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sandy: been in UK 7 years and still not quite settled!


sandy
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Hi! Over the last few days I have become addicted to these SA-OZ forum sites! This one is GREAT!I am trying to get opinions on moving from the UK to OZ. WE have been here for 7 years and still feel vaguely unsettled despite having a lovely home near National Trust forest, a supportive New Frontiers Church family and having made friends through mother and toddler groups etc. My 4 year old is due to start school here on Monday :unsure:

I grew up in Cape Town and I miss....so much but especially beachy times and long for that for my kids!

The lifestyle here is different and the people are kind, but different socially. What to do?

Every winter we start looking on the internet, but I've never written on forums before. I would like to put this to bed once and for all and get on with my life...I just don't know what would be best.

Any opinions would be welcome :blush:

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Hi Sandy - my brother & his wife live in Kent, they moved there 7 years ago from Gauteng. They have a 2-and-a-half year old son at playgroup & own a nice house & new cars. They have made some friends & have good jobs, but also can't quite fit in there. They spend all their time with SA expats, & the whole move has really taken a toll on their marriage. Every Winter they say they can't face another one. Now they are desperate to move to Australia and it's consuming them.

Remember we live 'mostly in our heads' though. Maybe the fact that your baby is entering a new phase is making you question your choices and giving you that sense of getting older (call it maturity :unsure: ). Also, Winter is on the way & that's not much fun.

Why don't you try a move if you're unhappy? Or at least plan a nice long holiday and see what you think of Australia. We only live once, and if you're not enjoying yourself I say change it, but do it for the right reasons.

I hope you get lots of responses and wish you the very best with your decisions. xx Bronwyn

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Oh dear Sandy,

I'm possibly the worst person to reply to this, but I hope my reply doesn't make you even more unsettled. We lived in the UK for just over 7 years. I don't really honestly know what to say to make things better for you. We decided after probably at least 3 years of agonising about it to relocate again, this time to Australia (and we did consider Canada, as we both have close family there). The reasons are many and complex, but in the end I think it came down to having a really good, hard look at the long term future for our family in the UK. As our children got older and went to high school it became very clear to us that the lifestyle and future that we had envisaged there was never going to become reality. We had an idyllic life for while, living in a small cottage in the truly beautiful Herefordshire countryside, but that life was something which was only really ever achievable to a certain class of person and we would have either had to rent forever or to get on the housing ladder, we had to move into town and buy on an estate. There was never much of a realistic prospect of getting anywhere soon in terms of improving our lot in life, so to speak! Both of us work in relatively low(ish) paying jobs and in the end I suppose we thought we may as well go and be skint in a place where at least you didn't need bags of money to have a good lifestyle (and where you can see the sky for more than 10 days a year). We also saw what happened to kids once they hit a certain age and I think working in a school possibly gave me more of an insight into the low expectations, celebration of mediocrity and general "no-can-do" attitude which is ingrained at a young age.

OK, all of the above we could probably have made a plan to work on had it not been for the one thing which I can see from your post and BH's reply that it's a widespread problem - Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is something that snuck up on us over the years in the UK. I suffered much more, but it is something which affects the whole family. The first couple of years the winters were quite tolerable, but as the years went by each year got progressively worse and worse until the mere prospect of another long, dark winter looming (and we all know it's not the weather as such, it's the relentless greyness and darkness!) would set off the depression a few weeks earlier each time. I'm sitting here typing this with tears in my eyes at the mere thought ... it's bad, it's really bad and no one can understand what it is to go through this year after year, until by February the propect of suicide becomes a really attractive option... Please don't think I'm trying to be dramatic or anything, it's just still so fresh in my memory.

I would say come and have a look at Australia if moving here is at all an option for you. My feeling is that you will probably want to move here if you do though...

Look, we've only been here 7 months, so it's probably too early to make any realistic statements about long term life here. All I will say is that we feel as if we're home at last. We have felt settled here almost from the minute we arrived. The children are transformed - virtually unrecognisable. Gone is the stress, the pressure to grow up too soon and the unhealthy lifestyle based around the TV. We are a very outdoorsy family and while we did get out and about quite a bit in the UK, here we're hardly ever inside. Last night we had a huge party to celebrate our first half year here and as we all sat around with our new-found friends (including our neighbours, now there's a change from old Blighty!) outside under the stars with the meat sizzling on the braai, we had one thought only - we wish we had made this move YEARS AGO!

Sorry if it's not what you want to hear... :unsure:

Edited by Annette
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Hi Sandy

Welcome to the forum.

We lasted 6 years in the UK and moved to Perth - Australia 3 months ago.

My main reason for moving was that I just couldn't face any more dark long winters with 2 little toddlers inside a tiny house again. Our little boys are so happy here - they choose now to play outside in the garden instead of watching endless TV like they did in the UK.

I had never thought I would move to Australia but when my brother-in-law and his wife got their permanent visas - I thought maybe we should try get in as well. And we discovered that with the current skills shortage that it was quite easy for us to get in via a work sponsored visa.

We had never been to Australia and we decided on Perth - as we've heard from friends and family that it was a great place for young families wanting an outdoors lifestyle. We really like it here and have bought a house already as we intend to settle here properly.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do.

Hi! Over the last few days I have become addicted to these SA-OZ forum sites! This one is GREAT!I am trying to get opinions on moving from the UK to OZ. WE have been here for 7 years and still feel vaguely unsettled despite having a lovely home near National Trust forest, a supportive New Frontiers Church family and having made friends through mother and toddler groups etc. My 4 year old is due to start school here on Monday :blink:

I grew up in Cape Town and I miss....so much but especially beachy times and long for that for my kids!

The lifestyle here is different and the people are kind, but different socially. What to do?

Every winter we start looking on the internet, but I've never written on forums before. I would like to put this to bed once and for all and get on with my life...I just don't know what would be best.

Any opinions would be welcome :D

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Hi Sandy,

I don't know about the UK, never been there. But I know that when I landed in Aus, I felt that I had only been transported a few hundred k's from home. It is quite a lot like what we are used to, though sometimes very different. We have never been out of SA, but we feel at home in Aus. I know it is not what you might want to hear, but it is what we feel. There is just so much sunshine here! :blink:

Greetings,

Dreamy

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"We also saw what happened to kids once they hit a certain age and I think working in a school possibly gave me more of an insight into the low expectations, celebration of mediocrity and general "no-can-do" attitude which is ingrained at a young age.

The first couple of years the winters were quite tolerable, but as the years went by each year got progressively worse and worse until the mere prospect of another long, dark winter looming (and we all know it's not the weather as such, it's the relentless greyness and darkness!) would set off the depression a few weeks earlier each time.

All I will say is that we feel as if we're home at last. We have felt settled here almost from the minute we arrived - we wish we had made this move YEARS AGO! "

We can relate to the above so much, it could be our story. We were in the UK for 8 and a half years. At first it was an adventure and we were just so glad to be out of SA. We had a lovely house in a nice cul-de-sac and the kids went to semi-decent schools. Over time, I realised we weren't realy living, just going through the motions.

My teenage daughter always played down her achievements at school as she said she did not want to stand out as she would be 'skitted' (teased). She deliberately got a few questions wrong on a test so that she would not do as well. Although she wanted to go to university, and she had the grades, she also toyed with the idea of becoming a hairdresser! I just thought, what a waste of talent and how soul destroying. I've got nothing against hairdressers, but not for a girl who is top of the class, getting A's in every subject. And I wont even go into the bullying. The number of times I was in tears, not knowing what to do, as she did not want me to get involved as she was in high school and it would just make the situation worse. Then my sweet little four year old started school and was being kissed and having her pants pulled down in the playground. What did the future hold?

We would wait for the occassional sunny day and realy feel guilty that our kids were not having the healthy upbringing we had. The thought of them becoming like the locals and of all of us living that depressing life forever was just heartbreaking.

Then we did the points test, and the rest is history. Now we are home. Life could not be better and we are so grateful for what we now have. I can honestly say I feel like I have woken up from a very long sleep. We are living again. I have made so many friends here, I am struggling to keep up.

Edited by Olly
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Hi

I write this from Lancaster, I've worked the entire weekend. This post might differ from the above. We've clinically examined prospects in the UK and Aus and we can make just as much in Aus, work half the hours, afford a home, and most importantly.... Sunshine on the beach for Christmas! Basically lifestyle and quality of living have won us over. We'll move within the year. So dodge the yobs and hit the beach :blink:

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Thank you so much for all your replies! Some of your comments describe exactly how we feel 'in a long sleep', 'just going through the motions' and 'not really living'. Annette, I was especially interested in your reply as we have been looking at Adelaide on the internet, and I hoped you would give your input having lived in the UK for 7 years. Thank you so much. I was also interested to read about your kids and the differences for them in Australia as opposed to the UK.

I am qualified as a Speech Therapist, BUT I have been at home with my babies for the last 4 years...so I guess getting back into it and getting enough work experience to apply for the relevant visa feels quite daunting! :'a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step'

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Sandy!

You've got PR in the U.K.

Check out Australia.

If it doesn't cut the mustard, then you can always go back.

I don't shake my head at folks that give things their best shot . . . even if it doesn't quite work out . . . but I don't have much to do with characters that won't leave their comfort zone and just keep whingeing.

So . . . . be an Aussie and give it a good go, for at least a couple of years . . . OK

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Thanks Bob!

I'll consider myself chastised!!! :ilikeit:

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Don't worry Sandy, Bob wasn't really chastising you, just giving you a little mental shake!

I hope you decide on Adelaide, it's a lovely place (says big-mouth who has only ever spent 5 days there :ilikeit: ). You can do a search on 'Adelaide' in the forum & read all the comments, I have yet to read anything negtive. Also, I found it's much easier to focus on one area. To contemplate a move 'To Australia' is just too daunting, you get info overload & end up being paralysed with indecision.

I got another e-mail from my sister-in-law today, she won't mind me copying a bit of it here:-

"My new job is going well, as well as it can considering I don’t really want to be here. Nath doesn’t seem very happy at the moment, he’s not been well for the last couple of weeks and is really stroppy at the moment. Maybe it’s just the terrible two’s… We feel like we need a big change in lifestyle!"

- SHAME! I have renewed sympathy for them now that I've read all the comments in this thread. I should put Bob onto her, maybe he can sort her out! :unsure:

Stay in touch & let us all know what you decide. Bronwyn

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Nuh! . . . I wasn't having a go at Sandy. I was just letting her know how an Aussie would see things.

I have family in the U.K. and they whinge about the things happening over there . . . . the cost of housing, the lousy school atmosphere for their kids, the crime that is around them, the constant workload that is killing them slowly just to keep up with the lifestyle there, etc. etc. . . . . . yet they don't do anything to get out of their comfort zone.

If things are getting bad, give something else a go. What is there to lose in life??

Me and my wife visited the U.K. and Germany to see where our roots come from in June & July. The weather was like Australian weather for a whole month . . . . 30 / 35 degrees each day! It was great.

I talked about shifting there together for a whole year just to check out the history of the place and do some real sightseeing instead of rushing around on a tight schedule . . . . but I wouldn't seriously consider staying there full time and retiring.

The cost of living is high but the wages are high to compensate for this, so don't come to Australia to make a fortune. It's probably more cost effective to work in Britain and / or Europe.

What this place has is great weather . . . . like South Africa . . . and lifestyle to suit . . . good fishing, surfing, sailing, barbequeing, going bush, camping, having mates round for a birthday party on a nice warm Saturday evening (thanks for that, Annette!), watching shooting stars from your back lawn, seeing the Southern Cross again in the heavens, going to the beach on weekends and lazing under a tarpaulin with a warm breeze for a couple of hours, watching the kids playing the favourite sport (Aussies are sport mad, like Sth Africans) and having mates round for a game of cards . . . . . I mean, Life's about living . . . not existing.

Australia offers you guys a life . . . . if you're interested. . . . so . . . if you want encouragement to get out to life in the sun, keep logging on to this forum to be enthused and guided thro the whole process, and remember . . . Australia is pretty damn keen to have someone like yourselves to check out the lifestyle here.

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I can honestly say I feel like I have woken up from a very long sleep. We are living again. I have made so many friends here, I am struggling to keep up
Hear, hear, Olly!
'a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step'
Double hear, hear, Sandy!
having mates round for a birthday party on a nice warm Saturday evening (thanks for that, Annette!)
:D Great having you there...

Sandy, I'm getting the idea that you really need to come check things out here ... you're always welcome in our spare bedroom! :huh:

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Again, Thanks very much! I am enthused and encouraged by ALL the comments and I did need a mental shake up! I feel excited and nervous because the whole thing hangs on me and my qualifications. So I'm going to have to juggle that with being mom etc...Also depends on whether anyone wants me after being at home with kids for 4 years. If I'm employable the next step will be a LSD trip!!! I will keep you posted.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Sandy,

We didn't do the UK route, but we can certainly relate to what you are saying about the weather. My wife and I moved to Canada soon after we were married.

"The first couple of years the winters were quite tolerable, but as the years went by each year got progressively worse and worse until the mere prospect of another long, dark winter looming (and we all know it's not the weather as such, it's the relentless greyness and darkness!) would set off the depression a few weeks earlier each time." This quote from Annette basically mirrors my wife's experience.

We were settled in Canada in all other respects, (spent 12 yrs there) but decided on an LS without the D in 2000 (we'd already decided we were moving, just had to decide on the location). The initial job didn't work out and we returned to Canada after 6 months, with the knowledge we would 'boomerang' once we found the right job and location.

Don't rule out regional centres, they offer a great lifestyle and the COL is usually a bit more affordable.

In retrospect, we're thrilled that the initial job didn't work out, as we might not otherwise have made it to Qld.

Must echo Bob's attitude and herewith one of my favourite quotes "Life is what happens while we are busy planning".

Good luck.

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How did it feel to start all over again after starting all over again in Canada??? Do you have kids?

I have found out since my last post that I need to have worked 1000 hours in the last 5 years to register as a Speech Therapist in OZ, so I'm going to have to work here again first for the next year or so. I felt quite disappointed when I found out. So we are stuck here for a while still. My daughter seems to love her school, which is a blessing and I guess everything will be clearer for us in 2 years time. The last 4 years have been a real roller coaster ride, so maybe it's good that we have time to catch our breaths!!! I'm 36 years old now, so our main concern is that we don't miss the opportunity age-wise! God's timing!!!

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