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owensfamily

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Everything posted by owensfamily

  1. It's crunch time....we validated in November 2013 and have until November 2017 to get to Oz, a window of opportunity has come up and leaving Jan 2016 would be a good option, however I have a very big sticking point....my mum. If we go now she will be on her own, we will be taking her two grandchildren away from her and they are basically her life, when we came back from our validation trip at the end of 2013, she wouldn't really talk about us leaving and although she would never stop us I know leaving her would be devastating for her, but at the time she had said she would come out and visit plus she had my older sister back here, unfortunately my sister passed away suddenly in January this year and my mum is now point blank refusing to travel. Our Australian adventure was something we always wanted to do and we worked very hard to be in a position to get a PR visa, taking over 4 years to be granted and at this moment a lot of things such as work, finances, school ages for kids etc have lined up that going in the next 6-8 months would work very well but going and my mum not visiting for extended periods is not an option. I guess what I'm asking is, has anyone been in a similar situation, how did you handle it? I'm thinking I need to sit down with her and run through everything with her and make her understand what it means to us and how we work around her fears about coming to visit, the plane journey etc.. but at the moment I'm dreading that conversation
  2. owensfamily

    Gymnastics and Horse riding

    We maybe moving to Melbourne in Jan next year and I've been looking at activities for our two daughters, Ella is a 8 year old keen gymnast who currently trains 14 hours a week and competes at Regional level, Jess is a 10 year old who adores horse riding which she does at least once a week. When we validated our visa's almost two years ago, we went to Sydney, Ella went to gymnastics for the three weeks we were in Sydney and the facilities were amazing. Jess went horse riding too and again great facilities. We loved Sydney but are looking at Melbourne as it seems more affordable and I think the climate would suit better. So gymnastics first - what are the best clubs - not just facilities but how the club is run, coaching (I'm actually a qualified Gym coach too), costs? I've looked at Waverley and they look really good does anybody have any kids there? Horse riding - Valley Park Riding - anybody use them or other options in Melbourne? Again feedback if you have used them would be great
  3. owensfamily

    How to convince your 81 year old mum to come and visit

    To convince someone is not bullying, do lawyers bully a jury into a decision, no they present the facts and let them make their decision, I was looking for advice on how families had approached this, such as getting them involved in the decision making process etc as was constructively suggested by Leah1921. The fact that others have angered you should not have any bearing on my post, if you'd bothered to find out a bit more about my situation then maybe you too could have offered some valuable advice rather than accuse me of being a bully and how unreasonable I am to expect my mum to up sticks and move to the other side of the world which if you read my responses thats not actually what I'm expecting her to do, I'm actually expecting her to listen to my feelings, thoughts and ideas about moving to Australia, the life and opportunities that we would all have, how she could be involved in this adventure with the all the support we could give her, if she doesnt feel she can do that then as I have said several times then we will not go, so if you can't be bothered to read what I'm actually saying in my posts and wish to continue with your negativity feel free, I'll just ignore you. If however you can offer prudent advice based on what I'm asking and to be fair you have suggested some pertinent points I'd be happy to listen
  4. owensfamily

    How to convince your 81 year old mum to come and visit

    Quoll, it must be very hard caring for a parent with dementia and I have every respect for you that you doing that however please do not accuse me of trying to organise my mums life and I take particular offence that you suggest I'm trying to bully her! You know nothing about the relationship between myself and my mum, you know nothing about us as people - I always put my family first so don't you dare accuse me of bullying someone who means so much to me! Also if my kids came to me in 15 years and said they wanted to move to Australia or Timbuk-bleeding-tu, whether I agreed with them or not I would do my upmost to help them achieve that even if it was at my detriment. Bottom line is - we will go if its right for my family as a whole
  5. owensfamily

    Gymnastics and Horse riding

    Hi Cal, appreciate the information. When we were in Sydney then assessed her and put her in the IDP for her age and overall it appeared gymnastics is taken far more professionally than back here in the UK especially for kids that want to do more than just rec gym. I think in Sydney it was working out to be around $700 per term so if the costs are anything like QLD in VIC then I'd be happy, although I did look at some of the comp leotards for Waverley $330!!! and I thought the £65 we paid for the last one here to be expensive. I would love to carry on coaching but it depends on how it works with the employment I get, it works well know as my job is pretty flexible - how do the qualification converted, is it just praticals? or logbooks as well?
  6. owensfamily

    How to convince your 81 year old mum to come and visit

    LOL...I'm the husband but my wife is of the same opinion as me, living in Australia is something she'd like to experience but its not the end of the world if we don't go, she certainly doesn't think we should leave without my mum agreeing that she would come and visit. However we both agree we'd probably regret not taking the opportunity buy that's life sometimes it doesn't work out as you want.
  7. owensfamily

    How to convince your 81 year old mum to come and visit

    Thanks, that's good to know. It would certainly be something we would do, perhaps not every year but at least every other.
  8. owensfamily

    How to convince your 81 year old mum to come and visit

    I'm sure that would happen but we would both be working so holidays are restricted around that, for when we are apart my mum does have an iPad (which initially she didnt want, said she'd never be able to use and was a waste of money - she now uses it everyday playing scrabble, surfing the net, face timing her granddaughters) so we also have that means of communication when we are apart.
  9. owensfamily

    How to convince your 81 year old mum to come and visit

    Thanks Howard, I think that is definitely an option although I'd make sure mum was in Business, part of her issue is the practicalities about finding her gate, the transfer etc... If she flew with us then they go away, the alternative being engaging the airport or who you are flying to provide assistance or another option would be to fly out with my wife's parents who are much younger
  10. owensfamily

    How to convince your 81 year old mum to come and visit

    I'm sure all of you have responded with statements around my mum is too old, should you really be making her do this, etc... are just trying to be realistic and offer genuine advice about the issues but there appears a real agenda of negativity from some. I'm simply looking for others who have had similar experiences with their parent(s) and how they approached/ resolved or didnt resolve the issue of them not wanting to come and visit, maybe if I hadn't mentioned her age I would have received a response to my OP rather than a list of reasons why I shouldn't be trying to "persuade" her because she is too old. I appreciate she is getting on in life, I appreciate the journey is not the greatest, I appreciate the difficulties if events back in England result in having to fly back - my father died suddenly when I was 25, I was on holiday in Ibiza at the time and it wasn't fun and it took me two days before the insurance could find me a flight home and that was only Ibiza! However one thing life has taught me is make the best of what you have, if we go to Australia it will only be with the support of my mum and fact that she will visit, if we don't go I have a great life in the UK and long may it continue - I personally think if you go to Australia in the hope all your problems will be solved your setting yourself up for a shock, as I said in and earlier post its an opportunity, an adventure and something we'd like to try
  11. owensfamily

    How to convince your 81 year old mum to come and visit

    Bungo, a lot of what I wrote was in response to Quoll - I also addressed it to you as you had quite rightly mentioned travelling Business maybe more suitable, however your final paragraph in your response above is quite frankly unnecessary and inflammatory - my mother is more than capable of making up her mind, I'm not guilty about leaving her because as I've stated several times Australia or any location is not as important to me as my mum hence I won't be leaving her
  12. owensfamily

    How to convince your 81 year old mum to come and visit

    Your points are all valid and I don't have the answers because I can't predict the future, I'm just trying to do what is best for my family i.e. my wife and daughters and my mum, Australia is not the be all and end all - its an opportunity, and adventure a chance to try something different, we may hate it and be back after a year but equally my mum if I could convince her to visit it may come over, love it and never want to return....and the problems around contributory visa occur!
  13. owensfamily

    How to convince your 81 year old mum to come and visit

    Sorry you have lost your mum but as I said in my first post "going and my mum not visiting for extended periods is not an option." and in my second post "my mum is more important to me than living in Australia" i.e. we would not go to Australia if my mum says she won't come and visit its as simple as that. I agree with you completely people are more important than places, thats why I want constructive advice from people who have been in a similar situation and how they dealt with trying to get across why you want to go to Australia and why you want them to still be a very important part of your life
  14. owensfamily

    How to convince your 81 year old mum to come and visit

    Bungo, Quoll I appreciate what you are saying and my mum is more important to me that living in Australia however equally IMHO I'm not actually asking that much of her, she would have to "endure" an uncomfortable trip once in 3 months, she is in the fortunate position to be able to travel business class or even a 45 day cruise on the Queen Elizabeth to get to Oz. The life she has here revolves around my family and in particular her grand daughters, why you think being able to spend more time with the family she cares about so much in a climate far more conducive to good health as opposed to stuck in her house in the UK on her own would be classed as comparative penury I have no idea.
  15. owensfamily

    How to convince your 81 year old mum to come and visit

    Thanks Laura, sounds like you have it well and truly planned...I just need to get the ball rolling with her and start to introduce the ideas
  16. owensfamily

    Sydney Reccie

    It's 5:30 am Sydney time and I can't sleep, we have been here 3 days and I'm not sure if it's jet lag or the millions of things swirling around my head or a combination but I thought I might as well write down our experiences so far We are entering Sydney to validate our visa, family of four, two girls aged 7 and 8. We are staying for 3 weeks to research and make a decision to move permanently or not. I work in IT, the wife is a nurse, we have a 175 PR visa. Flight We flew with Etihad MAN to Abu Dhabi, then Virgin Australia to Sydney, both flights were good but would say the Ethiad flight was better for kids, the Virgin flight cabin crew seemed pretty busy so maybe that was the difference but Ethiad made a fuss over the kids with free activity pack which went down well. Abu Dhabi airport when we first arrived seemed very dated and so busy, we had to walk around for 20 minutes trying to find a seat, we had a 3 hour stop over and it wasn't until we thought we would make our way to near our gate (31) that we discovered a whole new airport, very new, very nice just a shame we didn't gave time to look around. Car hire We used Apex car rentals near the airport, they were friendly and relatively good value, we have a new Hyundai elentra which is big enough for a family of four although the boot only fitted 3 suitcases. We planned on using the iPad for sat nav with the iPhone as backup, I'd installed a free sat nav app (same version works fine in uk) but we couldn't get a gps signal, so after going completely the wrong way and ending up in Brighton we were getting a little tired and grumpy, we stopped and asked this old guy who was really helpful, he even went and got his son from local apartment who offered to let us connect to the internet via his phone to try and get the GPS working, in the end the route to Curl Curl was pretty simple but after a 24 hour journey and next to no sleep our brains were hurting First impressions We are lucky enough to be staying about 300m from north Curl Curl beach in a lovely apartment (beach house Sydney), the sun is shining and so far it's been great, we have so many things to do and find out before we go back in just under three weeks but it's a great adventure Shopping The bad bits $11 for a bunch of grapes, $9 for two chocolate bars and some chewing gum (ripped off in circular quay)...in all seriousness I think it works out similar to the UK IF you shop around and don't buy premium brands. Coles seems (is) really expensive, Aldi is reasonable and the choice was fine, Harris farm markets were also good for a lot of fresh fruit and veg. I think you just have to adjust your eating habits, we tend to eat a lot of salad and fresh fruit , cous cous, rice, pasta, white meat and fish. Here some salad like watercress is a lot cheaper but tomatoes aren't, apples seem ok but berry fruits seem very expensive, back home we eat a lot of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and grapes - here they are expensive as is water melon which is another favourite. We have done a weekly shop and it came to just over $200, I think it makes you more selective in what you buy and careful of what you use as wasting good here is not a good idea. Getting around We have bought my multi tickets (zone 3), it has cost $130 for the week and gives us free travel over most of NSW, we only need 2 adult and 1 child ticket as one child goes free, this wasn't obvious and it was the ticket man at Manly who told us this, and this after refunding our my multi (zone 2) tickets we had bought at a local store as they wouldn't get us on the ferry from Manly. We have hardly used the car, basically only to do the shopping, we will use it later in the week as we want to visit some areas. The beach Curl curl beach is really nice as is Dee Why, we bought the girls wetsuits to keep them warm and protect them from the sun, they weren't cheap so it's probably a good idea to get them online if possible but they make a big difference, they went body boarding for the first time yesterday and they loved it although I think the wetsuits we bought them helped keep them warm (and protected from the sun), we bought ours from rip curl in Manly which I'm sure wasn't the cheapest so possibly shop online or get them from the UK. The people All the people we have met so far have been helpful and friendly, that's from airport staff, in shops, people out and about, however nobody thanks you for giving way when driving, this must be the norm rather than people being rude. The seagulls We were having lunch at circular quay, just a wrap sitting on the benches and a seagull literally landed on my wife's head and pinched the wrap out of her hand! The kids went hysterical as about 30 gulls came squawking down around us fighting over the wrap, to make it worse my eldest dropped her sandwich to which caused more mayhem. It's lucky some those gulls are still alive! As we left the youngest was so upset she dropped here purse with all her holiday money in it (yes she shouldn't have had it all with her but we didn't realise until after), luckily a kind gentleman came running after us with it. Bank Although we turned up 30 mins late to activate our account due to it taking a lot longer (2 hours) to travel the 12 miles across Sydney they were very helpful, we received our cards, pins and set up Internet banking there and then, one thing to note is we thought we had deposited money in our current account (cheque account) but when we used the card for the first time we had to choose savings. Anyway enough for now, I'll update it as we explore Cheers Rob
  17. owensfamily

    Sydney Reccie

    Youre right you can't buy this lifestyle in the Uk however, power and money is not success for me, providing a good and happy life for my family is but in Sydney the money you have to earn to have a comparable lifestyle I.e. Eating good quality and healthy food, live in a nice house (comparable to a standard semi in the uk), near good schools and allow the kids to continue to do things they love in the uk is ridiculous, without fulfilling these basic things we take for granted back in the uk the fact that the sun is shining and we can go the beach is going to wear thin pretty quick. I think we have pretty much decided Sydney isn't an option, we could manage but I don't really want to take an $800,000 mortgage out now and still be paying it as retirement looms, that and how will the kids manage I want to be able to assist them financially in uni or whatever they choose. Saying all that Sydney is fanatastic pretty much everything except cost of living is as good or better than home. We are still thinking of moving here (Oz) but not Sydney, Melbourne appeals cost of housing in particular seems half of the cost in Sydney, plus gymnastics and horse riding are about half the cost, my job pays a little less, the wife's about the same. Perth is another option although the remoteness has always put me off but we haven't ruled it out. Cheers Rob
  18. owensfamily

    Sydney Reccie

    It's really nice isn't it, wouldn't hesitate to recommend it
  19. owensfamily

    Sydney Reccie

    Cheers Surfndirt, I don't know about having my head screwed on right but I agree with what you're saying, coming to Australia for us has to improve our standard of living, there is lots of good here like people seem happier and are more helpful (whether that is true is less expensive areas I don't know), Sport/ health seems to be a big driver for a lot of things, just today a number of schools where on the beach doing PE, Gymnastics facilities are amazing, Climate is so much better which in turn allows so many other things such as days out etc, Public transport seems reliable and not bad value, Shopping facilities seem equal, Westfields is huge with pretty much everything you could want,Eating out seems similar possibly a little more expensive but not relative to Aussie earnings...there is lots to like here, lots that's better, what we have decide is if the salary we can earn in Australia can provide an better standard of living We are off to a school in Frenchs Forest on Monday, the principal was really helpful so hopefully that will give us more insight into life in Oz
  20. owensfamily

    Sydney Reccie

    I think you can manage on $140k a year, it just depends on what your willing to accept as a compromise, for us living in a nice area with good schools and shortish commutes is important, allowing the kids to continue with activities such as horse riding and gymnastics is too, those two activities alone add up to $200 per week. Good luck with your move and I hope it all works out for you
  21. owensfamily

    Sydney Reccie

    Thanks Paul, gymnastics here has much better facilities so don't mind paying extra, my youngest has been training at Manly this week, it's a big cost but she is a talented gymnast and more importantly enjoys it so I would be willing to pay it. Swimming is definitely something we want the kids to get into, for safety if not anything else both can swim and gad lessons in the uk but I wouldn't let them swim in the ocean unsupervised at the moment, I think I'd take up lessons too, I've never been a great swimmer but I've never been taught properly. As for wetsuits, I'm sure I could gave got them cheaper but it was a bit of an impulse buy, we are on holiday and they are terrible for getting out of the water because they are cold so thought wetsuits would keep them warmer and they could enjoy it more, unfortunately we haven't had many beach days since then due to weather or the beach being closed when we have gone, hopefully get there today.
  22. owensfamily

    Sydney Reccie

    Thanks, I had heard about the new lines going in but didn't know when. The hills do look nice I just think the commute would be too much. We are going to have a look around Kellyville next week so will have a better idea then
  23. owensfamily

    Sydney Reccie

    Well more with more research done I think things are looking more promising for a future in Oz if we want it, we were basing our salaries on the lower end of the job market which I think is sensible but realistically the joint income should be between $150,000 and $190,000, this is after several conversations with recruitment agencies here in Sydney. That extra income makes a considerable difference especially if it's near the top end. Shopping is still really expensive but you can save by shopping around, for example you can pay $6 for bread or $2 if you shop around, if you stay away from prepared food and make a little more effort in the kitchen, don't waste food and plan meals it's much more affordable. Driving around has been an experience at times, although most road rules are similar to the UK the drivers aren't although most seem to obey speed limits. Another bonus, my youngest has started gymnastics here, something she does a lot of at home (13 hours a week) and I have to say the facilities and coaching staff are excellent, it's a lot more expensive but I think worth it. Before she went to gym, she was a 1 (with 1 being definitely don't want to live in Oz, 10 definitely do), she now says she is a 5....so that's a big step, she has been so against living here and that's the first time she has even considered it. Housing, there is still more too research here....need to check out the Hills district but realistically we want to be east of Pymble, you get more for your money out west but commute time and distance to beaches is just too far for what we want. Schools in the area we have been looking all seem to have a good reputation, also after school clubs seem a possibility for child care when we need it
  24. owensfamily

    Sydney Reccie

    A week in and this is what we have found: Sydney is a beautiful city with so many different things to do, in general the people we have met have been helpful, the places we have visited such as Wildlife Sydney, Taronga zoo and many different beaches have been fanatastic, the choice of restaurants is great, the shopping malls (Warringah) seem to have everything you could need. Both my wife and I were pretty much sold on the idea of living here.....but, and its a pretty big but its just too expensive! One of the things we decided on early on was the standard of living we wished to maintain had to be very similar to back home, we are willing to compromise on a lot of things but not things that affect the kids. From the information we have been able to gather the cost of living here is as follows (this is based on getting quotes from places like comparethemarket.com.au, experiences shopping here, going out here, domain.com.au, paycalculator.com.au, seek.com.au) Our income, I work in IT, the wife is a nurse - based on a annual income of $140,000 with me working FT, the wife working PT or possibly agency work (higher pay, less hours, more risk). According to paycalculator this would give us a weekly income of approx $2100/ week after deductions. Our outgoings, bearing in mind we dont live extravagantly, we dont eat out much, we dont have an expensive car, back home we live in a nice area, in a nice 4 bed semi near good schools, the yougest goes to gym 4 times a week, the eldest gym once a week and horse riding once a week Rent - $900 This is based on the areas we would want to live, we dont see the point moving 12,000 miles to be 1 hour from the coast and work, yes there are lots of nice places in the $700 range but not what we are looking for Food - $250 This is based on what we have bought in the last week, we appreciate its seasonal here and are happy to buy items in season, to split shopping across Aldi, Woolies and local shops but to buy food of a quality similar to the UK and I'm not talking steak and oysters every night it costs approx $250/week Utilities - $133 This is were we might be out a little as its not easy to work out so I have based it on information Ive found online, it breaks down to Council rates $25 Electricity $20 Gas $15 Water $20 Pay TV $12 (only the basic Foxtel, we have full Sky at home so this is a compromise, it could be taken off completly to reduce costs) Home phone and Internet $24 Mobile $17 (PAYG Sims for 2, back home we generally have the latest phones on decent contracts so again another compromise) Kids Pocket money $10 ($5 each) School fees $10 (not quite sure how accurate this is, but it would be state school they would go too) Sports and activities $180 (this is expensive, breaks down as 3x gym $70, 1x gym $20 + 1x horseriding $90, it doesnt include gym competition fees, extra horseriding "pony management days", so they will add up on top of this but as I said above the girls love these and to move them 12,000 and then deprive them of what they love to do isnt fair, we appreciate there are lots of other things to do as well that are free that we dont have in the UK) Insurances $63 Based on life $28, car $15, home and content $20 (if renting wouldnt need home) Transport Car loan $50 (based on a car in the region of $10,000, this could be reduced if we buy out of savings) Rego & licence $15 Fuel $40 (based on wife using car for work, I'd be getting public transport) Public transport $52 (based on Opal card, may cycle part way to work) So with just these basic costs, we are looking at approx $1700/week, we havent costed in childcare - back home we have the grandparents; vet bills (insurance); going out to eat, cinema, bowling etc; clothing; home maintenance; car maintenance; holidays; savings; price increases in utilities etc and we only have $400/week left to cover all this. If we looked at buying a house, 3 bed houses in areas we want are over $850,000 - we would have a sizeable deposit but mortgage repayments at the current best rate would still be around $1000/week so more expensive than renting. At this moment its not looking very good, we still have lots to research, we both need to go to our respective job agencies and see if the salaries we have are in fact accurate but I doubt they are a million miles away from this. To be honest I'm not quite sure how people live in Sydney even in cheaper areas, we both have good jobs with our combined salary of $140,000 we arent entitled to any benefits (not that I can see on Centrelink) so you would think $140,000 should be adequate to live on but at the moment I cant see how without making major compromises Would appreciate any help in making these costs more accurate Cheers Rob
  25. owensfamily

    New Category 5's - Where are you now?

    Hi, I applied as a system manager in August 2008 and we got a case officer last October, grant in November so it might be closer than you think, when we heard processing 175 had started again and looked at the dates published by DIAC we thought we had 6 months at least before they got to us then out of the blue we got a CO
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