Shelley (39) and Ricky (32) Marshall moved from Hertfordshire in England to Glenhaven, Sydney. In the UK, Shelley was an account manager for a retail packaging reprographic company. Her job in Australia is similar, also within the retail industry. Ricky was a heavy haulage lorry driver in the UK and has managed to secure employment in the same field in Australia
My husband Ricky and I had always wanted to travel to Australia but it was so expensive to travel there. When an opportunity arose to relocate to Sydney with my job it was too good an opportunity to miss!
My employer financed the move, and the fact that it was a long-term move of three years made the effort worthwhile. I had been happy to leave the UK. I was bored with the government, the depressing news everyday and the rubbish weather! Before we came out, my company sent myself and a couple of colleagues out to Sydney to audit the client. I was in Sydney for 10 days and did not get to see much of the city at all, but I was grateful for the chance to familiarize myself with my future work surroundings before actually moving there.
After being granted a 457 visa - valid for three years, the length of my work contract - we landed in Sydney on May 2010. We had left behind four dogs and three cats in the UK, who were all living a life of luxury in my two-bed semi in Hertfordshire, under the watchful eye of a live-in family member!
We had our temporary accommodation of a serviced apartment in Parramatta arranged for us prior to our arrival in Sydney. Our main priority though was finding somewhere more permanent to live, which was not an easy task. I have never rented before, and we owned our home in the UK, so looking at rentals in Australia was a real eye opener.
We looked at about 20 properties in five weeks, none of them up to scratch. Eventually we found somewhere, in a complex of townhouses in the suburb of Baulkham Hills. They were nice and clean, and each had a bit of garden, although no furniture! It was then a mad rush, trawling through the small ads looking for the essentials. Trying to shop for a whole house on a budget isn't easy when you've just left a fully stocked home in the UK! Buying the cheapest to make our money go further was the most depressing thing.
Within two weeks of our arrival in Sydney, Ricky had found work so we were so grateful to each have our jobs. Our next mission was to find a car. Cars are ridiculously expensive out here!
In August we notified the real estate agent that we were looking for somewhere else to live. We found a three-bed townhouse in the beautiful suburb of Glenhaven which was perfect for us. I wanted to be close to work, so this property was perfect. It is a quiet area, and close to good amenities such as a shopping centre, supermarket, park, public pool and bowling club.
We soon got back in the swing of things in Australia. With both of us working and settling nicely into our new house, our financial situation gradually improved, and we decided it was time to get a dog.
Now I don't know if was the pressure of relocating to the other side of the world, or all of the drama we had experienced since we got here, but, towards the end of January, Ricky decided that he didn't want to be married anymore - so he left. I really felt at this point that I would have to go home. Panic set in. Could I do this without Ricky?
I soon realised though that I wasn't alone and that I had made some good friends here. In February, Jenny arrived. I had worked with Jenny in the UK and was so pleased that she was coming out to join us. It wasn't until she came over, not knowing a thing about Australia that I realised how much I had learnt!
By March, Ricky had a change of heart - he realised it wasn't so great on the other side of the fence. I, however, had been living it up with the girls - Mardi Gras in Sydney was amazing! He wanted to come home, but that wasn't about to happen. I had become a stronger person and was managing just fine.
I began to see Ricky a couple of times a week and some time later, after a holiday in the Sunshine Coast, Ricky moved back in. By that time, I felt confident in my ability to adjust to life in Sydney.
We spent a memorable New Year's Eve in Sydney, watching the early fireworks over the harbour, which were amazing.
I still miss my family and friends, but as I have become more wrapped up in my day-to-day life in Sydney, I have found it easier.
My best advice for others Brits thinking of moving to Australia is to try not to replicate what you have in the UK. It's not the UK, and if it was, you probably wouldn't want to come here!
Don't make it all about what you've left behind, make it more about what you've experienced and achieved. It's all about adjusting, not replicating. All of the things you take for granted are stripped from you when you move. You need to build relationships straight away to replace the ones you'd taken your whole life to build.
WHERE IS GLENHAVEN?
Glenhaven is a semi-rural suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales. It is located 32 kilometres north-west of the Sydney central business district in The Hills district. The area was originally called Sandhurst, but as there was a suburb in Melbourne with the same name, in 1894 its name was changed to reflect its picturesque valley location. The upper portion of the valley used to be known as 'The Glen' while the lower portion used to be known as 'The Haven', hence the name Glenhaven. The suburb offers excellent views of The Hills looking towards the Blue Mountains. The beautiful surrounds offer a variety of recreational and sporting opportunities.
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE?
Glenhaven boasts fairly moderate summer temperatures. The summer high temperature for Glenhaven is approximately 27 degrees Celcius. It has mild winter temperatures. The winter high temperature for Glenhaven is 16 degrees Celcius.
WHAT ARE THE LOCAL AMENITIES?
Residents in Glenhaven enjoy convenient access to Knightsbridge Shopping Centre, parks, sports ovals and public transport. Buses run every hour to the larger town of Castle Hill, where express buses offer transportation to the CBD. A train line has been proposed in Glenhaven for 2017, which will make getting around easier. Glenhaven has two schools, Glenhaven Public School and Lorien Novalis School for Rudolf Steiner Education.
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