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Family, Friends and Your Migration

Every time I read the tales of how families have coped with loved ones migrating, it always makes me think about how I will deal with my own situation once it comes around.  Is there a perfect way of telling your family you are moving to the other side of the world?  Should it be kept secret till the last possible minute? Or is there a better way of ‘sweetening the pill’?

Every time I read the tales of how families have coped with loved ones migrating, it always makes me think about how I will deal with my own situation once it comes around.  Is there a perfect way of telling your family you are moving to the other side of the world?  Should it be kept secret till the last possible minute? Or is there a better way of ‘sweetening the pill’?

Telling the family

{mosgoogle right}I don’t know if it was a mistake or not, but I told my family and friends the minute we decided to emigrate.
Met with comments such as ‘Oh yes, everyone says that.  You won’t go’. Very few people believed it would happen and I must admit, sometimes I wonder that myself. They expect it all to be done and dusted in a month and a year down the line its ‘Haven’t you gone to Australia yet?’

We all take our own time in our migration process for our own reasons and where as you and I know that ‘Home wasn’t built in a day’, our relatives however, think it is. In hindsight, I wished we had waited until we get a positive skills assessment, just in case we fail. But hey ho, life isn’t like that is it?

I think that it’s nice to tell people when you have something to tell them instead of telling them the day before you go, although some would disagree. By keeping people informed of your choice, you are giving them the choice on how they deal with it.
Don’t expect them to be too happy as I have found out!  ‘What has Australia got that the UK hasn’t?’  People have asked. Without going into too much detail of justifying your reasons, the ‘life is too short not to live it to the full’ is always a good reply.

Mums and Dads are usually the most devastated.  They are not going to be happy that their child/grandchildren are moving so far away and their reaction manifests itself in all kinds of ways. Emotional blackmail, threats of cutting you off from the family, someone even said their parent threatened suicide. Feelings of desperation to stop their child from leaving and upsetting the ‘family security blanket’ can make a person do strange things. Most usually come round though and it’s your reaction that can sometimes determine the outcome.

First of all, try not to match anger with anger as this will fuel their reaction.  Keep yourself calm and consistent and don’t justify yourself whilst they are still angry. Hard I know, but more often than not, when you have walked away from the argument or upset, the other person will calm down and apologise. After you have told them, allow them to take in what you have said.  You are excited about your new life, they are scared. 

Making it easier

Once things have settled down there are a few ways of making it easier, or should I say attempts to make it easier! This suggestion is depending on your finances and I know for a fact my situation wouldn’t allow this but if it did, then I would do it for sure.
Our parents are scared of us leaving them because they feel that we will be unreachable in our new country.  So we need to eliminate that problem for them.  Some travel sites sell flight vouchers that you can buy to the value of a flight. They can be cashed in and used accordingly and make an excellent gift to those that can afford it. Buy yourself a plastic wallet of A4 size and decorate it with all things Australian. Inside it you put your flight vouchers.

For those that will know where they are staying, you could have a greeting card made with the address of your new home on the front and inside you could have an invitation for them to visit you.

For those that will find accommodation on arrival, send the card with the address after you arrive. Get a map of the area in which you will be staying and details of local shops, schools etc, enclose it in your wallet with pictures of your new area.  Make your family feel involved, let them know everyday details of where you will be living – this will make them feel included.

If you have children, send school photos after you arrive with details of your child’s schooling – again, make them feel included and that they are still a huge part of your life. After all, most of us fear what we know nothing about.

Once you have arrived if you have a camcorder, try and make video diaries to send them once a month.
Webcams – if your loved ones don’t have a webcam, could you get one for them?
Another idea is that when we go to Australia, I would love my Dad to fly out with me for a holiday so we can leave one another on neutral territory and he can see where we will be living as well as embrace the beauty of the country. 

Finally…

Should things become unbearable with the reaction you receive from your family and communication is somewhat impossible then write down your feelings in a letter. Tell them you are leaving to make not just a better life for your family but also a different one.
And it’s down to your Mum/Dad/support network and the way in which you have inherited their values, that you are able to make this brave decision in doing this. Tell them nothing is forever and you are only as far away and as impossible to visit as they want you to be. You will always be their Son/Daughter and being in another country won’t change that. But it is something you have to do and would so value their support. Tell them you love them however they feel about your choice. Because at the end of the day, when someone leaves the family unit to step out into the world, it rocks everyone else’s foundations and makes them question their own lives.

Accept the fact they will deal with it in their own way, go forward and embrace the challenges that come your way and eventually, your family might just see that you have done the right thing after all.