Gosh, so many questions, so many curious people that I am just not sure where to start. One of my readers, Canedolia put things into perspective when she wrote "...Glad to see you posting again! I was wondering how you were getting on on the other side of the world. And don't forget that for you it may be mundane, but for those of us who are still on this side of the world, Australia is exotic!" That got me thinking that yeah...she is right. Ok, exotic may be stretching it, but for me it is all so normal but for others it is exciting.
Australia has always been the dream country, the place where everyone wants to live. In each and every country I have visited there is always at least one person (if not one hundred) who dreamily tell me that they want to move to Australia. When we backpacked around Europe and people found out we were Australian they treated us like old friends. When I worked in the UK my Scottish boss preferred to hire Australians because she thought we were all so friendly (her reasoning was that we got more sun than the UK thus were a happy race.) You see it from the amount of boat people that are trying to sneak their way into this country everyday...Australia is a popular place to be.
We returned not quite as expected, what with me on two crutches not being able to move around much. Before the accident we had imagined that I would find a part time job while bel marito found full time work. In Italy we had both worked part time so could both look after bel bambino and we decided that we needed one full time worker to try and get more money into our bank account so that our future Australian home would become more of a reality than a dream. Unfortunately I was in no position to work when we returned, I could barely walk let alone drive and so the first few months were spent mostly getting sorted. Don't forget that it was about 10 years since I last lived and worked full time in Australia so there was a lot I just didn't know about. I had never been sick before, never been in an Australian hospital, never had to deal with children issues...10 years ago I was a healthy, single, young girl who didn't have to deal with anything! Thankfully my family and friends were all able to point us in the right direction and now we are still learning a lot about how things work here. Bel marito was obviously full of questions: how do we register with a doctor, how much does xx cost, how do you get from a to b....how....how....how....and my answer was always the same 'I haven't lived here for 10 years, I don't know!!!'
Our first tasks were easy as often things work here. Small things don't become big issues as I often found in Italy. You need to get your Italian drivers licence transferred to an Australian one? No problem. Just make an appointment, pay the fee and bel marito now has a nice, Victorian drivers licence. Bella bambina was not yet Australian so we had to get that done. Easy. Just photo copy some documents, get them certified, send them off, pay the fee and a few weeks later she is Australian. We needed to add bel bambino, bel marito and bella bambina to the Australian healthcare system. I will write another post about this as I know a lot of people are curious but it can be a complicated thing to explain and I need time to write that post! But getting them on my Medicare card (which is like a codice fiscale) was a simple phone call. Getting bel marito's tax file number changed to that of a permanent resident was also a simple phone call. A lot of things were just a simple phone call which was lucky as our first few months were basically full of doctor and specialist visits...which was not as one would imagine spending the first few months in a new country...
You must remember when you read this blog that bel marito already had permanent residency so he is treated like an Australian, he has access to everything that I have access to, he just doesn't have an Australian passport (he's got to wait 5 years for that!) So when I talk about the health care system in future posts I will always be talking about Australians as foreigners have different rights here depending on things such as what visa are they on and where they come from. To give you a really quick example bella bambina had access to the Australian medical system even before we got her citizenship sorted. I went and got her vaccinations done at the local health care centre and it was all free because she was at the time an Italian citizen and Australia and Italy have a reciprocal health care agreement. There were a lot of migrants from Asian countries who had to pay for the vaccinations. So you see, explaining things can be complicated.
Let me sum up our lives briefly and then I will write more about them. We don't have a house. For the first 7 months we lived with my parents, now the four of us live alone. Bel marito found a full time job. I stay at home and look after the children as finding a job is still far from my mind (I have had to re-evaluate a lot since the accident.) Our Italian insurance issues from the accident have not yet even begun...
We are happy here. It has not been as hard as we had imagined. It has not been as easy either. I say it all the time but it is just that we had planned on coming under different circumstances, we had not planned to be hit by a car...but things happen and we have to adjust. But we are here. We have not looked back and I don't think we will. There is just such a difference as to how our children are and will continue to grow up. There is so much more on offer here for them. For them we are happy we made the move, and for them we will stay. And to be honest it is fun being a tourist here again!