Be Patient.

There’s a reason they say patience is a virtue, and right now, it’s your best friend.

I’m writing this post in a futile attempt, to
a) remind myself to be patient and
b) to offer kind words from the future that things do turn out.

what’s that? don’t think about it? oh, but that’s the only thing on my mind!

I know, I know, as soon as I tell you to put it to the back of your mind, you’ll be consumed with questions and won’t be able to stop thinking about your new life in Australia.
Doesn’t help that every other channel is showing reruns of Relocation: Down Under all day.
Before you judge my daytime TV habits, I’m a swimming teacher: there’s a lot of day time down time.

Hopefully, you’re not working to a schedule.
If you’re sensible you won’t have already booked a flight.
We are definitely not sensible, and we were working to a schedule.
Zac’s umpiring career would only allow for a season off, meaning he had to be back in the country by pre-season in January.
His working holiday for the UK would run out before then and to be honest I was homesick. I couldn’t bear to be away from him while we were waiting and somewhere in the middle we decided to go travelling for a few months, because when were we going to get a chance like that again?
While I clung on to that return date like a beacon of hope on those long winter nights, I was also terrified I was pinning my future on an overinflated concept of happiness that could never live up to my expectation.

I can be a little dramatic.

The point is, there’s no ‘end date’.
You don’t get given an anticipated return time, other than the promise you will know something within a year or so.
I was expecting to feel excited when the visa application was finally submitted and the money was taken from our account, but instead I was anxious, wracked with a sense of ‘unfinished business’ – for want of a better way to describe it.
We were in Cambodia at the time and I remember sitting on the paper thin mattress in our room at the school, reading and re-reading the confirmation email and then staring blankly at the wall.
Repeat.

you’ll drive yourself mad with ‘what ifs’

I’m not saying you won’t have questions, and if you’re like me, you’ll need a 4th and 5th and 17th opinion or version of events.
Everyone’s case is subjective.
Everyone’s visa comes through on a different timeline and I’m still working out if immigration do things in dog years or human years.
A close friend is going through the same process, but she’s 2 years ahead of me.
She did it by herself, all credit to her, so her story is completely different to mine and the time lines she was working with are vastly apart from our experience.

I spent the first few months, when we were gathering evidence, holding her as some kind of almighty immigration guru, but that was worse than just sitting up all night googling everything.
I had to take a step back, take a deep breath.

If you want to consume stories of people going through the process, avoid the forums.
I’ve found that largely they’re full of misinformation and it can get heartbreakingly confusing.
The thing I found most frustrating was not being able to connect with someone who was going through the process, who was living the wait, or who had lived it, someone objective enough to lay out the information in a way I could understand, that didn’t make it feel that all hope would soon be lost.
That’s why I was so excited to be a part of this blog, in the hopes that I could perhaps be that person.

i think too much.

My biggest problem is I’m a worrier.
It always comes from a place of love and passion, from much more red, fiery emotions, but at the base of it, I’m a worrier.
Perhaps because of the worrying I’ve become incredibly patient.
It might be more to do with the teaching, but I’ve often been commended on my patience.
And oh, I feel such a fraud typing that.

I’m not patient.
I’m the most impatient person you’ll meet (other than Zac, who always manages to ruin surprises, because he’s too excited to tell you about it, because he knows how much you’ll love the surprise).
Combined with an overactive imagination – something I was always commended and condemned for as a child – and I’ve spent too many sleepless night concocting every possible scenario.
Sometimes it helps.

In the end, the best thing we did was forget about it.
We just enjoyed the adventure we’d decided to take together.
We kept busy at work, busy with friends.
We went for long drives and spent weekends in Wales, or Scotland, or Amsterdam.

Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.

– Joyce Meyer

As I write this, I’m in New Zealand and Zac is still in Melbourne – the final part of this phase of our journey.
I think this is the worst part, the part I’m least willing to be patient with.
It’s hard for me to explain.
I’ve always been a solitary creature who needs constant social interaction, an introverted extrovert, some days I hate the fact that he’s all up in my space, but the second he leaves I want him to come back.
For most of my close friends (particularly those who lived with me at Uni) the fact that I haven’t had a moment to myself since we met is testament to our relationship alone.
It’s not just that with this temporary long distance I’m relearning how to be an individual, more that he’s as much a part of my identity as my obsession with coffee, or how I always smell like chlorine.
They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Mine has grown restless and as I bumble into a semblance of routine, my patience is growing thin.
I just have to rest assured that everything is still ticking over in the background, the cogs still turn, and while each week drags out when this is all done and dusted, I’ll comment how quickly it all seemed to pass us by.

What Happened Next?

So how did we actually find Let’s Go Global? Extensive researching (and getting distracted looking at marble and rose gold coasters) And why did we chose them? To be honest, we did what we always did and went with our gut.

Obviously, it wasn’t quite as simple as: ‘we find Let’s Go, we got our visa’.
I’d spent weeks, months even, looking at ways to get back to Australia.
I’ve always wanted to become a ‘real’ teacher, in a classroom, not a pool, and it was one option to get back.
But it was expensive.
I was at a loss as to what to do.
And it was raining.

After finally settling on using an agent to decide for me and filling in enquiries with what felt like dozens of immigration companies (and not getting an immediate response, because of course that was going to happen), I was second guessing the decision to even use an agent.

It felt like I’d not quite done my research right online and I was flicking between tab, after tab, not able to focus on anything for longer than a few minutes.
I kept coming back to ‘Let’s Go Global’ because they were advertising about helping teachers emigrate, and being a teacher of sorts (if P.E. and Geography still count, swimming sure as hell does) they seemed to fit.
Besides which, I got the nicest ‘feel’ from their website.

But still nothing.

Then I got a call from an unknown number in London.
I have the same phone anxiety all millennial’s have (only I’ve had it forever) and can’t make or take calls unless I know who I’m calling, and even then it can sometimes feel like a huge achievement just to press dial.
My best friend used to dial numbers for me and then thrust the phone in to my hand as they answered just so I’d actually ‘life’.
Zac, who was on his way out to the gym, picked up the slack and answered it for me, and then thrust it in to my hand.

“He…hello Becky speaking.”
“Hi, hi is that Becky? Hello, it’s George from Let’s Go Global here, you placed an enquiry online? I’ve just seen it and couldn’t go for the weekend without having a chat to you, is now a good time to talk?”

I mouthed frantically at Zac, who, despite being a dramatic mouther himself is terrible at lip reading and instead shuffled up to him, dragged him down on to the sofa and put the phone on loud speaker, praying he hadn’t taken his pre-workout yet.

a reassuring voice.

I’ve worked in sales, I understand how a pitch works and I also appreciate the artistry of selling, while always remaining entirely skeptical.
That being said, I love being sold to.
Not that George was being ‘sales-y’ – look, we were a hot lead, I get that, but I also felt like he genuinely cared what the outcome was and really wanted to help us get back home, to Melbourne.

We were struggling with how much to tell him, not in a ‘we have something to hide‘ kind of way, more in a ‘we’ve already bought the flight back is that going to be a problem‘ kind of way.
Zac umpires with the VFL, he’s hoping to make it to the AFL and he could only take one season out without having to start again from scratch. He’d done it to come back to England with me, but it meant that he had to be back by mid-Jan at the latest for pre-season.

(To the uneducated, AFL is apparently a pretty big deal in Australia, it’s sort of like Quidditch, without the broomsticks or hoops and less flying. I say less because some of the marks they take are insane and the 360 element of the game is…aaaaand now I sound like I know what I’m talking about)

George went through the process with us, asked us more questions about our relationship, how we’d met, standard background info to assess our case.

By the time we’d hung up the phone, we’d agreed to let George and the Let’s Go Global team take our case.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief and despite my mind running at a million miles an hour, felt in control of the situation for the first time since we’d been in England.
We happily bounded upstairs to tell my parents the good news and I sat and waited on their email.

when you refresh your inbox a thousand times, knowing that sheer will alone isn’t enough to control the internet.

I tried to put the conversation to the back of my mind, but I was so keen to get started and knew what a huge task we might have evidence wise so couldn’t help but feel disappointed when the weekend went by with nothing.
After what felt like an eternity that email finally landed.
I immediately printed everything out, started annotating, reading and re-reading, preemptively gathering what evidence we did have to hand before signing the agreement and emailing it back over to George.
We were told our agent helping us in Australia was called Ana, and she’d be in touch shortly with more details.

And then we waited.

If there’s one thing this whole process has taught me, it’s that’s Zac’s unfading resilience and optimism is no match for the might of the Australian Immigration system, my patience however goes a long way to making it bearable.

You can’t rush this process.
You can only do your part as quickly and efficiently as you can, there’s no point rushing it wrong – something Ana taught me after the third time I sent her ‘not quite right’ evidence!
Besides which, between timezones and office hours, you’re always a day away from a response.
Patience, patience.

knowing someone’s in your corner makes all the difference.

One thing I can’t press enough is that Let’s Go Global are in your corner.
I’m not going to pretend that every step of the way there wasn’t a part of me that was convinced it was all a ruse, the George was a charlatan, Ana a devious femme fatale and we’d frittered our savings away on a whim.
But just when it was getting a bit much, when I was wracked with doubt, they’d drop an email to check in, give us a call to talk us through options and our progress.
They don’t babysit you, and you’re not the only case they’re working on, but they make you feel like you are.

With immigration, it seems to follow the age old adage that no news is good news.
Don’t worry if it’s been a few weeks since you last heard from them – there’s no point getting in touch until something happens.
At those crucial moments, at the points where they need a response, they’re there.
Even at the points they don’t need a response they’re there, and I’ve always been incredibly grateful to Ana taking time out of her schedule (and sometimes personal schedule) to put my mind at rest again.

We’ve spent part of the process travelling and even while we were away, George was in touch to offer kind words and a much needed morale boost.

I’m not saying it’s not a stressful, emotional process.
I’m certainly not saying it will be hassle and hurdle free.
What I am saying is you’ll have the best people looking out for you.

Our ‘Meet-Cute’

Every couple (not-so) secretly loves telling the world how they met. And like every great ‘how we met’ it started off really awkwardly.

It’s the moment we dream of.
Hollywood has spent decades perfecting the meet-cute and you assume you’ll get a monumental buzz when you meet ‘the one’.
I’m not saying it doesn’t happen like that for some people, but I gave up on ‘love at first sight’ a long time ago.
Lucky for me, Zac hadn’t.

not your typical office romance.

I met Zac at work.
I had just started in sales, peddling memberships at South Pacific Health Clubs and he was one of the club personal trainers.
I’m incredibly awkward, and a complete nervous sweater and knowing I was supposed to be an adult and shaking hands with all these new people made my palms slick.
A few damp handshakes into my induction and I grimaced as I was introduced to this baby faced trainer the boss was hilariously referring to as ‘Tiny’.

I soon realised why he was grinning, as when ‘Tiny’ stood up, he towered over me.
“G’day, I’m Zac.”
He held out his hand and I panicked.
“Oh, I’m not really a handshake kind of girl, I much prefer to just go straight in for the hug, not professional at all, but I’m more of a tactile…”
“No problems there, I give great hugs, bring it in.”
To be fair, the hugs did get better from that first one.
His gangly limbs and bony hips gave him more of a ‘Groot‘ countenance and having never hugged someone so tall I had no idea where to put my head. He was desperately trying to avoid groin to groin contact and the entire office was watching.
It was awkward to say the least.

As I found out later that day, I’d seen him hobbling around the gym floor in a moon boot when I came for my interview, but having confused him for my only other sales competition, decided I’d take a healthy disliking to him.

Later on that day, while I was busy trying to muster up the courage to use the phone, he slid over to me and tried to casually ask how old I was.
By this point I already felt like I knew a hell of a lot about him and despite being generally terrible a bit rusty with the flirting game, I was pretty sure this line of interrogation was leaning romantically.

the weirdest personal training session of my life.

Like every couple, I love telling this part.
The next day he’d cleared his schedule in the afternoon so he could show me around the equipment and help me get used to the gym.
Clearly detecting a complete noob in me, I was glad to get all the help I could get, and while I was sure this was a ‘come on’, Zac was so sweet to everyone, it was hard to tell where it was going.

The thing I really liked about him then and completely adore about him now is how open he is.
You can’t help but feel at ease around Zac.
Warming up was laced with conversations about the size of my chest, if I had to wear extra sports bras, or got back ache a lot, but I wasn’t uncomfortable answering, it felt like I’d known him for years, not days.

He began putting me through my paces, finding out a world of information about me while doing so.
By the end of the session we’d shared a brief synopsis of our entire lives and there was so much more I wanted to know about him.
Sets were interrupted with compliments. In particular I remember him stopping me with 3 box jumps to go; thinking he was going to correct my technique, the excuses were already tumbling out of my mouth but he was more distracted with the koala socks on my feet.
He told me I had the prettiest eyes he’d ever seen and then without skipping a beat ordered me to drop and give him 10.

There was just something about him.

But I was hung up on his age.
At this point Zac was 20, so in boy years, 16.
But he wasn’t your typical 20 year old.
And there was something there.
Something beyond aesthetics (I’m a sucker for a tall boy), and beyond awkward flirtation (I’m a sucker for a funny boy), and beyond the fact he was ‘exotic’ (I’m a sucker for a South African accent…he didn’t quite get me there).

In the end, as he asked me out to watch a movie while I cooled down, I thought:
“F**k it, nothing to lose. Free movie if nothing else.”
Looking back on that moment now, two years later, with hindsight and a hell of a lot more self awareness, it feels like a much bigger decision than just the movies.

Let’s Start At The Very Beginning…

If we ignore the fact that I’m terrible at introductions, this is a great introduction. In summary, I’m Becky, and I’ve been exactly where you are. Trust me when I say, it gets better.

I’ve heard it’s a very good place to start.
Fellow musical enthusiasts, I hope you’re also singing about female deer and drops of golden sun, now.

I don’t think I’ve ever been great at introductions.
I’ve been described as quirky, kooky, eccentric, but the overriding consensus is I’m weird, quickly followed with “but the good kind of weird“.
I’ll take it.
As in turns out, in Melbourne, ‘the good kind of weird’ is basically a little bit hipster, perhaps that’s why I fell in love with the city.

I’m slightly ahead of myself, shall I start again?

In my natural habitat: down a lane way in Melbourne with a coffee in one hand and something sweet in the other

just a coffee snob who fell in love with the right city.

My name is Becky.
In September 2014, I got on a plane to Melbourne, Australia on a working holiday visa.
A swimming teacher by trade, Australia seemed a sensible place to be.
I bought a one way flight, certain that anywhere had to be better than the little market town in the Midlands I called home and figured I’d work out the rest of the details when I got there.
I had work lined up for the first 6 months and blinded by optimism and a whole lot of excitement, assumed I’d do such a great job, they’d sponsor me to stay and I could teach swimming forever.

Needless to say, it didn’t quite work out that way.

My 6 months flew by, and despite the best efforts of the staff, friends and enthusiastic 6 year olds who were going to send a petition to the Government on my behalf, council policy prevailed.
I hadn’t really planned for things not to go my way, and started blindly applying for jobs, buying time in the country to work out how I could stay.

Thankfully I was only out of work for a few weeks, during which time I nearly made a permanent escape to Byron Bay, but feeling overwhelmed with my options to make Australia home, I was just glad to settle in to a routine again.

Classic Snapchat screenshot – he can actually grow a beard now, none of that ‘teen stubble’
In April 2015, I met Zac.
I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight.
It’s certainly not your conventional love story, but I’m an ‘all or nothing‘ kind of gal and after some pretty disastrous dates during the previous months, there was something about Zac: I just couldn’t stop smiling.

First date: kissed in the rain.
Second date: met the family.
Third date: moved in together.

All or nothing.

then and now.

We knew from the start we were serious about each other.
We knew from the start we wanted to build a life together.
We knew from the start a solution was being presented to us.

Meeting Zac just made me more certain that Melbourne was where I called home, was where we were going to start our family.
The ‘how’ was now just going to take some time.
We decided to apply for a Partner Visa and while I wanted to be there in my own right, on my own visa, there was no doubt in my mind about making this commitment together.

But it’s an incredibly long winded process.
Research and stress and an overwhelming feeling of ‘it will never get done’.
I was drowning in a sea of paperwork, forms and blogs, online and offline help, and so much conflicting advice, and then I finally stumbled upon a company called’Let’s Go Global’.

I showed Zac and we made the second best decision of our lives together so far.
(The first being crazy enough to pursue an international love affair)
An email and reassuring phone call later and we put ourselves in the very capable hands of Ana and George.

The rest, as they say is history.

This is just our story, my version of events. Going through the process, I know how difficult and frustrating and emotional and overwhelming it can be.
If you look online, you find a rose tinted version of events, there’s an abundance of information and it’s usually conflicting and confusing.
Like anything worth having, it doesn’t come easy, but you can believe me when I say it’s worth it and having Let’s Go Global supporting you each step of the way makes it a hell of a lot easier.