Guest morgie@51

Been here 4 months (long post)

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    Guest morgie@51

    I’ve been here for just over 4 months now and thought I’d post an update as we always found these useful when we were in the UK.

    I arrived on 13th April and was here on my own for 5 weeks before Ali and the kids joined me on 19th May. Since our last updates we have sorted a 12 month rental in Greenwith in the North East. I have a permanent job that I have been in for about 6 weeks and that is going well so far. The job started out as part time doing half a normal working week but is now up to 3 quarters although I put in a full week last week. Doing part time work has been a really good way of starting to get into work but also having time to help Ali and the kids settle.

     

    Our older 2, Meg and Joey, have been going to Golden Grove state primary for a couple of months now. Both seem to have settled well and we have been really pleased with the school. The facilities are incredible in comparison to the school they went to in the UK. The approach is, however, different to what we were used to in the UK.

    At the age that our kids are (9 and 6) there is less emphasis placed on academic achievement and more placed on other aspects like self confidence and self reliance etc. There are positives and negatives to this but for us the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. Meg in particular has blossomed and from being really timid and reserved at school in the UK now has the self confidence to just decide to pick up her ‘Egg Flip’ toys on Friday morning to take into school and do a talk on them for the whole class. Joey now has the confidence to volunteer for a speaking part in this next week’s school assembly in front of over 600 kids! The downside is that we have found that the reading levels in Joey’s class in particular (reception/yr 1) are appalling and that this is not seen as a big deal. Fortunately Joey has already got a really good reading base from the UK. This does raise concerns for our youngest, Pippa who is 2, however our view is that we can give her the extra support so she is at the same reading level as the older 2 at the same age. Overall I think that the kids are better off at school here than they were in the UK.

    As far as settling into daily life goes we have done pretty well I think. When it comes to shopping the cost is on a par with the UK. This makes the cost of living higher because wages are lower. However, we have found that meat in particular is a lot cheaper and of a far better quality than we could get where we were in the uk. We have found that we do not really miss anything other than a good take away curry. We don’t look for UK foods or brands in particular, we buy what is available to suit our budget .

    The weather has surprised us. Since being here we have had the coldest day for something like 50 years and even had a couple of days of frost. The houses (at least the OAA we had and our rental) really can’t cope with the cold and do get genuinely cold. Roll on the summer when the house will probably be too hot! It’s also been a wet July (close to long term average rainfall) and the Ozzies at work tell me that August has been unusually wet so far!

    On the social side we are just starting to find our feet. After a bit of looking we seem to have found a good Church which is important to us. It is a church where the kids have settled into Sunday School and one where they have an attached play group for Ali and Pippa. The kids are starting to get into a few activities. Meg is picking up her dancing again and wants to try tennis. Joey is going to Joey Scouts (same as Beavers) and has started doing tennis (also called Joey tennis – there’s a theme developing here) as well as soccer at school. The kids have decided to support Port Adelaide and me and Joey will also be following Adelaide United.

    As hard as leaving family was we can genuinely say that as yet we haven’t felt homesick but are both conscious that it is early days. Everyone that we have met has been friendly and helpful. As an example 2 weeks ago at Church we mentioned to someone that we could do with finding a good Indian take away. The next thing we knew we were invited round for a take away the following week. We went today and had a lovely lunch and afternoon with a really friendly Australian family – probably the best day we have had so far.

    On the housing front we are buying a block of land in Salisbury Heights (settle this Tuesday) and are in the process of signing up to build with Homestead Homes. Hopefully we can tie this in with the rental ending next June or at least get a 6 month extension on the rental.

    Since we have been here we have well and truly tested out the healthcare system. So far we have been to 3 hospitals but that is a whole thread in itself – check out Ali’s separate ongoing tales of touring the local healthcare system. Suffice to say so far we’ve been satisfied with the care levels, other than the potentially disastrous cost of Meg’s contact lenses.

    In summary so far we feel settled. For me as an adult I wouldn’t say that Australia is a dream come true. It’s a place to live that so far is pretty good. For our children however, I think that it will be a superb environment to grow up in and so far I think that we’ve made the right decision. We are quite realistic that we have only been here a few weeks and so cannot really tell at this stage.

    I am conscious that in the whole migration process for us most things have fallen into place when we needed them to. We sold our house in the UK before the visa came so we could decide when to come after that, we got OAA, I’ve got a good job relatively quickly, we got the first rental we looked at (and a 4 bed which is quite rare), we wanted to get the kids into Golden Grove primary but were outside the catchment area only to find that the rules had been relaxed so they had vacancies, we’ve found a really good piece of land for our needs and the kids have settled into school really well.

    All in all we have been really blessed. As Christians we see all of this as a blessing rather than good luck. We have prayed about most of these things and God has been generous enough to provide in answer to those prayers.

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    Guest Alipally

    Nice post. Good to hear that you feel blessed with your new life and have found some contentment.

    I hope that you continue to grow and feel happy in Adelaide.

    As to primary education... Every child works at their own pace.... I always feel that in the UK we're in a hurry to get children into school and reading... after all Scandinavian kids don't even start school until they're 7 yrs. I think working on confidence and self reliance are excellent ways to introduce kids being in a group environment.... There's no rush after all they've got the next 12 years to get to where they need to be!

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    Guest cazzie

    What a lovely post to read. Well done on finding your feet so quickly. It all sounds as if everything is falling into place for you. Glad to know that you have found a church that suits you and your family and the the Australians have been so welcoming to you. Take care and God bless. Cazzie

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    Guest rowy

    A daft question, but what do you think will really be special for the kids there, that they would not get here? I have a toddler, who I know will get more in Oz but selling it to Grandparents is something else!! They just say we are selfish!! So if you had to sum it up, what out weighs it all?? Many thanks, Penny

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    Nice post - glad everything has fallen into place for you.

     

    Regarding the schooling issue, I love the way the kids are taught social skills rather than being rushed into numbers and letters straight away. They soon catch up especially if they enjoy stories and I love the way the kids are so confident. The only disadvantage is you have to read more stories out loud!!

     

    Lea

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    Guest morgie@51
    A daft question, but what do you think will really be special for the kids there, that they would not get here? I have a toddler, who I know will get more in Oz but selling it to Grandparents is something else!! They just say we are selfish!! So if you had to sum it up, what out weighs it all?? Many thanks, Penny

     

    Hi Penny,

    Not a daft question at all.

     

    For us we have seen our 2 older kids confidence at school increase hugely. Our oldest, Meg, has blossomed and is unrecognisable in many ways. They are benefitting from the more relaxed style of education and building up their confidence. Don’t get me wrong they were doing well in school in the UK and Meg was a year 4 in a mixed year 4/5 class doing year 5 work in England. One thing that struck us about all the schools we went round was the superior facilities. At their school here they have 2 computer rooms with 30 odd pcs in enough for every child in a class. At their school in England it was 2 or 3 in a class.

     

    We went to one assembly that summed up a lot of the differences for me. At this school the children run the assemblies themselves. This one was very well organised and started with the National Anthem. Everyone was well behaved and respectful and virtually everyone sang, obviously except the newly arrived Brits! Can you imagine the pc brigade in the UK allowing that. In the middle of the assembly things started to get a bit boisterous. All the head had to do was hold up his hand and within a minute there was silence, again I can’t see that happening at their old school.

     

    On the downside the schools here do seem larger. This one is 650 kids compared to 135 in the UK so is not as intimate and definitely loses something for this. Also I think that in the early years they could do more on reading, writing and maths in the early years without taking away from the other good stuff. If you put n the effort with your kids at home it won’t matter but not everyone does.

    Outside of school there is more opportunity to do activities here. Ours are doing Joey Scouts (beavers) and dancing which they could do in the UK. However, they are also doing tennis and soccer and this is in the middle of winter. In September Little Athletics starts and all 3 are going to do this including Pippa who will have reached the 3 year old age limit. The kids have also all been in the sea in what is the equivalent to January and February in Britain. When the weather improves we will get bikes and get out as much as we can.

    Finally our experience is that there is less brand consciousness about. I’m sure some will say it is still here but we have seen less. One guy I met at our church said that it is probably because the Ozzies are too laid back to be bothered with it.

     

    On grandparents I don’t think that you can really sell it. Ours weren’t happy but we have after all taken their grandchildren 10,000 miles away and it does take about 2 days to get here. My view is that you just have to ignore what you are doing to them and get on with your own lives. For us we have done it for the children and if we stay for good will have given up a lot of our own plans for our later years. We’re happy to do that. What we weren’t happy to do was always wonder ‘what if?’. In that context Grandparents feelings weren’t really relevant. It may seem harsh and hard faced but we do accept that there is a fair chance that one day one of our 3 will do the same and go somewhere else. If there are grandchildren we won’t be happy about them moving away but we will be proud of children being brave and confident enough to take such a brave decision.

     

    Good luck for the rest of the visa process.

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    Guest rowy

    Thank you so much for wonderfully honest and informative reply. I need to keep reading replies like yours to make the guilt go away!! You are quite right of course, if they were giving their blessing I would probably be hurt by that too! We are visiting this October for two weeks, so hopefully that will be all I need. The information about the school was fantastic, thank you. The weather is what stops everything over here. We have had an August of rain. No school holiday fun! The sport sounds terrific, so good for their health and fitness, and confidence.

    I hope you continue to have a wonderful life in Oz. You sound like your children mean everything, which is my feeling too, and we all want whats best for them. Best wishes, Penny

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    What a lovely read. Nice to hear that you have settled well together with your children. Things can only get better. Keep us posted.

    Alison x

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    Great post, and can agree with just about all of it!

     

    One thing I thought I'd mention as you're over this side of town - in the October holidays there is something run by the local councils here - I think it's called Going for Gold - where all the local sports clubs offer free (no obligation) try out sessions. Obviously your kids are already pretty occupied, but you may like to keep an eye out in the local sports centres for the brochures (I know Golden Grove sports centre has them usually) as it's a great way of (a) keeping the kids occupied and happy in the holidays (b) trying out lots of things you might never think of - they do hockey, irish dancing, karate, soccer, tennis, athletics, all sorts of stuff usually, and © meeting lots of new people and friends. Oh, and did I mention it's FREE!! That was something that blew us away when we first arrived, being used to paying out everytime we wanted to do something with the kids! If the kids do three different things, they get some kind of medal too.

     

    Welcome to Australia! (Oh, next girls night out is in Golden Grove Tavern on 4th September)

     

    Diane

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    Guest Guest75

    Well done you guys.

    A lovely and informative post which I'm sure will help others:)

    After meeting you I know how determined you are to settle here.

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    Morgan

     

    Thanks for your great honest post...sounds like you're all doing really well and keeping very positive which helps immensely.

    Good luck for the future, I hope you continue to reap the rewards of your new life here.

    Dette :)

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    Guest salisbury massive

    Hi, great post, where abouts have you bought the land? we also live in Salisbury Heights and firmly recommend it. Just a quick point about the schools being larger, don't forget most schools here are reception to year 7 on one site. Most UK schools only have 4 year groups on one site. My daughters middle school in the Uk had 600 kids in it, that was Year 4 - 7. Here she has 475 kids, Reception to year 7. Golden Grove is a very popular Primary school with the locals and not just the ex-pats. let me know if you want any local help.

     

    Jo

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    good post morgie, great to hear things have gone well for you all. Hope to get to bump into you all.

    It certainly is the case that the children are allowed to be children in junior schools and learn about life and not tests etc. Our two say how they dont learn anything at school! But they certainly are more relaxed and ask more questions about general life stuff instead of what the books said! Although i know the real hard work will come soon enough!

     

    It certainly seems like things have worked out for you so far as you do need to be in the right place at the right time.

     

    Good to hear from you all

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    Guest alibongo

    Hi Morgan and Ali,

    It'sbeen a while since I have posted. I arrived just after you about 7 weeks ago and we have settled in the northern suburbs like yourselves. I agree with you in the fact that we are here living and working and finding friends but have found no huge differnce in th elife here. except people are more friendly than in the UK in my opinion. we are in rentals in evanston park and have children in Trinity college. have been invited out for diner with colleagues in Greenwith and thought it was a lovely place to live..

    I hope the rest of your future in Oz is as fulfilling as the last few months

    If you want to get together (we only live a few Ks away) it would be great to get to know you all PM me

    Love

    Ali

    x

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    Guest mandmick

    Hi

     

    What a lovely story to read. It's so nice to hear you're all settling well.

    We have bought a house in Spring Hill and I went to visit GG Primary School last April when we visited.

    We've now got our visa! so time to start making plans!

    We are currently in Dubai, been here for 13 years. It's going to be a big change from the glitz, fast paced life here but we're ready to move on to some quality famiy time now.

    My In Laws are in Greenwith, hence the choice to buy a house in Spring Hill.

    Our daughter is almost 6,she is in year 1 at private school here in Dubai, again it is very academic which is a slight concern for me. I love the focus on social skills in oz at school, however I do wonder if daugter will fall back academically. Although as you say, I can keep this up at home. There is plenty of time for working hard!

    I'd love to meet up with you once we're there, it's always nice to know someone with children at school and who live locally.

    Did you consider any of the private schools in the area? such as Tyndale Christian School, or Pedare (sp!)

    I'll keep posting as I'm sure I'll have lots of questions as the time to move gets closer!

    Until then, I hope you're life continues to be as happy down under!

     

    Mandy

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