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to consider emigrating and leaving my father all alone here?

(64 Posts)
OrangeSpacedust Mon 07-Sep-09 17:42:00

DH and I are considering emigrating to New Zealand. There are lots of reasons: the weather, better job opportunities for both of us, friendly people, more space, less pollution, beautiful scenery, less knife crime/teenage binge drinking/lack of respect for authority etc etc! Oh, and the weather! We have been over a couple of times, have several great friends there, and love just about everything about the place. We really feel we'd be giving our DC a better life if we moved over.

But the sticking point is my 61-year-old father. He is a pensioner and, although he is relatively self-sufficient, lives on his own and doesn't need to have his steak cut up for him just yet(!), he would have noone else here other than one sister if we left. Me and my family are his life, really, we see a lot of him, and I just don't know if I could cope with the guilt of leaving him. I do want to go to NZ, sooo much, but I'd feel incredibly selfish for doing so. DH says I would be selfish to STAY here, because I'd be denying our DC the opportunity of growing up in (in our opinion) a better country. He thinks we've been held back in the past by the obligation I feel towards looking after my dad, and that I should think of my family ? the younger generation ? first. I know Dad would probably say we should go if I told him, but I'd still be crippled with guilt. I don't know if we could afford to bring him over for holidays/go back a couple of times a year, or even once a year, it's such a long expensive haul.

The ideal scenario would be to be able to take him with us, but we can't afford to support him, buy him a flat etc, and I don't believe a pensioner with no savings would exactly be welcomed into the country/be entitled to any kind of housing benefit or social support. Correct me if I'm wrong?

Please, I'm in such a dilemma, I just want to do what's best for everyone and if anyone has any alternative suggestions/similar experiences I'd be so grateful to hear them.

diddl Mon 07-Sep-09 17:48:28

Does it have to be NZ?

Would your Dad want to go?

ThingumyandBob Mon 07-Sep-09 17:48:44

My ex emigrated to NZ when he was a kid, they took is Gran with them, because of the cost of property they were able to afford a house with extra space (they were by no means minted). I think she kept an eye on the kids at time so the Mum could go out and work part time too.

Perhaps you could afford a house with a small grandpa annex, as an ex pat he may be able to claim he pension too? Or he may have a work pension? Just an idea...

Nancy66 Mon 07-Sep-09 17:50:12

Would your DH be saying that if it was his mother or father?

If you're all he has and you're close then I do think it would be very hard on him to go and live on the other side of the world. You'd also be denying your children the chance of being around their grandpa.

ps. you're very wrong about the crime/teenage drinking being less than here.

OrmIrian Mon 07-Sep-09 17:54:05

"He thinks we've been held back in the past by the obligation I feel towards looking after my dad"

Hmmm can't help wondering if your DH is looking forward to leaving your father behind hmm I think that whatever you decide should re your dad should be free of your DH's input.

noodlesoup Mon 07-Sep-09 17:57:54

He may be able to get a parent visa for permanent residency if all/most of his children are in nz which would include subsidised healthcare etc. He would be able to draw his UK pension. It would be worth finding out how much money he would be entitled to when he retires and seeing if he could live of it. You should talk to DWP and an immigration advisor and find out about any private pension etc.

OrangeSpacedust Mon 07-Sep-09 18:02:48

Diddl, we know it much better than other places, such as Canada US (no way!) etc. I think Dad would want to go, yes, but I can't see us doing it financially. Although we see him regularly, he is still a fairly private/antisocial person, and I really don't think living in the same house, i.e. buying a house with an extra bedroom, would work. We'd just be living too close to each other. A "grandpa flat/annex" is a good idea, we'd consider that, thanks. Don't think he'd have much of a work pension to speak of, unfortunately, and really no savings at all ...

Nancy66, DH is not as close to his parents and wouldn't have any trouble leaving them ...!

Thanks, OrmIrian – you might be right ...

OrangeSpacedust Mon 07-Sep-09 18:10:57

PS Noodlesoup, that's really helpful, thanks – I will do.

lolapoppins Mon 07-Sep-09 18:16:03

We were in exactly the same situation as you, but were going to move to Australia. We couldn't in the end, as we couldn't leave my dad who has no other family or friends at all and is in his mid 70's (but as fit and healthy as someone half his age). He couldn't get a visa to come with us either.

It is a horrible thing to say, but some days I resent him for holding our family back. I know how tough the decision is, but if he could get a visa to go with you, you would get the best of both worlds.

OrangeSpacedust Mon 07-Sep-09 20:39:21

Thanks, Lola (& everyone) – and sorry you feel resentful at times, I do understand.
I was expecting most people to say I was being really unreasonable and selfish, actually!

There's no easy answer, but I'll definitely look into the parent visa thing.

expatinscotland Mon 07-Sep-09 20:46:46

I can't for the life of me figure out why people move from here to Oz or NZ unless they've already got family there.

It's just too far from farking anything.

And yeah, NZ's got plenty of crime and loads of drugs.

Also, the weather can be just as dreary in some parts.

lolapoppins Mon 07-Sep-09 20:49:17

Your dad should be ok getting a visa.

My dad could not get one due to the 'balance of life' rule. He had two children from a marrige as a teenager - he has not seen or heard from them in over 30 years, doesnt even know where they live, but it still counted against him.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

OrangeSpacedust Mon 07-Sep-09 20:52:35

Thanks, Lola, I'm an only child so this bit will hopefully be ok ... what a shame about your own circumstances though – that's totally daft!

QuintessentialShadows Mon 07-Sep-09 21:01:46

You are moving away from the centre of the planet. Really. New Zealand? Air fare is horrendously expensive, the flight long. You might get a few visitors from England the first year, then you might as well kiss ALL your uk friends good bye.

No weekend trips to Paris. No cheap flights to Dublin, Prague, Athens. Kiss good bye to Europe.

Welcome holidays in Thailand and Singapore, or Australia.

How good are your Nz friends? Would the be happy to incorporate you in their daily lives? Will they dread you coming, as it is such a responsibility to be the only people a family moving from one continent to the other know?

How do you know you will find work? Integrate? How do you know it will be better for your kids to grow up there? Will they miss their families and friends? Will their schooling really be better?

10 years down the line. Your father has a stroke, and end up paralyzed. Or he start having problems with his heart. Will you uproot your entire family, again, and return? Or will you think "not my problem".

Moving between countries is not easy. I know. I have done it twice.

expatinscotland Mon 07-Sep-09 21:12:10

A couple of my landlord's brothers moved to Australia in the 1960s when they were young lads.

Both their parents died young and the boys all grew up in dire poverty with very few job prospects here in Scotland at the time.

And it was something ridiculous like £15 for a one-way ticket over.

In such case it really was about a better life.

Well, now of course they married Australians and their kids have never known anything else nor their grandkids.

Our landlord goes over there every other year.

Because he's quite honest that he won't be able to do that journey for very much longer.

It's very, very far.

OrangeSpacedust Mon 07-Sep-09 21:40:08

Where are you from, expat? And is Scotland better? Just interested. How can you stand the weather?? ;-)

I know there are two sides to the coin and I shouldn't expect things to be easy, but I have lived abroad before though, in four different countries for varying lengths of time. OK, it was pre-kids, but I'm not going into it with my eyes closed. Plenty of people do it and don't look back for a second, including several good friends whose brains I've been picking recently ...

QS, I don't think we can go if we can't take my dad with us – that's the whole crux.

expatinscotland Mon 07-Sep-09 21:54:37

I'm from the US. And thankfully can get a direct flight from Glasgow to Newark and be stateside after about 9 hours flight. Also, thankfully, my folks have a) my sister in the same city b) enough of a financial cushion that if need be I can get over there asap, possibly within the same day.

Scotland is better for us.

The weather is far from ideal. But that's just from my own perspective because I grew up in hot, sunny climates.

To my husband and children, who are Scottish, it's no big deal at all. They've not known any different.

I wouldn't move some place for the weather, anyhow, tbh.

expatinscotland Mon 07-Sep-09 21:56:08

Where we are now is about as far as I'd care to be from family, tbh.

NZ/Oz just too far, IMO.

Temporarily, sure, but not for good.

cat64 Mon 07-Sep-09 21:57:36

Message withdrawn

WidowWadman Mon 07-Sep-09 22:16:58

My father didn't take it lightly when I moved from Germany to the UK. Yes, I know, it's not as far as NZ, but still means we only see each other only once or twice a year and both my parents and we are very much aware of the distance, now that we have a daughter.

However, as much as my parents would have loved me to stay close to them, they know that I've got only one life and need to do what is good for me.

At 61 your dad is not old. My father was 67 when I moved countries.

If you genuinly want to go and make a new life in NZ, go for it and don't let guilt hold you back. There's emails, there's skype, there's normal mail and you can visit, and so can he.

fluffles Mon 07-Sep-09 22:23:53

i don't understand why people want to move to NZ. I mean i understand how beautiful it is and i've also lived in the SE of england and understand how crowded that is but there are vast swathes of gorgeous rural friendly lovely country in the UK - northumberland, wales, scottish highlands... ok, so the weather isn't ideal but it isn't in Nz either. if you choose carefully you can get the weather you prefer (for me east coast of scotland, cold and windy but crisp and sunny a lot of the time too, v. little rain compared to the west).

are you SURE NZ is the only answer to your prayers? is there NOWHERE in europe that could give you what you seek?

p.s. imo you can't stay put for your father as you'll resent it but you can move somewhere other than NZ.

OrangeSpacedust Mon 07-Sep-09 22:24:51

Thanks WW. Cat64, he's really pretty anti-social and insular, and suffers from the occasional bout of depression as well (which I'm sure would only be made worse if we were to uproot and head across the world).

He just doesn't do neighbours, socialising, hobbies (well, only solo ones) etc. He's always been like that, unfortunately!

lolapoppins Mon 07-Sep-09 22:30:22

OrangeSpacedust - snap with my dad. My ds is all my dad has in his life. I understand how hard it is, espcially as an only child.

Ispy Mon 07-Sep-09 22:43:44

YANBU. I am married to a foreigner. We moved in 1999 to his country and after my dad passed away in 2004 we returned (extremely reluctantly on dh's part) to my country.

Just this month we have moved back to his country, leaving behind my elderly but extremely independent/self-sufficient mother. It didn't work out for us mostly because my dh couldn't hack life there.

I have literally been torn apart by this over the last few years. Completely empathise with you and hope you can make the best decision for you and your family. You can't live your life based on what is best for someone else, ie your Dad.

Is there a chance he could take an extended holiday with you every year?

WhereYouLeftIt Mon 07-Sep-09 23:22:13

" ... I have lived abroad before though, in four different countries for varying lengths of time. OK, it was pre-kids, ..."

This caught my attention. My parents lived abroad for some years, mum never really felt settled. Then they came back (responsibilities to their parents), never felt settled, went back abroad, didn't feel settled there either. Eventually came back to retire. Took them years to feel like they were in the right place.

Are you sure of your reasons for going to NZ? Is it NZ you hanker for, or somewhere you think you'll feel settled?

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