Life Happened While I Made Other Plans
We emigrated here to Adelaide in 2005. It took a couple of years to get the visa and me, my wife and our three boarded the plane and headed off. In so doing, we both left close families and I also shut down a very successful construction business. At the time life in England was pretty much perfect, a close family, we had a nice house, money, nice cars, had several holidays a year, and being the boss I could come and go as I pleased. Why did we leave? Because I saw it as a great adventure, we thought we would give it a try and if after we’re not happy we could move back knowing we could return whenever we wanted.
We emigrated here to Adelaide in 2005. It took a couple of years to get the visa and me, my wife and three kids 10, 8 and 15 months boarded the plane and headed off. In so doing, we both left close families with brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, aunts uncles etc etc. I also shut down a very successful construction business and laid off workers I had employed for over 7 years. At the time life in England was pretty much perfect, a close family, we had a nice house, money, nice cars, had several holidays a year, usually one of which was visiting Australia, and being the boss I could come and go as I pleased. Why did we leave? Because I saw it as a great adventure, live in Australia for two years get a passport and if we’re not happy move back knowing we can return whenever we wanted.
I decided to emigrate after our second holiday to Australia, the kids were keen because as youngsters they had great recent memories of kangaroos and koalas! The wife was happy because her brother lived here, (on the proviso that we lived close to him), it was a compromise I was happy to accept as I got to move to Australia just not the exact part I wanted to move too! so we applied and were accepted.
We told the family who on my side were horrified, saddened and were in disbelief, my inlaws were far more pragmatic and just took a deep breath and wished us all the best. The house was sold, container packed and the very hard goodbyes had been said with many tears and we boarded the plane.
My inlaws have visited us nearly every year since we moved and my parents only made the trip once. My dad was taken ill in January 2009 with fluid on his lungs which was later diagnosed as Mesothelioma (asbestos lung cancer) he died boxing day 2009. I flew to England the week before Christmas 2009 and spent a week living in the cancer hospice, my dad fell into a coma a couple of days before Christmas so I decided to fly back to my wife and children in Australia and landed Christmas morning where I was greeted with “˜welcome home banners’ made by the kids, a huge difference from the horrific goodbyes to my mum and sisters at the hospice along with a last kiss for dad, I also felt like I was walking out on my sisters and mum in their hour of need. All because of my decision 4 years earlier I now had 2 families which were half a world apart and have to be cared for individually. I could not stand the thought of not spending Christmas with my kids. My sister phoned on boxing day saying Dad had died, I never made it back to the funeral.
I had dreams during the early days of pre migration and after migration that mum and dad, inlaws and sisters would visit and spend quality time by the pool, and this would make up for me not being around them. Sadly this generally hasn’t been the case.
I have worked extremely hard here, re trained and now have a well paid job. My wife has a part time job. The kids are “Australian” they sound Australian, friends are Australian and they do not consider themselves as “poms” this is because they all have now spent the majority of there lifes living here. We have a large house with a pool, we have four cars parked in the drive (1 each). My eldest is now at University, our middle daughter leaves school next year and the youngest has a while to go yet!
Is my wife and children happy? Yes, very. Am I happy? NO! Would they leave either Adelaide or Australia? NO. Would I? Yes I would love too.
As I said at the opening of this essay on my recent life,’ It is neither a complaint nor adulation about either Australia or England’ I neither love or hate either country, they are uniquely different and half a world apart, both have things I love and things I hate, both annoy and both delight, you have to work and pay tax in both!!
I have had one constant problem with the journey of migration, that problem is “ME” I am an Englishman living in Australia and am now living with an Australian family (even though it is mine!). I miss all things England, especially the family and I find it sad that my kids are generally uninterested in the “˜English family’. I miss the hustle and bustle, I miss the smallness of England and how close it is to the rest of the world, I miss the sometimes bad food and very busy pubs, I miss the unpredictable weather, I miss Poole Quay. I miss the English humour. I miss the “˜ME’ that migrated, as is often said there are turning points in your life and living at the cancer hospice was mine, I went into it as big kid and came out a wiser man, being the only Son with three sisters I feel i should be around them. We have been here nearly eight years, It hasn’t been easy, I do not have rose tinted specs and often wonder why we bothered to move.
Is “life” better now? Who can tell what may have been, the only thing I am sure of is that life is definitely far more complicated now. I have learnt that you have to look inside yourself to find 'better' and not at the world around you, I now realise I had the answer all along, I just never understood the question.
SteveBritish Expats Member "steve-n-jo"