Big Question Marks

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

And Around We Go!

As I was wandering up the beach today in the early morning sunshine, snapping photos of little purplish jellyfish washing up in the surf and following seagull tracks in the freshly groomed sand, four words popped into my head and blinked at me like a neon sign: This is your life.

It wasn't even 8:30 yet, and I was already at the beach. After an early-morning payphone call home to Canada, it was hard to resist taking the beach route back to my apartment. And while normally my first and biggest concern at this hour is getting some breakfast into my belly, pronto, when there's a stunning beach literally at your doorstep, the eggs and toast tend to drop in the priority list.

Yes it's true, folks: we're now official residents of Gold Coast, Australia (well, Surfers' Paradise, to be exact)! It's not a place Adrian and I ever would have pictured ourselves living, but, well, it's happening. For those of you who know us well, you probably know that Australia still holds a special place in our hearts. After spending two eventful years in Oz, it really began to feel like home. And after a good jaunt around Southeast Asia in 2009, we did give returning to Toronto a fair go. But after nearly a year and a half, it became apparent that our old city just wasn't working for us. So despite the fact there were many things we loved about being back in Toronto - like our great little apartment tucked in between Little Italy and Little Portugal, beautiful Trinity-Bellwoods Park down the block, Chinatown just a short walk away, family in nearby towns and lots of great friends in the city - we couldn't help but dig around for ideas for our next adventure. If you had asked us a year ago where we were planning to be in March 2011, we would have told you "Somewhere in the UK", as we were well on our way to getting the paperwork together to take a working holiday in jolly old England at that time. In fact, Adrian got his visa and COULD fly into London right now and be legal to work - that is, if there were jobs. A little detail that scared us off that plan...

So last summer, we began pondering some other options. That was when one of our friends, who knows Australia well, and our desire to return too, asked us: "well, how about going to university there?" Since we'd already used up our two years of Aussie working holiday visas, we'd kind of assumed a return to Oz was out of the question. But we were intrigued. We soon learned Adrian's diploma program at Seneca College had a joint agreement with several universities to upgrade his Digital Media Arts diploma into a degree - at places including York University in Toronto, Athabasca (Alberta), some place in Buffalo, and Griffith University in Australia. What luck! And getting a bachelor's might not be a bad idea careerwise... but after some more research and digging around, it began to look like a crazy plan (financially at least), so we tucked that idea away for the time being...

But crazy as the idea seemed, the more we thought about it, the more we wanted to make it happen. Griffith was located in the Gold Coast after all, a great place to surf, with fantastic year-round weather, and close to Brisbane, a city we've been hearing lots of good things about. So we thought, why not? And we began the application process: apply to school, apply for scholarships, apply for visas... and finally, at the very end of January, when we had already given our landlord move-out notice and had sold most of our furniture (yet still waiting for the Aussie gov't to say we were allowed back!), the news came: we got our visas! We jumped up and down a lot, and started making those last preparations. Though our plans had been in the works for quite a while, with just over two weeks left until Adrian's final enrollment deadline at Griffith, it sure was cutting it close!

But in the end, we made it. We both spent some good family/friend time before heading off, and even managed to score some decent deals on flights (note: if you're looking for a last-minute flight to Oz, definitely try Expedia, or check Air New Zealand or Virgin's websites!). Adrian landed in Australia on February 18, and I landed yesterday morning. For me, it's still pretty unreal- for one, we're living in holiday land! The Gold Coast is very flashy and touristy, full of high-rises, and makes me think a lot of Hawaii 5-0. And secondly, we're living in a gorgeous apartment that's a half block from the ocean. Our balcony wraps around our entire living room, giving us views of the mountains inland, and the sparkling blue ocean on the other side. We've got until August 2012 to live in Oz, and this morning I promised myself I would not begin to take that for granted! And so our newest adventure begins...
xoxo, D.

4 comments:

Pops said...

We're missing you two already but the adventure continues. Good luck and tell us about the new beers and wines. I'm sure there are lots of new things to see and do.

Paula said...

Hooray!!! On the beach! Miss you tons already!

Juanderful said...

i hate you Adrian, you and your cool life. please update phone numbers

jessicablaine said...

I am finally catching up on your blog. I was seeing Adrian's instagram updates so I knew where you were but not the why. I am so happy for you guys. I visited Surfers when I was on the Gold Coast in November and loved it. You are living in paradise, baby!