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Everything posted by Marisawright

  1. Marisawright

    For those thinking of moving back to the UK

    True, but it's not going to cost you $50,000 to change jobs.
  2. Marisawright

    Making new friends in Australia

    I don't think he's being patronising at all. There is a very big difference between feeling part of a community and actually having friends. I feel part of a community in Sydney, because like you, I know the shopkeepers and business owners and will occasionally have a coffee with people from my dance class. Yet not one of those people has ever been to my home or invited me to theirs, and if I left Sydney I doubt they would keep in touch. So they are not "friends".
  3. Marisawright

    What do you miss about the UK?

    The ability to travel to interesting and different places cheaply.
  4. Marisawright

    Voluntary NI contributions

    Can't help you with that, as I was never contracted out.
  5. Marisawright

    Am I the only one who found Perth in Australia boring

    Did you actually look it up in a dictionary or did you just look at Wikipedia? I've just looked at three dictionaries at random and found burgher in every one of them. Not that I needed to, as I knew the word beforehand. It's a bit old-fashioned but it's a perfectly good English word .
  6. Marisawright

    Disappointing my parents :(

    \ How incredibly mean and childish!!!! There's not much you can do about it, unless you are able to let your cats go to a good home somewhere, or find a friend who will care for them. Ask yourself, if you sacrifice this opportunity for the sake of your cats, are you likely to regret it in future?
  7. Marisawright

    Going back to UK after 20 years....benefit entitlements???

    As others have said, you need to pass the "habitually resident" test - if you can't pass it, you get nothing. There was a thread recently by a disabled person, who was on disability pension before she left the UK. When she got back to the UK, she was told she'd have to wait two years before she would be eligible again. If your situation is critical, I would be contacting the departmet before you go and get an answer straight from the horse's mouth.
  8. Marisawright

    Money Transfers

    It's worth checking out Citibank. I've just opened a Citibank Plus account with them in Australia and have already transferred money back to the UK. They charged NO FEES!! Usually if you find a "no fee" provider, they make up for it by giving you a lousy exchange rate - but in this case, I got a good exchange rate, much better than currently being offered by my old bank.
  9. Marisawright

    Voluntary NI contributions

    It's very simple to find out, just write in and ask for a forecast. I recently asked for a re-forecast and I got one no problem.
  10. Marisawright

    Best area for experiencing the barrier reef?

    Essentially the further north you go, the closer the reef gets to the mainland so the shorter the boat trip. However the further south you stay, the more variety of things to do. I will never forget going on a "mystery flight" one year - the airlines used to offer them, you went to the airport early and they put you on a flight to a mystery destination. The destination was Cairns. We got in the taxi at the airport and said to the driver, "What is there to do in Cairns for a day" and his reply was "nothing". It's a base to travel from, not a place to visit for its own sake. Port Douglas is a bit the same, apparently. He recommended we go up to Kuranda (which was lovely) as we didn't have enough time to go to the reef. We spent some time in Mackay, had a fascinating sugar farm tour, an amazing visit to Eumundi to see platypuses and watch the paragliders take off from the hotel garden, and a great day trip to the reef (as well as an impressive steak in Mackay itself). We found it much cheaper because it's not a well-known tourist destination.
  11. Marisawright

    Pension payments in the uk

    If you mean the UK government pension then yes, you can make voluntary NI contributions even if you're not a UK resident. If you're working, even in Australia, then you can make the cheaper Class 2 contributions. If you're not working then you'll have to pay class 3.
  12. Marisawright

    Store Loyalty cards- am I missing something

    You're right, they just don't make sense. They exist so that Coles and Woollies can get data on your purchases - the rewards you get in return are not worth having. There is no loyalty card that is going to give you rewards that are really worth having. I think Choice Magazine did a thorough article on them a while ago, which came to that conclusion.
  13. Marisawright

    For those thinking of moving back to the UK

    If the goodbyes were so traumatic, why on earth did you go? How did you imagine you were going to survive if it was soooo hard to leave your family?
  14. Marisawright

    Is it "OK" to be fat?

    This is a reallyh difficult question. I'm overweight and on the one hand, I don't want to be made to feel ashamed about it. However, I know for sure that it's bad for my health: my cholesterol and blood pressure are higher than when I was thin, and my knees and hips are complaining about the extra weigh. So it is NOT ok. The problem is that when I feel bad about my weight, I'm actually more likely to eat too much than not. Making people ashamed about extra weight doesn't help them deal with it. I wish I knew what the solution was.
  15. Marisawright

    For those thinking of moving back to the UK

    That's great, if you're in the financial position to do that. For those with two incomes and no kids, I'd say go for it! Unfortunately there are too many people for whom the cost of two migrations would gouge an enormous hole in their savings which they will never recoup (moving countries with a family costs $20,000+). They can't afford to get it wrong, or plan for a temporary move.
  16. Marisawright

    Am I the only one who found Perth in Australia boring

    HappyHeart, I think you're misrepresenting that part of Shelly's post. I know many Scots who moved to Perth years ago as $10 Poms. They had poor prospects and no hope of ever owning a house at home - so when they got to Perth and were able to build their own house and afford a good steak, they were blissfully happy. That's not a criticism of those people - just a statement of the situation they suffered before emigrating, and an explanation of why they are contented with a simple lifestyle that wouldn't satisfy everyone. On these forums, I've been surprised to see how many people are migrating even though they've got a busy, successful life already in the UK. Those people are going to expect everything they have at home PLUS - and those are the people who are more likely to find smaller cities like Perth lacking.
  17. Marisawright

    Am I the only one who found Perth in Australia boring

    So it's just the bit highlighted in red that's off the mark? :wink:
  18. Marisawright

    Voluntary NI contributions

    I'm in that situation and I've already got a pension forecast based on the new rules.
  19. Marisawright

    Am I the only one who found Perth in Australia boring

    Nothing to add to this really, it just says it so well I had to repeat it. Each to their own, as someone said.
  20. Marisawright

    Wanted Down Under

    I don't think this has ever been shown on Australian TV. I assume it's like Escape to the Country or Escape to the Sun etc. If so, I hope you take it all with a huge pinch of salt - it is just "reality TV" not reality, remember. Judging by these forums, it's the people who fall for the Australia of Home & Away, Neighbours and Wanted who are most disappointed when they get here.
  21. Marisawright

    Am I the only one who found Perth in Australia boring

    I see your point, but only up to a point. You are right that boredom is personal - different people find different things boring - but you're assuming "being bored" involves moping around the the house doing nothing. I think most of the posters here don't mean that. To give you an example, when I arrived in Australia I was living in a country town. I went sailing, I played badminton, I went bush-walking. So strictly speaking, I guess you would say I wasn't bored. But none of those activities really float my boat - they're just a way to socialize, exercise and pass the time. So although I was busy, I was bored - because I wasn't doing the things I really love. As far as I'm concerned that's no life - and that's why I moved to Sydney. Your analogy of a marriage doesn't work, because that's rekindling a spark in a once-great relationship. The people who don't like Perth aren't people who fell in love with the place then got bored - they're people who never felt the spark in the first place! I'm sure you're not suggesting that if two people start dating and the man feels there's no spark, he should marry her anyway because it's all in his mind, and he will find the spark eventually if he really tries... In my case, Perth would not have worked, because although it has most of the things I love, it doesn't have enough. I'm a person who needs variety. Obviously whether Perth has enough for other people depends entirely on what they want from life. So it is right that I can say I find Perth boring, and someone else won't find it boring at all, and we can both be right.
  22. Marisawright

    Anybody work in admin in a school?

    I have worked in schools and universities in Sydney and here, many of the full-time staff don't get the school holidays off. You just get the normal holiday entitlement (4 weeks plus public holidays), or I've known one or two people get 6 weeks. You are expected to take your holidays during school holidays. Private schools are often reluctant to employ mothers of their students because they worry about confidentiality. I can't help with salaries because it's a while since I worked in that sector, but the pay is definitely lower than in the corporate sector. On the plus side, in a corporate office you're likely to be working a 40 hour week officially, plus unpaid overtime - whereas schools are more likely to have a shorter day and not expect as much overtime. I've seen people suggest that when working out the salary you need, you should take your UK salary and multiply it by 2.5 (which is the exchange rate + an allowance for higher cost of living).
  23. As others have said, ask yourself - how do you cope right now? If you rely on a friend, neighbour or family for anything at all, how would you cope if that person disappeared? That's how you'll feel in Oz, because it will take a long time to make new friends. I'd say unless you can get permanent residency, it won't be economic for you to come, because on the shorter term visas you're not entitled to childcare rebates (and childcare is very expensive), and of course you can't get any benefits either. Also consider the cost of moving. You'll need money for: air fares, moving your belongings, a few weeks' stay in a hotel till you find a place, a rental bond (a month's rent) plus rent for the first month, a car (even a cheap second-hand heap here is $5,000), buying furniture etc again if you don't bring it with you (flats here are rented UNfurnished). You'll need several thousand dollars. Can you afford that? If you can, what happens if you don't like Australia after all? Will you be able to afford to do the whole thing in reverse, or will you find yourself stuck in Australia? Finally, I'm probably reading too much into this, but there's a thread here somewhere from another single mum, who came to Oz with the idea of starting a new life after divorce. She is unhappy and wants to go home, and says she's learned that coming to Australia just because you're running away from something isn't a good reason. So, if you're moving with the idea of "starting a new life" after separation or divorce, I'd strongly recommend starting that new life in some other part of the UK or Europe, not halfway round the world in Australia. Emigration is a very stressful thing to do, and it makes an enormous hole in your savings - which is not the best basis to start again.
  24. Marisawright

    UK passport renewal counter signatory

    They don't have to be British. They prefer British but if that's not available, a Commonwealth passport holder is fine. The link LKC gave you shows you which occupations are suitable. Your doctor is usually a good bet.
  25. Marisawright

    Making new friends in Australia

    If that's your main goal for moving, I would be worried. Check the forums here and you'll find lots of people complaining about how hard it is to make friends in Oz. Australians are very loyal to their friends from childhood, and often don't have room to accept outsiders into their regular circle. So while Aussies are generally friendly and sociable, it's not easy to make friends. Being sporty will make a difference, especially if you're going to Melbourne or anywhere in the country - life revolves around sport. But it's likely to be more of a blokey friendship so I wouldn't bank on making "couples" friends from his sports.