September 3, 2020
At home

Expats at home – South Australians chat from Victoria vol.4

As Victoria continues their lockdown, we catch up with more former South Australians to see how they are.

Sasha Bettess with daughter Ellyse, son Austen and husband Michael on the Mornington Peninsula.

Sasha Bettess

Where in Vic do you live?
I live in Mt Eliza on the Mornington Peninsula with husband my Michael and children Austen, 9, and Ellyse, 6.

What’s the feeling there at the moment?
Varied between frustration, despair, acceptance and relief. It took a long time for the children to understand and accept why everything had to stop because of “the virus”. My son has only attended 11 weeks of school in total all year and the lack of social contact through school and sports has certainly affected him. Home school has been very challenging, trying to keep a year three boy motivated and engaged while being on a computer all day, and our daughter is in prep so she still needs help with most learning activities. There have been tears of frustration from all of us at different times! However, we are grateful for keeping safe and healthy and understand why all the measures need to be in place. We miss seeing our friends but most of all our Adelaide family, who we haven’t seen since early January.

What do you do for work?
I’m the executive/HR assistant at Funtastic Limited, a publicly listed company that trades in lifestyle and STEM products aimed at families with kids. We distribute through toy stores and the large retailers across Australia so, fortunately, we have been allowed to continue operating and distributing products through our warehouse, although our head office, being purely administration, has had to close so all staff are working from home. My role is to work with the executive team and board assisting with corporate matters which currently relates to end of financial year audit, annual report and AGM preparation.

How have you had to adapt in your role?
I left the office in March when the Government advised those who can work from home should, and it was a strange sight seeing computers, screens and even chairs being taken out of the office. I wasn’t too concerned at that stage and thought I’d be back in a few weeks. Well, here we are in September and I haven’t been back since! It’s a long time to be distanced from colleagues and you lose that connection from talking each week in the kitchen and hearing snippets of family life. The hardest challenge for us as a family has been navigating home school with work, attending online lessons, connecting to Google meets, break out groups, submit assignments on time while juggling my own meetings and calls. We were also very active with sports before so life was busy – going from full on days and weekends filled with sports matches and catch ups, to being home 24/7 has taken some adjustment, but having my husband around more has been great for all of us as he was working long days travelling to the CBD previously. We’ve had time to get projects done around the house and the commute to the office these days is far more pleasant!

How have you been spending your time away from work?
Just before stage 4 restrictions, we added three chickens to the family which has been a welcome distraction, my daughter loves to carry them around the yard and collect the eggs each morning. The grandparents have been sending little surprises in the post for the kids so there’s excitement when we hear the postie’s motorbike, including seeing which latest internet shopping purchases have arrived! I try to make sure we get out each day for the hourly allowance of exercise on the bikes or scooters and we’re fortunate to have the beach to explore within our 5km zone. We’re keeping our fingers crossed the borders will allow us back to spend Christmas with all the family. We’ve never missed a Christmas in Adelaide since we moved here 12 years ago, so hopefully we can get back for an extra long visit to make up for this year.

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