Off to Oz

Beach bums in training…
I haven’t posted in a few months but now I can happily announce we are moving to Sydney! The decision making process has been all consuming and for a while it seems like our options were changing each week so we decided it was better to wait until we knew for sure what our next step was before sharing. This whole process started when Jamie’s old team reached out to him about an open role they thought might be a good fit. At the time he wasn’t looking for a new role and we actually hadn’t started to seriously consider a move. We knew that sometime in the next 12 months he should decide what he wanted to do next and start thinking about his next job but we really weren’t expecting anything so soon. We had also been having on going conversations about what direction he really wanted to take. The advice he had been given by mentors was to think about what role you want 2 or 3 roles down the line and use that to guide what opportunity you pursue next. So suddenly we went from not looking to trying to make a decision on a specific opportunity that was a great job but not necessarily moving him in the direction he wanted to go long term. The other big question was are there other roles out there that he should be considering as well? Before taking another role within Sales Operations it seemed to make sense to really find out what, if any, options he had. So that’s what started us on a long 4 months of networking, interviewing and eventually Jamie accepted a role as a Controller within Finance in Microsoft Australia.
It has been exciting to think about but also a challenge to feel like you can’t plan farther then 30 to 60 days out. Are we moving? Are we staying? Where in the world are we going to end up?! At one point Munich and Budapest were thrown out as potential ideas, while both sound amazing they are also much more daunting when brining 3 kids along. Once we found out that Sydney was not only a possibility but a real option we were really excited. Everything we have heard about living there is how wonderful the lifestyle is with a family. So Jamie went through an interview loop and was told he would be receiving an offer only to find out there was a temporary hiring freeze in place. So there we sat for about 3 weeks, knowing he had the job but not knowing if or when it would be a real offer. Finally the offer came through, details were ironed out and he has formally accepted!
So now we’re on the road again. Having gone through it once I’m a lot less anxious about the relocation process then I was the first time. This time it’s also easier not being 9 months pregnant and trying to plan for both a move and a newborn. We’ve started the visa process and are hoping to be in Seattle early to mid-July before we arrive in Sydney and Jamie starts his new job on August 5th.
Here’s what we know about Sydney so far:
The weatheris going to be amazing. We will have to get used to Christmas in the summer but overall Sydney is actually pretty temperate. On average the winter is the 50s and the summer is in the 70s. Patrick goes to school with a boy from Australia who explained that they almost never play Xbox because you are just always outside. I think all 5 of us could use much more outside time in the sun. That also means a lot more bikini (Ella) and muscle (Patrick and Kellen) pictures on Facebook.
I didn’t realize that the school system is really great. The education system is ranked 6th overall while the US is 14th and the UK is 20th. That combined with being an English speaking country makes it a great fit for Patrick as he goes into his final years of school. The school should also be a better fit for Kellen since the date cut off for school entrance is the end of July, so my little guy doesn’t have to turn 4 in August and start full time school just 3 weeks later. He’ll have an additional year before going in which I think is a great thing.
We’ve also been reassured by people we know who have lived in both the UK and Australia that the houses are much bigger. From what we’ve seen on www.domain.com.au it looks like we just might get an open floor plan, bedrooms with closets and a larger kitchen. For the kids and I especially this is a big deal. We spend a lot of our time at home so finding a house that’s big enough for us combined with living in weather that allows the kids to play outside almost every day makes everyone’s life better.
The drawbacks of Sydney are price and distance. Everyone we’ve talked to has said, you’ll love it but it’s expensive. From what we’ve heard and read the cost of living is high. Food and clothes are apparently very expensive but gas is much cheaper than here in the UK. I’m sure we will have to learn and adjust when we get there to figure out what works best for us. We keep telling ourselves that some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are free and hopefully within walking or short driving distance so that has to count for something.
We can’t wait to get settled in Sydney, explore Australia, and eventually travel around Asia.
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