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LKC last won the day on February 19

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About LKC

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  1. The weather 😁

    I was thinking about this whilst having my morning walk (in the drizzle), having read the other post this morning. We didn't move either way for the weather, although it was something we thought about before we made the decision to move back (a small piece of a much bigger picture). Some people (like us) find the heat and humidity draining. We found that doing the things we like to do (walking/hiking, geocaching) far more difficult in the heat of summer in Australia than in the depths of winter in the UK. Other people find the rain/cold/dark oppressive, and thrive in the heat and sun. Rather than the weather being better in one place or the other, it is just different, and different people are differently suited to different types of weather. We don't mind putting on warm and waterproof clothing and getting on with it, come rain, hail or shine and never feel shut in here. Other people don't like to do that, so I can completely understand why they'd feel like they were permanently indoors for months in the winter. The weather here (Scotland) has been pretty good since we moved back. We have had some wet days, but it hasn't stopped us from going out. I'm still doing my morning walk in just jogging bottoms, t-shirt and light, unpadded bodywarmer if it is dry, or a light waterproof jacket if it is wet, the temperatures here have been between 11 and 15 degrees most mornings, and although it was drizzly this morning (for example) it is still entirely possible to have a good walk out in the fresh air. Having said that, we've not done a winter here yet, so I may well change my tune!
  2. Ticket is bought!

    Best of luck Mhags, and safe travels! We moved to Scotland seven weeks ago, and so far, so good! Our container arrives next week too (I wonder if they're on the same ship?), we've been camping out sleeping on mattresses on the floor, so it'll be nice to have our things. We brought our cats back with us, and they've taken to it like ducks to water! Lots of radiators to sleep next to!
  3. Phillip island

    If there is any possibility you could stay, I'd recommend the going to see the fairy penguins come in at dusk. We took our kids earlier this year, and they loved it.
  4. Just need a chat

    I can't offer any advice on the visa front, but I just wanted to say I'm so sorry you're going through this. Many PIO members have unfortunately had experience of getting that phone call, so please don't worry about coming across as being miserable or anything. The forum is here to support people on their migration journey, no matter what that entails, so just know that you can come here for support and a hand-hold if and when you need it.
  5. We moved back!

    Here are a few! The three horse ones are the Kelpies in Falkirk. The one with the cats is the view out of our kitchen/dining room window. The one after that I took today in the Cairngorms and the last one with the sheep is the Ochil hills near where we live.
  6. The exchange rate and the property market in Sydney definitely helped us make our decision, and it has put us in a very comfortable position. We didn't decide to move back for any reason in particular, and we loved Australia and Sydney when we lived there, it was more that the cons of living there started to outweigh the pros. We never said it would be forever, just as we haven't said our move to Scotland is forever. Whilst the pros outweigh the cons we stay, once it tips over we move. Nothing has to be permanent.
  7. We moved back!

    I'm not saying that our experience in Australia was typical, but certainly for us we had a similar experience to you and found it incredibly difficult to make friends. Indeed, the two good friends that I did have were migrants themselves. We do seem to have ended up in a lovely place. I was invited over for coffee by one of the school mums yesterday and spent three hours at her house just chit-chatting. She had also gone and fetched a whole heap of leaflets for me about local amenities and things to do/places to visit! In our almost nine years in Sydney I can count on two hands the number of times I was invited over for coffee by the people I met! Not through lack of trying, either. I would invite people over to mine but have them make excuses as to why they couldn't come or have them cancel on me last minute. As I was huffing down the road after my morning walk/run this morning, a lovely elderly chap stopped to talk to me and told me who he was, where he lived, told me about the people whose house we're renting, told me about the horse he looks after, and just generally had a chat about the village. When I got back from picking the kids up yesterday afternoon, the lady from a few doors up came out to see how we were settling in and ask if we needed anything. The difference is startling.
  8. We moved back!

    I forgot to say, we shipped our four cats over at great expense. They arrived in fairly good spirits, if slightly crumpled and fairly smelly from the flight. We left them alone in the rental house for the first few days, just popping in to feed them/check on them/change the litter/have a cuddle twice a day, to let them settle. It seemed to work well, the two cats that didn't get along so well now can be found sleeping cuddled up together fairly often! They have settled into a good routine, and seem happy enough, although they are shedding lots of hair, presumably because they now live in a centrally-heated house rather than an unheated one!
  9. We moved back!

    Just a quick update for the few people who've been following our journey. After months and months of decision making, research, finishing renovations on our house, selling that and OH's business and organising our move back to the UK, we finally moved back two weeks ago! So far, so good. OH's parents met us at Edinburgh airport and had booked a holiday cottage for us all to rent for the first few days which was a MASSIVE help. We spent a few days sorting out bank accounts, driving licenses, orientating ourselves, getting over the jet-lag (and a vomiting bug for some of us) and buying odd bits of furniture and other things to replace things we hadn't shipped. We had managed to arrange a rental from Australia, thanks to OH's mum and his new boss, who very kindly looked around the house for us and gave it the okay. We have now moved into the rental house and are starting to get settled. We are in a fairly rural part of central Scotland. We aren't from here originally (we lived in Suffolk before we moved to Sydney) but OH was offered a job in a town a bit north of Edinburgh, so here is where we are. It is absolutely stunningly beautiful, the village we are in is really lovely and everyone we've met so far has been super friendly. The kids started at school yesterday, it is a much smaller school than they are used to in Australia, with only 25 kids in youngest kid's year and 10 kids in eldest kid's year! They have already been asked to go on playdates, and the mums at the school gates have been really lovely, with phone numbers exchanged and an invite to an evening at the pub for me already! It seems to be a really lovely family-friendly area, hopefully we can make some friends here and become part of the community, something which we never really managed in Australia. OH is due to start his new job on Monday. He went into work today to meet everyone, and is really pleased with how things went. It is a really good opportunity for him long-term, so he is pleased we made the move. I will go back to work at some point, but we've agreed that I'll stay at home until the kids are settled in school and will spend the next few months getting us organised with a house purchase/move and thinking about my next step. I haven't worked in my profession for 10 years (I couldn't do it in Australia without re-sitting my professional exams, and since the kids were tiny when we moved I never bothered), so I've got to decide whether to go back to that (after some training) or whether to take on a new challenge. So that's where we're at. We are all pretty happy so far, although I am aware that firstly we probably have our 'honeymoon' glasses on, and secondly we haven't done a winter here yet, but hopefully this is somewhere we can call home for a while at least!
  10. Counting down!

    Just one more now! Currently sat in an almost empty house thinking about the packing and cleaning I have to do before tomorrow. We're sending a couple of boxes of air freight of the kids quilts, soft toys, some lego and books which we hope will help them settle in at the other end, which I need to pack today. Everything else needs to go in the suitcases. The lady who bought our washer and dryer has very graciously agreed to collect tomorrow morning so I can keep up with the washing rather than take a suitcase of dirty clothes. We had a goodbye dinner last night with my best friend here and her family (cried buckets). I'm not sure what our plans are for today, maybe a trip out somewhere. I think I've felt every possible emotion over the past few days!
  11. Counting down!

    I've only just seen this thread. We leave Australia on the 4th September, so a week tomorrow! I can't believe how quickly it has all happened. The kids had a last play date with a couple of friends today which made me feel somewhat teary-eyed. This week is going to be pretty full-on, I have various appointments and have to pack our suitcases on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday the shippers are in to pack (although most of it is done) and I am having a lunch out with a couple of friends, then on Friday the container is being packed, I'm having lunch with a few of the school mums, and it is the kids last day at school - this will be by far the most emotional day I think. Saturday and Sunday we will mostly be living in a house with no furniture and so will be going out and about on a couple of day trips. Monday our cats will be collected in the morning, and then we head to the airport in late afternoon, via our solicitor who will hold the house keys until settlement. I'm still having 'have we done the right thing' moments, but I think they are pretty normal. I know things will work out in the end, I just feel bad because we are making the kids say goodbye to their friends. I know logically that in a couple of months they will have started at their new school and will have a heap of new friends.
  12. I think the universities convert the scores into an ATAR by giving each A level grade a score. I found one example of a conversion table here, but I'd imagine other universities have slightly different conversions so you might need to look it up for the particular uni you are interested in.
  13. We had an email overnight to say that our TOR had been approved and the URN, so that's one thing off my mind at least!
  14. Thanks for this @suesmalls. It's interesting to note that you sent the two cats in one carrier with that particular pet transport company. We decided to go with an oft mentioned company after some glowing reviews on here, but we've not been impressed so far. It took multiple attempts via email and phone to even get quotes, which they did for both Glasgow and Edinburgh (which involves an extra flight from LHR), we sent the quote acceptance back for Glasgow route (since it is only 10 minutes more drive from our new home, and two flights must be less stressful for them than three) only to have them email and say they'd arrange our pet transport via Edinburgh. We asked if we could send two cats in a bigger carrier when we initially spoke to them, and were told that they wouldn't do that and that the airlines won't allow it in case they hurt each other on the flight. When we initially contacted them back in March we were told they'd only need a couple of weeks to organise things, but we're getting closer and closer to our departure and still don't have things organised. I'm finding the whole process somewhat frustrating, not to mention stressful. We fly on the 4th of September and were hoping that the cats would fly on the 5th so time is getting on.
  15. Thank you! That puts my mind at rest. I think I'm finding things to worry about at the moment! I guessed we'd just have to pay VAT and then claim it back, but I'm a bit stressed about the whole cat shipping thing at the moment.