Exactly one year ago today, Orlando and I stepped off a plane from Shanghai into our new Aussie life.
The weather was disappointing - chilly and blustery - much like it is today. But within days it heated up and we had a wonderful summer.
When we arrived, we knew very few people not related to me. We had a lovely house, thanks to Lee, but not one stick of furniture. Our belongings got stuck in Customs and we wore our backpacking clothes for a month. We slept on cardboard boxes on the floor, boiled water in a saucepan for tea, and for the first few nights we had no electricity. We had no jobs, and no interviews lined up. But we had funds in the bank, good resumes and a determination to succeed.
One year on I won't say we are completely settled, but we have come a long way. Our house is now a home, filled with our own things and furnished comfortably. We have a small circle of great friends we can rely on to support us. We were both working within a week of arriving, and both got pretty good jobs within a couple of months.
We miss our family and friends back in Europe so much, and it always seems so far away. But our life here is good: our quality of life has certainly improved. We live a Mediterranean lifestyle in a beautiful city famous for its good food, great wines and burgeoning cultural life. We eat out a lot, and I certainly enjoy living so close to some world-class wineries. We work with great people and Orlando gets to see a lot of the country through his job. We rarely experience dreadful cold, or bad traffic, or even bad pizza. Life is good.
Here's to year two.