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Out of interest - which scenario is better?(36 Posts)
1. Living about as far away from your family as is possible to be. You have no family here, and although you have made acqaintences, no real proper close friends (although this may come in time I suppose).
But you are living in a place where your children will have a bigger house, their Dad home from work earlier in the evening, lots of free, outdoor activities, the ability to go to a very good private school.
But have a very limited link with grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles, less culture, less ability to visit different countries growing up etc.
2. Living closer to your family, but in a smaller house. Both parents with a longer commute. Less free money.
Probably not private school, worse weather, more expensive so less money to go round.
But closer to exciting cities, interesting culture, history, better job opportunities and universities for the future.
Basically, help us decide between bringing up our child in Australia, where we are living now, or back in the UK!
We are in Aus for at least another 3 years (which is fine) but it's after that. And we are going round and round in circles talking about it.
I guess it boils down to "family over higher standard of living"?
Anyone have any thoughts?
For me it's option 1 every time. The quality of life over here outweighs all the benefits of being in the UK in my mind.
We miss out family and friends back home, don't get me wrong, but we are in touch via Skype every week. And our "friend base" here is growing all the time.
Better job opportunities in the UK, seriously?
We have had many, many hours of discussion about this and we have decided to bring our family up overseas. Both DD and DS have lived in Asia since they were born. We went back to Scotalnd for 3 years when they were 6 months and 2 years old, stayed for three years and we are back overseas again (again, Asia).
Over here - we miss family but we are both teachers so get paid flights home and lots of summer leave. Here we have - kids in one of the best international schools in Asia, a 5 bed house with a pool, a car with a driver, a maid who does all of the cleaning, washing, ironing, shopping, some cooking etc, we have been on 3 beach holidays in past 3 months (as opposed to no holidays in 3 years), the kids are always outdoors, gorgeous weather, good friends, no worries about babysitters, no money concerns at all, manage to save money every month and are generally in a wee bubble away from all the worries about the credit crunch.
We are an altogether happier family than we were in the UK. I was brought up within walking distance to all my cousins, gran etc and being so far away is hard for me but it is difficult to realise that my kids won't experience that. To be honest, they would not get it anyway as they have less cousins and people are (though only a little) further flung than 3 streets away.
It is a difficult decision..
It is a very hard decision.
By better job opportunities I mean for our children really (DH and I can do similar jobs wherever we are) as Australia is such a small job market in global terms (not that we know our child yet, they may be totally happy with that!).
Fulton, I think maybe it would be better if we could get back more often. We only get 20 days holiday here and so can really only go back to the UK for a couple of weeks every year - which then of course limits the fantastic opportunities for holidays over here.
I think I just worry that my parents will get old and die and I will regret not spending the last 20 years of their life with them, and my children will grow up as strangers to them.
I wish I knew the answer.
For me it would be option 2. I miss my old mates and family. Also it makes me very sad that my dds don't have cousins and grandparents close (well actually they do have one set of grandparents close - just not my lovely parents). Also I miss European culture and accessabilty.
But . . .
If I'm honest I do think my dds will have a better upbringing here with friends and general quality of life.
Realistically you say you're here for at least another 3 yrs - you will make some good friends in that time, particularly once your child arrived. Nothing like having fellow mums to rely on/moan to for brining you close, you'll be far more settled here etc. I would leave the big discussions for a time 3 yrs hence when you have to make a decision.
Also what the kids don't have they don't miss iyswim. I think I feel sad that my dds aren't having the happy childhood I had in 1970's UK, but they are having thier own happy childhood here in Oz.
Any chance that your parents can come out and spend significant amounts of time with you Ozzie?
My folks come out for about 5 weeks every year and spend every day pretty much with the dds. This is probably more than they see thier other grandchildren.
Yes, I think you're right Claudia, my child will only know its own upbringing and won't know what he's missing out on.
I think you're right about re evaluating in 3 years. We've only been in Adelaide a year, and I think part of my feeling is that I still can't see myself spending the rest of my life here.
I do like it, and it's great for families, we have a great standard of living, but I think I can't quite believe that this is "it" - the place that I have chosen for ever more.
But we have taken the plunge and bought a reasonably priced house, that we can rent out if we leave, and I am hoping that owning, and having a child here will make it feel more like home.
oooooooooooooo bought a house! Fab, how exciting!
I know exactly what you mean about being uncertain about Adelaide being the place to settle. I can't see myself being here forever either, it's just so . . . um . . . comfortable . . . bland . . . beige . . .
Lovely but unchallenging, sort of stultifying and smug.
I have been looking at houses to buy in the Cotswolds - near where I grew up and where my folks still live - making myself very homesick for cute cottages. <foolish me>
Claudia, mine have been out twice, for a month each time, and are happy to do that.
They don't know I am pregnant yet (haven't told anyone IRL!) so this may make them stay here for longer.
But in a way it's more the normal everyday things like popping round for Sunday lunch, seeing (as yet unborn) cousins, growing up with my friend's children.
I don't know - I hope I feel different once I actually have the baby.
I think a lot depends on how happy you are, and what sort of kids you have. If they are outdoors types then I'd say stick with the South.
We went back to Scotland in October and I couldn't get over how dark and miserable it was all the time. The cold didn't really bother me but the lack of light did. Remember commuting home in the dark for three months of the year? OH used to commute 3 hours a day and arrived home angry and stressed out. We have a great lifestyle here, but I don't know if we'll stay for ever and ever. But planning three years ahead is hard. Who knows what will happen between then and now? Don't torture yourselves. It's usually the unplanned for that determines things anyway.
I totally agree with you re Adelaide! I just can't see that it can possibly hold my interest for another 3 years, let alone longer than that!
It's fine it really is, I like it, I feel fondly towards it, but I just don't love it.
Funny, I have also been looking at houses in West Sussex where I grew up....sigh....
I must pull myself together though. We have committed to three years and I am very happy with that. The house we have bought is nice - waaaay nicer than anything we could have for the same price in the UK, and I'm looking forward to getting settled. It's a nice family area too so I am hoping to make lots of friends there.
But I still think of England as home really.
I also need to realise that we left the UK for a reason and really make the most of the opportunities we have here.
newkiwi you are right - I was remembering that feeling of going back to work in January with months of crap weather and darkness stretching ahead.
I love the outdoorsyness of life here, we are forever walking, going to the beach etc.
I think you're all right - I need to put it out of my head for 2 1/2 years and then think about it properly then, otherwise I'll spoil the time here by pining for home!
we've gone for option 2, fully expecting that our children will berate us later for not choosing option 1
dh is Australian and spent his teenage years longing to be able to pop over to Paris for the weekend and basically feeling like he was living a very, very long way from anything else
When we really needed to make a decision, the Australian economy was going down the toilet and jobs in his field were few and far between and he's since become much more internationally focussed, so even fewer opportunities there. Also, I'm very close to my family and he's not particularly close to his, which was the clincher.
However, if the children could choose right now, without thinking about the future, they'd plump for Australia as when they go they love the whole outdoorsiness of it all. And as it happens dh is now working somewhere else completely so we're all in a bit of a limbo
The dc are lucky in that they have dual citizenship so can choose where they want to go in the end
Australia is a tough one to have to choose I think. If it were somewhere nearer then undoubtedly option 1 even though family would still be out of reach for Sunday lunch it would still be reasonable to see them
more than once a year.
But it's a much better quality of life for younger children there and would you really be living down the road from your family anyway?
IF I loved it would probably stay for a few more years after the 3 in your shoes and then uproot DCs to somewhere closer to different opportunities they will only really appreciate when they're older so they can benefit from them then. But then I suppose schooling gets complicated. I haven't made this any better for you, have I?
Don't worry, I'm not sure anyone can fix the dilemma!
In an ideal world I think I'd be living somewhere on the east coast of the USA or Canada - close enough to come back 3-4 times a year, but still able to have the outdoorsy lifestyle, bigger house etc.
mimsum, our children will have dual citizenship too (as will we - part of the reason for staying for another 3 years) so at least we will have the choice.
It is a tricky one, it really is.
I have the opposite situation to you, we live in London with our two small children while all family are in Australia.
For us it's option 2, being close to family is far more important than any other considerations. Even if it was the other way around and we were living in Australia with family in the UK, I would still choose family.
My parents and in-laws are great with visiting us in the UK, especially now they are retired. But as they get older it just won't be physically possible for them to visit regularly. We've been to Sydney twice with DD1, but the logistics of travelling longhaul with two small ones scares me!
Life is what you make it though, and I really think the lifestyle in the UK is better than people make out. Yes winters are tough, but so is the middle of summer in Oz when it's so hot you can't go outside. Summers in the UK are lovely - long days, greenery everywhere and so so many activities for kids.
I think being away has actually given me a much greater appreciation of some aspects of living in the UK. I still expect to end up there again one day. 6 months in each place would be ideal! Or perhaps Bali....
I do wonder if I'd prefer DD to go to Uni in the UK. Which would probabaly mean moving back when she is 14 (13 years away!) so we got UK fees. If she takes after us, she'd be likely to want to do the whole OE thing and I know they tend to lead to people staying. I wonder how I'd feel about that. But I expect my parents to deal with it so can't be too hypocritical!
Too much to think about- my head hurts...
6 months in each place would indeed be ideal.
I think being away has also given me a better appreciation of the UK. Because we are on our own here with no family, we have probably done loads more exploring than we ever did in the UK, so I would expect us to continue with that if we moved back.
We think nothing of driving 3 hours to a nice national park for a day out, whereas I would consider that a massive undertaking when we lived in the UK.
It is tricky. My parents and in laws are also happy to travel at the moment, but they're not getting any younger and I"m sure will find the journey gruelling after a few years (although mine love Sydney).
2 for me as being near gps / extended family trumps everything else iykwim
option 1 for us although it's taken me a long time to feel happy about it. The biggest thing for me is that although we hike back every year (me and the boys) it's a false situation. SO intense for a month, it is the catching up for a hour or two that I miss (any longer than that and we are all trying to kill each other ). If it was just dh and me I would move back to London or another city tomorrow but stay here (NZ) for the lifestyle for the boys fully aware that probably in 8 years time when ds1 turns 18 he will probably hop on the first plane to the UK and I'll be stuck here thinking why oh why
I agree Sibble - I miss the general contact, rather than the fact that we have all our contact in one go once a year.
Plus, although I have stayed in touch with a lot of my friends, others have totally fallen off the radar (those who don't regularly email) and that's a shame too.
I do think you're right about children - wherever we bring them up, they will probably long for the excitement of the new experience, I know I did.
I think you should just concentrate on having the best time you can have and experience all the opportunities available in Australia for the next three years. Before your children start school you are relatively footloose anyway, and they really don't care where you live in any case. We moved to the US and then shortly after to Canada when our children were 8 and 9 and it was very difficult for the nine year old. He has now said that there will be no more moving until he is off to university. But we think we'll take things as they come. We have just got our visas renewed and will apply for permanent residency and aim to stay until we are citizens, so maybe five years.
I'd really stop mulling it over because it is very unsettling, and once you have your baby you may feel differently, and then you may feel differently again when he/she is a few years old. Enjoy the now!
Oh, and for us for the moment it's 1. Although without the private school - we'd have probably gone for that in the UK, and it's me with the short commute, and dh staying at home, but we do have the great outdoors, and are buying a house with a pool! That I still find difficult to believe
Thanks nooka, you're right, I just need to get on and enjoy it! (the tales of terrible commutes and nightmare weather in the UK are helping.)
I still can't believe we can afford a big family home with garden 30 minutes from work. I'm looking forward to getting in there and making it a home first. Hopefully that will make me feel much more settled.
I'm sure it will. We've been renting for the last 18mths, and I just can't wait to nest again. I think it will be as big a change as when our furniture arrived.