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MaroubraAndy

Ahhh the challenge of being a migrant

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Hey guys,

Man, I’m so over the feeling of being torn between Oz and the UK.. 

I moved back from Sydney after 10 years there and have now been in London for 2.5 years. We’re at a crossroads in that I’ve just quit my current company and have two offers on the table, one in London and a much better one in Sydney and I just can’t decide what to do.

A few months back we thought we were gunning to return to Sydney now we’re seeing the beauty on our doorstep.

it feels like whichever decision we make is a compromise, choose Sydney and we forego the comfort and closeness of family, choose London and we miss out on the wonderful lifestyle we used to have. Ahhhhhhhh!

 

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Toss a coin and if the first thought that pops into your head when you see the answer is “best of 3” then you know your answer.

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Where would you like to die?   I know that's a morbid question, but it's a relevant one.  Your kid(s?) are probably older now, so there will come a point where it'll be too disruptive to their education to move back to the UK again, even if you decide you'd like to.  So you'll decide to stay until they've completed their college or uni education - but by then,  they'll have established too much of a circle and won't want to return with you. How will you or your wife feel if that's the case?  And will you both still be happy to live on the other side of the world from your children, if grandchildren come along? 

In a nutshell, once you move this time, life will happen,. there will be all kinds of obstacles to you moving back, and you'll find time has run away from you, it's too late to establish a pension in the UK, and you're stuck in Australia for the rest of your life.   If that doesn't bother you - or if it fills you with delight - then you've got your answer.   But if one or both of you are thinking of coming to Australia to live and then retiring "back home", don't do it - too many people get stuck.

 


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

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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I guess you have to tell yourself "it is not a matter of one right and one wrong decision" but "two right decisions", and once you have chosen one, forget about the other?

Now, am I, the arch ditherer, who wants other people to make decisions for him, someone who practices what he preaches?!

Sometimes! So far, I've spent 18 years in Sydney, 12 back in England, 12 in Sydney again, and now 4 month in Surfers Paradise.

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10 hours ago, Marisawright said:

Where would you like to die?   I know that's a morbid question, but it's a relevant one.  Your kid(s?) are probably older now, so there will come a point where it'll be too disruptive to their education to move back to the UK again, even if you decide you'd like to.  So you'll decide to stay until they've completed their college or uni education - but by then,  they'll have established too much of a circle and won't want to return with you. How will you or your wife feel if that's the case?  And will you both still be happy to live on the other side of the world from your children, if grandchildren come along? 

In a nutshell, once you move this time, life will happen,. there will be all kinds of obstacles to you moving back, and you'll find time has run away from you, it's too late to establish a pension in the UK, and you're stuck in Australia for the rest of your life.   If that doesn't bother you - or if it fills you with delight - then you've got your answer.   But if one or both of you are thinking of coming to Australia to live and then retiring "back home", don't do it - too many people get stuck.

 

Those are fair points and to be honest neither my wife nor I have any objection to retiring / pegging it in Oz. I completely agree that going there for a number of years with the intent of retiring in the UK doesn’t sound sensible!  I am however planning to keep our house in the UK and just rent it out, more because it’s a decent investment rather then having a place that we could come back to.

Out boys are 5 and 3 and we’re 41 and 38 so we have alittle time but I don’t ever want to consider the idea of going for a ‘few years’, this time we’d be moving with the intent of not coming back! You’re spot on when you say time will get away from us this time and the last thing I want to do is mess around with the kids schooling as they approach/enter high school.

 

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4 hours ago, MaroubraAndy said:

Those are fair points and to be honest neither my wife nor I have any objection to retiring / pegging it in Oz. I completely agree that going there for a number of years with the intent of retiring in the UK doesn’t sound sensible!  I am however planning to keep our house in the UK and just rent it out, more because it’s a decent investment rather then having a place that we could come back to.

Out boys are 5 and 3 and we’re 41 and 38 so we have alittle time but I don’t ever want to consider the idea of going for a ‘few years’, this time we’d be moving with the intent of not coming back! You’re spot on when you say time will get away from us this time and the last thing I want to do is mess around with the kids schooling as they approach/enter high school.

 

How will the kids feel about being away from grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles? That’s the one thing that both my now adult sons have said they regretted about their isolated childhood. We did our best with regular visits and all but a 24 hour flight or a 12 hour car ride didn’t make them that frequent.  You’ve still got a few years before you need to worry about the schooling thing. 

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We haven’t really broached it with them yet, although it’s safe to say it will certainly have an impact as we’re very close to both sets of grandparents. 

We have one set of aunty/uncle/cousins over in SE Asia so the kids are already very used to the idea of having a geographically dispersed family.

The idea of distancing ourselves from our parents hurts immensely right now, but I guess we’ve done it before so we can do it again.

One of the biggest factors for me is my work, I have a massive network in Sydney but the same isn’t true in London and as much as I could probably build it up, it would take me years to get back to the same level which is difficult to face into when I know Sydney opty is calling..

 

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1 hour ago, MaroubraAndy said:

We haven’t really broached it with them yet, although it’s safe to say it will certainly have an impact as we’re very close to both sets of grandparents. 

We have one set of aunty/uncle/cousins over in SE Asia so the kids are already very used to the idea of having a geographically dispersed family.

The idea of distancing ourselves from our parents hurts immensely right now, but I guess we’ve done it before so we can do it again.

One of the biggest factors for me is my work, I have a massive network in Sydney but the same isn’t true in London and as much as I could probably build it up, it would take me years to get back to the same level which is difficult to face into when I know Sydney opty is calling..

 

Sounds like you have the answer then? You have weighed things up and Sydney wins?!

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On 18/11/2020 at 20:04, MaroubraAndy said:

it feels like whichever decision we make is a compromise, choose Sydney and we forego the comfort and closeness of family, choose London and we miss out on the wonderful lifestyle we used to have. Ahhhhhhhh!

 

🙂

Ahhh dear. If only we all had such "problems".

To be honest, you are very lucky that you have such a choice to make.

Lots of people cannot even get into one country - let alone have the choice of ping-ponging between two.

An old work colleague of mine spends six months in London and six months in Sydney, and just goes backwards and forwards each year. If you can afford it, this would be a good option, as you can have six months with family being close, then six months of a wonderful lifestyle. Given six months is a short period, it won't leave you yearning for the other, as you know you will be back to the other place quite soon.

If you cannot afford to do that, then you just have to make a list of the pros and cons of each place - then live in the place with the most pros.

I suppose the other option, is to live somewhere with a lifestyle that is similar to Sydney, but much closer to the UK - maybe Cyprus.

 

 

 

 

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On 18/11/2020 at 09:57, Quoll said:

Toss a coin and if the first thought that pops into your head when you see the answer is “best of 3” then you know your answer.

This is such a good test for so many things.

By the way your post is worded there's already a lot of positive pings on Australia in "a much better one in Sydney" and "wonderful lifestyle". It sort of sounds already like you have a preference. 

The best thing you can do for now is weigh up the pros and cons, be brutally honest with yourself.  Then toss the coin and see what your heart says.

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Well  things have been ‘interesting’ for the last few months since my post so I thought I’d provide an update.

Essentially we opted for sydney with view to me flying out alone to basically set up a bunch of stuff like, house, schooling etc but the flight ended up getting cancelled. I then started working remotely for my new company in Oz and we booked tickets for the whole family to travel out on May 3rd. Between these times things got a bit crazy, The job was/is going wonderfully but we oddly seemed to be settling even more into our U.K. life. Essentially I/we seem to be even more conflicted around the situation made worse by the impact Covid will have on our family’s ability to travel out and see us. In tandem the stress of the situation has resulted in some pretty big issues surfacing with my side of the family. All of which means we’ve basically just put our heads in the sand..

We’re now a week out from departure date and we’re no way ready to leave, physically or emotionally.

The options we have now are I either go out initially by myself and we cancel the three other seats. I get back to sydney and remember what it was like to live there for 6-8 weeks then if everything feels ok, the wife and kids follow. Or we can the whole thing completely.

We’re essentially both completely frazzled and seem unable to resolve the best path forward.. uggghhh!

 

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9 hours ago, MaroubraAndy said:

The options we have now are I either go out initially by myself and we cancel the three other seats. I get back to sydney and remember what it was like to live there for 6-8 weeks then if everything feels ok, the wife and kids follow. Or we can the whole thing completely.

Given your history, I dont think forgetting the whole thing completely will work.  Because you won't be able to.  It will hang over you forever.   You've got to go back and see.

I'd say it's a good idea for you to go on your own.  Get over there with the objective of finding the family a home to move to.   That will be your first reality check - can you actually afford the beachside lifestyle you're dreaming of?   

9 hours ago, MaroubraAndy said:

we oddly seemed to be settling even more into our U.K. life.

That doesnt surprise me.  I'm guessing that for the first 2 years, you were so busy comparing countries and debating choices that you weren't letting yourself just settle into UK life. Then once the decision was made, you could stop all that analysis and enjoy the UK. Then Covid hit and there was no point in comparing because you couldn't go anyway.

I'm sure Covid has also made you realise that all that guff about "we're only 24 hours away" is bunkum.   Air travel is predicted to stay expensive, and all the predictions are that we're going to see more pandemics.  I don't think we're going back to the old migrant reality, where my ten-pound-Pom auntie didn't see her family again for 20 years, but we're realising that Australia really is thousands of miles away.

Also, you're coming up for 3 years there.  When migrants are complaining they can't settle, I often see people say, "give it 2 years".  Looking back at my experience, I'd say it's the 3-year mark where you really start to feel "this is my home": when you think about leaving, you realise that would feel like an uprooting.   So I'd say there's an element of that in it, too.

  

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

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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On 24/04/2021 at 23:15, MaroubraAndy said:

Well  things have been ‘interesting’ for the last few months since my post so I thought I’d provide an update.

Essentially we opted for sydney with view to me flying out alone to basically set up a bunch of stuff like, house, schooling etc but the flight ended up getting cancelled. I then started working remotely for my new company in Oz and we booked tickets for the whole family to travel out on May 3rd. Between these times things got a bit crazy, The job was/is going wonderfully but we oddly seemed to be settling even more into our U.K. life. Essentially I/we seem to be even more conflicted around the situation made worse by the impact Covid will have on our family’s ability to travel out and see us. In tandem the stress of the situation has resulted in some pretty big issues surfacing with my side of the family. All of which means we’ve basically just put our heads in the sand..

We’re now a week out from departure date and we’re no way ready to leave, physically or emotionally.

The options we have now are I either go out initially by myself and we cancel the three other seats. I get back to sydney and remember what it was like to live there for 6-8 weeks then if everything feels ok, the wife and kids follow. Or we can the whole thing completely.

We’re essentially both completely frazzled and seem unable to resolve the best path forward.. uggghhh!

 

Can the whole thing completely.

There, I made the decision for you. Sorry for being rude but seriously, you're happy in the UK so just stay there. Sydney is just FOMO.

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On 24/04/2021 at 14:15, MaroubraAndy said:

Well  things have been ‘interesting’ for the last few months since my post so I thought I’d provide an update.

Essentially we opted for sydney with view to me flying out alone to basically set up a bunch of stuff like, house, schooling etc but the flight ended up getting cancelled. I then started working remotely for my new company in Oz and we booked tickets for the whole family to travel out on May 3rd. Between these times things got a bit crazy, The job was/is going wonderfully but we oddly seemed to be settling even more into our U.K. life. Essentially I/we seem to be even more conflicted around the situation made worse by the impact Covid will have on our family’s ability to travel out and see us. In tandem the stress of the situation has resulted in some pretty big issues surfacing with my side of the family. All of which means we’ve basically just put our heads in the sand..

We’re now a week out from departure date and we’re no way ready to leave, physically or emotionally.

The options we have now are I either go out initially by myself and we cancel the three other seats. I get back to sydney and remember what it was like to live there for 6-8 weeks then if everything feels ok, the wife and kids follow. Or we can the whole thing completely.

We’re essentially both completely frazzled and seem unable to resolve the best path forward.. uggghhh!

 

Gosh what a tough spot you are in. I really feel for you. The inner conflict comes through loud and clear when you write.  
 

I wish I had some great wisdom to offer but if course all of our circumstances are unique. 

Are you mostly wrestling with the uncertainty?  In which case make the trip and see how if feels to be back. 
 

Or is it one of those situations where you’ve started down a path and it just isn’t feeling right?  Do you find yourself wishing some external influence would force the decision for you?

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British  | Lived in Australia 2001-02 on 457   | Married Aussie wife & moved back to UK | Plan to return to Sydney 2026 when all kids have finished school

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On 24/04/2021 at 14:15, MaroubraAndy said:

Well  things have been ‘interesting’ for the last few months since my post so I thought I’d provide an update.

Essentially we opted for sydney with view to me flying out alone to basically set up a bunch of stuff like, house, schooling etc but the flight ended up getting cancelled. I then started working remotely for my new company in Oz and we booked tickets for the whole family to travel out on May 3rd. Between these times things got a bit crazy, The job was/is going wonderfully but we oddly seemed to be settling even more into our U.K. life. Essentially I/we seem to be even more conflicted around the situation made worse by the impact Covid will have on our family’s ability to travel out and see us. In tandem the stress of the situation has resulted in some pretty big issues surfacing with my side of the family. All of which means we’ve basically just put our heads in the sand..

We’re now a week out from departure date and we’re no way ready to leave, physically or emotionally.

The options we have now are I either go out initially by myself and we cancel the three other seats. I get back to sydney and remember what it was like to live there for 6-8 weeks then if everything feels ok, the wife and kids follow. Or we can the whole thing completely.

We’re essentially both completely frazzled and seem unable to resolve the best path forward.. uggghhh!

 

Can you stay in the UK and work for the Australian company remotely until things settle down? Home working is becoming a thing. I've been with my current company nearly a year and I've yet to go into the office.


Nearly there! Don't drop the ball now guys! Vaccines are weeks away. Stay safe!

 

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I'm inclined to agree with Marisa here. You will forever be wondering and wanting to try if you don't try now. Go out, test the waters and see how it feels. You don't have to make a decision right there and then but it will help you think it through. 

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Posted (edited)
49 minutes ago, Nyxkat said:

I'm inclined to agree with Marisa here. You will forever be wondering and wanting to try if you don't try now. Go out, test the waters and see how it feels. You don't have to make a decision right there and then but it will help you think it through. 

The OP spent 10 years in Sydney before returning to London. That's a long time and most people would feel settled here, or they would've returned to the UK well before then. Maybe there are other reasons why he returned to the UK that he hasn't stated, such as a family commitment, in which case coming back to Australia may be worth further consideration. However, if the reason they returned to London before was down to ambivalence then that situation is likely to reoccur. Bear in mind there are 4 people's lives in the balance here.

Edited by Wanderer Returns
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Hey guys, OP here,

To answer your question we were very happy in sydney with a wonderful long established circle of friends. We hadn’t however bought property in sydney so there was that part missing so to speak. Both sets of our parents are in the U.K. and mine are fairly elderly and just about coping, I’m also an only child so feel a sense of obligation even though in honestly I’d never want to be in a position where I have caring responsibility for them. Whilst I certainly already feel a sense of guilt at the thought of leaving them, I absolutely know I/we need to make life choices for us and our kids, but knowing it is one thing, doing it is quite another.

I think as a couple of folks have suggested, I just need to head over on my own for alittle while and see how it feels being back over there again. I think I’ll either settle straight back in and love being back or have a massive allergic reaction to it!
 

 

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On 19/11/2020 at 11:13, Quoll said:

How will the kids feel about being away from grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles? That’s the one thing that both my now adult sons have said they regretted about their isolated childhood. We did our best with regular visits and all but a 24 hour flight or a 12 hour car ride didn’t make them that frequent.  You’ve still got a few years before you need to worry about the schooling thing. 

I had plenty of Aunts, Uncles and cousins but saw them infrequently. No problems between us, just moved in different circles, had different friendship groups. My closest friends were people from school and guys I played soccer with. People move around a lot more than they used to so thinking you're going to be close to family might not work out that way.

I don't think my kids have missed out on anything and probably dodged a lot of family drama.

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12 hours ago, MaroubraAndy said:

Hey guys, OP here,

To answer your question we were very happy in sydney with a wonderful long established circle of friends. We hadn’t however bought property in sydney so there was that part missing so to speak.

If you had ten years in Sydney and never bought a property, and now you've had another few years in the UK with no property, are you even sure you can afford the lifestyle you want in Sydney?

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

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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1 hour ago, Paul1Perth said:

I had plenty of Aunts, Uncles and cousins but saw them infrequently. No problems between us, just moved in different circles, had different friendship groups. My closest friends were people from school and guys I played soccer with. People move around a lot more than they used to so thinking you're going to be close to family might not work out that way.

I don't think my kids have missed out on anything and probably dodged a lot of family drama.

Hmm, my last remaining uncle died on Saturday and it feels crap not to be there with my family. He had no kids but he had a bevy of nephews and nieces who all did their bit (as did we when we lived there) - I should be there with them helping send him on his way but I can't. The distances suck at times like these! 

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13 hours ago, Quoll said:

Hmm, my last remaining uncle died on Saturday and it feels crap not to be there with my family. He had no kids but he had a bevy of nephews and nieces who all did their bit (as did we when we lived there) - I should be there with them helping send him on his way but I can't. The distances suck at times like these! 

I missed all my Aunts, Uncles funerals and the last time I saw my cousins was at my Mums funeral a few years back. Not the best time to catch up but nice to see them.

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1 minute ago, Paul1Perth said:

I missed all my Aunts, Uncles funerals and the last time I saw my cousins was at my Mums funeral a few years back. Not the best time to catch up but nice to see them.

I missed all of mine too but this one was a bit special unfortunately.

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On 10/05/2021 at 08:43, Marisawright said:

If you had ten years in Sydney and never bought a property, and now you've had another few years in the UK with no property, are you even sure you can afford the lifestyle you want in 

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On 12/05/2021 at 13:52, MaroubraAndy said:
On 10/05/2021 at 08:43, Marisawright said:

If you had ten years in Sydney and never bought a property, and now you've had another few years in the UK with no property, are you even sure you can afford the lifestyle you want in 

It wasn’t that we couldn’t afford to buy in Sydney at the time, I kinda of just couldn’t commit to buying a place as it felt like a level of permanence that my head couldn’t deal with.  When we came back to the U.K. we bought a family home straight away and plan to keep it.  
Whilst buying in our previous haunts in the east might be a stretch, things seem a lot more affordable alittle down south so hopefully that shoudnt be too much of an issue.

Im conscious this all sounds like a load of BS to most people, who probably just read this and think ‘just get the f@@k on with your life and stop p&ssing and moaning’. But I guess everyone’s issues are relative to their own circumstances.

 

 

 

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