Well, I didn’t sign up for this!

Chopping onions I glanced out of the kitchen window and was surprised at how dark it was, in reality it was 5.30pm but my body clock was chiming midnight!

I remember landing in Australia almost three years ago.  It was the back-end of winter and I assumed the nights would be drawing out ready to greet the impending springtime. How wrong was I? I was shocked to discover Queensland’s evenings were short throughout the year. I really did imagine sitting on the decking with a chilled vino at 10 o’clock at night watching the sun go down. Nobody had warned me about these short evenings and as the weeks went by I really struggled to come to terms with them.

I was assured the evenings would soon be lighter for longer, which they were, but not as you would notice. It was painful watching the sun slip from the sky as soon as we were all home for the evening. I found myself ready for bed at 6.30pm and asleep by 8pm most evenings, including the weekends!

On the rare occasion that I ventured out in the evening, I couldn’t believe how deserted the streets were, an air of Christmas day hung about them. It seemed that Australia had grown accustomed to the early dark nights and the residents live their lives accordingly; or maybe it’s  just Queenslanders that have made this adjustment? Queensland clocks are not reset to allow for daylight savings in winter or should that be summer?!! Whatever, they seemed to have it sussed so I had to follow suit!

The eternal optimist that I am means that from every negative I have to take a positive, and the little gem in this scenario is that bright early morning that greets me throughout the year. I still go to bed early and am asleep by 10pm most evenings but who’d have thought a sleepy head like me would wake up with the lark (or should I say the crazy kookaburras) anytime between 4 and 5am most mornings……including the weekends! :/

Sunset

mummi g x

Reaching your destination…

…is a time for celebration!

I was just paying a visit to the little girls room when the phone rang. “MUM! It’s your lawyer!!” shouted my youngest son. “Crikey” I thought, I had better get my finger out as I subconsciously totalled up how many dollars this slight delay in reaching the phone might cost me. I ran to the phone as quick as I could, avoiding school bags and piles of ironing only to be greeted by the dulcet tones of our lawyer or solicitor as we called them in England. I must admit lawyer sounds much more fun though, conjuring up images straight from an American crime series. Our LAWYER proceeded to announce that my other half and I were now ‘the proud owners’ of our own little piece of Australia…OH YES! C’MON! I could have kissed that guy right there and then ‘the proud owners’ he said and we certainly are…today is a good day in our expat lives we have purchased a building plot!

Now, you may remember a while back I wrote of our search for a house to buy HERE. Well, that episode went belly up purely because I didn’t want the neighbour’s swimming pool right next to my bedroom window. So our next encounter with buying property came last Christmas and that went belly up too! A cracked slab put us off that one. The new year came and our search continued and continued and continued….and we became so disheartened looking for our dream home that we gave up looking. Then one wet weekend we ended up looking at some new housing developments and their show-homes, oh my goodness we were smitten! The penny dropped and we realised this was what we wanted to do….build our own home we couldn’t believe we had not thought of this option before!

The following weekend quite by chance we found a beautiful spot in the Gold Coast hinterland, and quite by coincidence mummi h did too, on exactly the same day at literally the same time. This was so spooky because unbeknown to each other we had both been out for a drive with our families on that beautiful late summer’s afternoon and had come across the same development. So the very next day when we met up we instantly began to discuss this awesome place we had found nestled at the foot of Mount Tamborine. I couldn’t believe we had both shared the same experience so I took this coincidence as a ‘sign’… a sign that it was a very special place and somewhere that myself and the boys could certainly put our mark on in this wonderful country. And wonderful country it is even though at times I have hated it and everything about it and as you know I have experienced terrible homesickness, which thankfully now becomes less frequent and for much shorter periods; so to reach this stage in our emigration journey is a wonderful feeling and with it comes a sense of belonging and achievement that we have finally arrived at our destination!…and own a piece of grass! ;)SOLD!

mummi g x

Snow, storms and the power of mother nature!!

While the folks in the UK shiver under another thick blanket of snow (isn’t it spring there now?!?) here in SE Qld last night we witnessed the most amazing lightning storm I have ever in my 36 and a bit years seen! I managed to capture some cracking (excuse the pun!) images (on my iPhone!) I guess I was pointing the camera in the right bit of the sky at the right time, luckily!

Lightning storm in SE Qld

Lightning storm in SE Qld taken by me on my iPhone outside my house!

Apparently we are in for more storms tonight and I’m actually getting pretty excited to see what show mother nature can put on again.

Powerful storms aside, it has been so busy here lately, my hubby and I are two months in to the new business we have set up, all going well but very time-consuming. We had a real scare with my eldest being admitted to hospital with suspected meningitis, he’s just gone back to school today after two weeks recuperating at home from what turned out to be a very nasty virus. My daughter is setting up what feels like a zoo in her bedroom, stick insects, lizards, skinks, geckos and crickets so far and she announced yesterday she wants a rabbit – errr I don’t think so!! At least at the moment with this she is at ground level and not scaring the pants off me by climbing the huge trees in our back yard though. My three-year old is, well, doing what three-year olds do, he is full on from the moment he wakes up and has to run everywhere, my kids are certainly keeping me on my toes at the moment.

Mummi g and I are also working hard to get the new look mummigrants site ready to launch, it’s all looking brilliant so far but is taking a long time to get right, we do promise it will be worth the wait!

Enjoy whatever the weather is doing wherever you are!!

mummi h xx

Intense lightning storm

 Black skies and flashes of light

Amazing light show

Hey expat mums!….who remembers scenes like these?

Goodtimes or Badtimes?

For me defo Goodtimes! I love nothing more than a good clear out. I can’t believe this was almost three years ago and I am so in need of a good clear out again, where does all this junk come from?

I am sat here on the computer surrounded by ‘stuff’. Stuff that I should be sorting out. Paperwork, textiles and sewing projects including many unfinished ones! I’ve been to Ikea, bought the storage boxes and now I intend to fill them with the ‘stuff’. Well that’s the plan anyway.

Have a great Sunday y’all!

mummi g x

Packing DayPacking Day 2Packing Day 3

Decisions Decisions

As migrant mums we’ve all had our fair share of decisions to make and the influences surrounding those decisions come from many people, places and events.

Personally my family’s decision came quite easy, we watched a TV programme on the subject of emigrating to Australia and the decision was made.

Today we have a guest blog from Lou of Lou’s Lake Views whose mother in law was the inspiration behind her family’s move from the UK to Canada.

However, Lou’s sister-in-law may feel the inspiration came from somewhere else.

Lou

The Decision to Emigrate

My Mother-in-Law was the catalyst in our decision to immigrate to Canada.  She arrived at our house on our youngest sons 5th birthday, she had been ill for a while and although she wouldn’t admit it we knew it was serious and she mentioned how she thought we ought to attend her nephew’s wedding in Toronto a few weeks later. She also told us how a friend of hers, also in her 50’s, had cancer.  It got us to thinking about a trip, we’d been planning to visit Toronto at some point, I always wanted to see Niagara Falls, but we were waiting for the ‘right time’, my mother-in-laws illness and our conversation that night made me wonder ‘what we were waiting for’? My sister-in-Law, on the other hand, may disagree with my catalyst, she would tell you that as my husband stood at Niagara Falls while on holiday visiting relatives the summer of 1979 at just seven years of age he declared that one day he would live in Canada, so I suppose you could say he was a few steps ahead of me.

We arrived in Toronto for the Wedding at the end of March, we were only there for a few days and every day was full, we visited the usual tourist spots, the CN Tower, Niagara Falls, attended the Wedding and a house-warming party and spent time in the homes of hubby’s family and surrounded by their friends.  This kind of trip was unlike a normal holiday where you see the place through ‘rose coloured glasses’ we saw how normal Canadians lived and played and it was quite an eye-opening experience.  What became apparent immediately was the ‘work to live’ attitude whereas in the UK it was ‘live to work’.  The trip was great and gave us some real food for thought.

The following 6 months went by in a flash, the summer was always hectic for us and this one was made worse as mum-in-law’s illness worsened. The summer went by in a blur of work and hospital visits.  We lost her in September.  As we said goodbye to her in the hospice she talked about how she expected to end her days sitting by the sea, surrounded by her playing grandchildren but fate had other ideas and decided to take her aged just 56.

My husband had made no secret of the fact that he was ready to sell up and emigrate but I was not so sure.  Our lives were very busy, we had a successful air conditioning business, and worked crazy hours and although we were doing well financially we had little time to enjoy it. But we had a good life and were surrounded by friends and family and I loved where I lived, however, always in the back of my mind was my mum-in-law how she planned a retirement that she never saw and how she spent her last few years working fruitlessly for her future.  It taught me to look at things differently, not to put off the things we wanted to do and to try to enjoy each day as it comes, this totally contradicted our busy lifestyle. My Husband worked long hours everyday, all of our business was in London and he would leave home by 4.30 am, he was often on site late into the evening and we would be doing paperwork during the nights and at weekends, the business took over our lives and grew year after year.

It took me another six months of soul-searching before I finally agreed begin the visa application process.  We owned some land close to where we lived where we would camp at the weekends and get the peace and quiet we desperately needed.  I remember spending a Sunday there in late March burning some scrub we had cleared, it had been a busy time at work despite being the winter which, traditionally, was our quiet time but we were up to our neck in work and completely exhausted, the realization that our lifestyle had to change hit me straight in the face. Hubby physically couldn’t carry on working as he did and with the economy on a downward spiral our boys had little hope of a secure future in the UK.  Canada was the way to go.  I turned to my Husband and muttered those immortal words “Let’s go for it”

I’m sorry Frau Barrie, but she has a dog…

This week we have a guest post from Dena Barrie, a mummigrant who started out in Denver, Colorado and is currently living in Germany with her husband and two boys. You can find out more about her at

itsabouttakingthejourney

Enjoy!

Dena Barrie

I’m sorry Frau Barrie, but she has a dog…

I’m laughing because a friend of mine just posted a blog about the German’s love of dogs and horses…how right she is!

We had a horrible time getting to and from Spain for our spring vacation.  On our flight home the 2 boys and i were on a 1:00 flight, my husband on a 5:30 flight, all due to the strike on the airlines.  No problem I thought, we’ll get on our way and he can get some work done.

I get the boarding passes and take a look at our seats, even the thought of the last row was not going to get me down.  What I see was 12c, 21d and 39b.  Okay, this is not going to work.  My oldest can be on his own, no problem.  My youngest can even be on his own, no problem…but me~no way!  My kids have flown with me enough that they actually know how to talk me through my fear of flying, crazy isn’t it???

So, this will be easy to fix.  Off I go to the check in desk…

“Sorry, the flight is full and I can’t change the seats.”  she says.

“Well, my son is only young ~note I don’t state his age, as I don’t want to lie~ and he really needs to be with an adult!”

“I’m sorry, but you’ll have to ask the flight attendants what they can do Frau Barrie!”

I can do that.  The flight attendants will totally understand.  So off we go.  On board, we all take our respective seats and I mention to the flight attendant that my “young” son is quite a few rows behind me.  He assures me that he will get someone to move.

Once everyone has boarded Mr. flight attendant comes back to me and states that no one can move, and he will have to stay on his own. He explains that the person next to my son “has a dog” and therefore they have their choice of seats.

Really?  Did he just say that?  Did he just say that the dog got preferential treatment over my child?  I mean I am a dog lover, but seriously.  So no worries if the plane goes down and my son doesn’t know how to get off of the aircraft, too bad for him…as long as the hound is okay!!!

After turning bright red and demanding that my minor sits next to me, amazingly it was arranged, but it made me think how crazy and extreme the love of dogs here in Germany is!

I have heard a story about a friend who was pulled over by the police for having her dog in the front seat.  She showed the policeman that her two children, both in booster seats were in the back.  The policeman actually made her move one of her girls to the front seat, move the dog to the back, put a seat belt on the dog, and then gave her a ticket for this infraction!

Go into any restaurant and you will see water bowls for dogs, dogs sitting at the feet of their owners and even the occasional dog on the chair, but ask for a children’s menu and you are looked at like you have 3 heads!

Dogs at airports are often seen, like the one below who actually stood behind his “people” at the Airberlin desk and waited patiently.  I have to say, the dogs in Germany are very, very well behaved….makes me wonder if I should leave my kids at the kennel and bring the dog on vacation next time???

well that was an easy birth!

To follow on from Friday’s post, the baby Andrew arrived fit and healthy after a dash by my other half and big son to the local Animal Welfare League first thing Friday morning!

There had been a lot of interest in this little fella as you can see on his Facebook page, so the boys got there bright and early; so bright and early they in fact arrived an hour before it opened…but that was a mistake!

They took our other dog, Pixie Pom Pom, also a rescue dog from the same shelter, along for the ride. Poor thing, Pixie must have been scared to death and thought she was being taken back for good!

Anyway, Andrew was introduced to them all and I’m not sure if it was love at first sight but money soon exchanged hands and he was ours…..now why can’t all births be that painless?

So just over an hour after he first was introduced to the boys, Andrew was settled in his new home. No problems to report except that the name Andrew was just not floating our boat, so after much deliberation Andrew is now known as Barry as in White and in honour of the pusscat we had to leave behind when we emigrated two and a half years ago.

Barry is very sweet and has a cheeky face, he’s a little bit clumsy and a little bit licky and I think he likes us?!! Well he’s not asked to be taken back yet anyway!

So welcome to Barry our second Aussie dog!

We love you lots!

Barry

mummi g x