Going Home

Old May 24th 2016, 11:09 pm
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Default Going Home

Hello! I am quite new to the site and have never posted before but thought our recent experience may help shed some light on a few things if you are thinking about moving to the Calgary area. We visited this area on holiday and loved it so worked really hard for 2 years to set up a job for my husband who is a mechanic and finally moved here a month ago from Scotland.

The place is lovely however we are finding everything so expensive! The cost of food is crazy, especially milk and cheese! Weekly papers provide details of the special offers in all of the local stores but who has time to shop in 5 different stores just to save some pennies!

Childcare is extortionate! We have 2 young kids and so far all of the enquiries we have made show that it is the norm for mum to stay home and look after the kids or for both parents to work all the hours to pay for a private nanny which can be about $2000 a month! Some childcare day homes have really long waiting lists and most pre-schools which would be the equivalent to nursery at home only provide 7 and a half hours care per week for $150-$200 a month.

We were under the impression that the working culture here allowed for a lot of family time however our experience so far shows that it's live to work here not work to live! I am aware that we have only been here a short time however it was apparent really quickly that we were much better off at home and we underestimated the support and childcare we had nearby.

Obviously this is a personal experience and we are fortunate enough to be in the position to go home.
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Old May 24th 2016, 11:59 pm
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Default Re: Going Home

Originally Posted by weewifey View Post
Hello! I am quite new to the site and have never posted before but thought our recent experience may help shed some light on a few things if you are thinking about moving to the Calgary area. We visited this area on holiday and loved it so worked really hard for 2 years to set up a job for my husband who is a mechanic and finally moved here a month ago from Scotland.

The place is lovely however we are finding everything so expensive! The cost of food is crazy, especially milk and cheese! Weekly papers provide details of the special offers in all of the local stores but who has time to shop in 5 different stores just to save some pennies!

Childcare is extortionate! We have 2 young kids and so far all of the enquiries we have made show that it is the norm for mum to stay home and look after the kids or for both parents to work all the hours to pay for a private nanny which can be about $2000 a month! Some childcare day homes have really long waiting lists and most pre-schools which would be the equivalent to nursery at home only provide 7 and a half hours care per week for $150-$200 a month.

We were under the impression that the working culture here allowed for a lot of family time however our experience so far shows that it's live to work here not work to live! I am aware that we have only been here a short time however it was apparent really quickly that we were much better off at home and we underestimated the support and childcare we had nearby.

Obviously this is a personal experience and we are fortunate enough to be in the position to go home.
Appears to be a serious case of homesickness to me. But that's okay, many immigrants suffer from it. I doubt you researched fully and properly the conditions here. Milk and cheese have always been more expensive than the UK. The general consensus from most other members is that it's basically an economic washout between Canada and UK. Good Luck on your return.
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Old May 25th 2016, 12:36 am
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Default Re: Going Home

I agree with Plastic: if you've only been here a month and you're still at the comparing stage, it could just be homesickness and I'm sure culture shock. At first we think everything is wonderful about our new country, then the shock sets in and we compare the new place unfavourably to where we've come from. This is a recognized stage of culture shock.

You can go back or persevere and see if you settle. I am not saying those pangs of home sickness ever completely go completely: I find when I am in a negative space I do the comparing thing and of course the UK comes out on top.

Here's what the Government of Canada has to say about culture shock:

https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/livi.../culture-shock

I know they are writing about Canadians going to live abroad but the same applies to immigrants who come to live here.

S
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Old May 25th 2016, 12:42 am
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Default Re: Going Home

Forum regulars, please sigh and just look away, you've seen this (my comments) before
Originally Posted by weewifey View Post
Weekly papers provide details of the special offers in all of the local stores but who has time to shop in 5 different stores just to save some pennies!
I can only speak from my experience but it's far from a few pennies saved and it really doesn't involve visiting five different stores, or even two, instead of one to make it worth it.

Curious, I just looked at Calgary on line flyers. Some different supermarkets to here, better if anything and I reckon to save 30%-40% by paying attention to the flyers.

We don't have our own transport so we're certainly not interested in going to different supermarkets each week.

The local Shoppers Drug Mart almost routinely has the cheapest bacon, cheese, butter, bread, coffee, pop, confectionery, toiletries and off the shelf meds (if you don't mind buying whatever brand is on offer) milk.

Because we are limited to returning from further afield with shopping, by taxi, we are careful about when and where we shop.

We mostly fit it in with something else someone in the house has to do like medical appointments, cinema trip, other shopping needs, other appointments, eating out, whatever. Only one of us works and she is close to a Superstore. If there's something too good to miss she pops in and gets home 30 minutes later. Just something like that means we don't have to make a trip or we make a different trip.

I'm retired. But if I worked most of the likely centres of employment would offer additional opportunities to get a good deal as well as save us from purely a grocery shopping trip.

When stuff is available at ridiculous prices (99c lb pork chop/hams or half price beef) buy and freeze. If one particular veg, say Broccoli, is half it's normal cost, buy it instead of the Cauli. Next time it's likely the other way round.

When the coffee is $5 off, buy two. You quickly get used to how often the deals come around and you can stock accordingly.

If you planned to get that joint of beef out the freezer for the weekend but somewhere has a Turkey for $10 or chicken is half price, buy it and save the beef for another day.

I have called at two different supermarkets on the same trip. By bike. If it's worth it and do-able within those limits it would be do-able by my own car.

Before we lived here we were in Quebec with the in-laws who did drive. Of the four obvious places to grocery shop, two were in the same mall and the other two were both on the way back home.

Because you have a list you actually spend less time inside the supermarket. You know where stuff is and you know what you're getting. If you are able to call at two it's likely to be half an hour targeted shopping in each rather than 45 minutes in one. That extra 15 minutes can save as much as $40 in every hundred.

It all quickly becomes second nature.

Last edited by BristolUK; May 25th 2016 at 12:46 am. Reason: word 'save' missed :(
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Old May 25th 2016, 12:54 am
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Default Re: Going Home

As others have said it is very normal to go through a homesick stage especially if you are used to having family close by which you relied on for support, childcare for example. Often it is made worse by having the 'grass is always greener' perspective which we have all had to a certain degree. The best thing to do is try and not compare Canada to the UK (I have just come out of this phase after 5 months and am a lot happier). Groceries on the whole are about even when you take into account stuff that is cheaper than the UK. Your slightly lucky in Alberta as you don't have provincial sales tax.

If you can try and stick with it for a little while longer and see if it improves. You husband is working but if you don't mind me asking are you? The reason I ask is my wife was terribly homesick when we lived abroad previously because she had little contact with anyone other than me (read into that what you want), but in moving to Canada she has got a job and been a lot happier (appreciate you have kids and so it may be a struggle).

Also agree with Bristol's comments that the easiest way to save money is to adapt your menus to what is on sale at a particular time. Freezers are a huge advantage.

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Old May 25th 2016, 1:00 am
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Default Re: Going Home

We find the cost of living here significantly cheaper than it was for us in the UK.
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Old May 25th 2016, 1:05 am
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Default Re: Going Home

Whilst certainly valid, the replies so far don't address the major issue as I see it - the cost of childcare. It is expensive, $800 a month for our 4 year old. So the choice comes down to either one parent works and the other is the childminder, or both work and go through the rigmarole of finding and paying for childcare.
If only the newspapers included flyers from nurseries offering 40% off! 😂
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Old May 25th 2016, 1:21 am
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Default Re: Going Home

I remember some years ago, in London, our Nursery was charging us 1000GBP a month for 3 1/2 days a week. It was a nice Nursery with good ratios.
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Old May 25th 2016, 1:26 am
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Default Re: Going Home

Child Care Programs & Services | YMCA Calgary
Preschool Care, Daycare - Magical Little Thinkers Preschool - South Calgary, Calgary
Tuition – Pre School, Daycare, Childcare In Calgary | Kids U
Calgary Daycare, Preschool, Childcare, Kindergarten Calgary AB

All the above seem to charge around $1300 a month for full time care...

I believe there's also a subsidy you can apply for. http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/...ort/15104.html
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Old May 25th 2016, 2:40 am
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Default Re: Going Home

Please don't go home just yet. Don't ever let anything defeat you. If you stay longer, tough it out, and then decide as a family to change your mind and go home, that's a decision, not a reaction.

You worked hard to get here, and the reasons that made you leave the UK are still very valid.

I would say that probably more than 80 per cent of us on here would have moved back to where we had come from, during the first month, had we had the chance.

Working practices are different here...lots of them are just talk though. I had a colleague who told me she always worked 60 hours a week. She arrived after me in the morning, left before me, and had long lunches....but in her own heroic story of herself she was sacrificing the time, as she was so much better than the 'rest of 'em!

Bristol is right, if you see it on special, buy it and eat it! One of the odd things we have talked about as a family, is how very seasonal we're eating...we can't get fresh green veggies here until theystart to grow, but they finally are and they will be with us.

Child care costs are extortionate the world over, except for a few mavericks rogue states! Having chilren is an enormously expensive hobby!

Please make this work for a little more than you have so far.

Very best of luck
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Old May 25th 2016, 2:59 am
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Default Re: Going Home

Originally Posted by MillieF View Post
Please don't go home just yet. Don't ever let anything defeat you. If you stay longer, tough it out, and then decide as a family to change your mind and go home, that's a decision, not a reaction.

You worked hard to get here, and the reasons that made you leave the UK are still very valid.

I would say that probably more than 80 per cent of us on here would have moved back to where we had come from, during the first month, had we had the chance.

Working practices are different here...lots of them are just talk though. I had a colleague who told me she always worked 60 hours a week. She arrived after me in the morning, left before me, and had long lunches....but in her own heroic story of herself she was sacrificing the time, as she was so much better than the 'rest of 'em!

Bristol is right, if you see it on special, buy it and eat it! One of the odd things we have talked about as a family, is how very seasonal we're eating...we can't get fresh green veggies here until theystart to grow, but they finally are and they will be with us.

Child care costs are extortionate the world over, except for a few mavericks rogue states! Having chilren is an enormously expensive hobby!

Please make this work for a little more than you have so far.

Very best of luck
as always.
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Old May 25th 2016, 3:13 am
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Default Re: Going Home

If I recall, when my son first went into daycare it was about $1650 a month. That was downtown Toronto, in the same building my ex-wife worked in and it was a rather nice daycare. Others in the area were similarly priced though.

His commute in to Toronto was made amusing by an excellent GO CSA, who loved the little guy (C, we think you're great! ). However, kids being kids, the commute was not always fun, so we moved him to a Daycare closer to home (YMCA attached to a local elementary school). The cost did drop to around $1200 a month and then as he got older I believe it dropped further to $1080.

He's now in JK, and does have before and after care, again provided by YMCA, and the cost is again lower, looks to be around $480 a month for before and after school care.

I'm sure if you were to go to some unlicensed daycare it'd be cash in hand, and a lot cheaper, but then would you really want to potentially put your child at risk? I know I wouldn't.

I might complain about cheese prices now and then, but these days I don't tend to notice the price differences, ye gods, I think I've gone native

When I first came over I had a nice big safety net in that my employer stated I could return home without consequence if I really didn't like it, I'd still have a job to go back to. In addition, I could stay at my parents place while looking for somewhere else to live. This is something the vast majority don't have, so I was lucky.

I decided to really give the place a chance, and had in my mind I'd give it a year, see how I felt. the year came round, I felt pretty good, so gave it another year, and so on. That was back in 2003, and I'm still here, and have no plans to return to the UK, partly due to have a son here, but even before he appeared, I didn't really want to leave, and I do consider this my home now, I've put down some roots, and am planning on putting down more.

If you can stick it out a bit longer, I'd recommend it. In addition, perhaps another province might offer you something different. Rather than moving country, move province.
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Old May 25th 2016, 3:15 am
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Default Re: Going Home

Originally Posted by Bucks_Family View Post
Whilst certainly valid, the replies so far don't address the major issue as I see it - the cost of childcare. It is expensive, $800 a month for our 4 year old. So the choice comes down to either one parent works and the other is the childminder, or both work and go through the rigmarole of finding and paying for childcare.
If only the newspapers included flyers from nurseries offering 40% off! 😂
Bucks_family thank you for your response and you're right, childcare is the biggest issue for us. We have a 4 year old and a 5month old so would require full-time care for both of them and many places won't take the little one until she is a year old. This doesn't leave many options if I want to remain working as I always have, unless we pay for a private nanny!
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Old May 25th 2016, 3:21 am
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Default Re: Going Home

Originally Posted by plasticcanuck View Post
Appears to be a serious case of homesickness to me. But that's okay, many immigrants suffer from it. I doubt you researched fully and properly the conditions here. Milk and cheese have always been more expensive than the UK. The general consensus from most other members is that it's basically an economic washout between Canada and UK. Good Luck on your return.
Thank you for your reply plastic. We are not suffering from homesickness and did carry out lots of research prior to coming out here. We have friends and family here who enjoy living here but they are happy to have one parent stay at home with the kids until they attend school. I'm afraid I enjoy working and would like to continue being a working mother however the childcare options are very limited, and expensive.
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Old May 25th 2016, 3:25 am
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Default Re: Going Home

Originally Posted by Snowy560 View Post
I agree with Plastic: if you've only been here a month and you're still at the comparing stage, it could just be homesickness and I'm sure culture shock. At first we think everything is wonderful about our new country, then the shock sets in and we compare the new place unfavourably to where we've come from. This is a recognized stage of culture shock.

You can go back or persevere and see if you settle. I am not saying those pangs of home sickness ever completely go completely: I find when I am in a negative space I do the comparing thing and of course the UK comes out on top.

Here's what the Government of Canada has to say about culture shock:

https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/livi.../culture-shock

I know they are writing about Canadians going to live abroad but the same applies to immigrants who come to live here.

S
Snowy thank you for your reply. As I have replied to plastic, we are not suffering from homesickness, or culture shock. We are making decisions based on the best care available for our 2 young children to also allow us both to work.
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