Thursday, December 28, 2006

Another year older...

I am trying to decide if my vanilla milkshake cravings are pregnancy induced or they just taste good and, being pregnant is a good excuse to indulge. Discuss.

Ian says I must blog as it has been ages since I have and the year is almost up. It is hard to believe we have been back in Melbourne for almost 12 months. I really do struggle with how quickly time seems to pass and that I am now 16 ½ weeks pregnant and, according to those in the know, the baby is the size of a pear - or an avocado depending on what you read.

In truth, it feels more like a cantaloupe [or rock melon for those in Sydney] has taken residence in my lower abdomen. It is still hard for me to believe I am pregnant. Yes, I have seen the scans, heard the heart beat and have spent many afternoons feeling queasy, but, with no outward signs to speak of [aside from the growing need for clothes that contain a large percentage of lycra], it still feels so surreal.

We had our first monthly appointment with our Obstetrician, Michael, yesterday. All is going well and according to plan. No scan this time but he did check the baby's heartbeat which was galloping along nicely. Still, while on some level I understand that there is an actual little person inside me, it is just not computing. They say that I should start feeling something in the next few weeks. That should be exciting...

Well, my year has been a rather mixed bag. I have mentioned before that work has not been what I expected it to be and, for some reason, it has coloured almost every other area of my life. When we left the UK, I left behind a great job with a great company where my career path was clear and the people I worked with brilliant. Since being back I have struggled with a growing sense of insecurity about what my capabilities are and here I am, almost 12 months later, still contracting in a department I really do not want to be in. In all honesty, it has been a rather soul destroying experience

There is light at the end of the tunnel though. The bank I work for has a growing number of staff who are seconding between our pacific branches / business units, Indian operations and Australia. With a change in legislation over business visas to Australia, the Global Mobility department's work load and profile has increased significantly.

As I was seconded to London with KPMG to work in Global Mobility in 2000, I have a fair amount of experience and knowledge that the GM team here could do with. I contacted the woman in charge of the project, giving her some background on my career in the UK and she immediately asked to meet with me. Long story short, there is a good chance a position will open up in GM later in January which she hopes she can offer me.

So, on the upside, the waiting around here at the bank may actually [hopefully] pay off. It means I will need to keep the fact I am pregnant to myself for the moment and only say so after an offer is made. I have spoken to HR here and that is the course they have advised. The bank can not reneg on an offer upon finding out that a woman is pregnant so I am hoping for better things in 2007 on the work front.

Now, back over 2006 we go! On every other front the decision to move to Melbourne has been worth it. Despite the homesickness, the heatwave when we landed, the long commute from my brother's before we found our inner-city apartment, Ian's hellish month of night-shifts and the uncertainty around my job, it really has been a good move.

We seem to have more cash than we had in Manchester. We both earn more than we did in the UK which surprises most Aussies who have returned from a stint in England. I suspect that is because they worked in London while we poor northerners struggled on without the hefty London weighting.

We eat out loads, which if you know Ian and I well realise what a boon this is! We live close to most of the culinary hot spots in Melbourne and have copies of The Cheap Eats Guide AND The AGE Good Food Guide which, we always forget to consult and never have with us when remember to. Still, you'd be hard pressed to find a bad meal in Melbourne so eating out is not the ordeal it can be in the UK.

I miss England at times, well, actually, I miss my friends. The people I know well and who know me well. It's funny for that is the exact same thing I missed about Australia when I moved to London. We all want to be known and not having people around who really know you can be hard for you feel that you are not really able to be yourself. Does that make sense?

Ian is homesick at the moment. I think it is partly due to the cricket, and that need to be around your own people when a competition like this is happening. He is, as I type at the MCG watching his beloved England try and save the 4th test from gurgling down the drain.

I decided not to go for 2 reasons - firstly, I can not imagine sitting down all day with a cantaloupe resting on my bladder and secondly, I do not get paid for the days I take off. So in lieu of a tropical holiday somewhere in February, I decided to drag my self into work for these 3 days between Christmas and New Year.

Anyway, that paragraph was supposed to be about Ian not me.

It is hard living in a country that is not your own. At least I have that experience and I can understand how Ian feels. We both know deep down that Melbourne is a better place in terms of lifestyle, opportunities and basic affordability. Also, it is where we want to raise our kid[s].

For me at least I want them to know what a long hot summer is like. I want them to learn to swim and be at home in the ocean. I want them to be close to their cousins, aunts, uncles and grand parents. I want them to absorb the innate optimism Australian’s seem to have which I have always suspected is due to the space, sun and lack of class distinctions.

However, this is hard because Ian's mother is back in Manchester and our children will not know her as well as they will my parents.

How do you balance it all out? I do not know. We will have to figure it out as we go along. On the other hand, I also want my children to know where their father was born and to understand the things that shaped him. I love England for it gave me Ian and that is enough reason to want to go back again and again and immerse ourselves the culture, people and pubs.

I'm waxing philosophical now which I suspect is the sugar in that last vanilla milkshake.

I hope that 2007 brings you much joy and peace.

Happy New Year!


Blogger jen said...

CONGRATULATIONS! And a belated very happy Christmas! Great to hear your exciting news, and that you've settled in Melbourne and found somewhere to live. Sorry to hear it has been a bit bumpy - but sounds like good things round the corner! Shame about the cricket, Ian ;)
All the very best for 2007

Friday, 29 December, 2006  
Blogger jen said...

Doh! I forgot to say....

firstly, the bi-country grandparent thing is TOUGH. i do think it's simpler for the mum to be in her home country, just because we need the greater support when the bubs arrive (david has been here for 11 years from NZ). i know david misses NZ but it's a huge complex equation - sounds like you have made a good decision.

secondly - it's definitely the pregnancy. when i was pg with finlay, i was lapping up the chocolate milkshakes like there was no tomorrow - even on the day i went into labour and was waddling like a duck, i managed to get into town (slowly!) and devour one!! i wonder what it will be this time? ;)

Friday, 29 December, 2006  
Blogger claudy said...

Hey Jen!

Sorry to take so long to respond.

You are right, being from 2 different countries surely does set up a very unique set of problems. However, it is also a great problem in many ways as it means our kid[s] will be jet setters before they turn 1! They will also know 2 cultures, countries and sets of friends. Something I always wanted as a kid - funny that...

The milkshake thing - I've pulled back on the daily intake but I did sneak one in today. Given I don't really like milk this is a great way to get it in me!

Off for a swim tonight and I start yoga next week. Hoping to head of the rumbling back pain that seems to be part and parcel of carrying another person around for 9 months!

Hope all is well with you and yours...

Claud x

Wednesday, 10 January, 2007  

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