Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Happy 1st Anniversary to Us

On the eve of our 1st anniversary in the UK it's been fun to reflect on the past 12 months.

There are so many emotions, so many success stories and a few frustrations entwined in those few words, our one year anniversary in the UK. 

It’s hard to believe we’ve been away from Sydney for 6 years this January.  If you’ve been following ms_havachat these past few months you’ll realize that it’s only recently starting to feel like we’ve been away for a long time. Being an expat hits hard when you’re invisible.

This Adventure has been a roller coaster ride in more ways than any of us could have anticipated. Friends warned me about ‘invisible expats’ and I’d  read about them so I (thought) I was as prepared as I could be, but nothing can prepare you for the reality of any situation.

It started like most expat moves like this ……. 
While the bulk of our things are on a container, we leave with 5 suitcases and 3 pieces of hand luggage

We had a few lovely days with friends in Singapore before arriving at Heathrow to start our new Adventure in Winchester, Hampshire.

View from Singapore Eye

DH was already ensconced in work, so MissM and I spent our first few weeks strolling and exploring the High Street; at the Discovery Centre reading and having afternoon tea; we toured Winchester Cathedral, discovered The Great Hall and more. Winchester is a very lovely place to live. We spent time with our relocation manager looking at the few houses on the market, then debating which one to take as none of them were to our liking, before being the luckiest people in Winchester and finding Hinton House. 

High Street, Winchester

Winchester Cathedral

MissM started Prince’s Mead. We were very fortunate that they agreed to enroll her in year 2 (and not year 3) and we started what one could call an interesting year of bridging learning gaps between different education systems.

First day at Prince's Mead

MissM’s proven yet again how resilient she is; how mature and sensible she can be, and how she just gets on with things regardless of the struggles. Think DH and I could learn a thing or two from her! MissM is definitely a TCK (third culture kid) and we are definitely TCKAdults. 

We met people thru the kindness of others – mutual friends who thought to reach out and introduce us to their friends. Twelve months on, and the circle of friendship is complete and we are so happy to have come to the UK and have these people in our lives.

They have helped me in particular with the usual who, what, how, where and why of living here.
·      Which hairdresser, beautician, chiro, dentist, GP etc do you go to?
·      Where can I buy (whatever is it I’m needing at the time)?
·      Where’s a great place for a romantic/special/family breakfast/lunch/dinner?
·      How do you suggest we get in/out of Heathrow cost effectively?
·      Where’s the nearest shopping centre (as opposed to the High Street)
·      Help me understand train fares, please!
·      Where do your girls do ballet?
·      What’s everyone doing over the school holidays?

MissM (as usual) chose very lovely friends who have very lovely parents and we’ve enjoyed lots of fun with them. DH is even playing golf with one of the dads!

DH worked his butt off in the lead up to the Olympic Games. We are so proud of his (and his teams) achievements.

So on this, the first anniversary of living in the UK, I’d like to take a moment and reflect on our achievements (in no apparent order)

We eventually bought a car (what a saga), invested time with new friends, survived endless weeks of rain, toured a few castles, roamed a few ruins, joined National Trust and English Heritage and enjoyed numerous castles/manor houses/ruins/mansion houses and gardens, entertained 18 house guests, DH and I had a fabulous weekend in Paris (MissM enjoyed Halloween with friends) to celebrate Shikye’s last night on stage at Moulin Rouge, we’ve done LOTS of Sunday’s out’n’about exploring, a weekend to the White Cliffs of Dover, MissM’s settled into her new school, earned a distinction in her first ballet exam, started professional singing lessons, participated in her first ever school holidays camp and loved it, took up cooking and pottery at school, enjoys her friends, enjoyed our first ever Guy Fawkes Night, I started Ikebana of all things and earned my first certificate, met up several times with British friends who were in Yokohama with us and have repatriated, toured Windsor Castle, went to Legoland, had fun in the snow,  went into London for the weekend for the first time as a family, harvested our own veggies from our vegie patch grown by MsJo, went to Paris with Mum for the weekend, I turned 50, DH started playing golf again and lots more. 

We are looking forward to the next 365 days, may they be as happy (if not happier than) the last, and full of wonderful memories,

With friendship

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