Our HUUUUGGEEE Life Update: Part 1
This is the one we've been dying to share with everyone! I'll jump right into it and then backtrack to give you the whole story. Big news, we've moved back to Australia! And we didn't tell anyone we were doing it!
It's been one hell of a few months, especially with all the planning and organising , which was super stressful by the way! Well, sort of. Allanah definitely shouldered the load of the stress more so than me, so I owe her a huge thank you.
To paint this picture and understand how all of this came to be, it's important to go back to where it all began, which was October, 2020.
Applying for the new job
Around the end of October I was scrolling through my emails when I noticed the regular weekly email from LinkedIn, which has "jobs you may be interested in" that are tailored to your skills, preferences, wants, etc.
Most of them are not interesting and way off the mark, but one stood out that day. A job opportunity for Newcrest Mining Limited appeared in the list and it was for the same role I was currently performing at the time.
This job was located in Australia in a central NSW town called Orange (where we now currently live!). Allanah and I had always wanted to come back to Oz at some point and we often spoke about moving to Orange. However there was never an opportunity for my kind of role, until now.
It was kind of like the stars aligned for us. A job opportunity in the town we wanted to move back to. So I jumped on the opportunity to apply for the role.
I never thought I'd be in with a shot because we lived over in Canada, but to make my chances better I got hold of the recruiter and let her know my interest and to please check for my resume as I'd assume they'd automatically screen out applicants that weren't in Australia.
I'm glad I did and from there I had two interviews and several phone calls before receiving an offer of employment late December, 2020. Once I received that letter it began to feel a little more real.
Packing up our whole life... Again
When we moved from Australia to Canada back in 2017 I remember there was no shortage of work to do. Moving back was no different. To organise our thoughts and figure out what we needed to do, we did what all smart people do. Make a list!
Allanah was the key list maker in this arrangement, but not in the structured fashion that I would prefer. She would write a random three-line list on the back of the kids school paper for one activity, and then proceed to put that paper somewhere and make another list for something new a few days later. Hey, whatever works I suppose?!
I wanted to make a whole project Gantt chart in excel, complete with milestone dates and dependencies, but that didn't happen. A little over the top now that I think about it...
Anyway, the first thing we decided to do was sell some items around the house. We didn't try to sell everything at first, just the things we didn't need or rarely used. A yard sale - which we held in October - was useful to get rid of most of these items. At this point we didn't know if I had the job or not, but we got the ball rolling because we knew we couldn't sell everything at the drop of a hat.
We pottered around selling things and packing up minor household items until we received my offer of employment late December, 2020. It was then that we accelerated the selling of bigger household items and put our Canadian home on the market.
This was all that was left of our furniture and items that we were taking with us. As you can see from the bedroom picture, we didn't take much! Most of the stuff coming back belongs to Addison. She couldn't bare to part with her stuffies!
We quit our jobs
Originally I thought things would happen pretty quick after I signed the offer of employment, and my prediction was that we'd be out of Canada and back in Australia by the 15th of January.
I handed in my notice to my employer late December with my last day of work being the 6th of January, 2021. I thought this would line up well with my predicted moving date, but this wasn't the case.
The recruitment agency of my new employer had informed me they had to complete a criminal background check, which could take some time to complete as the police departments were backed up thanks to Covid. The longest estimate for a result was 10 weeks! Luckily they started the process when they gave me the offer, but that still threw my mid-Jan departure date out of the window.
Factoring in the potential 10 week timeline, that put the departure date out to mid-Feb instead. That didn't change my 6th of Jan end date of work though. I still finished up that week - and so did Allanah - so we had a month of experiencing what unemployment felt like, and to be honest it wasn't bad!
Given the extra month, we had a lot more time to sell off our furniture, pack up the house, enlist the help of a realtor to sell the house, and get our other affairs in order. In fact, we had more than enough time so we did get a chance for relaxation during this time of unemployment.
During the last few days left in our little town, we fully cleaned every room in the house, packed everything that the relocation specialists needed to move into one room, and left the house behind to stay at our friends house for the last two days in town.
The trip back to Oz
After the police background check cleared (which we knew it would), Newcrest HR were able to book the flights for us to head to Australia. The flights were booked for Friday February 19.
Our flight path was pretty hectic and had us going through the US with 3 stops before we boarded the Dreamliner at LA headed for Australia. We flew economy all the way with our first flight departing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
We lived about 4.5hrs from Winnipeg so we had to travel two days before the 19th, and since we didn't have a car anymore (it was a lease so we handed the keys back on Tuesday Feb 16) we had limited options for how to get there.
One would think a hire car would be the best option. Well, yes, but they were all booked out so that was out of the question. A friend to drop us there perhaps? Maybe, but it was mid-week and everyone had work.
My next option was to reach out to a friend at work and see if she had any work trucks traveling to Winnipeg on the Wednesday that we could hitch a ride with. Luckily enough there was a shuttle bus heading that way first thing Wednesday morning. She organised everything and had the shuttle pick us up from our friends house which we were staying at for a few days. We were stoked!
Not only did we get a free ride to Winnipeg courtesy of my old workplace, I got to chat to the kindest shuttle driver you'd ever meet! He dropped us directly at our accommodation in Winnipeg and even helped us with the bags. There are some truly great humans in this world.
We got to Winnipeg around lunch time and checked into our accommodation for the next two nights. The only time we left the hotel was to get our mandatory pre-travel Covid tests on the Thursday morning. This was mandated by the Australian Government and you had to have a negative test result within 72hrs of landing in the country, and they wouldn't let you board the flight without it. Talk about a time crunch!
We had a little view of the airport, which Addison loved! Seeing all the planes come in and out was fascinating for her.
Our tests came back negative within about 10hrs so we were good to fly out of Winnipeg on Friday morning. The first leg was to Toronto, ON, followed by a short jump to Newark, NJ in the US, then onto LA as our last leg before heading to Sydney, Australia.
All our flights went smooth and there were no significant delays. The airports were fairly empty, with the exception of the Newark one - I'll just say it's no wonder the US is still in a Covid crisis... - but we were still stressing until we boarded the flight at LA.
Once we were seated on the LA flight bound for Sydney, we could breathe a sigh of relief. We'd made it! Our flight didn't get cancelled and we didn't get bumped to a later flight. Cheering!
There was only about 30 or so people on the LA flight to Sydney so we had plenty of room to spread out and get a good 6 to 8 hours sleep. It was like flying in the poor mans business class!