Let me introduce myself: I’m Amy. I’m from West Yorkshire in England, and living in Sydney, Australia. My husband, Grant, and I emigrated last June after months of tests, evidence, skills assessments and fees, and are fully-fledged Permanent Residents. We had planned the move for a while, had quit our jobs, packed up our house and sent eleven boxes of prized possessions ahead of us, and couldn’t wait to start our new life. However, two weeks before take-off, we were hit by an incredible and terrifying bombshell – we were pregnant!
This was not supposed to happen so quickly! We needed at least six months – okay, a year, to get settled in our new country….but no, Mother Nature had different plans. So, there we were, 35,000ft high, clinging onto a copy of ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’, desperately scanning the contents for ‘How to cope when you move to the other side of the world’ (surprisingly, nothing!) and contemplating the quickest route to the toilets (yes, your bladder goes into overdrive during pregnancy). Luckily, I had no sickness during those first twelve weeks, otherwise that flight could’ve been a whole lot worse! And so we landed in Sydney, our new home, with a couple of suitcases and a belly full of nerves.
The first few weeks of being here are a bit of a blur (kind of like the first few weeks of parenthood – but we’ll come to that later…). We were staying with friends who had kids, which, as it turned out, was a great way to learn many parenting techniques (‘Oh, yes, we’ll do that with ours’) as well as preparing us for the onslaught of sleeplessness (‘She’s three, she can’t be STILL waking up in the night???!!!’). The kindness and generosity of people here overwhelmed us, and soon we were set up in our own house (complete with spare room for visitors and garden for child), filled with donated/acquired furniture and close to the railway station for Grant’s daily commute. After a few interviews and job offers, I decided against permanent employment – I felt too deceptive not telling them about the pregnancy, plus I had my dissertation to write (Oh, did I not mention I was three-quarters through a Masters in Early Years at the time?……Yeah, I don’t do things by halves), so I took casual work, which suited me fine.
As pregnancies go, mine was easy. (Don’t worry pregnancy-sufferers, the hellish birth more than made up for it!) I pined for familiar things, but all in all, I was pretty happy and not too homesick – I’m sure the surge of hormones contributed! A Christmas-New Year visit from our best friends lifted the already-pretty-high spirits (whoever said a hug from your best friend is the best therapy is spot on!), then just a few weeks later, 62 hours from pang to pop, little Max was born!
And this is where the fun really begins…