Written by Miss Jodie
A couple of years ago my husband and I moved from acreage on the outskirts of beautiful Katherine to suburban Brisbane.
We both found it challenging to say the very least and made some epic blunders along the way, but we learnt and survived, and I thought that I would share our learnings with you in the hope that it may prevent you from making the same mistakes should you ever move to town.
Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!
Here are my learnings:
On finding somewhere to live:
- If you have come from the land of wide open spaces to suburbia, with 6 foot colourbond fences, life in your new home will comparatively suck. You can’t see out. The backyards are tiny (if you are lucky enough to have a backyard). Everyone’s dog barks all day, every day, and nobody tells it to be quiet. You can hear your neighbours fight. You can hear your neighbours fart. You can hear your neighbours’ tv. You will be able to hear the train horn blasting every time it passes the station no matter how far you live from the station like an annoying snooze button on an alarm. However! You learn to ignore these things and before you know it, they will not bother you as much anymore.
Your backyard will not be this big.
- Or, if you cannot handle it (like we couldn’t), set yourself an alert on the realestate websites to be notified as soon as a house on acreage becomes available. Acreage can come at a premium so some sacrifices may have to be made (for example, number of bedrooms and bathrooms) to get into an affordable price range, and then be prepared to offer more than the asking price (renting or buying) as accessing acreage is competitive. However, I can assure you that the peace and quiet is worth it.
On getting a job:
- DO NOT START WORK IN THE INNER CITY! Too many people. Too loud. Too much concrete. Everything fake or artificial. If I can offer any advice on this aspect it would be, work your way into it. Literally.
I’ll take mustering in woody country over navigating this concrete jungle any day!
- Consider how you will get from your home to where you will work. It’s not as simple as driving to work. Even if you are a confident driver in the city, consider how much it will cost to park in the city if you choose to drive. Not to mention tolls.
On public transport:
- I have the greatest sympathy for anyone learning to use public transport on a regular basis over the age of 30. By 30, you are pretty comfortable with who you are, the level of courtesy you offer to others, the level of respect you have come to expect from others and even more than that, the level of personal space you consider to be appropriate. FORGET EVERYTHING YOU ONCE KNEW OR EXPECTED!
- Public transport allows no personal space. I once got sat on. No joke.
- Be aware of “spreaders” – those (usually male) who do not have enough room between their thighs for their genitalia and therefore must spread their knees wide, taking up all of the available leg space. Do you sit beside the spreader, on an angle, half off the seat? Do you sit across from the spreader with your knees clamped together IN BETWEEN their knees? OR do you completely protest and just stand up all the way home because you just cannot tolerate another stranger touching you today? (Side note: I have actually considered introducing myself to strangers sitting beside me on the train purely because they insist on making physical contact and the only other person who touches me that much is my husband! I feel like they should at least know my name, and maybe I should know theirs?)
- Trains/buses will be late at times, but this isn’t anyone’s fault, and therefore there is no point in being angry. You have no control over this. You can only get to wherever you need to be as quickly as possible. Most employers understand this and are sympathetic.
On keeping yourself sane (particularly in the first few months):
- If you can, keep doing the things that make you happy. When we moved to Brisvegas we were close to a park with big gum trees in it. Watching them sway in the breeze and walking in the grass barefoot on the way home (after hopping off the train) would ease my mind – a little peace and quiet at the end of a loud and busy day.
- Take the opportunity to do the things you have always wanted to do. For example, since moving I have learnt that I enjoy painting. I am not good at it, but I enjoy it.
- Sample every coffee and tea house in your area! There are many coffee places, cafes and restaurants. If you can, sample them all until you find your favourites 😊 (best coffee house, most delicious tea maker, nicest barista, favourite waitstaff…)
- If you are thinking of buying a horse or bringing a horse with you, be warned, feeding a horse in greater suburbia is expensive. (Confession: I am guilty of overgrazing our 5 acres! I have become one of “those people”!)
Definitely not in Katherine anymore!
- If you have brought your dogs with you, they will need time to adjust as well. Walk them as often as you can (especially if you are in suburbia with 6 foot colourbond fences as they will go insane). Give them plenty of things to chew on and give in to the fact that there is likely to be a number of holes dug out of boredom, and possibly, the occasional dead cat (not a great way to meet the neighbours – “Hi, nice to meet you! Did you have a cat?”).
- Your phone is your best friend (but not for social media). Keep in contact with your friends with the occasional call. Check in and see how they are going as they are no doubt missing you as much as you are missing them, but avoid an overindulgence of social media as the unconscious comparison to the life you once lived could make you end up feeling very sad and lonely.
- Take the opportunity to go to all of the concerts, football games, classes and performances that you can afford! After all, you don’t need to pay an arm and a leg to get there anymore!
- And lastly, it’s ok to sook, complain and take time to adjust. Moving from a station or rural area into a town or city is a big change. And to be comfortable with change takes time and effort. Do your best to focus on the things you otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do and call a friend if it all gets too much.
Now let me just say, we moved for many reasons but none of those reasons were because we didn’t like our jobs or the town we lived in – we had decided that we wanted to investigate a few things and upskill ourselves – something we couldn’t do in our beloved K-town. And while it has taken us a while to settle in (I’d say a good 12-18 months), I’m glad we’re doing it. It’s been a massive change, and one day we will head back north to the warm country and we will be happily waving goodbye to the city life but with many memories of good times in our hearts.
New home, new skills!
My evening wear is getting quite the work out, compared to when living up north!