Guest Libby1971

LONG POST: Reflection on a year in Oz...

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    Guest Libby1971

    WOW – A Year Down Under. I can’t believe we made this anniversary...What can I say about the past year?

     

    We arrived in April and went to OAA, basic and somewhere I was keen to leave. Once we got our money, we found that cars keep their value well as there is little to rot the cars like rust. Cars are not so much expensive as they do not depreciate so fast. We found that suburbs like Aldinga and Willunga, although beautiful, were too far out for us to have access to the kinds of options we felt we needed in order to settle. We found that more urban suburbs meant you had views mostly of the inside of fences around your property and we didn’t want that-we wanted a more open feel and found that in the southern suburbs.

     

    Our rental in Sheidow Park was a good base from which to explore the south. Woodend School, the zoned school for the area was a great start for a nervous 10 year old who was quickly embraced by the Aussie system. The eldest was zoned for Seaview High – in our opinion, a poor school as Emily really sank here, into a big low/ depression and it took a while to recover. She did struggle to cope without her friends and I won’t lie and say it was easy. It was devastating to watch her be so upset and yet to be so insistent that she remain here. I think what made her most upset is that she knew we wouldn’t back down.

     

    Registering for being a teacher took longer than we thought and getting work took much longer than we had planned for. You will have heard it before and I will say it again - in Adelaide it is who you know that is important! Teachers are needed, or good quality ones are, but the population of teachers already in employment are waiting for their pensions and are in no hurry to retire. British teachers are needed but not necessarily in the metro areas (i.e. around the city). We registered with an agency which although helpful to get day relief meant we would be $100 down on the amount paid to us for in govt schools. I got a temp position in term 3 at a boy’s school. Bob worked in term 4 and then got a perm position for Jan. Sadly this didn’t work out and he was really unhappy. I got a job starting term 2 and so Bob resigned.

     

    We found our house here much earlier than we thought we would. It is not the sort of house I thought I would have and even now, I am not sure if I like it. We were filmed by the BBC 3 days after moving in and it was a very stressful time. We bought all our furniture here and I think that made it harder to settle almost – seeing all this stuff in a new house, well, it felt like being on a long holiday. I’d look round and see sooooo much new furniture that I couldn’t recognise it as our home. Now it is fine, I have bashed some bits and pieces, got dust on the tops of bookcases and it looks like my place now.

     

    Emotionally, Bob was like a dog with 2 tails from the second we arrived. He felt he had come back to his spiritual home. The girls and I were keen to support him but his expectation that we would all feel the same as he did caused a bit of stress. I am not one to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself although I was naturally reluctant to tell my delighted beloved that I did not share his joy. He took it well and stopped putting me under pressure, however well meaning, to enjoy it instead changing comments from ‘It’s great, isn’t it?’ to ‘what do you feel about it?’ His constant patience and obvious care to not add to a maelstrom of emotions was quite honestly incredibly touching. I then felt able to relax a bit more and now I quite like Australia. I doubt it will ever be a place that I feel totally at home with, preferring above other places, but it is the land I have chosen to bring my children to and therefore I stay. That being said, I have told Bob that 10 mins after the wake finishes I am leaving for France so he had better live longer than me if he expects me to stay here for the rest of my days.

     

    Both girls are settled now, and are at Reynella East schools, our local state schools. We did think about sending them to Woodcroft but they had no spaces in one of the years. It was either both of them go or neither of them go so we chose govt schools as a result. We have heard mixed reports since about Woodcroft but have no real experience of the school and am therefore unqualified to comment meaningfully on the school. In our opinion, Reynella East schools are really good and we are really pleased with our decision.

     

    We bought a dog from one of the many pet shops that line the malls here. I could not bear to hear the puppies barking as the shutters came down when the shops closed. Although I had planned to buy a rescue dog, I am pleased we bought our Groodle. He is lovely, with a heart of pure gold, a breed I would buy again although not perhaps a Golden Retriever x Standard Poodle, maybe a smaller one. He helped the girls settle though as they felt we had roots.

     

    We knew that leaving family and friends would be hard and in the end decided against a party. I wasn’t strong enough to cope with seeing all my nearest and dearest on one room together at the same time to say goodbye. We spent 2 weeks travelling around, spending days here and there with each group individually which meant that we had quality time with each other. A really lovely time. We had not planned to have anyone see us off at the airport but my aunt, bless her cotton socks, refused to accept our decision to leave the country without anyone waving us off. That was kind but having already said goodbye in private, to say goodbye again in public was very hard. I was also not ready for the continued distress that our departure caused both her and my sister and their tears every time I phoned made it hard to settle. I still miss my sister terribly and can’t wait to see her. My niece has just turned one and I have spent the last few months playing peek-a-boo across a computer screen courtesy of Skype – the mind boggles at what her reaction will be when she sees a walking, talking computer programme come into her house!

     

    Over the last year I have learnt that I really need to trust my husband!!!!! He has spent years researching house prices, exchange rates, cost of living, land prices, furniture shops etc. While I was stressing over money, he was absolutely confident that we would be okay. And much as it irritates me to say this, he was right. At each stage, (1 month, 2 month, 3 months etc), financially we were exactly where he said we would be in money terms. The importance of planning and research is made clear...

     

    I have also learnt the importance of communication – the flow of information to kids as well as from them. I know now that it is best sometimes to say “I don’t know, but I am working on it and this is how" rather than “it will be ok.” I have learnt my children are far stronger than I thought in just about every way and all in all, I am sooooo very proud of my girls. They are awesome. Five addresses in 7 months was ridiculous but they took it in their stride.

     

     

    Medical stuff has been more expensive in terms of prescriptions as everyone pays for them regardless of age or condition etc. But the plus is that you see docs etc much much faster and everything is very efficient. We have seen a variety of consultants in the last few months and with no more than 4 weeks as a waiting time.

     

     

    We knew that coming here would be hard. For that reason, we made sure we had no escape route – we sold our house, our furniture, resigned from our jobs – and we did not ask them to hold them open for us in case we wanted to go back. Our decision was the right one for us. I do not see us going back to the UK.

     

    The support received from this forum has been wonderful. For that reason, I feel it very important to be able to return the favour and help others. I also feel it that the trips that are run every couple of months offer a chance for women to network and find friendships.

     

     

    Above all, I have found that there are some amazing people in Adelaide. People who have gone out of their way to support me and my family when we have struggled for whatever reason, and I want to thank you. I have made some great friends, you know who you are, and I feel very lucky to have such lovely people around me.

     

    Libby, Bob, Emily and Sophie

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    Guest Bex & Nick

    Hey Libby,

     

    Thanks for that update. It's heartening to hear your story.

     

    Bex

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    Guest leemi1

    Wow one of the most honest posts i have read on here strait from the heart nice one its always nice to get a true account of life on the other side

    mick & toni

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    Guest Trakki

    Great post Libby, thankyou for being so open and honest about the highs and lows. For all of us still here waiting you are a real inspiration and I look forward to meeting you and joining you on the ladies days. Oh, and I won't forget the tuna and pasta bake mix!!! :D

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    Guest Roo1

    Hi Libby. Great post hun, I had tears in my eyes when you said how great your girls have been through all this.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I'm sure it will beneift many PIA members.

    Judi xxxxxxooooooxxxx

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    Llbby and family,

     

    Great post, i think you summed up what we are expecting to go through and the feelings involved. Great inspiration to all us just about to make the move.

    Many many thanks and hope to see you as soon as we can when we arrive tired and shocked on the 14th June

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    Guest mOZzy

    what a great post!!!

    thanks for taking the time and i hope your fingers survived ;)

     

    it was inspiring to read that you DID have doubts, and that you DIDN'T settle straight away - but with lots of hard work, determination, communication, friends and a family that is strong together you DID it :wubclub:

     

    that sounds like a great recipe to me ;)

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    An excellent post Libby and one i could relate to in so many ways. like you we've been in Adelaide a year this month, (though in australia since july 06), we also made sure we had no escape or easy way back to the UK, and it's certainly been hard.

    we have 2 girls who have both settled really well, OH had the hardest time settling, but thankfully he finally has, he had a complete career change and he loves his new job.

    The hardest part for us has been making new friends, though we have met some great people.

    Its certainly a roller coaster ride and one i dont think you can fully apreciate until you've experienced it,

    we're all looking forward to the next year and know that this was the right decision for us.

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    Guest Guest75

    Congratulations all of you:)

     

    A great post and interesting reading to all those planning to come over.

     

    Well done:):)

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    Hey Lib,

     

    Great post to read...summed up how most of probably feel when we land!!

     

    Glad that you seem happier now!!

     

    Dan and Steph

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    Guest Nick11

    As ever Libby - spot on

    Hope you got my congrat text last night

    Nick

    x

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    Guest Django

    :notworthy::notworthy::notworthy::notworthy:

     

    Must say I totally agree with your decission to have no escape route. Its all or nothing. We have made an agreement that we are going to stay, with no talk of returning, until we can get citizenship. If at that point one of us wants to return to the UK then we will but having citizenship our children, should they want to do as we are now, wouldn't have to go through what we have to get there.

    Hats of to you all. It has not been easy for you but it shows if you stick together you can make it work and give your children a better lifestyle.

     

    Good on ya

     

    Pete

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    Guest The Pottertons

    Libby - you really are an inspiration and your journey has been so well documented on here- highs and lows that its makes it so realistic. It helps me to understand the gravity of our decision and that there will be times i feel really down and isolated but riding through it and never giving up brings you out on the other side! It gives me confidence in our decision as i feel better prepared for whats to come and realise im not alone in my feelings. Rest assured you have achieved your task of helping others- many others by the looks of this thread and i know you'll continue to do so. THANKYOU!!!!!:cute: Yvonne and Mark x

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    Guest donna T

    Congratulations Libby and Bob and Girls

     

    We are very proud of you and hope that the next 12 months are a little less of an emotional rollercoaster

     

    Lots of love

     

    Donna x

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    Guest Nicky, Alan and Kids

    What a great post, I think that you summed it up the emotions that we are going to go through in the next few months.

     

    Might be calling on you Libby when we arrive on 19 June wondering what the hell we have done!

     

    Nicky

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    Guest louiesmum

    Hi Libby,

     

    Great post, thankyou for sharing your experience. Its good to hear the lows as well as the highs (which i know we all expect) but if you only ever hear about the highs & you are having a bad day you might think you are alone (if you know what I mean!!) Really look forward to meeting all of you when we finally get there!!!

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    Guest caoimhe

    Thank you for sharing your experiences so openly and honestly:notworthy:

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    Guest Leanne & Mark

    Great post as always Lib, honest and heart felt.

     

    Glad to hear you are settling now. No doubt we'll be seeing you sometime in the future Reynella being high on our list we could be Neighbours

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    Guest Guzzler&Sas

    Well done guys, great post Libby,for those who haven't please read Libbys post dated 23/09/07 you've come a long way girl well done

     

    Guzzler

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    Guest The Hadleys
    WOW – A Year Down Under. I can’t believe we made this anniversary...What can I say about the past year?

     

    We arrived in April and went to OAA, basic and somewhere I was keen to leave. Once we got our money, we found that cars keep their value well as there is little to rot the cars like rust. Cars are not so much expensive as they do not depreciate so fast. We found that suburbs like Aldinga and Willunga, although beautiful, were too far out for us to have access to the kinds of options we felt we needed in order to settle. We found that more urban suburbs meant you had views mostly of the inside of fences around your property and we didn’t want that-we wanted a more open feel and found that in the southern suburbs.

     

    Our rental in Sheidow Park was a good base from which to explore the south. Woodend School, the zoned school for the area was a great start for a nervous 10 year old who was quickly embraced by the Aussie system. The eldest was zoned for Seaview High – in our opinion, a poor school as Emily really sank here, into a big low/ depression and it took a while to recover. She did struggle to cope without her friends and I won’t lie and say it was easy. It was devastating to watch her be so upset and yet to be so insistent that she remain here. I think what made her most upset is that she knew we wouldn’t back down.

     

    Registering for being a teacher took longer than we thought and getting work took much longer than we had planned for. You will have heard it before and I will say it again - in Adelaide it is who you know that is important! Teachers are needed, or good quality ones are, but the population of teachers already in employment are waiting for their pensions and are in no hurry to retire. British teachers are needed but not necessarily in the metro areas (i.e. around the city). We registered with an agency which although helpful to get day relief meant we would be $100 down on the amount paid to us for in govt schools. I got a temp position in term 3 at a boy’s school. Bob worked in term 4 and then got a perm position for Jan. Sadly this didn’t work out and he was really unhappy. I got a job starting term 2 and so Bob resigned.

     

    We found our house here much earlier than we thought we would. It is not the sort of house I thought I would have and even now, I am not sure if I like it. We were filmed by the BBC 3 days after moving in and it was a very stressful time. We bought all our furniture here and I think that made it harder to settle almost – seeing all this stuff in a new house, well, it felt like being on a long holiday. I’d look round and see sooooo much new furniture that I couldn’t recognise it as our home. Now it is fine, I have bashed some bits and pieces, got dust on the tops of bookcases and it looks like my place now.

     

    Emotionally, Bob was like a dog with 2 tails from the second we arrived. He felt he had come back to his spiritual home. The girls and I were keen to support him but his expectation that we would all feel the same as he did caused a bit of stress. I am not one to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself although I was naturally reluctant to tell my delighted beloved that I did not share his joy. He took it well and stopped putting me under pressure, however well meaning, to enjoy it instead changing comments from ‘It’s great, isn’t it?’ to ‘what do you feel about it?’ His constant patience and obvious care to not add to a maelstrom of emotions was quite honestly incredibly touching. I then felt able to relax a bit more and now I quite like Australia. I doubt it will ever be a place that I feel totally at home with, preferring above other places, but it is the land I have chosen to bring my children to and therefore I stay. That being said, I have told Bob that 10 mins after the wake finishes I am leaving for France so he had better live longer than me if he expects me to stay here for the rest of my days.

     

    Both girls are settled now, and are at Reynella East schools, our local state schools. We did think about sending them to Woodcroft but they had no spaces in one of the years. It was either both of them go or neither of them go so we chose govt schools as a result. We have heard mixed reports since about Woodcroft but have no real experience of the school and am therefore unqualified to comment meaningfully on the school. In our opinion, Reynella East schools are really good and we are really pleased with our decision.

     

    We bought a dog from one of the many pet shops that line the malls here. I could not bear to hear the puppies barking as the shutters came down when the shops closed. Although I had planned to buy a rescue dog, I am pleased we bought our Groodle. He is lovely, with a heart of pure gold, a breed I would buy again although not perhaps a Golden Retriever x Standard Poodle, maybe a smaller one. He helped the girls settle though as they felt we had roots.

     

    We knew that leaving family and friends would be hard and in the end decided against a party. I wasn’t strong enough to cope with seeing all my nearest and dearest on one room together at the same time to say goodbye. We spent 2 weeks travelling around, spending days here and there with each group individually which meant that we had quality time with each other. A really lovely time. We had not planned to have anyone see us off at the airport but my aunt, bless her cotton socks, refused to accept our decision to leave the country without anyone waving us off. That was kind but having already said goodbye in private, to say goodbye again in public was very hard. I was also not ready for the continued distress that our departure caused both her and my sister and their tears every time I phoned made it hard to settle. I still miss my sister terribly and can’t wait to see her. My niece has just turned one and I have spent the last few months playing peek-a-boo across a computer screen courtesy of Skype – the mind boggles at what her reaction will be when she sees a walking, talking computer programme come into her house!

     

    Over the last year I have learnt that I really need to trust my husband!!!!! He has spent years researching house prices, exchange rates, cost of living, land prices, furniture shops etc. While I was stressing over money, he was absolutely confident that we would be okay. And much as it irritates me to say this, he was right. At each stage, (1 month, 2 month, 3 months etc), financially we were exactly where he said we would be in money terms. The importance of planning and research is made clear...

     

    I have also learnt the importance of communication – the flow of information to kids as well as from them. I know now that it is best sometimes to say “I don’t know, but I am working on it and this is how" rather than “it will be ok.” I have learnt my children are far stronger than I thought in just about every way and all in all, I am sooooo very proud of my girls. They are awesome. Five addresses in 7 months was ridiculous but they took it in their stride.

     

     

    Medical stuff has been more expensive in terms of prescriptions as everyone pays for them regardless of age or condition etc. But the plus is that you see docs etc much much faster and everything is very efficient. We have seen a variety of consultants in the last few months and with no more than 4 weeks as a waiting time.

     

     

    We knew that coming here would be hard. For that reason, we made sure we had no escape route – we sold our house, our furniture, resigned from our jobs – and we did not ask them to hold them open for us in case we wanted to go back. Our decision was the right one for us. I do not see us going back to the UK.

     

    The support received from this forum has been wonderful. For that reason, I feel it very important to be able to return the favour and help others. I also feel it that the trips that are run every couple of months offer a chance for women to network and find friendships.

     

     

    Above all, I have found that there are some amazing people in Adelaide. People who have gone out of their way to support me and my family when we have struggled for whatever reason, and I want to thank you. I have made some great friends, you know who you are, and I feel very lucky to have such lovely people around me.

     

    Libby, Bob, Emily and Sophie

    What a lovely post, has really made me cry. I hope I can write something similiar when I have been there 12 months.

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    Guest swampo

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us all. We loved watching you on the TV and we loved the house you have chosen, it looked lovely.

     

    We will be leaving our family (grown up children) when we make the move in October and the reality hits home sometimes when we think of how many times we will see them (or not) over the years. I don't think we have gone down the emotional wrench route properly as yet, can't face it really.

     

    We thought long and hard about a party and have decided that in the end we will have one. We want people to remember us as the batty, boozy, poor dancing couple that we are and we want to celebrate our new beginning (neither of us being spring chickens!). We have threatened our lot that we don't want anyone at the airport, leaving and goodbyes are hard enough without the added stress of that happening at the airport - I would sink the plane with tears!!!

     

    We have been on this forum for about a year and the help and support you get from 'strangers' is amazing. We are coming over in May for a validation visit and already we have people, who we don't really know, are saying "here's our phone number, please contact us when you get here", it makes you feel like you are visiting friends who just happen to live on the other side of the world. From the sound of it you have also found this 'network' amazing.

     

    You did the right thing, here in blighty things go from bad to worse + it's freezing cold and wet for the most part!

     

    Interestingly, when people ask what we will miss in the UK we both say FRANCE!!! so we are with you on that one. Maybe if we win the lotto we will have houses in Adelaide and Provence?

     

    Keep the posts coming.

    Mall & Kev

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