Where were we up to?
Monday morning arrived and from what I gather, Stuart’s boss’s boss basically congratulated him on the new post. What? All I did was ask for more details… It seemed that big bosses thought it was a sure thing. The job was his if he wanted it. We had some serious thinking to do. What was the package? And as the details were worked out, we realised that somehow, we had yet another opportunity of a life time coming our way. We had taken the first one, and thoroughly enjoyed it. With me the way I was though unless we could guarantee the same health care both in Australia and on our return to the UK (private health care through Stuart’s work, we didn’t want to loose the cover with my back if there was perceived to be a termination in the private health care cover).
Once all of that was sorted, we knew in our hearts that we could not pass up this opportunity. We made the horrible decision to back out of the house purchase before either party had spent money on solicitor’s fees. We hated what we were doing; Australia was not guaranteed but knew we had to. The house purchase was over.
We had pulled out of the house purchase without really knowing for definite that Australia was on. All Stuart’s bosses were talking about it like it was a done deal, but we still had questions. Then there was the small issue of my back problems. I was still only 11 months into the recovery stage, but the way we saw it I could recover in the UK or I could recover in Australia and someone was going to pay my husband to work in Australia.
So we asked a lot of questions, including whether we had done the right thing pulling out of the house purchase. We investigated renting houses in Canberra and there seemed to be some that would meet our requirements of being far enough out of the city to be quiet and dark at night, but close enough for Stuart to cycle commute as and when he wanted to and more importantly, they fell inside our price range.
We decided that an orientation visit would not be necessary! The flight out was going to be hard enough on my back as it was, and the company would only pay for economy class seats. Any upgrades and we would have to meet the cost and my back issues would dictate a seat upgrade for myself. We talked to family and friends and did more research. We would go out there blind having never been to Australia before. In fact, we hadn’t actually reached the southern hemisphere when we attempted to cycle around the world, so we were going to go and live in Australia for 3-4 years without even having been to the southern hemisphere.
Talking with family yielded a contact in Canberra. Stuart’s brother’s wife (Carmel) had a friend would had gone out there to work and decided to stay. She and her partner had become Australian citizens and adopted 2 little boys. We would sort of know someone out there.
Christmas came and went and so did the New Year. No news on those business visas. Finally a few questions asked at work sorted the issue. We had asked that many questions about the package and health care, and his work were concerned about me and my health issues, that they thought we were having second thoughts. Time to start things again…
Business visas were applied for and a tense wait started. They came through within 5 weeks on a Friday. Then we had the personal side of the visas to sort. We sorted those and applied for them over the weekend. We already had pretty much everything they needed already scanned in (passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates amongst other things) so it was a reasonably painless process other than the cost (which would get reimbursed, but it was still 4 figures!)
The personal visas came through on the 4th April and from then it was action stations. There was a lot to do, loads to arrange and even more to clean! Australian border and security have a reputation of being very strict.