It’s the age old tale of families moving to a new country for better opportunities. I had talked about it with my husband but we’d never put any real effort into actually doing something about it. It was the magical unicorn dancing in lush forests of Colo-I-Suva, a dream only visible in the moonlight.
In 2018 while my husband was facing the emotional and devastating journey of rushing to the Cook Islands to be at his Dad’s side as he battled cancer, he was asked to apply for a position within his organisation. He sent in his application as he waited to board his flight to the Cooks from Auckland.
We didn't think about it because as soon as my husband got there our beloved Papa declined and honestly I think he was just waiting for Tu to get there to say goodbye. For the next three weeks it was funeral arrangements and getting his Dad’s affairs in order which is why it came out of left field when he called me up 2 days after burying his father to tell me he had an interview.
The same day he had the interview they offered him the position, thus began the journey for our move. I wanted to share this story with you because exactly to the day 6 months ago if you'd asked me 'Neisau, where do you see yourself in a year?'. The answer would of been drinking wine at my BFF's or coffee at The Mad Hatter's on Disraeli Road, not freezing my tits off in my first ever winter in 3° weather. Life is funny that way, it likes to say 'Hey buju, thought I'd change things up and remind you who's Queen'.
And off we go on our new adventure, moce Viti (23rd December 2018, Nadi Airport)
On December 23rd 2018, we said our teary goodbyes to our mataqali and started our adventure to Melbourne. We were extremely lucky to have support already based in the city through the awesome Richardson family who scouted our potential homes for us and told us which suburbs to steer clear from and of course wheels to explore while they headed to the coast for Christmas. Vinaka Rhiannon!
True story, I sent Rhiannon an address of a potential home, she replies 'Ummm that's a no, Neisau. You are not going to live there'. I replied 'So I'm guessing that's our Rawai/Raiwaqa'. She LOL'ed, what would I do without my Fiji support network.
It was weird spending our first Christmas in Melbourne without the fanfare of a Christmas tree and decorations but the kids didn't even notice it. I guess it's me being nostalgic and man we had a rude awakening when we decided to do New Year's Eve in the city, our Street Party on Victoria Parade is a walk through a fairy garden compared to the Ninja gauntlet we faced tackling thick crowds of terribly drunk people. The kids were traumatised after that! No more city parties.
For 4 weeks we bounced between house sitting and living in an apartment in the heart of Melbourne City. We housesat a friend's place in Travancore which was literally a 10 min tram ride into the city, my daughter has never been so excited to tap on and tap off and this also meant we could acclimatize and get our bearings, I was especially worried about the 18 year old since he walked everywhere in Fiji or just caught the bus from A to B.
View from Platinum Serviced Apartments 48th floor
Melbourne has always had a special place in my heart with it's arts precinct a tram ride away and it's where I saw and experienced the Guo Pei exhibition, it's a well thought out city in terms of urban planning and we're becoming part of the 4 million plus people that call this city home.
So what better way to experience that than staying at one of the best service apartments in the city. Platinum did not disappoint, stellar city views with free wifi and kitchen and laundry and as soon as you check in on your left is a Metro supermarket, tamani convenience.
But the crown jewel is their rooftop pool with a hot pool with city views to die for with unbelievable sunsets, we made use of that pool. Also just a stone throw away is the Crown hotel and casino. It's worth every penny, if you're in Melbourne get yourself an apartment there.
Six months and I’ve finally got my things from Viti, shipping is a pain in the ass. How do you army wives do this every couple of years? You’re the real heroes. I miss home but I’m unbelievably grateful to give our kids the opportunity for better education and man it’s an eye opener.
I love my Fiji but experiencing the first day of school through my daughter's eyes hammered home that we'd made the right decision to move.
Serah came from Gospel Primary School, a great primary school that had a great community but was struggling with overcrowded classes (she had 52 kids in her class) and don't get me started on the lack of resources. Her first day of school as she walked through the classroom she gasped 'Ma look they have aircon and look there's lockers and a TV' me whispering low 'Be cool luvequ'. LOL
Extremely grateful to my friend Rhiannon who helped us settle in
Needless to say she's thriving here with their paperless curriculum (Ipads) and my oldest is pursuing his passion of art studying graphic arts while I am a digital nomad consulting.
As a new resident of Melbourne and as we’re car less Uber has been our best friend and almost every driver is an immigrant who is in Australia for a better life whether they’re newly arrived or been here for 7 or 15 or 30 years, it’s an exciting time to be a part of the Fiji diaspora. Also the train and bus is my new mode of transport and can I say I suffered when I got here walking around in my flip flops thinking this is Suva, my Adidas are now my best friends. I have to look hard for some Fijians cause I hardly see any in Melbourne. I’ve met two lovely young Fijian ladies and this was at a workshop. But I am hopeful in my 'I spy a Fijian' game.
Fiji will always be home, I have a sense of obligation where I should be giving back to my country by working there to better my community and I have to remind myself to take a breath and think of the bigger picture, better education for the kids, step in the direction for the husband's career and for me new experiences for me to take back home when the time's right....
Fiji will always be home!
So keep a look out for the #TangisOfMelbourne