Six weeks ago today we arrived in Melbourne. It's been mostly great, but pretty tough too. Having family around is amazing. The boys have loved hanging out with their cousins (older kids who are interested in them! They can't get enough.) It's been great having our mums around. (My mum spent the weekend with us, cooking and cleaning and stocking our freezer. So good.) It's great to be able to see our families pretty much any time we want, and to be involved in their everyday lives. Catching up with old friends has been brilliant.
But it's been tough getting over the jet lag - particularly being very pregnant (33 weeks today). Even after 6 weeks I struggle to keep my eyes open past 9pm, so sleep has taken priority over some of the things I used to do in the evening - mostly blogging (hence my long absence!)
Nick basically started his new job the day after we arrived, and without the routine of the childcare we had in London and my network of mum-friends who made the days when I had the boys much more fun and structured (shout out to Rachel, Jo and Emma in particular), I've found it pretty hard. I've tried to get out and do as much as possible but the constant physical exhaustion of being pregnant makes keeping up with a four-year-old and two-year-old sometimes overwhelming.
We were lucky to secure one day of childcare when we arrived but no more as yet. It's not ideal as the week gap between days is too long - M really wants to make friends but isn't there enough, H struggles at drop-off every week when before he was always happy to say goodbye. We're trying to get a Kindergarten place for M but our top 4 preferences are all full...we're now weighing up staying on the waiting lists and taking a place at a Kinder a bit further away. I think he really needs the stimulation and routine of Kinder or childcare so hopefully we'll sort this out soon.
H has found the whole move pretty difficult - he started getting more clingy a few weeks before we left (probably as we started packing and giving things away) and has been very clingy since we arrived. He's getting better but there were a few weeks when I couldn't even leave the room without him insisting on coming with me and constantly needing to be picked up.
The admin has been relentless - having been away for nearly 8 years and with 2 boys who have never lived here and a new baby on the way, there has been a seemingly constant stream of forms to fill out, appointments to make, government agencies to call. So far we haven't had any major difficulties (and both boys have been dual citizens since birth) but for it all to happen at the same time is a lot of admin.
The most interesting thing is being an expat in our own country. We travelled back to Australia 7 or 8 times while living in London, but living here again is quite different. Especially living here for the first time as a parent. It's subtle things, and it's interesting (apart from the cost of everything, which never ceases to shock me). I'm loving exploring the shops and finding out what things are good to do with kids (so far Melbourne Zoo is by far our favourite thing) and we're very much enjoying checking out all the new cafes (although some not so new now...) You can't beat a great breakfast in Melbourne and I never realised how much I missed Chai Lattes.
So hopefully I'm back and with lots more to come from a new Australian perspective! x