When I first contemplated moving back to Australia in June last year, I knew there was going to be an adjustment period to settling in and re-establishing my life.
Having been brought up in Australia and living a good portion of my life here I expected that it would be only a minor blimp in the grand scheme of things.
I guess we all tend to romanticize segments of our life, whether its a person or place or time in our lives.
However, one thing I knew was that I was moving to Australia for the lifestyle and weather…no if’s, and’s or but’s about it!
And to that aspect I have been more than fulfilled especially after living through a Canadian winter which could be as cold as -20C, it seems that a Brisbane winter sometimes gets down to +8C overnight, but during the days generally hovers around the 20C+ mark.
The thing I notice more than ever is the unlimited sunshine here in Brisbane!
It was interesting in that now Zach is here with me he’s noticed that his sinus has been blocked which was unexpected.
I explained that I was in the same boat as him for the first few months of being here as the body must acclimatize to the change in environment and weather.
Firstly, in winter here there is almost no humidity whereas in Toronto and its proximity to the Great Lakes the humidity often hovers around the 80% mark all year round, which make for a sticky environment year round, but especially in summer.
The second factor is the air quality. I think this is especially true given that the Pacific Ocean is at the end of the Quay and only 400M from our front door. We always tend to have a light breeze and clean ocean air which, again is such a drastic change in air quality from that of Toronto.
It’s not that the air quality is bad in Toronto, but most sunny days there is a definite haze in the air, whereas here it’s often a cloudless blue sky with high air quality.
As I enter my ninth month being back, I realize it’s been quite a transition. Often, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for taking chances, albeit calculated and following our dreams.
I knew that I no longer wanted to live a life of constantly living indoors. For a good portion of the year, I felt like I was hibernating when I lived in Canada.
No, the older I’ve become the more I realize that finding the right balance in lifestyle is critical to your well-being and indeed mental health.
Australia offered me the type of lifestyle that I craved. An opportunity to be outdoors whether it be around home or in hiking along a local beach or in a rainforest year-round.
Much like when people move to Costa Rica or the Caribbean from Canada. It’s often for the quality of life and a more relaxed lifestyle, coupled with great weather.
All of this translates into a less stressful and enjoyable life.
Now you might think that because Australia and Canada are both members of the Commonwealth and the people similar in temperament and outlook on life that things would be ‘like for like”.
Strangely not so much!
For as much as Australians are outgoing and gregarious to the outside world there is a more parochial and insular side that most don’t see until you actually live here.
Generally, this side is often not visible to visitors to Australia.
What I mean by this is that Australia has a rules-based mentality and therefore zero tolerance for anything that doesn’t fit perfectly into the rules…
I often find myself shaking my head with the lack of common sense in certain situations. Perhaps I’ve become too accustomed to Canadian culture where rules were flexible depending on the situation and that front line employees had the ability to find the best solution.
In Australia it’s black and white with no room for interpretation on anything…no matter what!
The other challenge I have is what I alluded to before in that Australia is an island nation, and because of this has taken on a “fortress Australia” mentality to the outside world.
As you know this can be good and bad. Good in that it’s been able to protect itself against the likes of Covid by closing access to the outside world.
But what I find concerning is that this mentality seems to have struck a chord with many Australians and therefore are not overly interested in re-opening the country to overseas visitors… I’m also not convinced that it’s a generational thing either.
This is especially concerning given that the Australian economy is primarily based on tourism and that it’s been stumbling along on domestic tourism but just barely.
Being immersed in this sentiment is a tad frustrating for someone who’s lived in such a multicultural country like Canada for some many years. Australia seems so less accepting and almost incapable of opening itself up to others given its history.
I realize that there is no going back…and must accept my new environment for both its good and not so good.
I guess over time I will adapt and become oblivious to the differences. I’m thinking is that it will take a full year of immersion to feel at home again.
So, it’s important that I continue to stay positive and “go with the flow” as I acclimatize.
I’m thankful for living a large portion of my life in Canada and the opportunity to raise Zach and Sam in such an incredible environment. Canada will always be in my heart!
Until next week