Melbourne, The Introvert Expat SAHM Diaries

It Makes Me Happy to See The Hubs Happy: A Post-Melbourne Update (Part 1)


Some of you might remember that we moved to Melbourne in December 2016 to ‘escape’ the boredom and confinement I felt in Indonesia. (That is not to say the entire Indonesian archipelago is boring, no.  I’m just talking about my small slice of Indonesia here, where there is virtually nothing ‘out there’ for expat trailing spouses to do).

Anyways, so off we went to Melbourne where I promised myself giddily I was never looking back.

But, less than 4 months later, here we are back in Batam! What happened?

Well, honestly? The erratic weather drove us crazy. We missed our friends.  We hated how dry our skin and scalp became. And we hated how the mere act of taking a shower became such a test of willpower.

Also …

Not Even Steve Jobs

For those of you who don’t know it yet, when you’re a foreigner trying to find work in Australia chances are very high that you’re likely to start at a junior position despite how lofty you’ve already made it in your career.  The reason is because Australian companies are big on local work experience, and if you happen to have none, well ….

They even have this joke that even Steve Jobs applying for an IT position would be declined on the basis of not having previous working experience in Australia.  So many career high-flyers from the UK, US, EU and elsewhere have given up in frustration, even to the point of calling this preference for those with local work experience racial discrimination.

In our case, we were financially prepared to be without income for a year.  However, what we weren’t adequately prepared for was the impact to our confidence.

Feeling Guilty

We learned that I was pregnant again in February, so I stopped looking for work.  And while my husband bravely continued his job search, it was beginning to bother him that despite ace-ing aptitude tests and making it to the final interviews, the job offer still hadn’t materialized.

It hurt me a lot to see my husband experiencing rejection 💔💔💔 I know this is normal in any job search, but to think that the company he worked for in Indonesia (a world-leading German semiconductor manufacturer), was even prepared to move mountains just to keep my husband in their employ, made me realize I might have been a tad bit selfish to demand that the family move to Melbourne 😟😟

Confidence + Happiness = Sexy

Fortunately, only 3 months into Melbourne my husband’s previous boss [in Indonesia] called him and asked him to come back.  The offer was discussed and (of course) it turned out to be much more lucrative than even what he would eventually earn in a senior/better position in Australia.

My husband drove home the point when he said to me “Look, Batam might not be that interesting, but the low cost of living will allow us to live well & save for the future all while doing fun stuff like overseas travel, pursuing hobbies & celebrating special occasions in fancier ways than usual. And all that on just one income. I can’t say the same for Australia.”

And since all I could think of at that time was the wonderful, beautiful sunshine which I missed SO much, I immediately said “yes”!  😂😂

So now we’re back in Batam and my husband behaves as though he’s just had his batteries fully charged. It’s pretty fun to observe! He’s happy, and who wouldn’t be?  He feels needed, relevant, valued.  The big bosses were all happy to welcome him back and immediately swamped him with high-profile projects. Coming back from his second day at work, he cheekily flashed me his shiny new ultra-thin laptop. LOL! 🤣🤣🤣

As for me, the one who had everything to gain by moving to Melbourne? All that will be in part 2, coming very soon, I promise 😉

24 thoughts on “It Makes Me Happy to See The Hubs Happy: A Post-Melbourne Update (Part 1)”

  1. I’m glad that you’re happy in Indonesia – I haven’t been there since ’98, when we spent 4 wonderful months travelling through a few of the islands.

    I left Australia in 2014 and have been on the road since but currently living in Southern Italy.

    I was told by a friend just last week, not to rush back as things are “dismal and lots of hidden unemployment, jobs harder to find and cost of living, particularly electricity and fuel costs going through the roof.”

    As I work in IT also, I can honestly say that typically, I work with many international colleagues. The last contract was with a large energy company in QLD and we had 40 Indian Cartographers working on the contract for 8+ months, in addition to other international people.

    Perhaps as life isn’t so great in Australia right now, then recruiters give preference to locals first. Whilst you feel that this may be discrimination, I’m sure it’s happening in many countries. I know for a fact it’s happening in the UK, as my partner applied for a couple of jobs there and for each position preference was given to a local.

    Look forward to your second chapter. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true, the job market is tough there right now. A friend of ours got retrenched a month before we left and had to settle for a much smaller paycheck at his next job. This is additional reason for us to feel that accepting the job offer in Indonesia was the practical way to go.

      Thanks so much for reading, and for sharing your thoughts 😀 ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I believe it is and it’s the first time I’ve heard this friend speak of Australia in this way, he is also a traveller but retired early and still has his finger on the pulse.

        I hope I don’t need to return to Australia to look for work as I’m not sure I would be successful either, regardless of my experience.

        If I’m in Indonesia, I’ll come and say hi and if you’re in Italy, come for a vino or Espresso! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Here is something kind of funny… I did not start following your blog until somewhat recently when you took a break from it… So for whatever reason – Jr. Alzheimers … Sr. moments… I thought you were moving from the Philippines to New Zealand… LOL… Heck… I even thought every things about this site spoke Filipino… Boy … I am so so off… It used to be that I used to remember things quite well… but then you reach that life, where you like step into a fuzz. And its a one way street. Everything becomes fuzzy. Not so easy to remember anymore… but it does come a comical twist. Ciao, take care and God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wow, that’s a heck of a lot of change for you guys in a very short amount of time. *hugs* I’m glad things seem to be going better, though, and I hope your time in Batam goes a little more smoothly for you this go around.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad your story ends well, and congratulations! I’m sorry to hear that your stay in Australia was so frustrating. I had no idea that we give foreign talent such a hard time. And I love Melbourne, but yes, our weather is very erratic, and yes my skin does get a bit dry! Whenever I visit my daughter in Hong Kong I always come back with my skin glowing, even though overall it’s just too humid there for me. So here’s to your second stay in Indonesia, and I hope it’s a very happy one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it was only frustrating as far as the job search was concerned. Other than that, Melbourne is lovely, the people are friendly and helpful … and don’t get me started on the shopping and entertainment! 😁 We do have friends there who have successfully and comfortably settled. We have no doubt we would’ve made it too given more time. And as for the dry skin – coconut oil! 😄

      Thank you so much for commenting 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel similar with regards to the loss of professiinal confidence living in Ireland. They also want local experience… so I understand your husband well, unfortunately 😉
    All the best in your new-old life! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So happy to hear that you are all benefitting from having the courage to know when something wasn’t working for you. Enjoy your time back in Indonesia.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Paardje! Hope you still remember me (link in my name probably lead to my another blog).
    It’s been a long time not visiting you and I do miss your writing.

    I don’t know but I am happy that you’re back to this hot country lol. One of my wishlist is to go to Batam-Bangka area 🙂
    Hope you have better and better days.

    Sending hugs,

    Liked by 1 person

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