3 Years of Living Down Under: My Personal Review

Happiness, Lifestyle, Perth Life, Self Development, Wellbeing / Sunday, January 20th, 2019

This post is quite different compared to what I would normally write about, but this month marks three years since I moved from Germany to Australia. I thought this anniversary is worth a review. So let’s go!

The First Year: Registration Frustration and Car Purchase

During my first year here, my main goal was to be able to financially support myself. It was all about earning and spending money. I wanted to make sure I could stay here long term. This meant first of all finding work, because living in Australia is very expensive. Moreover, I had to get all the required registrations done including Medicare, Driver’s License, Car Registration, Teaching Registration and Working With Children Check. Again, quite costly, but also highly frustrating and time consuming.

Although the first year was incredible important and set quite a few milestones, I wasn’t really able to enjoy life here yet. It was not an easy time for me. Honestly, I don’t think I saw the beach more than 10 times in a whole year. And I love the beach!

Luckily I did find work in retail management a few weeks after moving. At that point I was really thankful for my part-time jobs while studying in Germany. Without them I wouldn’t have had the experience or references required. Since I had none of the above mentioned registrations at the start of 2016, I wasn’t able to work with children or teach yet, but that was ok.

I had some money coming in and I could purchase a car. Another important thing in Perth because public transport here is pretty average (unless you work directly in the city somewhere). That’s why owning a car at that point was equal to freedom for me. Freedom to get to places and people a lot easier.

Towards the end of the year, I was registered everywhere. I was now also able to start working as a teacher and get more job experience. I finally started feeling better and more positive about my future in Australia.

The Second Year: Permanent Residency and Establishing Friendships

As with everything, once some milestones are achieved other goals appear. I was waiting for my permanent residency status, which would give me more freedom with travelling and possible future study.

I was working two part-time jobs, one as a high school teacher and one as an education assistant. Although this was important and valuable experience, I really started missing my family and friends in Germany in 2017. Moreover, I realised that I hadn’t made many good friends in Perth yet because I was so fixed on getting all the job and money issues sorted. My social life suffered a lot. I tried to keep in contact with friends from home, but having frequent Skype calls at night (Perth time) also kept me from going out and making new friends here. I needed to find a balance. And establish new friendships.

By taking initiative I improved my social life, but I still didn’t have the time for my friends I wanted to have. Working two jobs while still figuring out the Australian way of life was a lot, but I learned my most important lesson: When you move to a different country, things take time. And you need to give them time. Step by step things fall into place.

In September 2017 my Permanent Residency was finally granted (after applying for the visa in December 2014). I was now able to stay in the country for as long as I wanted. Yay!

The Third Year: Quarter-life Crisis and the Journey Forward

2018 was the most eventful, painful, but also joyful year in Australia yet. The year was so difficult, because I suddenly started questioning everything. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to be a teacher anymore, whether I wanted to stay in Australia and what kind of person I want to be in this world. All the big questions. All at once. So many tearful nights, so many diary pages filled. I don’t think most of the time I would have wanted to be my own friend. I just didn’t know what I wanted.

But step by step I came out of my hole. I started to concern myself with self-development books and podcasts, go to the gym more often and question my eating habits. Later in the year, I quit two jobs and moved twice. First I moved to the country for a few months to clear my head. Then my partner and I moved from a shared house into our own little house, space and world. I allowed change, although I have always been frightened of it.

I even accepted the fact that I don’t think I want to be a teacher for the rest of my life. Following this thought, I signed up for a Graduate Certificate at University here to broaden my job perspectives and to move towards the future.

Moreover, I decided to make work-life balance a priority. I wanted time to work on my blog again. A difficult decision to make, but I know it was necessary and it would bring me more joy in life.

The Fourth Year: What to Expect in 2019

All my difficult decisions and tears last year were necessary, because I have now found a part-time job that will allow me to have enough money, a social life and keep writing my blog posts. I also live in a house 2 kms from the beach and pretty much go for a walk along the beach daily. Some days I still can’t believe it.

I am at a point where I am happy to live in Australia. But not only that. I am also able to enjoy the benefits of it. There are still things I want to keep working on. Most of all managing my time in order to have time for all the things I want to do and all the people I want to see. Travel more, especially through Western Australia and other parts of Australia. There are so many places I haven’t seen yet.

I have also found that I enjoy working with people individually (rather than teaching whole classes) and I hope I can make this happen in some way.

So for 2019 you can expect a whole lot more of self-development questions and thoughts from me, travel and fitness posts as well as book reviews. I am also thinking of starting a column on life in Perth and it fills me with great joy to finally have time for these things.

Final Thoughts

Overall I can say that moving to Perth has definitely been a positive experience for me. I have not regretted it one day. While I strongly believe that we can be happy anywhere in the world with the right mindset and people around us, it helps to live at a place that really resonates with you. And Perth does that for me. Moving country puts you 100% out of your comfort zone and whether you are intending to stay there or not, I think it is a valuable experience for everyone.

Now up to you: Have you ever moved country? How was it for you? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

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