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About zk2102

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  1. zk2102

    Our Story... 3.5 years on in OZ

    She’s almost 22 and loves it here. if your boy ever hangs out at the ‘rope swing’ he more than likely knows my lad!
  2. Its been an age since I logged on to this site. There was a time when I couldn't stay away but I guess life just got busy. A post that seems to keep coming up time and again is one of 'why is everyone moving back to the UK?' and I see The pom queen reply that some people are just busy getting on with their lives, and that's where we fit in. Sept 2014 we moved as a family of four, me 46, husband 39, daughter 18 and son 10. We located to Gold Coast. We landed with four suit cases, 1 xbox, a BMX bike, the dogs ashes, a holiday rental and some very high hopes! Fortunately my husband had already secured a job beforehand which alleviated a lot of the stress others have to cope with, and our home was in a container on its way. We moved here with the mindset that Australia is still a young country, and if you want something real bad and you try hard enough things will go well. At 46 I knew it was going to be harder to find the kind of friendships I'd made in the UK, I was never going to have the history with anyone here or have the opportunity to meet the School mums given that my kids were older. Having worked as a Special Ed teaching assistant in the UK within the month I'd started volunteering at the local special ed school ... BTW Australia loves a volunteer, it will get you a foot in the door. There is an organisation on the Gold Coast dedicated to volunteering. Sure enough after a couple of months I was offered a temporary contract (Australia is also big on Temp & Casual Employment). As you have probably read elsewhere there is a distinct lack of funding in the Special Ed sector and instead of employing 3 or 4 TA's per class as well as the Teacher, over here there is just 1 per class. This resulted in me being offered a 1 day contract after the first year and the rest of my hours casual. Casual means having to wait by the phone each morning and wait in case they call and ask you to cover for the day. This is the norm and Iv'e known people who have waited over 5 years for a full time and permanent contract!! However I made loads of new friends who I still see regularly at weekends and in the evening. Having given up on the Ed sector I decided to retrain. I enrolled at the monster which is Tafe and gained an Australian Qualification in Administration. It was perhaps the best thing I could have done. Within a week of leaving I was in full time employment in a Law firm. Another thing here in Oz, it's not what you know, it's who you know. My boss is best mates with my tutor at Tafe who I got on really well with, hence my job. Going back to the friendship thing, I had to network for a long time. Work, websites, expat meet ups, coffee mornings etc.... As it works out I have a great group of friends from the expat community, but Iv'e also made a lot of Australian friends through our dogs (the only Australians in the family). I take part in dog sports such as Fly ball and Nose work, I get involved with the rescues which has meant I already had a common interest with these people. I do get ribbed about my cockney accent but it's all in good jest. My besties are from the UK and they do take the place of family. We spent a lovely Christmas in the sun surrounded by the friends who have become the aunts and uncles the kids left behind, and their kids the cousins. My husband has found some of the work practices over here a bit archaic (he's a civil engineer) but he's learned to put up with it. Lets put it this way, it can be a bit politically incorrect on the Goldie and a lot of paper shovelling. He plays for a football team in his spare time and socialises with his team mates (Oz & UK). Daughter, remember 18 is a dodgy age to be emigrating with your parents, mehed and griped for the first 5 months. I wondered if she would ever forgive us. As soon as she started Uni though we hardly ever saw her. Being permanent residents we had to pay up front for the fees. We still qualified for a Commonwealth discount but the cost is still considerable. We also paid for her to stay on campus in Brisbane. Another huge expense but a sacrifice we made so that she could make a new life for herself and live with kids her own age. Best thing we could ever have done. She has recently told us that she loves it here and has never been happier. She has some great friends, a lovely boyfriend and as of last month, a Degree in Economics. As far as her prospects are concerned its all Rosie. She has secured a graduate position in a very prominent finance company, I'm not sure if she would have had the same success in London. Son, was never really going to be an issue. Fitted in at school, aussie accent within the month and loads of mates. Hes swapped his BMX & XBox for a boat and is now whats known locally as a 'Tinny Rat'. I hardly ever see him at weekends and holidays. He gets up at 5am and takes to the canals for the day, because according to his friend (another expat) the water is like glass at that time. Its been amazing watching him grow up over here and take the chances he does, I would never have imagined him as a 13 year old getting up at that time in London. He camps over on Straddie, fishes from the beach and cooks his catch on campfires. It hasn't been as plain sailing for some of our friends over here. A few who were far better off than us in the UK have found it a lot more expensive than they imagined. Our saving grace was the value of property in London when we sold up and moved. That gave us a good start and we were able to buy the house we've always dreamed of. For others they've found the Gold Coast to be a lot more costly than they thought, it really isn't cheap. Our groceries are a lot more expensive and we now run two cars whereas in London we only needed one. On the Goldie its virtually impossible to get around without a car. The light rail is a good addition but still have to drive to it (bus runs every two hours from our house) Well that's just our story and I hope it gives a more positive read to some who were worried that everyone was moving back. Yes its hard bloody work but I wouldn't give it up!
  3. zk2102

    Our story..6mths living in the Gold Coast

    Hi Aaron. Brits on the goldcoast is the fb site most of us post on. Tbh we would have prefered to have settled in Benowa/Ashmore. Its central GC and has some really good schools. Oh just didn't want to add to the commute. The rain here was torrential yesterday and caused chaos. It took him 3hrs to get home from Brissie. Send a request to the above fb page and introduce yourself. Its really helpful for work, socializing etc..and always someone who can answer any questions. Looking forward to meeting u guys.
  4. zk2102

    Our story..6mths living in the Gold Coast

    Thanks everyone for your kind words. I very rarely get the chance to get on this site very often.Gbye grey Sky, not long now eh! With re the motor insurance we had a letter stating our claims status from previous insurer. Without the pool I seriously think I would have died this summer. Hubby is now pool man . We have a salt water, sand filter one which is easy to maintain. We take a pool water sample to Bunnings once a month diy, & top up the chem ourselves. laugh at the furniture sittuation. Our house makes the UK stuff looks like it belongs in a dolls house. We also have many more rooms to fill. Any other things I can help with pkease feel free to ask ☺
  5. Thought in keeping with what seems to be a PIO tradition I'd give everyone who's interested our story 6mths on. We arrived in Sept 2014. We had a rental car booked & two week holiday let. We are a family of four, me 47, DH 40, DD 19 & DS11. We sold up everything we had in the UK and gave up our secure jobs, uprooted our 18 year old (more to follow on that), and moved into the unknown, we didn't know a soul when we arrived. Fourtunatley my hubby had been able to secure a job before we left which gave us some peace of mind. Our holiday let was in Runaway Bay. We knew from our reccie a couple of years before & Internet research that we wanted to live in Helensvale. Good schools, public transport, good infrastucture etc.. DS had just finished year 5 in the UK. Whilst still there we applied for Coomera Anglican College & Lords Lutherean in Ormeau. Both have very good reputations as does Helensvale State Sch. Suffice to say Coomera didn't have any places available & Ormeau is friggin miles away! (How many of look at a map and underestimate the distance) & Helensvale has a strict catchment area. Looking for for a rental in Helensvale = good luck with that one! We signed up with several Agents on arrival. Not one had any available property in the area. We could have looked at Coomera (doesnt deserve the poor reputation btw) but didn't want to be as far out, it still lacks some infrastucture in parts but the new town centre has been given the go ahead so watch this space! The property that was available fell far short of our expectations of a new life in Oz, so..... we bought a house. Some could deem it reckless but in hindsight it's worked out so well for us. We were in a very fortunate & rare position to be able to purchase without a mortgage (we lived on building sites for twenty years) The housing market was still lagging 6 months ago and it's the best decision we could have made. It's in the catchment area for Helensvale and on a beautiful canal development) although we're on a dry plot if we crane our necks we get a canal glimpse . We had cash left to buy two cars and we'd shipped our furniture over. Cost of living... Yes, it really is expensive over here. Yes, the petrol is cheaper but you have to drive further, forget about taking a stroll to the corner shop. We got skanked for the house & building insurance but won't be making that mistake again. Our car insurance is cheaper than the UK and we were able to keep our no claims bonus. Water is very expensive although back in the UK we didn't have a water meter (Thames water), or a swimming pool and we only had one bathroom. Internet is expensive due to lack of competition but all other Utiliies have been comparable. Food can be expensive and once again there's a lack of supermarket choiceso they can charge what they like. It actually costs me less than the UK now because I shop at the markets and only have three mouths to feed. Husband works for one of the biggest employers in Brissie. He's a civil eng and earns more & has better prospects than he did in the UK. He's hoping to start his chartership very soon which wil open a lot more doors for him. He enjoys his work but finds some of the practices a little, not backwards but... The commute can be very hit and miss at times. When the line fails and you're in Brissie or sat on the train u are stumped. The one saving grace are the other commuters who have always been amazing. The kindness and generosity of the people in Oz has been humbling at times. He was stuck on the train after a failure a couple of weeks ago (again) and got a lift home from the wife of another passenger who was able to drive and pick them up. There have been jobs advertised in the GC which he's confident he could get but needs to stick it out for a couple of years yet. Me I took some time out to set up home and settle the kids. I've recently started to volunteer at one of the schools through Gold Coast Volunteering (brilliant organisation to gain experience) I specialise in kids with ASD and love being around them. It looks like I'm going to be offered paid work which is amazing and With my previous experience I've already been able to make a difference. If any of you want any info on the education of ASD kids out here I'm only to happy to share any info that I've gained. Son Hes 11, he loves rugby, surfing, karate, bmx, he loves Australia. I've had zero probs with my boy settling in. The education system & curriculum is different. It won't suit everybody moving over but it suits him. He's not massively academic but neither does he struggle with anything. He works at average which is very common for boys his age. He made big improvements and their back to basics approach to teaching and the use of ICT in the classroom and the whole outdoor openness has worked in his favour. I was so worried about the size of the schools comming from a one form entry to six, but he loves it. Go Helensvale!! Daughter Oh Dear. Moving an 18 year old away, leaving her entire life behind her and her future in tatters . We made the decision to wait until after her A levels so knew it was never going to be an easy ride for her. She had the Boy friend back in the UK and we had lots of tears leaving. It didn't matter to her that there was some of the most amazing beaches and way of life. She spent the first month meh, meh at everything. The Uni system for someone moving over who qualifies as a comonwealth student but has english qualifications is very stressful and caused a lot of upset and anxiety. However she was offered a place at University of Queensland, so amazing and so pleased for her. She stays on campus which was a promise we made. It's not the cheapest option and anyone who needs any info drop me a line. Six months on and I have a completely different daughter. She's living the most amazing life, more than I could have dreamed for her. The everyday snap chats are full of pics of her and the friends she's made having the time of their lives. She works hard and plays hard and is a member of the rowing team and others. So proud . She did say that if there are any others who need info on applying for Uni from the UK that she would take time out to help as much as she could. Friends and family. Husbands family disowned us completely. Long story but one that is unfortunately quite common amongst the expats over here. I miss my mum. We skype every other day and she's just been given the all clear from her GP to fly so hopefully she'll be out soon. I speak to my bestie every week and miss her like mad. All the usual really birthdays, christmas etc... But we keep busy. The facebook forums have been a life saver. I threw myself into coffee mornings, meet ups, all the other stuff. My husband hated it, I think men do. But it's been through those that I met people, who introduced us to others and now have a really lovely group of friends. It's a bit more difficult given my age because I dont have a toddler to take along to mums groups etc.. And it's really wearing having to explain over and over who u are and all that stuff. I also have a new puppy and get out meeting people at the park and beaches now. We have a much better social life here than back in the UK. Gold Coast Absoultely love it. Best choice for us by far. Stunning, quiet, loud, peaceful, busy, great beaches, great food, near enough yet far enough. It's hot, When it rains..it really rains, there are massive spiders & snakes. the drivers are horrendous and the sausages are rank , but we knew that before we moved. There have definately been a few eye openers for us and it could be deemed a little behind the times but it was defo the right choice for us.
  6. zk2102

    Is London Mad!!!! Shangri-La Shard!

    I love the new London skyline. I think the new builds are a fantastic addition to the city. Spent a day & night up there when I was back in Jan. Great in the sun light & great lit up in the eve. I don't think it detracts from the histrorcal buildings, I just think it makes London all the more interesting.
  7. Already a thing of the past. Council are removing them!
  8. zk2102

    British section

    I find we havn't missed much so far. Would love some Clover dairy spread. Also (maybe not English but Italian) tomato sauce topping for pizza. I've tried three so for and they all taste of vinegar!
  9. zk2102

    An open letter to the father of my girls....

    That made for hard reading. Your daughter sounds adorable. It really is his loss you know. I admire you all the way to the moon and back xxx
  10. zk2102

    I'm a mummy!

    Wow! Babies are such little miracles. She's gorgeous congratulations.
  11. zk2102

    Garages...what's in yours?

    3 Xmas trees, boxes of lego, bikes, skateboards, tumble drier, sylvanian families, tools, christmas decks, memorabilia, photos, and one very small car
  12. zk2102

    Where Did You Stay When You First Arrived

    We stayed at Brisbane Holiday Village on our reccy, it's not bad at all. Good location for getting around and accommodation is well equipped but a little small. Good first base as it has a pool, put put, nice field, So will give you a bit of a holiday feel as well.
  13. zk2102

    How old is too old?

    Well I'm doing alright. We moved 7 weeks ago and I celebrated my 47th birthday last week. Also I have an 18 year old who has moved with us. There's never a 'good' time to move IMO. If you look to closely you will always find a reason why you shouldn't.
  14. zk2102

    Update living on the Gold Coast 7 weeks now

    I can't get enough of the roo's. Still really sureal seeing them hopping about!
  15. zk2102

    Update living on the Gold Coast 7 weeks now

    Hi Freebo. We're at Sanctuary Cove Holiday Inn this Saturday with some friends who are members. We're only in Oyster Cove so not far. Lovely part of the world