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Just Arrived in Canberra - and feeling "lost/down"


Neusch
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Hi

We are a family of 4 (Garry-46, Trudy-41,Tasrin-18 and Travis-13) and arrived in Canberra on Tuesday 11th Dec.

We are all feeling VERY down - is this normal?

Need some "hand-holding" through this initial phase

Thanks

Garry

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hi Garry

so you have arrived yesterday?

you are probably still suffering from jetlag, tiredness, and culture shock...

this is totally normal - try to focus on the basics:

- get in a routine

- get some sleep

- eat healthy, decent food

- get some sunlight and exercise

- do something nice - something you all used to enjoy in south africa

- RELAX (in other words, dont worry or concentrate too much on how you feel and what you experience now)

YOU WILL BE ALRIGHT!

give yourself some space and time to settle in

ask me for any advice or about any issues you have

Edited by Emille
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If you are on facebook, do a search for South Africans in Canberra, I know they have quite an active club there!

I think this may be the message that I saw the links in:

http://www.saaustralia.org/index.php/topic/36000-just-arrived-in-canberra/#entry309304

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What you are feeling is normal, but it won't last forever. Everthing is a little overwhelming in the beginning, but it will get better. You can come and visit us any time. Perhaps if we share with you what life in Canberra is like, there will be a little less of the "unknown factor" and you will feel better. Please feel free to call us on 0420456085 so that we can get together.

Regards

Ciske & Natasha

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Hang in there!!! We've been here for 10 weeks and those down days hit you like a brick a wall. I usually just cry it out - that's what most ladies do I think, not sure about guys.

Totally normal. Allow yourself to feel down and depressed, that's how you eventually get over it. (I'm not over it myself, but it is getting better, I don't feel depressed every day, I only feel depressed every second day! :) ).

Try and find Saffers. Just having a conversation with someone who knows what you're going through, will really lift your spirits.

Good luck!

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Hey Garry

Your feelings are totally normal and part of this huge change. When we first arrived I hit a massive low on my third day and did not leave the apartment for the entire day! It does get easier and those feelings of being down and/or lost will pass. Remember you are starting again in a new country with so much that looks the same but is so different from where you have come.

Get out, go explore and take all that is new and strange in to start making it feel more normal.

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Hopefully we will be there too in the next 6 months then we will need to rely on your experience. South Africans have thick skin so I am sure you awesome people will do just fine!

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You will have lots of ups and downs. It's not an easy road to take especially as you and your kids are older - I think teenagers find it especially difficult. My eldest was 10 when we moved here and she told me that she is not moving again, it was very difficult even for her.

So yes the advice provided is good but remember it's going to take at least two years for you to settle in properly. The best thing I did was keep busy so I didn't have time to feel down. Do something fun every day, even if it's just to go for a walk or a coffee somewhere. Explore your new environment, go for long drives, check out www.weekendnotes.com.au for things happening in your area.

Good luck!!

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Hi Neusch,

Everyone's experiences are so different but we have met an awesome bunch of people through the Canberra Coffee Club. The next meet up is on Sunday 20th January at Lennox Gardens. You really should come along. There is also a few other teenagers that your kids might identify with.

We have been here about 10 weeks (I think). It is an awesome place with so much to explore. Give yourself and your family time! The jet lag alone is horrible never mind the long list of this you have to do.......!

All the best

Hope to see u at the coffee club

Keglin

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Agree with Sibella and just take each day as it comes. It is also really tough over Christmas if you are used to having a big family and friends one and now find yourself on your own. PM some of the people in the area. A cup of coffee or a glass of wine with tissues does wonders. Someone mentioned it being harder on teenagers and I think that is right, but I also think that it is harder on adults as we get older and have generally become more settled in our jobs and friends and now have to do what we did in our late twenties and early thirties all over again. I think that is why the recurring theme you hear is "we should have done it sooner". Finally, remember that you have just come through an incredibly emotional and tough time in making the move, and now the goal has been reached but instead of there being resolution and just getting back to normal you now have to make your new normal which is again a tough and emotional time.

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Welcome. What you are feeling is normal. It gets better.

I definitely think jet lag doesn't help. You'll get over that in about a week. Arriving this time of year can also be difficult. We found December and January challenging but things got a lot more 'normal' when school started in February. If you have an opportunity now to meet up with some other South Africans don't be shy - do it. It will help you to get through the silly season :)

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Yes, it's normal.

How can we help?

Have you somewhere to stay, do you know other people here?

We're here for Christmas and most of the holidays. Happy to be in touch

we are in Canberra and have been since April and are LOVING it.

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Hi all

Thanks SOOOO much for all the replies - very much appreciated.

will take you up on those offers to meet - chat - etc

Thanks

Garry

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all

Thanks SOOOO much for all the replies - very much appreciated.

will take you up on those offers to meet - chat - etc

Thanks

Garry

how are you guys doing now Garry?

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Hi

Getting better everyday - I am starting to get my Mojo back (I think).

The only issue now is my daughter - who at 18 - left her boyfriend and mates behind and is struggling a bit with lonliness etc.

She does agree this was the best move - but I can see she is having a tough time

Garry

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The only issue now is my daughter - who at 18 - left her boyfriend and mates behind and is struggling a bit with lonliness etc.

Gary, my son was 18. He had a really hard time and at times my heart broke for him and I felt so helpless not being able to make it "go away". He basically locked himself in his room, played PC games and only came out to shower and eat... It was really tough to see! He is now 26, engaged to an Aussie girl and live in Tharwa (which is not far from Canberra) and he is SO happy!

My advice to you: allow your daughter to go back to see her friends in about 6 months (give her that promise now and it will give her something to look forward to and help ease the heartbreak...) I did not want my son to go back, but I knew I had to do this for him. After 6 months he went back and had a blast but was glad to be back in Australia although he still missed his friends. We told him he could go back in another 6 months, which he did - only this time, his friends have moved on, he was not the "celebrity friend" from Australia any longer and they did not make much of an effort to spend time with him. Also, after a year in Australia, he became used to the safety and careless lifestyle - he did not feel safe for a lot of the time he was in South Africa and could not wait to get back. This time, he said he did not want to go back again. Allowing him to visit made him see the difference with clear eyes and made him realise that although it is tough and he missed his friends, he was in the best place possible. It helped that his friends were a bit "unavailable" and not that excited to spend time with him. It was something we felt we had to do for him to adjust and be happy here. We left RSA on a 457 and we told him that if he still wanted to go back to RSA after we got PR, he could. After 2 years we got PR and he did not even mention it...

Is your daughter at school or uni? If she is, then she will definitely adjust much easier once school/uni starts again. They're at that social age and sitting at home with no friends, is very hard! Once she gets into a situation where she will meet other ppl her own age, she will really adjust much quicker and will have new best friends in no time! If she is not at school or uni, enrol her in something so that she has to attend classes and meet other young ppl - even if it is just a short course for 3 or 6 months and something quick and creative like photography or something.

If your daughter is really struggling, I'm sure my son would be happy to have a chat with her and reassure her - he's been there and he knows how hard is was, but also that things will look up and she will find a new social circle in Australia. At the moment, she probably feels she can not "live" without her friends, but a few months down the line, they will be long forgotten... She just needs to hang in there!

I really hope you get through this hard time - especially hard because it is Christmas and holiday and NYE and you have no one to share it with! (We arrived in November 2004 - I know what it feels like!!)

PM me if you'd like to have a chat.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Garry,

I only spotted your post today .....

If you would like some support, give me a PM and I'll get back to you.

Sorry it's so late ....

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Hi guys, I arrived yesterday and loving it, a bit home sick but so much to do such little time, managed to get the kids school clothes today, hopefully securing a rental in the next two days, things are much easier when you are here tried to sort stuff out in SA, was not very successful, but I think I will be meeting you guys on Saterday for the BBQ.

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Hey Shazpaz welcome to Canberra, glad u r loving it already. Looking forward to meeting u on Sunday. Please shout if u need any help with anything.

Keglin

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  • 3 months later...

Hi All

I found your reply really moving Riekie, we arrived in Jan 2012, with 2 teen daughters, an 18 year old and a 14 and a half year old, and it has been heartbreaking to watch them mourn their loss of friends and family, cousins and what "might have been". Our oldest went off to Uni, and went into ressies to meet people, which worked a treat as you said, but she has moved residences this year and seems to be in a place where she is starting all over again! The younger has really battled- we all kind of expected to be "doing" this big thing together and with one out of the nest it was twice as hard- worrying about her, and also for the younger, suddenly being totally alone while her big sister seemed to be having a ball! We all cope differently, one daughter went out "balls to the wall", perhaps too much, as she made herself ill, and the younger, like your son, retreating to her room, and seeming to live on her laptop watching movies. We are planning a trip back in December, after 2 years, and we are hoping this will help them both shake the last vestiges of "My life would have been perfect IF...". All I can say is it is a hard journey, and lonely, but time heals all things as they say! Much as they still miss good friends, and family, both my girls know this move has been the best thing for them, and I dont think they would consider going back. There does seem to be this point that you need to get to though, where you say, ACTUALLY, I have moved on and am quite happy where I am, thank you! We lived in a very small country town, where everybody grew up together etc, so it was quite a shock moving to a city, even a small one like Canberra! We are loving it here tho, we have moved into our own home this year and I think that makes a huge difference to putting down roots. We do miss people, of course, and have not found it that easy to meet people, though the Aussies are a very friendly bunch and helpful, people of course are all busy with their own lives!I think the first year is such a whirl of adjustment, disconnect and then reconnect, it feels like a blur! I think something my husband and I could have done better was to try to network more- like through forums like this, I guess coming from a tight knit community, where that kind of networking wasnt a big feature, left us out of the loop in a way, although maby better late than never, so I would love to touch base with some (Ex?)South Africans, especially nearby, we live in Bonner, in the north- Hello, anyone out there??

Belinda

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