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LKC last won the day on April 24

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  1. When to open an au bank account?

    As Snifter says, you can do it from the UK. We opened one with Westpac before we moved, and when we arrived we just rocked up at the branch where our bank cards etc were waiting for us. They helped us set up internet and phone banking in the branch when we picked the cards up. ETA: We just had to provide them with our Tax File Numbers (TFN) once they arrived, as they had to apply withholding tax (it was something like 49%!) without it. This was 2009 though, so this may have changed.
  2. Confused TOR form

    It's not too bad once you know what to include! I included scanned copies of our British and Australian passports, a rough belongings inventory, our mortgage document, proof of ownership of our cats and a copy of my OH's job contract (he was offered a job before we moved back). There were a couple of things on the form that I couldn't fill in accurately (such as address, because we hadn't got a rental at that point), so I used my in-laws address and just enclosed a covering letter explaining what I'd done and why. It was fine and we got the number back within a few days.
  3. Well folks it's decision time..Do it?

    Sounds lovely! We've rented a small house in a village in the mountains, and will use that as a base to explore. We'll do some walking and geocaching, we might hire a boat on a couple of days and take it off to find little sheltered coves for snorkelling, and of course there are lots of historical things to visit. We did similar the last time we went to Greece, before we moved to Aus. We had a lovely quiet holiday, off the beaten track. There's plenty to do away from the beaches.
  4. Well folks it's decision time..Do it?

    There's a bit more to Greece than the beach. It is the land of Homer and his Odyssey, the great thinkers Aristotle and Plato, and it is the cradle of democracy. There are thousands of years of history to explore. Look it up, you might learn something.
  5. 46year old wanting to move to Brisbane

    Just another quick thought, you might want to have a chat with a migration agent to clarify the situation and to do the application, since you might have difficulty in making your case, having been out of Australia for so long. There are a few very reputable agents who post here on the forum, so I would start with those.
  6. 46year old wanting to move to Brisbane

    As far as I understand it, only the travel part of the visa has expired and a PR visa doesn't expire in itself. I think you would have to apply for a Residents Return Visa (RRV). I think you will need to provide evidence/supporting documentation as to why you've been out of the country for so long, since it has been a few years. Here is some information about it https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/visa-1/155-. Hopefully someone who knows a bit more/has been through the process will be along soon.
  7. Counting down!

    We were pretty much where you are at the same time last year, we flew back on the 5th September. Honestly, don't worry, it will all be fine. Easier said than done, I know! Last year was full of packing, sorting, decluttering, decorating and renovating, organising jobs, a rental etc, but we got there in the end, it was all pretty much plain sailing really, now I look back on it. Our house only sold on the 19th August at auction (after 18 days on the market), and OH had a changeable flight ticket, just in case it passed in at auction and he had to stay and do more open homes. Thankfully it sold! It was intensely stressful at the time though!
  8. Geocaching

    We geocache and absolutely love it! It has taken us to lots of unexpected places, including a forgotten graveyard in Kangaroo Valley, NSW, and a fossil bed in Dudley of all places! Just recently we did a series of caches around York City Walls, and also a series of caches around where we now live. We've not long moved here, and it got us out exploring places we might not have found otherwise. We often take a plastic bag with us and pick up rubbish that has been dropped on our way to/from caches. If you download the Geocaching app and create a geocaching account on geocaching.com you can do some geocaches for free. Full membership you pay for, but we started out on the free one first. It is a bit addictive once you start!
  9. Moving Back to the UK from Australia - Positive Stories

    Do you know, this is something that I've thought about recently because of our experience and also because I've been looking into my family tree/ancestry. I've always considered myself to be northern, despite having been born in Birmingham. Half of my family on both mum and dads side are from Leeds area, and more distantly Northumbria and Scotland. There is something that is being researched at the moment called genetic memory, and they are starting to think that some memories can be passed down in the genes. It seems funny that I feel more at home here than I did in Australia, Suffolk or Birmingham, even though I've not lived here before, but I wonder if there is something in this genetic memory thing, having ancestors from northern England and Scotland? I can't really explain why I feel like I belong. It is really difficult to explain. It's kind of like I'd be happy to die here and be interred for all eternity in the ground under my feet or something. Like my bones have come home to rest. I feel like I've always been here, and my body has just caught up. It's a very odd yet comforting feeling, and as I said I don't really know how to put it into words or why I feel like I do.
  10. Moving Back to the UK from Australia - Positive Stories

    We returned to the UK in September 2017, so a little over seven months ago, and it has absolutely been a success! We were in Sydney for a little under nine years, having moved over with my OH's company. We lived in Sutherland Shire, and in the main we were happy. The kids were tiny when we moved over, so Australia was really all they knew. They were in a great school, OH enjoyed his job, and I was pretty happy running my own small business from home. However, in about 2014/2015 I started to feel a bit unsettled. Not homesick or anything like that, and it wasn't that I missed family in particular, just that I started to feel intense loneliness, and like I didn't really fit in or belong somehow. I can't really pinpoint any trigger in particular, and it is quite a hard feeling to describe, but I started to feel like I shouldn't be there. However, everyone else was happy so I put on a smile and got on with it, probably at great cost to my own mental health. In September/October 2016 we visited the UK for a holiday. My mil had had a breast cancer scare, and hadn't been able to visit us the Christmas before, so we decided that we'd go over and see everyone. It was our second visit in the time we were living in Australia. While we were there, I realised just how unhappy I had been in Australia, and finally told my OH how I felt. He astonished me by telling me that he was a bit 'meh' about Australia too. Getting back on that plane to go back to Sydney was one of the hardest things I've ever done, and OH agreed that we could at least talk about returning to the UK once we were settled back after our holiday. We spent three or four months talking about things as a couple and with the kids, and just after Christmas 2016 we finally made the decision to return. The next few months flew by in a whirlwind of job hunting, research, renovation of our house, and decluttering and packing our belongings. We had decided not to move back to where we had come from in the UK, and instead we chose and researched several areas of interest, including Bath/Bristol, York and Harrogate, Durham, Newcastle, and various bits of Scotland. As luck would have it, OH was approached by a practice a bit north of Edinburgh, who created a role for him and left it open ended in terms of start date, so in early September 2017 we and our cats arrived at Edinburgh airport. Seven months on and I am absolutely certain that we have done the right thing. Reading VS's story above, I completely understand where his wife is coming from. I feel 'complete' here, like I belong and like I should be here. I know that OH and the kids feel the same. I hadn't quite realised how unhappy eldest kid had been in Australia, but now we are settled here the difference in her is astonishing. It is almost like there are sunbeams shining out of her face, she just radiates happiness! She is absolutely blossoming, as is our youngest, they both just belong here. I can't explain it any better than that! We live in a gorgeous village, out in the hills on the southern edge of the Scottish Highlands, but within easy distance of both Edinburgh and Glasgow. We recently bought and moved into our own home, which is on the middle of a farm. There are six other houses here, and all the kids go off and roam and play and explore together, which our two love. They often 'borrow' a dog from the neighbour and take it off for a walk, and two of our neighbours have smallholdings so there are lots of other animals around the place! The village school is small, which seems to suit both of the kids very well. It is a lovely school within walking distance of home, and the teachers have really gone above and beyond to help them settle in. They have both made some good friends, and eldest has made some friends from other schools who she will be starting high school with in August. She has Asperger's, so I was worried about how she would cope with the changes, but she has been magnificent! OH is enjoying his job, and it will be a very good career move for him longer term. It has taken a while for the mental repercussions of me being so unhappy for so long to leave, but I am pleased to report that I am getting there. I am not working just yet, I'm still unpacking from our two moves, I've got to completely design and landscape our garden (it is a building site at the moment), and I want to get eldest settled in at high school, in case she has any wobbles with her Asperger's. After that though I will start to think about going back to work. For now I am enjoying getting out and about, walking in the beautiful countryside, making new friends, and just taking some time to breathe after the madness of the past couple of years! It takes a huge amount of courage to take the leap and move overseas in the first place, and in some ways it can take more to admit that it is time to go home. I don't for a second regret either move though. I love the UK, I love Australia, and I love where we are now. Life is good!
  11. Hay Fever down under

    I had pretty bad hayfever/asthma when we lived in Cambridge, and was told by the GP that because Cambridge is a big city crammed into a small space, and because at the time it was surrounded by farmland growing rapeseed, asthma and hayfever were quite common. When we moved out to Suffolk, and then to Australia, it got much better. However, I developed an allergy to mould spores which could be a bit of a pain at times and always meant that if I got a cough/cold over winter the cough would drag on for weeks. We were in southern Sydney, near a river, so it was always really humid which meant that mould was commonplace. I used to have to wipe down the backs of furniture/pictures, and things like leather boots would go mouldy.
  12. The weather 😁

    I think we're going to Edinburgh tomorrow. We're more towards the east than the west, so we're having the good weather at the moment.
  13. The weather 😁

    We had a gorgeous day yesterday, and today is showing promise too. It really is a beautiful part of the world! We're just at the southern edge of the highlands, and the sunrises and sunsets are gorgeous! We live on a farm, so there are lambs and calves frolicking about in the fields around our house, daffodils blooming by the roadsides, cherry blossom just starting to appear on the trees... truly gorgeous! I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed seeing spring coming in!
  14. Well folks it's decision time..Do it?

    You didn't touch a nerve. I was just trying to explain that for us (and for most people I'd imagine) life in Australia isn't really like being on a permanent holiday. It is rather unwise to suggest it is, in my opinion. It was a common misconception amongst our family and friends, that we spent our time having barbecues or at the beach. In fact we spent our time in much the same way that they did, just in Australia rather than in the UK. School, work, housework, gardening, all the same stuff, just in a different place. I'm sure you do have a lovely life, it just isn't the type of life we want to live. We need more than just feeling like we are on permanent holiday.
  15. The weather 😁

    It's a bit unnerving! Having had almost nine years in Sydney, where it gets dark by 8.30, it's very odd having it so light so late! Particularly since we did a winter there, then moved here to another winter. I feel like I should be up and doing things in the evenings, rather than settling down to watch tv!