Not convinced that our life will be that much better in Australia but DH keen to try it!(41 Posts)
We have toyed with the idea of moving to Oz for a couple of years for a little while now. Job wise DH would be fine and we've pretty much got the pick of Australia. He would earn more out there, no doubt about it and of course with the weather they have we would lead a much more outdoors lifestyle and that is appealing.
BUT after talking it over with him again the other night, weighing up options etc he used the phrase "living our dream" and I realised living in Australia isn't my dream.
Life is reasonably good here in the UK. The DCs go to a nice school, secondary school options are good, we live in a house and an area we like. I have just completed a return to work course and would be looking for a job in the next couple of months. We are surrounded by some wonderful friends and our family are nearby.
We visited Oz just over a year ago and while we had a fantastic holiday it didn't blow me away, I wanted it to but it didn't. It's a great country no doubt about it and it's not in the dire straits the UK currently finds itself in but for me it's not my dream and I'm not sure our lifestyle without our friends and family would be so much better.
But if we don't go I think it will be because I don't want to take the plunge.
What put me off about Perth - was beautiful in July- was that a resident told us it normally rains for 6 months in the winter and we were lucky with the sunny weather .
That is the good thing about Perth though, everyone is bloody English/Scottish/Irish.
You're hard pressed to find an aussie.
I fcuking hate prawns so maybe that explains my unsettled feeling.
I agree, for a while even if people are nice to you you have no friends and no social life. Even when you make friends you have zero history with them, no in jokes, no shared experiences. It can be very hard. It was hard for DH to be my only social support, that if I got sick or my car broke down I really had noone that I knew well enough to pick up DS from nursery. I needed childcare to take my driving test and DH couldn't do it so I handed over my 2 1/2yr old to a perfect stranger (the driving instructor that I had met twenty minutes ago) to take care of while I drove away. Something that I never would have done before that.
It gets tiring always having to be the one to adapt, to 'translate' or to use other people's definitions. You are always culturally the odd one out and that can get tiring. People make all sorts of assumptions about you. I found it rude and wearing that people assumed I couldn't cook anything worth eating because I was British. After 14 years here yet again for the millionth time I got asked how long I had been here, where I was from, heard about their girlfriend's cousin who once went to Barnstable and asked if the weather was like it is at 'home' (yes, because this is my home). Sometimes I get asked several times a day. I doubt a single week has gone by (unless I was ill at home) when someone hasn't asked me about being English in some way... in fourteen years. Oh and I am really sick of hearing about Benny Hill or Keeping Up Appearances.
I also agree about not knowing what to ask etc. If you have no idea whatsoever that something is different it doesn't occur to you to ask. I didn't know where to go to book a driving test because I didn't know what the equivalent of the DVLC was called. This was pre-google. I didn't know what washing detergent to buy because none of them were the same. I assumed that we could get money out of our bank account by the time a cheque had been there a week or two. No, as new customers they wanted to hold it a MONTH and I had no nappies or milk for my son. I had no idea to ask the bank when I'd be able to withdraw the money because I assumed two weeks was plenty. I stood and cried until they gave me $100 to tide me over.
I would still do it all again and love love love living here, but I can imagine it would be ten times harder if I didn't want to be there in the first place.
Very few people realize that moving to another country means becoming an immigrant, and very few locals view immigrants highly. Just as in the uk....
As an immigrant to a new country, you will realize it is more than just a move across town, or across your own country, it is a move into a different culture. It takes time to get to know and understand new cultures. Even those we think are similar to our own, either through being a geographically or linguistically close.
Being an immigrant means you have to be aware that people have certain preconceptions about you, and that these will be flung into the other persons mind as soon as you open your mouth and reveal your accent/dialect.
Toffee nosed Brit, Stiff upper Lip Brit, Ibiza Party Brit, cool Britannia Brit, Breadline Britain Brit, people will judge you based on what they know about your country, which may or may not be right.
Another problem with moving to a different country is that you will work on the assumption of life as you know it. Taxes as you know it, Tax returns as you know it, TV license as you know it, School system as you know it, and you may not even know what to ask because you dont even know where to begin, because you dont know which parts are different and which parts are the same.
It is also not so easy for children to fit into already formed friendship groups. And equally not for adults to make friends when starting from scratch.
Especially not without a support network of friends and family.
It is hard to imagine what impact life without family is like. Or life without anybody to even go for a coffee with.
Will you be working?
If not, what are you going to fill your days with? Together with whom?
Are you just going to sit and wait for husband and kids to come home from work? Explore shops?
What dream is this exactly?
Every day life is every day life, where ever you live. Only harder when you get rid of everything you know, to start again in a new place.
There will be a time when you think:
"Where the fuck is my wok. OH, I dont have a wok, I took it to the charity shop back in Yorkshire." Now, time multiply this with every item of household goods you have, and one day you might end up cursing the day you chucked out/gave away a perfectly good tin opener/wok/kitchen aid just so you could buy it again across the other side of the planet.
I wasn't 100% convinced on going to live in Oz.
It's been a lonnnnng 15 months
I wouldn't say perfectly fluent and know my accent was very english. I met a scottish man who had a cafe in Spain and, as is often said, his scottish accent enabled his german accent to be perfect.
The only work I did was to teach the 60 children in the village Dance at the village sport centre. Where we lived, most Haus Fraus were proud SAHMs, and did not work < did not have to>.
I could be very easily tempted else where and Europe would be top of the list
What kind of roles (I'm packing as I write) the gas stove in our rental blew up in my face today how I didn't end up with my hair on fire I don't know and a safe gas supply apparently isn't essential before renting out a property here, they don't know what all the fuss is about that I have no eyebrows !
Mosman, I'm a practically mono-lingual Brit and I've spent 6 years working in Netherlands and now a year and a half working based out of Austria.
There are some niche jobs that the main qualification is international English or specific skill and you can live abroad (non US/ Canada/ Aus) without local language.
That said, it is worth having local language and I'm slowly learning German and have a tiny bit of basic Dutch.
Oh really ? Do, did you have to speak fluent German ? Did you work ?
And in June, it didn't get dark until 11pm< they are an hour ahead of us, but difference in sunset is only 30 minutes.
I lived in Germany - in the north, where there are many lovely villages.
I loved the rural country life there, and was amazed at the lack of a class system, compared with UK. But I found it difficult to cope with the very hard and long winters. The germans loved it and never complained, infact I never heard anybody complaining about their lives there. < as they didn't have much to complain about>
I lived out there with DH for 15 months back before the DCs (came back to UK when I found out I was pg)
Its not my dream - its still his dream and he's never forgiven me for coming back. I have yet to establish why exactly it is his dream - I suspect its something to do with the slightly slower pace of life and the fact that it seemed about 20 years behind us in many areas.
Dont get me wrong, I really enjoyed it, but my heart is here and other reasons include:
if we'd stayed (in 2005 we would have been ok financially in Sydney but now we are priced out of the areas we would have liked to have lived. I will NOT live out in the sticks - blue mountains v. nice for holiday but not to live for instance)
the early dark nights all year around as stated
the heat. We couldnt leave the house new years day it was so hot. and we didnt have air con gaaah!
the distance from ANYWHERE
the worry that if I split from DH I'd be stuck there. Forever. (Hague Convention)
I wish I could speak German, I think that's where I would head given a choice.
I agree Hullygully, I so miss the long summer evenings in the UK. In Australia it gets dark so very very early all year round. The summer time in Queensland is unrelenting and everyone is stuck indoors, then it gets a little bit cooler and you think you might be able to go outside and walk somewhere - but it's dark just after 6pm
I am born and bred in the uK, scattered, and I absolutely agree about the indoor lifestyle. Every year as Winter approaches the horror of long dark afternoons and evenings and everyone watching telly in their houses descends...I can't wait till the kids finish school and we can bugger off! I like countries where people are outside all the time, not planned, no big deal, but it's warm and light and everyone is out walking, chatting, having coffee and wine <weeps>
I disagree with the common view that it's a great outdoor lifestyle in Australia. For the population of Australia there's not a lot of people spending time outdoors. The weather in a lot of places isn't conducive to it (too hot, too humid). People don't walk anywhere here - it's a very American type relationship with cars.
My life in the UK was very much more outdoors than it's been since living in Oz. Every time I go home I see much more people outdoors enjoying the outdoors than I ever do in Australia.
The only thing with the couple of years mind set is that I'm convinced it takes a couple of years to settle in and if you have at the back of your mind that you are going home would you throw yourself into it ?
Agree with sowornout re. a period abroad being a great experience for you and your kids - broadening their horizons, opening minds, helping them realise that the wide world is different to 'their world' at home; that people and cultures are different and that none is better or worse than another.
When I was young we lived in the States for 3 years (1 year planned originally, turned into 3). I was 7 when we went, and I remember loads of it, and kept in touch (still now) with a couple of friends, whereas if I'd stayed in the same UK town the whole time, the years would have just 'run into' each other. We let out our UK house, put most stuff into storage, and then came home to the same house, same school etc. It was a fantastic experience. Now that I'm in Oz I'd like to think that we'll do a year or two back in the UK while my ds is still in primary school. Anyway - perhaps you could agree to a 2 year stint? With a definite return deadline, to make you feel happier. You can always stay if you love it!
BTW the stint in the states was thru df's work, so he had help organising the move and was provided with furnished home on arrival. But it's still poss if you have to diy.
Can I just pick up on your OP where you say, We have toyed with the idea of moving to Oz for a couple of years for a little while now. To me, this reads that you are thinking of living in Oz for 2 years to see how it goes and if this is the case I think you should try it. I lived in Oz for 3 years as a child because my father got a contract there, and although I'm glad we didn't stay permanently it was a great experience. My parents rented out their house in England via an estate agent for the period we were out there so we had a base to come back to. Is this not a possibility for your family? If your DH took a job and you tried it (knowing in your head it was just for 2 years) would it not be better to have shown willing to give it a go if it is his dream? I wonder how resentful he will be if you are the one to firmly put your foot down. You may well decide to return to Britain - or you may love it out there and stay. Does it have to be a permanent decision before you go?
Apparently the UK has the smallest new homes of anywhere in Europe.
Where I've lived in the UK the rooms have been much larger than any house I've lived in in North America, and where we live now the houses are mainly made out of plywood (looks like cardboard when they are being built). But that's because I've never lived anywhere under 100 years old in the UK, whereas my current town hardly existed 100 years ago. Just very different!
I've found the biggest difference in moving from a city to a town really. I suspect I could have gained most of the same benefits moving within the UK.
I do agree about the subtle sense on not really belonging. For us the big mitigation was moving via the States, where we felt much more alien. We are starting to think about where next, so it's obviously not a bad experience for us though
specialsubject, we don't have an indoors lifestyle, but generally the lifestyle here is much more indoorsie than I would ideally like. You can only suggest the playground to your friends so many times before you succumb to going to the soft play and have tea and cake. And for us that are after the outdoors it feels like there's always need for planning iykwim. Like I said, it's just a feel I get, an emotion created rather than a rational thought and I'm trying to find reasons behind it.
Re houses I've always lived in London and Surrey and have found houses small, generally old and the newer ones are done cheaply (not soundproof walls, fairly drafty etc). Again I have not explored every house in the area, we would never be able to afford the nice half a million pound houses around here and finally and it really doesn't matter, it's just walls, somewhere to keep your stuff and sleep, I'm not bothered. Again, just trying to understand what bothers me.
(apologies to OP as this is all a bit irrelevant to your subject, just felt I had to respond to the questions).
It's what I was trying to explain to OP, you might always have a feeling of NOT being at home but can't quite put your finger on why this is a bad thing, which might not be.
In fact I have loved how living in another country has opened my eyes, has made me tolerant and has freed my mind. That's why we're planning to do it again. I wouldn't change anything if I had to do it all over again, and I'll fight to get us to Oz because I crave new experiences. I just think that the better prepared someone is about the possible ugly side of immigration the easier it is to get through it, hence I put it a bit bluntly before.
My sister moved to her dh's home town of Melbourne a few years back and hates it. Her dh previously lived in London with her and hated that too. Very difficult, but it hasn't given me the impression that Australia is the wonderland that it is sometimes depicted as. She thinks the weather isn't that great (obviously it varies hugely across Australia) that there isn't very much culturally going on and that the standard of living isn't particularly better (things she thinks are important are much more expensive). Basically she is very very homesick.
On the other hand dh and I moved to Canada, and we are very happy and want to stay here. It's very difficult to know how these things will work out, but all I can say is that emigrating is a very big deal. It is very stressful and very expensive, and you really need to want to do it, preferably because of some realistic pull factor - there needs to be something about where you plan to move that really appeals to you.
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