rent it out instead or leave it on sale while we start our new life in Oz, is because we need the equity in the house to pay off our debts and cover the risk of going to Oz without a job lined up prior to landing.
Besides taking a second trip to Oz, I've also finally left my cushy permanent job and started IT contracting under my own limited company - something I've been wanting to do for ages but until now have never had the balls to do. I'm now halfway through my first and what looks likely to be my last contract, at least in the UK anyway. It's been a good experience, and there's definitely some upsides to contracting - some downsides too, which I roughly summarise as:
- Financially lucrative: the rates are excellent and it will definitely give us that extra bit of money to cover us for a few months in Oz, just in case it takes me time to find a new job
- New learning experience: I'm consulting for a large company so I'm learning a lot about how large companies work and I'll be able to to take that with me for future jobs
- Different work relationship: because I'm not a permanent employee of the company there's no expectation to stay late or do overtime as there is with permanent positions, they're basically paying me for a given number of hours and if they want any extra I have to agree to it, at my rate
The major downside is I couldn't find a contract near where I live so I'm having to work away during the week in Manchester. I suppose you could look at the positives of this because I'm beginning to realise that Manchester is a cool city, however, I did my stint of working away from home when I was in the Navy for 7 1/2 years - I'm a home bird now. Plus, I've now got a 5 year old daughter as well who I'm only getting to see at the weekends, as well as Rach of course. I'm actually writing this now from the loneliness of my hotel room, sob sob.
There's been other stuff of course which has happened in the last year but really it's the future that matters - so I guess I ought to start writing my Emigration Action Plan!