We’ve been in Australia for three weeks now, and it’s come to my attention that I’ve been “a little vague”. So tonight, I thought I’d sit down with a glass of wine and catch everyone up.
So, to start off – three weeks ago, we moved to Australia! Australia has been a dream of mine since childhood and as a teenager, Tom gave a lot of consideration to applying to university here. When we discovered this shared interest in Australia, we started talking about possibly retiring to Australia someday, but of course, with Australian immigration, that’s easier said than done. Then, two years ago, this opportunity presented itself and we both knew we couldn’t say no.
We left Canada on February 21st, and by that point, we had already spent five nights in a hotel and were looking at about 37 hours door to door. We boarded our first flight in Ottawa on time, and then sat on the runway for over an hour with multiple delays – first, they blamed the weather, then they announced that a light had come on in the cockpit and they needed to get it looked at, then they announced a flight attendant had found some fluid in the back of the plane and they needed to make sure there wasn’t a leak, then we had to go to the deicing bay, and by this point, Otis was so over sitting still, and had even grown tired of the tablet. It was off to a great start, and only improved when all of the delays caused us to miss our connecting flight from Washington to San Francisco. The customer service line in Washington was long, so I took the kids and let them run around a quiet gate nearby and Tom got everything sorted out. We couldn’t get a flight out that night so we were put up in a hotel. After spending days explaining the flight plan to Chloe so there were no surprises when we didn’t land in Australia after ninety minutes on a plane, I had to tell her that we were spending a surprise night in Washington. Chloe handled the news in true Chloe fashion… by swearing. Her response was, “Well fuck, I’ve always wanted to see Washington.” I was speechless… and also, no… she’s never mentioned Washington before in her life. We were exhausted but rolling with the punches. The only downside was that we didn’t get our checked baggage and I had packed the carry on luggage with the kids in mind more than Tom and myself. We got to the hotel at around 9:00pm and had to leave for the airport at 4:45am and all I wanted was some concealer and some skincare products.
From Washington, we took a 6am flight to Newark. That’s right – we flew further away from Australia than we had originally started the day before. But it wasn’t all bad, while we were waiting for our flight in Washington, I found the General Hospital 60th Anniversary special edition magazine. And, two nights ago, I finally got to start reading it! I was so exited to find this magazine (I had looked for it at the Ottawa Airport with no luck) that I did a little happy dance and Chloe told me “chill”.
Thankfully Washington to Newark is a short flight, Otis and I read “Bedtime for Baby Shark” about ten times, he watched an episode of “Bob the Builder” and next thing I knew, we were landing.
Our layover in Newark was just over five hours and we spent it in the United Polaris Lounge where I caught Chloe claimed she was “living her best life” and also told me she likes eating bacon in airports. Otis was happy because the breakfast buffet had an unlimited supply of blueberries.
Now, our original flights (prior to the delay in Ottawa) were booked in advance and we had a seat assignment that worked really well for parents traveling with kids. United wasn’t able to get us the perfect seat arrangement when they rebooked us, so on the flight from Newark to San Francisco, Tom and I sat in the middle row and Chloe sat across the aisle from me. Otis’ seat was about two rows up, so it made more sense for Tom and I to just take turns holding him. Chloe fell asleep before the plane took off and slept for about half the flight. Tom was able to get Otis to sleep for about an hour (or maybe it was the turbulence) and I watched most of “Ticket to Paradise” before Chloe, who was feeling a bit isolated with the new seating arrangement, crawled onto my lap for a cuddle. The second half of the flight was a bit rough – we assumed Otis had ear pain and was sick of sitting still (a few hours later, we would discover a molar cutting through his gums), then Chloe was a bit overtired, a bit bored, maybe feeling isolated with the seating arrangement and then locked herself in the bathroom. Tom ended up helping her, but she had the mother of all meltdowns.
We spent our layover in San Francisco in the Polaris Lounge again. Tom ventured out a couple of times with Otis trying to get him to sleep after we discovered he was teething and gave him some Tylenol. A huge highlight of this layover was that Chloe told me she was starting to feel pretty again (for those who missed it – Chloe is currently sporting a sizeable bald spot from an incident involving a toy drill).
On the flight from San Francisco to Sydney, we took up a whole row. Tom and I were in the middle and then Chloe was across the aisle from Tom and Otis was technically across the aisle from me, but again, he spent most of his time sitting with Tom or I. Once again, Chloe passed out before the plane took off and Otis fell asleep as we were taking off. As soon as the seatbelt sign was off, I transferred him to his own seat, using an extra blanket and pillow to keep him from falling into the aisle. I watched a bit of television while I ate, but then I tried my best to get sleep not knowing how long the kids would sleep for. I slept very lightly. I kept waking up to check on Otis fearing he was going to get up and start roaming the plane, or that he would cry and I would somehow sleep through it. I got about five hours of sleep (minus all of the wake ups) and next thing I knew I heard “hiiiii” and Otis was standing beside me with a smile. Tom and Chloe woke up about an hour later and that was it for our kids sleeping.
Finally, we landed in Sydney. As excited as we were to finally be in Australia, it was a six hour layover before our flight to Canberra and our kids were done. I won’t sugarcoat it – my kids had been traveling for over two days, they were done. There were tears, screams, fights, you name it. As frustrated (and embarrassed) as I was at times, I knew how I felt, and understood Chloe and Otis were going through the same thing, but intensified, so we rolled with the punches (literally) and six hours later, we were on our final flight. This time it was Otis who fell asleep before the plane took off, and Chloe so sweetly informed me, “When we get to our hotel, I need space from all of you!” She watched Zoboomafoo on her tablet, she had headphones on and was singing the theme song at the top of her lungs, just slightly off key. It was adorable.
We arrived in Canberra and got settled at our hotel by about 4pm. We were all exhausted – door to door, it ended up taking us something like 62 hours! Somehow, we pushed ourselves a bit more and for the most part, beat the jet lag. Chloe fell asleep at 5:15pm and woke up at 4:45 the next morning, Otis fell asleep at 5:30 and slept until about 6:30 the next morning. The second night, they both stayed up until 6-6:15pm, then Chloe woke up at 5:15 and Otis closer to 7.
Chloe’s favourite part about the hotel was the outdoor pool. She’s asked me to include that bit of information.
After a few nights in a hotel, we moved into our house. If it sounds like I’m saying we moved our stuff into our new house, I’m not. I don’t know if all of our things have even left Canada yet, and quite frankly, I don’t want to know. Our things will get here when it gets here. For now, we have everything we took in our checked bags, some rental furniture, a few things we’ve purchased over the last few weeks, and a lot of empty space!
The weather has been absolutely lovely since we arrived and the kids have loved getting outdoors multiple times a day. Chloe loves that she doesn’t need winter gear, and Otis must feel the same way because you’ll usually find him running in the yard without shoes or bottoms on.
For those of you who don’t know, Australia has K-Mart and I think it’s important that everyone knows, it smells like 1995!
With the move, there have been a few other changes worth noting…
Tom and I both started new jobs this week.
I got behind the wheel for the first time today since we arrived in Australia. I turned my windshield wipers on eleven or twelve times in an attempt to signal I was turning and turned into the wrong lane once. Oops.
Last week, Chloe started preschool at her new school. She alternates between two and three days a week, seems to be enjoying it and looks absolutely precious in her school uniform (for privacy reasons, I don’t plan on sharing pictures of her in her school uniform online).
Last Tuesday, our au pair Freja joined our family. Freja is from Denmark and will be with us until early May. Chloe is extremely grateful that preschool is only part-time because absolutely adores Freja (we all do).
And last Thursday, our family grew by four paws and a little wet nose when we took Charlie home. It’s no secret – Chloe has been asking for a puppy for about a year now, and it was actually the move to Australia that was stopping us from getting a dog in Canada. As I mentioned, we’ve been working on this move for two years, we knew we didn’t want to put a dog through such a massive move, so we’ve been telling Chloe that her puppy would be born in Australia, that she was on the list for a puppy in Australia (let’s not forget, when Grammie and Grumpie brought Mulligan home, Chloe was upset that they cut in front of her in the puppy line), that we were waiting for the right puppy to be born, etc. Charlie was named by Chloe and his full name is Charlie Bubblegum. He is now nine weeks old and is a black and tan cavapoo or a cavoodle (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x Poodle). He’s settling in nicely, but we have some work to do – like settling in his crate, not digging and not biting/chewing everything… typical puppy stuff.
Phew. I feel like I’ve rambled on enough for one night. With the distance between us and our families and friends, I am going to try to do more videos of the kids and blog posts more often, possibly even on a regular basis. But for now, I’m going to go to bed. It’s nearly 11:30pm here and we have a busy weekend ahead of us.
2 thoughts on “We Moved to Australia”
Love this, Marley! Congrats on your new puppy. Your kids sound so funny and sweet. What a long, long trip for them (and you) and what an amazing Mom you are! Thanks for sharing, gave me a few chuckles.