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Having a wobble 🙁🙁🙁

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Im a (very!) new arrival to Oz and have found myself really questioning whether we should stay here. Obviously not ideal, but also not the end of the world if we go back. 


We (me, husband, 7yo and 2yo) arrived here at the end of October. We got off to a good start, visited my sister in VIC for 2 weeks then headed up to the Gold Coast where my job was waiting for me. We cracked on with everything that was within our power to sort (bank accounts, phones, school, etc), but have had some difficulties with my employer, and finding a rental here at the min is brutal.

 

Up until recently I haven’t thought about home at all, but in the last 72hours I have just suddenly been hit by a wave of extreme anxiety about staying here. Rationally I know it takes a while to settle, but I can’t get this thought out of my head that if we aren’t going settle then it would be better to go back ASAP so my daughter can get back into a U.K. school asap (she has been complaining that the year 1 class was learning stuff her previous school taught  in reception) to minimise the extent to which she would be behind. I’m not someone who usually struggles with feeling anxious, but am second guessing myself as to whether it will pass once we’ve settled.

 

has anyone else had this reaction within the first couple of months of landing? What did you do and do you regret the choices you made?  Part of me thinks this is a normal reaction to the stress of getting settled in a new job (I’m not great circumstances) along with really struggling to get a rental sorted (we still haven’t got anything long term), an perhaps I’ll feel better in 6 months time. But the other part of me is looking on rightmove, NHS jobs and costing flights+shipping!

 

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I honestly think its quite normal to feel that way at first. I remember having similar thoughts after I arrived for my 2 year stay-thinking how quickly can I get back, missing home etc. However that only lasted a few weeks and I remember looking back at those times when I was having to leave, thinking-what was I thinking as I was desperate to stay at that point. So yes, it does take time to settle and its natural to miss the comfort of home. However only you know what is right for you. Perhaps give yourself a timeframe to see how you feel and come back at the end of that if you still havent settled, but one thats long enough to give it a good go and to make sure you dont regret not giving it more of a shot, which I suspect you might if you came back straight away.

 As am aside, I am working in the NHS and it is collapsing around us... even in the short time since you left in Oct it feels lke it has fallen off a cliff and is not really functioning. Its on the news most days in terms of escalating waits, unsafe conditions etc so coming back to an NHS job may be much worse than the one you left..

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Perfectly normal to have some moments of panic.  I think finding somewhere to live which you like, getting all your stuff around you and starting to feel normal is going to take longer than that.  We are about a year ahead of you in Perth, and only moved into an unfurnished rental in September and got our stuff out of storage.  So only now starting to feel even a little permanent.  Ironically this week the snow in the UK has made me feel a little homesick!  I think stick it out for at least a year or two - if nothing else flights and shipping are inflated at the moment!


PR (100) moved to Perth September 2021

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3 hours ago, Cobs_Ahoy said:

Im a (very!) new arrival to Oz and have found myself really questioning whether we should stay here. Obviously not ideal, but also not the end of the world if we go back. 


We (me, husband, 7yo and 2yo) arrived here at the end of October. We got off to a good start, visited my sister in VIC for 2 weeks then headed up to the Gold Coast where my job was waiting for me. We cracked on with everything that was within our power to sort (bank accounts, phones, school, etc), but have had some difficulties with my employer, and finding a rental here at the min is brutal.

 

Up until recently I haven’t thought about home at all, but in the last 72hours I have just suddenly been hit by a wave of extreme anxiety about staying here. Rationally I know it takes a while to settle, but I can’t get this thought out of my head that if we aren’t going settle then it would be better to go back ASAP so my daughter can get back into a U.K. school asap (she has been complaining that the year 1 class was learning stuff her previous school taught  in reception) to minimise the extent to which she would be behind. I’m not someone who usually struggles with feeling anxious, but am second guessing myself as to whether it will pass once we’ve settled.

 

has anyone else had this reaction within the first couple of months of landing? What did you do and do you regret the choices you made?  Part of me thinks this is a normal reaction to the stress of getting settled in a new job (I’m not great circumstances) along with really struggling to get a rental sorted (we still haven’t got anything long term), an perhaps I’ll feel better in 6 months time. But the other part of me is looking on rightmove, NHS jobs and costing flights+shipping!

 

October??  It takes years to ‘settle’ 3 years absolute minimum but realistically more like 5.  

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Thanks @Jon the Hat and @Ruth1 it’s helpful to hear from people who powered through it. I want to set myself a goal of a year before re-evaluating, but just feel this immense guilt at the thought of trying to get my 7 year old back into the U.K. system after that length of time. 

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Not being able to secure accommodation also hasn't probably helped in feeling unsettled. Have you thought about possibly finding a job somewhere where it might be easier to find accommodation? This could be a way to get grounded. We're in Brisbane and rentals are fiercely competitive. 

Remember how hard it was to secure passage to Oz, and how hard you worked for it.

We gave ourselves a five year timeline, at least until we managed to get citizenship. Then we'd have the option of coming back to Oz if we returned to the UK.

Edited by DukeNinja
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2 hours ago, Jon the Hat said:

Perfectly normal to have some moments of panic.  I think finding somewhere to live which you like, getting all your stuff around you and starting to feel normal is going to take longer than that.  We are about a year ahead of you in Perth, and only moved into an unfurnished rental in September and got our stuff out of storage.  So only now starting to feel even a little permanent.  Ironically this week the snow in the UK has made me feel a little homesick!  I think stick it out for at least a year or two - if nothing else flights and shipping are inflated at the moment!

Haha, what you are forgetting is the being late for work cos you have to defrost your car, going to and from work in the pitch black for at least 2 months, skidding on black ice, being held up due to a serious accident on an otherwise safe road. All things I have had to contend with this week. Snow is a giant pain unless you can stay inside and just watch it out the window

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18 minutes ago, Cobs_Ahoy said:

Thanks @Jon the Hat and @Ruth1 it’s helpful to hear from people who powered through it. I want to set myself a goal of a year before re-evaluating, but just feel this immense guilt at the thought of trying to get my 7 year old back into the U.K. system after that length of time. 

Its natural to feel guilt but there is probably no need. Kids at that are are extremely resilient and catch up very quickly, and this is likely to be a huge adventure and learning experience for them..

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I know a family that went back after about 3 weeks and last I heard they were very happy that they had done so - they changed some essential things about their lives "back home" and that worked for them.  The usual mantra is "it takes 2 years" but I reckon you know in less than that whether you'll belong or not. 

With a 7 year old you've got a good year or two to make a decision without too much impact on their education. If it works, you win, if it doesn't then cut your losses and move on but, honestly, there's nothing wrong if it doesn't float your boat. It certainly doesn't help that you've had employer issues and not found a rental but that's par for the course and maybe it's the area you've moved to - maybe you'd be happier closer to your sister in Vic though if you had a job lined up before you arrived are you on a temporary visa perhaps? That would be a whole different ballgame. 

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I'm going to echo what others have said and share my own experience.

You're going through a lot of change and all at once!  Everything you were connected to, could rely upon and that grounded you has been removed.  Not having secure accomodation will be adding a lot of stress.  What you are feeling is completely normal.   When I relocated to Australia I got stress induced shingles from it all and I had it easier than you are!

As @Bulya said, it's probably more like 3 years to settle, so go easy on yourself.  I wasn't in Australia for three years, but I returned with a new wife and she went through about 3 years of challenge.   When I tell you that she loves it here in the UK, I can't emphasise enough how much she really, really loves it here.  If it wasn't for her large, aging family we wouldn't be heading back.  Yet.....she was crying herself to sleep for most of the first year and whilst it reduced it didn't stop for a good three years.   It was hard to be apart from loved ones, hard to start again and hard to feel so very dependant upon the only person she knew here in the UK (me).

I think @DukeNinja has it right - set a realistic goal and focus on that.  It will ease the near-term pressure.

Your daughters schooling isn't an issue.  It's perfectly natural parental concern, but don't let it add undue stress upon you.  She will bounce back if you do move in a year, 2 or even 5.  Quick example, one of my best friends emigrated to the UK from Brazil.  His two kids were in year 1 and 4 of primary school the following week and literally couldn't speak English.  They quickly caught up.  Sadly family health matters saw them head back to Brazil last year after 7 years here.  The kids were now native English speakers and had to start again.  They're doing absolutely great.   Thriving in their education with loads of friends.   Kids adapt.  

Besides....it's bloody freezing over here and the heating costs a packet.  Nothing to rush back to!!!

 

Good luck.  Stay strong.

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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

5 Feb 2023 - 309/100 submitted | 14 Mar 2023 309 & 100 granted

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I agree with the 'stick it out' sentiment. I was the opposite of you, I loved it from the off, it was 3 or 4 years later I questioned where I should be. I think once you get the basics sorted you should be able to enjoy an extended period where you're able to decide whether it's for you and yours or not. Your kids are young enough to ping-pong should you decide a couple of years in that you need to revert but, give it a chance. Maybe one caveat though, don't buy a house whilst you're undecided, costs an arm and leg to buy and sell.

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16 hours ago, Bulya said:

October??  It takes years to ‘settle’ 3 years absolute minimum but realistically more like 5.  

Yes I certainly wasn’t expecting to have settled by now, I think the worry is whether I will have missed the boat to return by the time I realise I never will settle. 

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15 hours ago, DukeNinja said:

Not being able to secure accommodation also hasn't probably helped in feeling unsettled. Have you thought about possibly finding a job somewhere where it might be easier to find accommodation? This could be a way to get grounded. We're in Brisbane and rentals are fiercely competitive. 

Remember how hard it was to secure passage to Oz, and how hard you worked for it.

We gave ourselves a five year timeline, at least until we managed to get citizenship. Then we'd have the option of coming back to Oz if we returned to the UK.

Technically I could move - My visa (186) was sponsored by an employer that covers the whole of Queensland, although it is the Gold Coast department who recruited me and they would be (understandably) pissed off if I moved to a different part of QLD. 
 

originally we set ourselves 4 years too, purely for the citizenship aspect, but 4 years feels like too long now as I can see some of the challenges my daughter would face returning to the U.K. school system after that length of time. You’re right though, I don’t want to jump the gun and regret it.

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12 hours ago, Quoll said:

I know a family that went back after about 3 weeks and last I heard they were very happy that they had done so - they changed some essential things about their lives "back home" and that worked for them.  The usual mantra is "it takes 2 years" but I reckon you know in less than that whether you'll belong or not. 

With a 7 year old you've got a good year or two to make a decision without too much impact on their education. If it works, you win, if it doesn't then cut your losses and move on but, honestly, there's nothing wrong if it doesn't float your boat. It certainly doesn't help that you've had employer issues and not found a rental but that's par for the course and maybe it's the area you've moved to - maybe you'd be happier closer to your sister in Vic though if you had a job lined up before you arrived are you on a temporary visa perhaps? That would be a whole different ballgame. 

Yes I probably would be happier if we were closer to my sister, but greater Melbourne doesn’t really hold any attraction for me, and also might cause visa issues as I have committed to working in QLD for 2 years.

thanks for sharing the story of your friends who returned, it’s helpful to hear about people who have returned and not regretted it along with stories of those who stuck it out. The comment about making changes back ‘home’ really resonates.

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11 hours ago, FirstWorldProblems said:

I'm going to echo what others have said and share my own experience.

You're going through a lot of change and all at once!  Everything you were connected to, could rely upon and that grounded you has been removed.  Not having secure accomodation will be adding a lot of stress.  What you are feeling is completely normal.   When I relocated to Australia I got stress induced shingles from it all and I had it easier than you are!

As @Bulya said, it's probably more like 3 years to settle, so go easy on yourself.  I wasn't in Australia for three years, but I returned with a new wife and she went through about 3 years of challenge.   When I tell you that she loves it here in the UK, I can't emphasise enough how much she really, really loves it here.  If it wasn't for her large, aging family we wouldn't be heading back.  Yet.....she was crying herself to sleep for most of the first year and whilst it reduced it didn't stop for a good three years.   It was hard to be apart from loved ones, hard to start again and hard to feel so very dependant upon the only person she knew here in the UK (me).

I think @DukeNinja has it right - set a realistic goal and focus on that.  It will ease the near-term pressure.

Your daughters schooling isn't an issue.  It's perfectly natural parental concern, but don't let it add undue stress upon you.  She will bounce back if you do move in a year, 2 or even 5.  Quick example, one of my best friends emigrated to the UK from Brazil.  His two kids were in year 1 and 4 of primary school the following week and literally couldn't speak English.  They quickly caught up.  Sadly family health matters saw them head back to Brazil last year after 7 years here.  The kids were now native English speakers and had to start again.  They're doing absolutely great.   Thriving in their education with loads of friends.   Kids adapt.  

Besides....it's bloody freezing over here and the heating costs a packet.  Nothing to rush back to!!!

 

Good luck.  Stay strong.

Thank you for sharing that, I can empathise with the shingles comment as I’m worried I’m coming down with it at the min as a result of stress! Can I ask how long you remained in Oz and what made you decide to head back to the U.K.?

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Just wanted to say thank you to everyone for taking the time to reply, it really helps to hear from others.

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5 hours ago, Cobs_Ahoy said:

Yes I certainly wasn’t expecting to have settled by now, I think the worry is whether I will have missed the boat to return by the time I realise I never will settle. 

You shouldn't miss the point of no return. As long as your kids are there to start secondary school or GCSE at the very least you should be OK. Its once they get into high school that it really seems to bite. Plenty of time to go with the flow, there's time enough to settle when you're dead! 

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6 hours ago, Cobs_Ahoy said:

Yes I certainly wasn’t expecting to have settled by now, I think the worry is whether I will have missed the boat to return by the time I realise I never will settle. 

It really doesn’t sound like you had the commitment to move here in the first place.  And to settle you have to change, is that going to happen?

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7 hours ago, Cobs_Ahoy said:

Yes I probably would be happier if we were closer to my sister, but greater Melbourne doesn’t really hold any attraction for me, and also might cause visa issues as I have committed to working in QLD for 2 years.

thanks for sharing the story of your friends who returned, it’s helpful to hear about people who have returned and not regretted it along with stories of those who stuck it out. The comment about making changes back ‘home’ really resonates.

Whilst everyone will tell you (and they are right) that you've made a commitment and it might cause a wobble in the citizenship process, if you are sure you are heading home for senior school anyway then it isn't that big an issue because you might be leaving before you get citizenship anyway.

4 years is a long to "make do" just to get a piece of paper that may not ever be of use to you anyway 

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8 hours ago, Cobs_Ahoy said:

Thank you for sharing that, I can empathise with the shingles comment as I’m worried I’m coming down with it at the min as a result of stress! Can I ask how long you remained in Oz and what made you decide to head back to the U.K.?

I was only there for 15 months. Came for a work assignment that ended abruptly when we lost a big contract and I was made redundant.   That was a bit shitty.  


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

5 Feb 2023 - 309/100 submitted | 14 Mar 2023 309 & 100 granted

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14 hours ago, Quoll said:

You shouldn't miss the point of no return. As long as your kids are there to start secondary school or GCSE at the very least you should be OK. Its once they get into high school that it really seems to bite. Plenty of time to go with the flow, there's time enough to settle when you're dead! 

Yes I think you are right, i do struggle to go with the flow and have a tendency towards ‘fixing’ things. Cant imagine us being here until secondary school though to be honest!

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12 hours ago, Ausvisitor said:

Whilst everyone will tell you (and they are right) that you've made a commitment and it might cause a wobble in the citizenship process, if you are sure you are heading home for senior school anyway then it isn't that big an issue because you might be leaving before you get citizenship anyway.

4 years is a long to "make do" just to get a piece of paper that may not ever be of use to you anyway 

Yes 4 years feels like an eternity right now!

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10 hours ago, FirstWorldProblems said:

I was only there for 15 months. Came for a work assignment that ended abruptly when we lost a big contract and I was made redundant.   That was a bit shitty.  

That does sounds really stressful, now I see you had a flare up of shingles!

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On 14/12/2022 at 17:09, Bulya said:

It really doesn’t sound like you had the commitment to move here in the first place.  And to settle you have to change, is that going to happen?

I was committed to the move, but on reflection it was a commitment to something totally unknown, so in some degree it was hypothetical! I guess like lots of parents with young children, we took a chance on seeing whether life out here would be a better fit for us than in the U.K. But as someone who wouldn’t describe themselves as dependent on family/needing lots of support from friends, I perhaps underestimated how intense home sickness can be. I think my ambivalence stems from whether my homesickness is likely to subside once some of the initial stressors have been addressed (eg rental and job). But I appreciate no one can answer this!

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1 hour ago, Cobs_Ahoy said:

I was committed to the move, but on reflection it was a commitment to something totally unknown, so in some degree it was hypothetical! I guess like lots of parents with young children, we took a chance on seeing whether life out here would be a better fit for us than in the U.K. But as someone who wouldn’t describe themselves as dependent on family/needing lots of support from friends, I perhaps underestimated how intense home sickness can be. I think my ambivalence stems from whether my homesickness is likely to subside once some of the initial stressors have been addressed (eg rental and job). But I appreciate no one can answer this!

It's difficult to offer advice as none of us can look inside your head.    I think little bouts of homesickness are normal.  I think if it's truly intense, though, then I feel that might be a red flag. 

What aspects of Australian life did you think would be a "better fit" for you?  Are you able to seek those out, to see if you were right or if it was all a pipe dream?

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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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