The elephant in the room – Coronavirus

After our plans screeched to a halt back in June when my husband was diagnosed with possible MS, it all went quiet on the moving front. Once he had got the all clear we were really torn. It was my job and our mortgage and our families vs Melbourne.

Coronavirus is what really inspired us to want to move again, on a few levels. First and foremost, it was one of those things that happen that make you take stock and reevaluate. We have so far been lucky enough that the closest the virus has got to us is my brother in law’s mother testing positive after being taken to hospital after a fall, but thankfully she was fine. Despite that, seeing the death toll rise and rise, hearing the names and seeing the faces of literally thousands of people who had died, really reminded of us of how short and unpredictable life is. Didn’t we need to go and try living out there? We’d got so far and come so close.

The other factor was that we had relied on my parents when my husband had been ill, and when we first had Alex we had lived with them for 6 weeks (we had sold our place in preparation for moving abroad). This meant we did have doubts about how we would cope all alone on the other side of the world. Admittedly, I do have family in Melbourne, including 2 cousins who both have young children a similar age to Alex! We had followed the government advice to the letter so when lockdown hit, we spent weeks just the 3 of us, unable to go anywhere apart from the garden. It taught us how well we can manage alone, especially when we have no choice! But actually we felt we did well considering we couldn’t go out and do things like go to soft play or parent and child groups, which we ordinarily would have done if we weren’t at work and were looking after our son. It felt like if we could do this we would be fine!

The difficulty then came with our son’s visa. Once granted, you only have 12 months to enter the country for the first time. Because we had gone there as part of our honeymoon in 2018 we were fine, but Alex hadn’t been yet and his visa was granted back at the end of April 2019. We knew we couldn’t just up and leave immediately and we also knew if his visa was cancelled it could take a year or two (and thousands of dollars) to reapply. Thankfully, the Australian government have been amazing and allowed us an extension to entry.

My husband has heard that redundancies are likely to go ahead at his workplace in the near future and he would receive a decent payout for this. So now we’ve entered a time of real uncertainty: we want to go as soon as possible, but not before my husband gets redundancy so he doesn’t lose out financially. We’re also at the mercy of coronavirus restrictions. In the midst of this, Alex’s visa extension is only initially until December 31st 2020 and may or not be extended beyond that. Who said emigrating was stressful?!

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