Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The hardest decision yet



Seven years ago on the morning after the 2005 Mardi Gras parade (the image of party goers walking along South Dowling St will always stay with me!) Paul and I arrived fresh off a plane from the UK to begin a new life in Australia.

And what a life we’ve had. Each and every moment has been amazing. This is the place of a lot of monumental firsts for us – living together, getting engaged, getting married, having babies, buying a house, buying a dog. It's where I sky-dived, scuba-dived, fell in love with yoga, got a tattoo. Not to mention the general adventure of putting ourselves outside of our comfort zones, starting from scratch, making new friends, starting new jobs. Learning how to live in a country that wasn’t our own. It feels like it is now.

Which is why over the past few months we have had to make one of the hardest decisions of our relationship so far.

It pains me to say it, but In a few short weeks, some time around the end of April, Paul and I will be waving goodbye to these sunny shores that we have called home for so long and are moving back to England.

It still doesn’t feel real and right now I can’t imagine not being here. I love our lifestyle, our friends, our home. But for both of us, since having children there has been a continual nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right here anymore.

And that something is family. Having Grandparents close by. Having cousins to grow up with. Having Aunties and Uncles there to celebrate birthdays. Having a proper face-to-face relationship with all of these people, rather than through a computer screen or a yearly holiday.


Unfortunately I think that when you have laid down such strong roots in another country you will always lose in some way. If we stay here, we miss family. If we go home, we’ll inevitably miss our friends (who are like family) and all the wonderful things about this place. The beach life, the weather, the food, the coffee (oh my god I’ll miss the coffee!).

But we’ve decided not to dwell on things now. We could go round in circles with the 'what ifs' and the comparisons. The decision has been made and we are getting really excited about the adventures to come. About building a new life for our family of four. And most importantly about watching those special relationships unfold between our children and their family.

So please forgive me if I’m a little distant over these next few weeks. Life is crazy. Every spare minute is spent making calls, sending emails, writing lists. We arrived as two single people with a backpack each and are leaving a family of four + dog and an apartment full of stuff. This is no mean feat! I’ll keep you updated along the way.

Until then… have you had to make any hard decisions before? And if you have ever moved across the globe, do you have any tips?! 

28 comments:

  1. We came here 3 years ago with 4 kids and a baby, intending to stay for 5. Then we made friends, the kids got settled in schools and we thought about staying longer, but for one reason and another husband is keen to leave and is looking for jobs back in the UK. If there aren't any we'll be happy to stay, but family is definitely a draw. I really noticed how much older my parents were looking when they were here a couple of weeks ago.
    All the best for the decisions you need to make, it will all be very exciting!
    Sandra x

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    1. It's such a hard decision to make. Particularly when you are settled and everything is great. It's not like we hate living here, quite the opposite, but long term it feels right to be around family. Thanks for your point about using the children to make new friends - hopefully that will be the case. I have such an amazing network of friends over here now, particularly mum friends, that it will be sad to let that go. Good luck with your decision making too. Keep me posted. x

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  2. Should add that your wee ones are the perfect age for assisting you in the whole making new friends business!

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  3. All the best with your move. We live 3,000 miles from family and do the annual trip, but we are fortunate to have family come and visit us as well. As tough as the decision is for you, it sounds like you will be surrounded by love in your new home.

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    1. Thanks so much Kirsten. Appreciate your comments x

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  4. Oh Anna! I'm not sure why but I feel kind of sad reading this, because I've felt like I've gotten to know you a little through this blog and will be sad we wont get to meet one day at some random blogging event :) That being said I can completely understand the pull - family is far too important and it will be so much easier on you all.

    Wishing you the very best in this exciting endeavour and look forward to following your adventures from the other side of the world still xxx

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    1. I feel the same Donna! I feel like I've really got to know this lovely group of Aussie bloggers and it would have been lovely to put some real faces to the online pictures. Maybe one day I'll be back. Until then though I will definitely be following your blog from a far. xx

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  5. Oh wow, such a big move. I'm tearing up for you, happy and sad at the same time. Good luck with it all xx

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    1. I know! There is so much to think about and so many emotions. Sad but so very exciting. x

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  6. What a decision! Family must always come first, and there really is something magical about watching cousies bond!
    The good thing for us 'green tea' lovers is that we can read you from anywhere!! Wishing you all the calmness as you approach the busy upcoming weeks x

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    1. Thanks so much for commenting. Family definitely does come first - it's funny how they can leave a little hole in your life. Thanks for your thoughts - I'm hoping for a calm few weeks too. x

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  7. I SO know what you mean. I'm from Sydney and lived in London for 6 years before moving here to Hong Kong 18 months ago. It's such a catch 22 being an expat. You build this life for yourself in a new place, and your friends become your family. You put roots down and get on with your life, all the while feeling like something is not quite right. I completely understand the mixed feelings you have but at least you had the guts to move out to Aus in the first place and you have created such amazing memories for your family that you will never forget. And....as Dorothy wisely said....there's no place like home. Bring on the next chapter xx

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    1. Bridget, I couldn't have said this better myself. Thanks so much for your words. I do feel proud of us for taking the plunge and making the move - it will always be something for us to look back on. Being an expat is tough, but so rewarding at the same time. xx

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  8. Oh Anna, that sounds like such a hard decision. But only you and your husband know what is best for your family.
    Australia will be very sorry to lose you, but I look forward to reading all about your UK adventures on your blog (England is pretty magical in it's own way). Good luck with the packing etc. Thinking of you. xxx

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    1. It really was Amelia. Feels like the right thing though and that's a nice feeling. xx

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  9. Oh, I do love this post. What a hard decision, but a beautiful one too. A reminder of how lucky I am to have family so close by :) I look forward to following your adventures in England! Elisa xx

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I can't wait to have family close by for a change. I'll be following your adventures too from a far x

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  10. Oh wow! Well done for making that decision, I know from personal experience that you can go over the pros and cons of both situations til you're blue in the face! You always feel better once you've actually MADE the decision though. Wishing you the best of luck!

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    1. It is hard isn't it. Good once the decision is made - but then the fun of the logistics and organisation begins!

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  11. Wow!
    My mouth is hanging open!
    I know what a tough decision this must have been.
    My family contemplated returning home to Ireland almost every year in the 15 years that they were here in Australia.
    By the time they went, I was firmly planted here in Oz.
    The distance is all that greater when children enter the picture.
    I wish you guys the absolute best.
    (Plus, you can always come back, right?!)
    xxx

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    1. Thanks Shar! It really was a tough decision. And yes - we can always come back. I can also live an Aussie life vicariously through you guys now xx

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  12. WOW! This is huge Anna. Here's me getting all sad that you're going, then I realised Hello! I can still follow you through your blog! Ah, the beauty of blogging.
    I can only imagine what a difficult decision this has been for you. I know exactly from watching friend's in my mother's group go through this constantly. Every single one of my mother's group are from overseas, 4 from the UK, 1 from the US. They struggle so badly sometimes and it's even harder when they go back for a few weeks or family come here for a few weeks. Like starting the process of leaving them all over again. One of my good friends has recently just moved back to the UK, after being here for 5 years. Good on you for making the decision, you'll have lots of online support back here in Australia when you need it xoxo

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  13. Oh, feeling a little sad reading this - like we are losing one of our own.

    I know just what you mean - being close to family and feeling supported is so important. I'm sure you have made the right decision.

    You will always have bloggy friends over here [who are willing to send you care packages with Tim Tams and good Australian coffee, when required] xox

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  14. Oh My goodness this is huge hun, but I completely understand why you would reach this decision. I couldnt live away from my family especially my parents now they are getting older. I wish you all the happiness in the world Anna and I hope you keep blogging from the otherside of the world so we can conitnue to follow you and your beautiful family. xxx

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  15. I have been living under a rock for the last week or so and been a very bad blogging neighbour - oh anna, my sad face came out when I read this :( - which is quite ridiculous, seeing as I have never actually *met* you!! what a huge decision to have to make, but I totally get where you are coming from. the distance makes it so hard with little ones. I find it difficult and my parents and siblings are only two states away - not on the other side of the world!! I wish you every happiness and bags of good luck for the big move, what a huge job for you. please tell me you are going to keep blogging - of course with a little break in there for actually moving to the other side of the world!! and remember you can always order your coffee from here ;) xxx

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  18. I'll try again - sorry
    We made a similar decision just before our 2nd child was born.
    We were living in WA and loving life but the pull and lure of family became too much...and we moved back to Tas
    Not across countries I grant you...but ALMOST as far!!
    We haven't looked back
    So best of luck and I'm sure its completely the right thing for you to do
    xx

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