Monday, 3 January 2011

Go Further West!

If you haven't heard already, we are planning on moving the family further west, back to Canberra. This will complete our first[1] round-the-world odyssey, begun in February 2005 with the move to Germany and continued in August 2007 with the shift to southern California. I've been offered a position within the Research School of Physics and Engineering at the Australian National University, working on plasma diagnostics in the same lab in which I performed my thesis work.

In many ways it is a mixed bag of feelings. To be leaving the wonderful friends we have made here is, of course, difficult but we are excited to be moving closer to family and to renew old friendships. Naturally, we expect the culture to be very familiar but even if it hasn't changed much, we have. It should make for an interesting mix of old and new.

Sorting out the children's formal education, especially that of the oldest four, will also add interest to the move. Since we are shifting hemispheres -- and thus back to an academic year of February to December -- some children who went back six months in the move to the northern hemisphere should be going forward and vice versa. So, Joshua should be starting Year 12, even though he has just finished the first half of Year 11 here. To complicate matters, we'd like Elijah to start Year 11 (six months ahead of where he is now and a year ahead of where he would be if we'd stayed in Australia) and Mara has been doing Year 10, same as Elijah, after skipping Year 9 here. I guess we'll have her start Year 10 again and have Ariana start high school. I think this puts them both a year ahead of their same-aged Australian friends[2]. Of course, the actual schools they end up at largely depends on where we end up living exactly.

And that brings me to the cost of housing in Canberra. Either to rent[3] or to buy[4], I mean, what the?! Gaynor is keen to buy a place and I expect we'll look for something small and old to improve or some land to build our own. Of course, we'll see how it goes and, at the very least, we are moving to a place where we mostly know the infrastructure, have good friends and family and will be back in a culture we (hopefully, possibly) understand.

Essentially, it comes down to this: After eighteen years of marriage and six children we are feeling like settling down -- for a little while at least.

[1] Who knows if it will be our only?
[2] Ariana has a friend who has also gone ahead a year so she'll, at least, have someone familiar.
[3] As at the March quarter of 2009 the median rent in Canberra was $420 per week, the third highest in the country.
[4] The median house price in Canberra as of September 2009 was $511,820, lower than only Sydney among capital cities of more than 100,000 people.