So, this is it: the start of the Dan and Lisa Given blog on moving to Australia. We’re going to Wagga Wagga, a town of 63500 people and about 1/2 billion sheep in the Riverina district of New South Wales. It is going to be an adventure, hence the blog title “waggadventure”.
It’s been a few months in the planning, a long arduous task of getting ourselves and 3 cats pretty much as far away from Edmonton as physically possible without going to the Antarctic. Australian immigration approved our “Business (Long Stay) (Subclass 457) visas” on March 31, 2011, so though we have been planning it for a while, the move planning now officially kicks into overdrive. There is no turning back.
Over the next few months, post-move, the blog will focus on how it all transpired, the process of arranging the move, preparing the cats, selling the house, de-cluttering (thanks kijiji!), and even the little wrinkle of a 3-week vacation/work trip in the UK that will take place just before the final move ‘down under’.
After arrival in Wagga, we’ll be blogging about life in Australia, the perils of driving on the left (what’s a ute?), and the joys of a climate where there isn’t a long cold and snowy winter for 5 months of the year (or the more dangerous peril of a non-existent ozone layer and how we will be buying sun-screen by the barrel). Questions we will try to answer, as much for ourselves as the readers, will include:
- How do you cook kangaroo? Or ostrich? Crocodile mince?
- What’s it like living in a town with 5 wineries, in a region with a whole lot more, in a country where more than 2000 producers bottle more than 1 billion bottles annually?
- Can I grow bananas in my back yard?
- Are there really that many poisonous spiders and dangerous snakes in Australia?
- What’s hairy panic?
So, as we prepare for an early-July emigration from Canada (will there still be snow in Edmonton? Will Wagga, in the heart of winter, have more welcoming weather than Edmonton at that time of year?), we will enjoy the last couple of months with friends here, many of whom are planning dinners and parties. Then, immediately following our last Canada Day, we’re off on the adventure of a lifetime.
And, as every entry to this blog will probably end with: we welcome people to come visit us! Really. Please do. Everyone says they always want to go to Australia, now you have a reason. And a ‘base-camp’ to relax for a few days, leave some luggage, do some laundry, see some sheep. So come. It’s a great country. And having visitors will give us a reason to explore the diverse vastness of it, and we would appreciate having a reason to plan various excursion in areas as diverse as the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale wine regions of the south, the centrally-located hot and dry outback, and the even hotter but wetter Northern Territories. And Sydney is a great city to spend a few days in. So, again: come.