Not convinced that our life will be that much better in Australia but DH keen to try it!

(41 Posts)
XBenedict Wed 09-Jan-13 18:45:53

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.

AntsMarching Wed 09-Jan-13 20:52:03

It's a tough one. I've never been to Australia but I moved to the UK from the US. I'd moved around the US a lot for my job and as used to that as I was, I found the UK move very difficult.

It's not just a place move, it's a life and lifestyle move. I found myself feeling like an outsider even though I spoke the language. I think people really underestimate the cultural differences because of the common language. It took me a few years to really feel like I belonged.

Also, it's only a 5 hour time difference from here to my family and I find it really hard to talk to them. I'm in bed by the time they finish work. On the weekends, were out by the time they get up and by the time we're home, they are out. It doesn't sound like a huge time gap but I find it really difficult to find a good time to talk. That makes me miss my family even more.

I had to sell all my belongings and start anew when I got here.

And after 7 years, I'm really happy here, but it took a good few years to get to this place.

At the end of the day, it'll just be a place you live. The specialness wears off when it's your day to day reality.

What I'm saying is you have to really want to move because you'll have to work at making it worthwhile to you

I moved here to be with my husband, so all the above was totally worth it to me. Find your reason for moving and that could make your decision easier.

Mosman Wed 09-Jan-13 23:26:00

You both have to really really want to move. I was very keen and it's still tempting to "go home". I think you'll regret it if you just go along. Could you go for a longish holiday there first ?

Holidays and living day to day life in a place you don't really know are totally different.
We moved to US many years back and ended up having to stay while we waited for older kids to finish school. I really never thought we'd move back to UK (we are trying) I was perfectly happy in UK and felt a part of it, here I like the place we live and have some friends, but it's not really my "home" and I doubt it ever would be.
Outdoor lifestyle? We have two boats and live 5 minutes from a huge lake, we don't have the time and extra money for petrol to use them. Ski resort is an hour away, we haven't even had a chance to play in the snow this year with Dh work and Dd school.
Dh works 40 hrs plus just over an hour commute each way, I'm home with Dd (8) as there is nothing in my field now, only odd hours, weekends and nights or early mornings (which Dh works so I can't) No family anywhere near to pick up the slack or take the kids for a night or weekend. So we have to do it all between us meaning I can't get back to work even part time.
If you are moving to be near supportive family/friends it's one thing, but if it's all on your own, I think I'd think twice. Especially as it's not your dream.

MarshaBrady Thu 10-Jan-13 06:54:21

Friends and family and generally being settled and happy where you are are big things. If you move it won't be a holiday but working to rebuild what you have here.

I would put those things over a hotter climate. And it's very expensive, I'd only do if earn loads in Aus $. (which you might do)

HollyMadison Thu 10-Jan-13 07:15:40

I echo a lot of the above. You have to both really want to go to make a permanent move. Lots of facilities and an outdoors life is great but, if you have no family, you will need to be ok with finding babysitters you trust quickly or you and DH will have no life outside the DC. It can be tough when DC get ill and there is no family to help.

You can compromise you know. You can go for 2 years or so and not see it as a permanent move. Rent your place out (if you own it) and rent in Oz. My family did pretty much this when I was a kid and none of my brothers and I had any probs settling in to our "new" school or returning to our old one. Our grades didn't suffer either. It was an amazing life experience for all.

Although the outdoors in Oz is great, people can work long hours and property can be expensive. Also, in some places you may find that children are not outside all that much as it's too hot!!

Having moved countries a couple of times in my adulthood, I would say that you will make lots of friends provided that you do respect and embrace the new culture. Good luck with whatever you choose to do!

MarshaBrady Thu 10-Jan-13 07:27:02

And people probably get used to it but the constant slathering with sun creams, making sure they are covered, too hot sometimes is quite full on.

That was a holiday so my dc were not tanned so more at risk. But getting back to the UK and not thinking of the very harsh sun all the time was quite nice.

But really it probably comes down to the standard of living you can buy on the salary.

MrsHoarder Thu 10-Jan-13 07:37:33

Also you might not want to discuss thurs with your dh, but look into what would happen of you split, who would get custody of your DC especially. It would be horrible to be living somewhere you hate and be tapped there because Ira your children's home.

In fact at primary age they are unlikely to wasn't to ever move back to the UK as home would be aus.

BookieMonster Thu 10-Jan-13 07:40:45

If you're not convinced, don't do it. It won't work if you're not fully committed. I'm in Oz and love it but was sure it was the right thing to do. If you get over here and hate it, you won't be able to leave with the children unless your DH agrees.

Salbertina Thu 10-Jan-13 08:53:08

Some v wise words on here!

Agree not ideal if you're not committed.

Also- as often forgotten, standard of living only as good as the net salary can afford
Where we are, some, generally older/dual-income, owner occupiers/expat"packaged" people can afford a lovely life. For others having to afford personally the cost of rentals/school& medical fees/food shop makes it horrendously unaffordable sad
We're probably leaving as a result.

Mosman Wed 16-Jan-13 12:40:33

You do get used to the hats and sunscreen and staying indoors when in theory you should be outside. I'd rather sit in my kitchen with the air con blowing watching the dun shining than be watching rain whilst the central heating is blaring although I appreciate neither is going much for the environment.

Fresh01 Thu 17-Jan-13 22:26:33

Agree with above. You say your family are nearby so I'm guessing you see them regularly. How would you feel if you didn't see them for a period of 2/3 years? How would you feel if you got the phone call saying a parent/grandparent was seriously ill/died? Could you afford to fly back immediately if that call came? We had this happen several times.

How are family members in terms of fitness/financially able to visit you? Or would you have to do all the visiting?

We had a great 9 years living in Oz but it was in our late 20's/early 30's. We moved back primarily to be near family when we started having children. lots of friends visited as it was after uni/pre kids stage where people could more easily afford it. At the stage we are currently in with friends/us all having severaL kids we certainly would have had 15 years + of not many visitors. Family visited but after 2 trips to Sydney wanted to meet us in other parts in Oz as it was too much money to travel and annual leave to keep coming to the same place.

We found it took 4 years or so to make the kind of level of friendships we had left behind.

If you are thinking of Sydney, carefully look at areas and high schools. The majority of people use state education for primary education but many send their children to private high schools as the quality of high schools varies drastically between areas. Don't think this is so much of a thing in Adelaide or Perth so would depend where you go.

Think everything through carefully as relocation costs are high.

specialsubject Tue 22-Jan-13 09:42:12

I've had a couple of long holidays in Australia. The upsides are obvious; plenty of space (Except in the city centres), natural wonders, generally warmer.

downsides; when it is hot it is REALLY hot. At times of insane climate (such as now) they close national parks and reserves due to fire risks. Many of those natural wonders are a long way apart. Long way from anywhere else, time difference makes it difficult to talk to family and friends. Expensive - and try travelling on the pound... Water shortages, fires, flies. The water issue seems to be getting more serious - I felt that living in Australia could be a constant battle against the elements. Oh, and if you like real history and old stuff -forget it, obviously.

spent a lot of time on campsites chatting to (Very friendly) Aussies throughout Victoria and South Australia. One shocker was a lot of ingrained casual racism against blacks and Asians. No, it won't be everybody, and I know this is in the UK - but to hear it from so many people was startling.

amazing place for holidays, thanks. So much to see and do in the UK and Europe.

scatteredbraincells Wed 23-Jan-13 10:31:24

I moved to the UK 14 years ago and it was a shock. I was very eager to move abroad, I was very young without commitments and enough money to carry me comfortably for a few years.
Still, it was a nightmare to start with. I think the hardest thing I had to cope with was racism and stereotypes, despite my fluency in English I still struggled with hurtful comments.
However, as I had registered to a university course I was determined to get my degree before I moved back home. Within that time I met some lovely people, brits and foreigners, so I made a little "family" here.
One thing led to another and 14 years later I am settled and happy (although it is our dream to move to australia and both DH and I are retraining with that goal in mind). However it took a long time and a lot of effort (plus completely avoiding anyone who reads the DM) to feel part of the country. Even now I sometimes get attacked if I make a negative comment about the government or the country, but I'm not bothered. I pay my taxes and don't get a say on how they're spent, so my only power is press, forming public opinion. I will speak my opinion in my perfect english and my funny accent.

Another thing that strikes me as strange but can't control it is the fact that I feel sorry for my children growing up here. I don't understand it so don't ask me to explain it. We live in a nice area with excellent schools and thankfully we're doing ok, we're not rich but we're comfortable. I often find myself trying to get convinced that they're having a nice life here. I don't know what it is. The weather? The small old houses? The indoor lifestyle? The social over protectiveness? None of these things are terrible, they're just not me iykwim.

I'm saying all this not to bash the UK or anything, it's a lovely country to live in and we're happy here. Just trying to highlight the fact that you might encounter problems that the locals can't advise you on as they don't see them, they don't know they're there. You have to work hard to make it work, you have to be committed and stick with it for a few years, before you start feeling it and enjoying what it has to offer. You have to see yourself as part of that place and demand your rightful place in society, but always gently, in little steps. And in order to do that you have to really really want it to work, for one reason or another. If you have a great career opportunity or a course to finish (like I did) or something that will allow you to integrate without thinking about integrating, that's great. Otherwise it can be very difficult. It might be a slap in the face for your husband though if he has spent years thinking that you BOTH wanted this.

Before considering if you'd like living in Oz, you have to think carefully about leading an immigrant's life

specialsubject Wed 23-Jan-13 21:40:57

scattered brain cells: nicely put and wise advice.

Just curious on a couple of points: Why the indoor lifestyle? Examples: lots of walking in most places in the UK, lots of parks and gardens, lots of sailing and kayaking if you have the right gear, or can be done in shorts and t-shirt in summer. Loads of people cycle. OK, loads of people think a trip to shopping mall is a day out but there are many more options for those with the sense to take them.

Plenty of bigger, newer houses about - although some new ones have tiny rooms.

social over protectiveness -re kids? You may be right there.

and avoiding the DM - right with you. :-)

ITA with the others. Moving abroad can feel a little like two or more years of being put through a wash cycle. Don't do it unless you really want to.

I would love to do another move because doing so has so greatly enriched our lives. I suggested to DH a temporary one (which this one was meant to be) but he really didn't want to so we stick with the status quo.

The UK does have really small houses in general. I think that is a fair comment, there are bigger ones, but it is not the norm.

nooka Wed 23-Jan-13 22:21:57

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.

scatteredbraincells Wed 23-Jan-13 22:31:48

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.

nooka Thu 24-Jan-13 03:57:07

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 smile

Apparently the UK has the smallest new homes of anywhere in Europe.

deleted203 Thu 24-Jan-13 04:15:30

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?

CornishMade Thu 24-Jan-13 05:15:53

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.

Mosman Thu 24-Jan-13 05:43:02

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 ?

EIizaDay Thu 24-Jan-13 10:05:43

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.

Hullygully Thu 24-Jan-13 10:13:25

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>

EIizaDay Thu 24-Jan-13 10:50:12

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 sad

Mosman Thu 24-Jan-13 12:14:34

I wish I could speak German, I think that's where I would head given a choice.

lynniep Thu 24-Jan-13 12:26:00

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)

digerd Thu 24-Jan-13 12:46:07

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>

digerd Thu 24-Jan-13 12:54:13

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.

Mosman Thu 24-Jan-13 12:56:26

Oh really ? Do, did you have to speak fluent German ? Did you work ?

C4ro Thu 24-Jan-13 13:14:47

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.

Mosman Thu 24-Jan-13 13:22:30

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 Thu 24-Jan-13 13:23:21

I could be very easily tempted else where and Europe would be top of the list

digerd Thu 24-Jan-13 15:13:26

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>.

Longdistance Thu 24-Jan-13 15:18:26

I wasn't 100% convinced on going to live in Oz.

It's been a lonnnnng 15 months bitter

EIizaDay Fri 25-Jan-13 19:44:05

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? confused

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 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.

Mosman Sat 26-Jan-13 02:07:49

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.

digerd Sat 26-Jan-13 08:46:24

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 .

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