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Gummygirl

Greetings from the UK

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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.

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6 hours ago, Gummygirl said:

Nowhere is perfect, it's about whether there is more of what you value at this end or the other.

This is it summed up in one sentence!

Great post.

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I'm semi-retired so work opportunities weren't an issue when I returned to the UK - however I did notice that work opportunities in the South of England seemed more plentiful, companies seemed less prejudiced against older workers, and more willing to accommodate employees with families, compared to Sydney. 

Unfortunately other aspects of England didn't work for me at all, but everyone is different.  It's great to hear it's worked out for you and your family and you've found the place you want to be.

Edited by Marisawright

Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband granted UK spouse visa, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

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9 hours ago, wattsy1982 said:

This is it summed up in one sentence!

Great post.

true .....


BUT I DONT FEEL AFRAID

AS LONG AS I GAZE AT

WATERLOO SUNSET

IAM IN PARADISE

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Thanks for writing that gummygirl- nice to hear something good about the UK for once! The press here tend to mention the dire effects of Brexit ( but it hasn't even happened yet!!)

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31 minutes ago, starlight7 said:

Thanks for writing that gummygirl- nice to hear something good about the UK for once! The press here tend to mention the dire effects of Brexit ( but it hasn't even happened yet!!)

In my experience the Australian press seem to excel in putting the UK down and facts are seldom a priority. It used to frustrate my wife no end, they would literally just make stuff up and of course people would lap it up. I would be hard pushed to find anyone that has actually been affected by Brexit. 

Edited by bristolman

Loving life in Gods Country. Woohoo, look at me. 

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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 :-)

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1 hour ago, starlight7 said:

Thanks for writing that gummygirl- nice to hear something good about the UK for once! The press here tend to mention the dire effects of Brexit ( but it hasn't even happened yet!!)

it wont be dire either ?

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BUT I DONT FEEL AFRAID

AS LONG AS I GAZE AT

WATERLOO SUNSET

IAM IN PARADISE

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On 31 January 2018 at 23:13, Gummygirl said:

Nowhere is perfect, it's about whether there is more of what you value at this end or the other.

This :))

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I wouldn't worry too much if your husband's family don't want to babysit.  Many people think they have done their bit bringing up their own kids so why should they spend time doing it all over again.  Not my view but common amongst a few of my friends and I would respect that. They may not be comfortable looking after young ones and fair enough.

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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 :-)).

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