When out of the blue a move across the ocean to another continent is suggested by your daughter, this after spending your whole life very happily in South Africa, the answer comes neither quickly or nor easily. But, add to that the indirect question my father asked in a different context the night before he very unexpectedly passed away "Could you live there?" and we got to thinking about uprooting our lives to settle in Australia and be near two of our precious grandchildren and a shorter plane journey from the other precious two. That was five years ago.
Once the decision was made to submit an application for residency, there was a delay of over a year before we qualified to apply for a permanent residence visa. It's been been an unsettling and uncertain journey since. For who knew whether our application would be successful or not? Moving countries is complicated to say the least. There are several rounds of paperwork to complete and many other criteria to be met along the way, and there is absolutely no guarantee of success at the end.
At the outset we were informed that the processing time for our visa would likely be just over a year. At each step of the process we complied as timeously as we could. In the end it took three nail-biting years! The number of applications to immigrate to Australia (in our visa category) has apparently increased remarkably over the last 4 or 5 years and as the number of visas granted each year is limited and static, it simply takes longer and longer for your application to reach the front of ever-lengthening 'queue'.
Eventually, having met the various conditions along the way, we briefly visited Australia earlier this year to 'clock in', and so comply with the final visa requirement. And we now officially have permanent resident status! It's a relief to have that certainty and know that we will after all be going.
Next step is The Big Move. We are going through cupboards trying to thin out a lifetime of possessions. I wish I could be more ruthless but there are boxes of things with sentimental value that are just too hard to part with. I don't know where I will put it all in the little house we will be moving into. I am also not good at goodbyes and parting from very dear friends and family. In all of this I find I have to keep my focus on the future and the big adventure that we have chosen to go on.
We will be in transit for quite some time while we live out of a suitcase and our goods are shipped across the Indian Ocean. I will try to post along the way when I can. It's always lovely to hear from you, so do keep in touch by posting comments here on my blog or email me directly at my usual address lynette.warner[at]gmail[dot]com.
My Etsy shop Lynlubell will close in early November and re-open in February once I am a little more settled. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but it will be tricky at times for me to monitor the shop.
In the meantime I have packing to do and a quilt to make ...
'Till next time, happy stitching!