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About Gummygirl

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  1. Gummygirl

    Moving Back to the UK from Australia - Positive Stories

    Nice! Hard to complain about the weather even if the reasons behind it aren't always for the better -- but that topic belongs to a different forum. We spent Christmas in Vancouver with my brother's family. The weather there was pretty much the same as what we left behind. It struck me that many Canadians move to Vancouver because of the mild weather and consider it quite ideal, while many of the English complain about similar weather conditions. Maybe it's because the Canadians have Toronto and Montreal to remind them of what fierce winters are really like
  2. Gummygirl

    Very confused... need your help

    typo although prob obvious -- *our lives here feel fuller in a way that they didn't in Australia.
  3. Gummygirl

    Moving Back to the UK from Australia - Positive Stories

    Our daughter missed the equivalent of half a year. The teachers in her new school didn't notice any difference and she didn't get any tutoring. She pretty much finished the new year in the same percentile as where she was at her school in Sydney. Her new school in the UK is private and her old school in Sydney was state. Kids are pretty resilient. The UK strikes me as the kind of place where a large % of the population are either coming, going or coming back. The schools seem to be used to it and the kids seem to do OK.
  4. Gummygirl

    Moving Back to the UK from Australia - Positive Stories

    First time in a couple of years since I've been on this forum. Got curious to see if there was any Brexit buzz on the forums and here I am... Meant to post here but got carried away replying to someone's request for help on another post so I'll keep this one short-- Moved summer 2016 and been here since and still very happy. Hubby is British and he applied for a transfer through his company. Unfortunately the job they offered him was quite a bit below his Aussie salary. That was a defining moment for us because he was pretty much saying it was a no-go for us, but thanks to the advice of people on this forum, we decided that money isn't everything. So here we are over three years later. We tried selling our house before leaving but couldn't get the right price. Luckily we were able to rent out fairly quickly and sold a year later. We were able to buy our house here shortly afterwards. Thankfully my husband is back to the same salary level that he left behind. This is a big consideration for many contemplating the move because the salaries seem to be better in Sydney. But the cost of living here actually seems less so to be honest we didn't notice much of a change when we first got here and we live in Surrey so not exactly cheap. Our daughter lost her Aussie accent the first year (I was amazed at how quickly that happened). More importantly, we're all happier and healthier. Nice having grandparents around for school functions. Nice being closer to family in general. And a really big thing for me, nice to see so many more friends than when we were living in Sydney. Many of my friends live overseas (not Oz), and there always seems to be someone passing through because they're visiting other parts of Europe, or watching plays or the tennis, or attending a conference. I always feel like I could be doing more to take advantage of London, but so far I've been to some great art exhibits, watched some fabulous musicals so can't really complain. Living in a small village with horses in the next field and farm shops around but still an hour to London and loving that lifestyle. I worked in London last year and I was struck by the levels of diversity and 'cosmopolitan' vibe that was present in so many workplaces. Workplaces here definitely seem more progressive. I've been amazed by how good the weather has been where we are, considering the reaction we got from most Brits and Aussies about the move was 'why? and the weather...' Love the weather. There's been more than enough sunny days to keep me happy. And I'm almost disappointed that we're unlikely to get a white Christmas in this part of the UK anytime soon, but there are worse things... I've also been amazed by how resilient the British economy has been despite all the uncertainty. Fingers crossed. Thanks again to those who helped us with our decision-making, and best of luck to those making the move.
  5. Gummygirl

    Very confused... need your help

    Hola Latino, Like you, I am not originally from Australia nor the UK but moved to Sydney almost twenty years ago and got citizenship. I felt lonely during the first few years, even bored, but that changed when I met my husband and started a new chapter. Over time I started to feel disconnected. Day to day is quite busy when you have a young child so it took me a while to realise that I was in fact, quite lonely. Met lots of nice people but didn't necessarily feel that they could really...understand. Many of my close friends live in the US, a few in the UK. My husband is British, and it was on a holiday to the UK in 2015 when we realised that, even after all those good years of living in Sydney, we still had more fun chatting and connecting with UK friends. And being in our mid-forties, we thought forward to the future and realised that we didn't want to find ourselves old in Sydney. I have no desire to return to my country of birth although I am fortunate enough to travel there on a regular basis. And so we began to look at the UK and moved in summer of 2016. In short, we are very happy here. But what might be more interesting for you is that I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of my good friends from the US and elsewhere who I've seen since we moved here. In Sydney our spare room was pretty much empty the whole time. People either found it expensive to visit once they had kids and mortgages, or they'd come once and never again because they had crossed Australia off their bucket list. What I've realised from living here is that there's always some reason for people to come to the UK. So even if people wouldn't normally come over just to see us, we've met up with friends who were 'in the area' for other things like watching Wimbledon or plays, visiting other parts of Europe, visiting their kids at university, etc. Even our Australian friends have dropped by as part of their annual three week 'pilgrimage' to Europe. I've also found it easier to meet friends even when the UK isn't on the itinerary (e.g. Eurostar). In fact our summer was so busy seeing visiting friends that I haven't had much chance to spend time with local friends. Which brings its own challenges but I wouldn't have it any other way and our lives here feel fuller in a way that they didn't in the UK. So I think you're on the right track by recognising that you will be more likely to see family (and old friends) by being based in the US than Australia. And don't underestimate the positive effect of that on your mental health. Sometimes just knowing people are that bit closer can make all the difference. Of course it helps if you're somewhere that's easy to visit. I'm sure it helps that we're an hour away from London and not miles away (although we live in a little village that feels miles away and I love that aspect of it too). I agree with previous replies that Florida is a good bet, even California or New York. Lots of cheap(er) direct flights. Anyway you'll never know unless you try. It may not be easy but you'll have peace of mind knowing that you tried. Ask yourself--where do you see yourself growing old? And if the answer is not Australia, then it's time to pack those bags and start your next adventure.
  6. Gummygirl

    Greetings from the UK

    Quite right. It's probably something that people with younger kids hope will happen, so I thought it was worth addressing, but equally my point is that even if it doesn't, there are still benefits to having family around. We'd managed without family support in Sydney, so apart from the initial disappointment/griping, we've gotten over it (mostly, but what can I say she's my mother in law-- a generally nice one though :-)).
  7. Gummygirl

    Greetings from the UK

    Thanks for your kind comments. Upon further reflection, it might be worth talking about the family angle a bit more, it is after all a large part of why people move back. I don't want to gloss over it and make it seem like everything was hunky-dory from Day 1. We definitely felt that my husband's family could have been more helpful at the start, but we also said to ourselves that we were just as capable of making our own way, no different to how it would be if we were still in Sydney (since neither of us have family there). And seeing them would be a nice bonus, but we could still be fairly independent. No doubt they were happy at the idea of having us closer, but it's fair to say that they were probably torn between wanting to be helpful and worrying that we would encroach on their lives and their established routines. As I mentioned before, Grandma made it very clear she didn't expect baby-sitting to be a regular routine, which was a BIG disappointment (and as a result she hasn't been asked once, more her loss but there you go, that's family politics). But during school holidays they've had the odd day out together, and those are still good things for everyone. Also, they might be lousy babysitters but they're great cooks and invite us over for meals a couple of times a month, which is always nice. And more importantly, we have good conversations and generally enjoy their company. My brother in law and his wife were also cautious about reaching out, but after a year they've realised we won't take over their lives, so they invite themselves round for tea once in a while, and again quite a pleasant interaction. So I guess it's worth giving family dynamics/boundaries time to work themselves out and important to manage one's own expectations. After all, my husband had largely left them to their own devices over the last 20 years, it was hardly realistic to expect them to drop everything just because we had decided to honour them with our regular presence. :-) And also on the friends' thing, after realising that I saw a really good friend all of ONCE last year,(although we WhatsApp regularly), I've accepted that family life is just busy. We were busy in Sydney, we're busy here. Like anything important, one has to make time for friendships. Admittedly I've found it easier to do that being two hours away from close friends as opposed to 24, but I still have to remember to pick up the calendar and commit to a date. That's about it, really. All the best to everyone - not everyone will have the same experience, but if this helps some people with their perspective, then I'll have given something back :-)
  8. Gummygirl

    Greetings from the UK

    Hello, after moving back to the UK in mid 2016 and having been absent from the forum all this time, I suddenly thought to check in. Probably my last post, but I know that I found it useful and interesting to hear back from those who made the move so am adding my contribution. As has been said before, people have different experiences -- we moved when our daughter was 9 and everything has fallen into place. Lots of people have spoken of the travel and cultural benefits of moving here so I won't spend more time on that one. In short, loving it. Biggest danger is taking it for granted. The one thing I've been struck by is the vastness of opportunity in the workplace compared to what I saw in Sydney, and especially in our case, the number of companies who are more supportive of family obligations and allow flexible work. There were probably a number in Sydney and maybe it's changing, but I had to duck out of a demanding full time job because it was getting too much. Here, I've been impressed by the consciousness around trying to be more inclusive in the workforce. I know the phrase 'big fish in a little pond' , but somehow in my case I'm seeing benefits of being in a bigger pond. Of course it's dependent on how the economy is doing, but assuming both are ok, I have found the UK work scene to be that much more forward thinking. And how refreshing to see jobs available all over the place, not just London. IBM offices in Portsmouth, Johnson & Johnson in Berkshire, Allianz in Farnborough, are just a few examples that come to mind. Of course, London will always have the biggest number, but by no means a monopoly on jobs the way Sydney seemed to be. As some have said, not necessarily seeing friends more than a few times a year, but have more friends to see compared to the handful of 'friends' in Sydney who we are unlikely to see again. And friends aren't just in the UK. The UK/Europe is such a big draw for various things that in the past year I've caught up with a friend based in HK whom I hadn't seen in almost twenty years, because her daughter was studying in the UK for uni so she was dropping her off. Another friend from California who was in town for Wimbledon. Another whose kid was going to summer school in Spain and swung by because it was 'in the area'. Friends whose kids wanted to visit the Game of Thrones sets! And so on. A far cry from the lonely guest bedroom in Sydney which was used a handful of times by people who visited and never came again because they had crossed Australia off their bucket list (because you know, it is quite far so tends to be the once in a lifetime visit for a lot of people). No babysitting help from grandparents whatsoever has been a bit of disappointment, but then again we get along with them and see them once or twice a month, and that's better for my daughter than nothing. We've finally had grandparents at school carol services, school days--it's been nice for her and them as well. Good luck to all who are planning a move -- it is often what you make of it. Nowhere is perfect, it's about whether there is more of what you value at this end or the other.
  9. Gummygirl

    Lots of questions: Jobs, Spouse Visa, etc.

    You need to apply for the family of a settled person visa. You don't need to be living there, just headed there. My husband was still in Oz when we applied. Yes I know, the wording is confusing. You would need to be the one meeting the financial requirement for earnings, or if not you can both show as meeting the savings requirement as per the UK gov website. As others have mentioned, if you own a house that could possibly meet the requirement but I'm not sure because my husband had a job offer in the UK when we applied for my visa. To be honest, we found it hard applying for a job from Australia. Many websites have an automated application process and they don't accept non UK formatted postcodes etc so was quite tricky, but may depend on what kind of job you're applying for. We eventually went over with an offer from the UK branch of the company hubby was working for in Oz. Another option would be for you to go there ahead and find something then bring your family across, but only you can decide if you can handle the separation. The labor market in UK is strong at the moment, but really depends on your circumstances. My hubby started work a few months before I got the visa approved. He stayed with family while waiting for us. We tried airbnb for him but no one seemed interested in letting out to him for more than a few weeks, possible because it was our first time to use airbnb and he had no track record. All worked out in the end for us, but just a case of one hurdle at a time.
  10. Gummygirl

    UK Spouse Visa question

    You can apply as soon as you have your job confirmed and have the documentation. I applied before my husband left for the UK. No problem.
  11. Gummygirl

    School Queries

    It obviously depends on the child as much as the support available. Our daughter finished her second term in Yr 4 in Oz and went straight to Yr 5 and so far as I can tell she's doing just fine. We managed her expectations (i.e. there will be things the other kids will know because they've finished Yr 4 already and that's ok) and encouraged her to ask questions if there's anything she doesn't understand. At the start of term I sat down with the teacher and provided copies of previous assessments/work done in addition to school reports so the teacher had a concrete idea of what she's been taught. Without wanting to go down a controversial path--If it's basic literacy and numeracy that you're concerned about, would you consider a few terms of extra tutoring? Not the hardcore coaching that is so common in Sydney but maybe Kumon or JEI (don't know what they have in UK) or something similar? Enough people seem to do them to get their kids ahead of the curriculum (no judgment), so why not do them if you feel your kids need to do some catching up? Doesn't have to be forever, but maybe just a few terms or the first year to give you and your child that extra boost of confidence if you think it's required. Obviously needs to suit your budget. And whether your personal philosophy will allow you to consider it. Or you may want to see how your kid does initially without it but keep it in mind as a fallback if you think she needs it.
  12. Gummygirl

    Cost of taking Cat or Dog back?

    Used Pet Carriers in Sydney. Dog arrived several weeks ago. Took some follow up but they and Dogtainers were cheaper than jet pets and I was pretty happy. Apparently Sydney to London is a common route. There were ten dogs on the fight from Sydney that our dog was on.
  13. Gummygirl

    Will our children be happy?

    I imagine there are micro-cultures and micro-climates all around the place. But I think (as an outsider) many people in the UK tend to understate the weather-- is it something they've been conditioned to do? Or maybe we've just arrived as climate change has started to kick in, who knows, but I'm not complaining. We did leave our fans behind because I said we probably won't need it. Three weeks later we were buying fans here. When I was here in the UK some twenty plus years ago visiting from the US East coast, my friends and I had a laugh because the trains were cancelled due to snow. There was all of an inch on the ground! And I have to say that I've never felt so cold during a winter as when I first arrived in Sydney to an apartment that had no heating whatsoever. We've enjoyed reverse cycle heating since then but just before we left this winter we stayed with various friends and it was a reminder that there are still a lot of people who don't. We had space heaters following us from one room to another, and tough luck if you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I know it's only for 3 months, and these days maybe less, but brrrr is all I can say. On a slightly different note, I was looking at Rightmove and saw a 'Happy places to live' survey and Troon in Scotland was ranked Nbr 2. Newsflash: It is possible to be happy in Scotland! I know surveys can be biased, but a city like Chicago can be pretty brutal with its seasons, and don't think it will be a ghost town anytime soon. So maybe it's the people that make a place, not just the weather
  14. Gummygirl

    Will our children be happy?

    PS a friend in Oz asked me if we were moving back for the weather and I said 'Yes--if you mean Provence, Tuscany and Santorini' We have previously said to ourselves that even if the family/friends expectations didn't come through, the travel/cultural opportunities around here would be a very good consolation prize.
  15. Gummygirl

    Need help re UK and Oz driving license

    Thank you. Hubby did end up getting insurance from Admiral based on recommendations from here but was just curious. Think he also looked at Aviva. They were better at accepting NCD than Directline. In the end he didn't have to show Admiral anything although he told them we had it. Maybe they'll only need it if you lodge a claim?