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What an awful time you have had, it does appear your friend has been very insensitive to you and your family's needs.
However, I wonder if your friend enjoyed it, or has she had problems (such as with the daughter) that you have not been aware of, so she has basically abdicated responsiblity whilst on holiday to 'get away from it'. Is she on her own bringing up the kids and therefore having discipline problems?
Is she seeing you have the 'prefect life' with 'perfect husband and kids' and therefore feels she is owed some 'me time'. None of these are excuses but might explain some of her behaviour, or has she always been self-centred and selfish, sometimes it takes living with someone for a period of time to see the real person.
We visited in Feb/Mar 08 and stayed with my OH sister & family, before arriving we made sure we booked the first weekend away to KI so they would have the first weekend after we arrived alone (break them in gently I say!). We were also lucky in that their eldest daughter had moved out to her own place around the corner so we slept there at night whilst our 2 boys stayed with Auntie and Uncle who they behaved for and respected.
Whilst no rules were laid down we had arranged a hire car so we were independant of them, we bought half the beer (naturally), bought large volumes of meat for the barbeque, did bits of cleaning (though I felt this was a bit tricky as didn't want to imply they were dirty, as they certainly weren't) we paid for some meals out, though they insisted on splitting the bill. I am sure we didn't pay half for all food we ate or water/electricity used but we offered to. They often refused money for things saying it cost enough for us to get out there, so what we did was treat the children, the older one who had moved into her first home (which we were staying in) didn't have much in the way of furnishing so we gave her a gift card from one of the stores with some money on it. We also left some money for the other daughter for her birthday.
The arrangment wasn't without problems but when they arose we spoke honestly about them and they were dealt with honestly.
When we rang them to say we needed the activate our visas in October 08 and that it would be a shorter more work orientated visit and less of a holiday as we now needed to save like crazy they didn't hesitate, they understood the position we were in (2 visits to Oz in 8 months for a family of four was very expensive) and offered to put us up immediately. We, of course, paid our way again, and where possible kept out of the way, but they insisted on the whole family trip out to Flinders and we all had a great time.
Our family were the perfect hosts and we tried to be the perfect guests, therefore when we arrive permanently we hope we will have the support we know we will need but give each other the respect and privacy we all require.
PS loved the post about clip round the ear ala Basil Fawlty
I can soooo sympathise with your experience. We've had a few visitors come and stay with us and they all seem to take the piss so we have decided not to accepted any more visitors. You think the next lot will be different but they just turn out to be the same. DON'T DO IT!!
My sister and I bitch, fight and argue so much when she comes over that she now books into the McLaren Vale Motel and hires a car and pretty much does her own thing. That suits me just fine.
I had my in-laws from Adelaide come and stay with us in England for 2 and a half months once !!!
I was dreading it, but we set out the ground rules at the start with the MIL as she tends to fuss and interfere a bit. The agreement was that I did all the cooking / housework etc (she's a hopeless cook) as long as she did all the ironing (I hate ironing). They contributed to the cost of food and paid for things whenever they could.
It worked out really well and at the end of their stay I felt I'd got to know them a lot better and liked them a lot more too!
Backpacked round Australia 1992. Married Australian husband in Adelaide 1994. Lived in Adelaide 1994-1997. Moved back to UK & lived in Essex/Herts 1997-2009. Returned to Adelaide November 2009. 2 kids dual nationality.
Life is full of learning and i feel you won't be bitten twice. Good luck with your next arrivals.