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Where should we be? No man's land?

Where should we be? No man's land?

Old Aug 13th 2007, 1:15 am
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Default Re: Where should we be? No man's land?

Originally Posted by ozlord
Parents in London are buying stab vests for their kids to wear to school, atleast you don't have to worry about that in OZ.
may be so but some of the oz schools are now thinking about having metal detectors for pupils to walk throu before they enter the school as a lot carry knifes on them and not to mension they have a copper visit regually with all the drugs in schools too...
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Old Aug 13th 2007, 1:52 am
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Default Re: Where should we be? No man's land?

I'd be inclined to try Nimbin or Byron Bay first, before moving back to London. espcially Nimbin!! I met a young girl at the University of Queensland who had been brought up there - she was happy, open minded , and at ease with the world. If you're in the bible belt forget it! You don't have to be gay to experience prejudice from that lot: being left wing/poor/agnostic/eccentric: you name it, they don't like it.

If you do return to London, how about checking out private schools? Even though my politics are very left-wing, I kept my lads out of the State School system here, because at the time the State was almost fascist (The Joh Bjelke-Petersen era), and found the catholic school system to be kinder, more open-minded, and generally better all round. Of course, I don't know the current UK system.

I do hope things work out for you.

best wishes

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Old Aug 13th 2007, 2:37 am
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Default Re: Where should we be? No man's land?

I think it depends on where you live in Sydney, some places are easier than others from my experience when I lived there. Since Sydney is the gay capital of Oz as well as being second to SF in USA, I would think you would meet many people who weren't in the bible belt mentality.

Sometimes it is easier to make friends with other migrants as they are often in the same boat, whereas people who are settled in their friendships can be harder to break into. I also think the older we get it can also be harder starting over again. I've started over a few times in different countries and I think each time has got harder, as more people have their own cliques of social groups that they move in and often breaking into them can isn't always easy. Also people if they are working may find that again they stick to those that they know on down time, so again can be difficult.

These links may be helpful
http://www.newcomersnetwork.com/busi...ocial_club.php
http://gayparents.meetup.com/cities/au/sydney/
http://family-friendly-fun.com/links/kidsfun.html

Or maybe you could start you own group where you can maybe meet like minded people with similar interests etc in your area? Sydney was tougher for me that the other states I lived in, but maybe do some voluntary work, it is a great way of meeting people also. If you go down the index of the yellow pages of your area it should also list some groups or clubs that you and family can enjoy if you haven't done it already. Making good friends that are genuine unfortunately takes time and you have to climb over the chaff to get to the wheat sometimes.

I spent 12 years in Oz and it was a rollercoaster at times of good and bad, and I met some great people who became dear friends and I met the ones who need shooting, and at times I thought of coming back to UK. But I'm glad I didn't as often I met some good people and a negative situation became postive but that was because I had to make the necessary changes to make it happen in many cases. No where is perfect and there are things that we will like and not like about the people or country we live in. It is taking the positive out and trying not to let the negative things bother us too much. Not always easy...nor is starting a new life in another place.

See if changes in your life make it better and if they don't then make the decision to return. People you meet can make or break a place and I've had negative opinions about a place which I've ended up loving just down to the people who came into my life and the reverse could be said also.

Good luck whatever you decision and I hope you find happiness.




Originally Posted by Ian12
Never let it be said I am hasty. It will be three years in October that we arrived in Oz - that being me, my male partner of now 18 years and our two sunny and beautiful kids ages now 10 and 11 whom we adopted in the UK over four years ago. We were trail blazers.

My partner grew up in NSW but as soon as he was able, left for the UK where he felt he had a greater affinity. He never wanted to return Australia. My life was quite different. Born and bread in the UK and while I had much to be thankful for I felt like a little Englander.

In the 1990’s and again in 2001 we made three trips in total to Australia. I loved the outdoor life and my S.0. had a couple of good friends from way back. These were a couple in Melbourne who we stayed with and a couple in NSW. We talked about moving out to Oz for years. I got a visa in 1995.

In 2005 it was “Make your mind up time”. My visa would expire and I would never be granted a new one at my age. We decided to go for it. I sold my business but luckily could not sell our London home. That is still there.

The first year here was tough. The in-laws never took to the idea of us being around. Our bright and sunny boys were ignored and we were questioned why we should take on other peoples problems by adopting. I felt I had come into a time warp.

It was a shame our boys never had a good experience of cousins, aunt or grandmother. The latter died at the end of year one which caused a total rift between Robert (My S.O) his sister and her children. They live less than a twenty minute walk away. Sad. Yet no contact was better than the grief we had for 12 months.

I was not going to be deterred from doing my best to settle and so we bought a house - nice place, the Ozzie dream, pool, views, boat etc. Thinks were getting better but we found ongoing problems with schooling.

On a work level I had a couple of knocks. I was turned down for a post. one of which I was told it was because of my “domestic situation”. That resulted in an “anti discrimination” law case that dragged on and on. It has just been settled out of court. I now have a place of work where I am happy.

We are an outgoing bunch. I have found it hard to get more than superficially close to people. We went from a month in the IK of seeing people daily or twice daily to seeing no one other than work mates since we returned. Most people w know did not even realise we had been away. OK it's only three years but how long does it take before people notice you have been gone for over a month.

I have been the one saying “give it time”, so I surprised myself in the second week in the UK by saying "OK - we will come back but let's plan it properly". No date set yet. I am sad that it has not worked. Our Two good mates are still in Melbourne but sadly two other friends in NSW who have themselves and whom we hoped we would get close to backed off extra quick when we first arrived. It's strange but I have found that some friends who were on side before we had the boys backed off afterwards.

I had envisaged a beer of two with neighbours in our new life down under with children enjoying the pool. Well we have the second part OK. We have made two good mates who happen like us to be a gay couple. They tell us that our sense of isolation - or is it loneliness -is because of the suburb we are in: a true blue bible belt. They think that it would be very different if we were in the CBD. But would it? Why would it be? What about the children - cooped up in a high rise? If we are gong to make that sort of a move we may as well head back to our flat in central London - at lease we had a roof garden and lots of parks nearby ---- and a lovely school with supportive staff.

Dilemma two was that as we began looking at Secondary Schools while we were in London

One deputy head told us that they were pleased the now had their own
policeman in the school to stop knives being brought in. The same teacher, when asked about social mix told us that it was very balance: 50 per cent from Africa, 25 percent from the Indian Sub continent and 25 percent British = by which he was including UK born children from former colonies. Our little blondies stood out like shags on a rock.

OK we could move to the London burbs but would that be “out of the frying pan into the fire?” Is the idea of community and feeling it is important a bit of a myth. Should we be simply accepting that it is what it is and that some people are destined to be more isolated than others?

I don’t like the idea of failing – if failing it is. I am aware that the - door laid back lifestyle I was so longing for will not be available in Marylebone! But it has not been a reality in Sydney either. Last month we decided to give it two years and move back when the oldest was 13 but I am wondering why wait?

Any thoughts or reflections anyone may have would be good.
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Old Aug 13th 2007, 3:32 am
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Default Re: Where should we be? No man's land?

Originally Posted by ozlord
Parents in London are buying stab vests for their kids to wear to school, atleast you don't have to worry about that in OZ.
really
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Old Aug 13th 2007, 3:35 am
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Default Re: Where should we be? No man's land?

Originally Posted by Ian12
I had envisaged a beer of two with neighbours in our new life down under with children enjoying the pool. Well we have the second part OK. We have made two good mates who happen like us to be a gay couple. They tell us that our sense of isolation - or is it loneliness -is because of the suburb we are in: a true blue bible belt. They think that it would be very different if we were in the CBD. But would it? Why would it be? What about the children - cooped up in a high rise? If we are gong to make that sort of a move we may as well head back to our flat in central London - at lease we had a roof garden and lots of parks nearby ---- and a lovely school with supportive staff.
Does it have to be the CBD? Maybe try renting in another part of Sydney close to the CBD with a more diverse population (eg Glebe) to see if things improve, if so, perhaps then relocate there more permanently. Obviously real estate prices will be higher so you might need to settle for a smaller property.
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Old Aug 13th 2007, 5:20 am
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Default Re: Where should we be? No man's land?

I am in Melbourne and can think of many suburbs where your 'domestic situation' would be no problem to the neighbours. As you have friends here maybe you should give Melbourne a shot before you head back to London. It's a fabulous city despite not having the landmarks or climate of Sydney!
There are plenty of great secondary schools too - state and private.
Hope you find what you are looking for.
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Old Aug 13th 2007, 8:26 pm
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Default Re: Where should we be? No man's land?

Originally Posted by Stay
Hi Ian12
I don't really have much advise but just to say what a loving, nurturing and open life you are giving your two children, more than any education authority could ever give!!! You guys are brilliant.

Please don't take too much into account with OFSTED, I once ran a very successful kindergarten for 14 years back in the uk under the Reggio Emilia philosophy. We had 24 children per day, no advertising whatsoever was necessary, it was my parents who gave word of mouth!!! also could see the totally hands on environment for their child/children and not "the departments stores" environments!!! at the end of the day they were paying for their childcare!! Thank god for my parents wanting something more for their children, communication skills, playing outside, climbing, building camps, yes these children ages 3-4 years old climbing on trees, building camps no cotton wool here!!!!
............Well what iam trying to say is if you can visit the education environment except what your gut instinct is saying.

Government with OFSTED are making too much needless and focusing on too much paperwork,:curse: we had no OFSTED when attending school and that didnt stop me and many others from doing very well at school, also learning is life long!!! Iam 44 and love learning more now than then!!, we are still having children now leave school who cannot read, spell or even understand the easiest of mathematics!!!?? Even with all these OFSTED reports

Yes children are opting out of school due to the pressure but likewise so are the teachers!!

All schools have problems its whether they deal with them or not, I literally pulled my youngest out of Education due to bullying where they stuck their heads in the sand!!! I even contacted all authority departments, being in the education world!! myself and knowing who to call upon!! but still nothing was done, so for me OFSTED means nothing, just more paperwork.

So Ian read the reports but take them lightly, i know many schools who put on a great "show" for OFSTED got a fantastic report! others schools didnt get high marks!!, but they had no show to put on....just a good environment with contented children wanting to learn with appreciated parents and no high ratio of staff turnover!!!

All the best wishes for you, your partner and your two children

oh yes what a shame about your EX friends .............their loss!!

take care be safe
Thanks for this. I will take it on board. I guess we really need to visit a few more schools. We only had time to visit on on our visit last month.
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Old Aug 13th 2007, 8:36 pm
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Default Re: Where should we be? No man's land?

Originally Posted by dingbat
I have a friend (for over twenty three years now ) who trotted around the world looking for a place that he and his partner could call home. Sweden, Holland, USA, Canada (briefly) and a short sojourn to Sydney, he has yet to settle anywhere as well and as easily as he did in London. We had a natter the other night as he is thinking of coming home from Holland. Relationship with the OH has tanked, sadly, and he is needing to be where he "doesn't have to try too hard". I think that is the key. If you pick any major urban centre in the UK, who would care if you are a gay couple with kids? My friend summed it up when he said to me that he wants to be where he can call a friend to tell him/her that he's hit rock bottom and needs help or that life is just wonderful and he'd like to share his good fortune. I want to be where I go to sleep at night knowing that I actually belong. Home.

<cue Simply Red music >
It's complicated. I have a feeling others may have experienced similar things. Is it just the gay thing that isolates or is it just a component? We have made a few friends though parents at the school. Most are ex-pat brits. The reason why I think we have become a bit friendly is because they too feel out on a limb but for different reasons. We are in fact a family very committed to intergration and we have the kids in soccer, scouts etc. No one, but no one had ever pulled the gay card - that does not mean that it is not there. I had the bad experience on the work front but for the last year have worked in the public sector and my team are great. The problem here is that my qualifications are not fully recognised so I find myself on a salary of around one third of what i would earn in the UK. it's not just the money - it's the knowledge that I am in a job well below my capabilities.

Do we kid ourselves that this is not important? I think I did. It was only when another professional asked me: "Why are you doing this job when it's obvious that you have so much more experience" that it hammered the point home.

So I guess that is another part of the equation that makes us believe we might be better back in the UK - but I wonder - oh I wonder. Will I be one of those ping pong poms who are never happy anywhere?
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Old Aug 13th 2007, 8:47 pm
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Default Re: Where should we be? No man's land?

Hi

This is what I am talking about. I want to be frank. Our boys classroom aid in London was a lovely black lady from Zimbabwe. We got friend with her and her family in the weeks before we left the UK in 2004. We caught up when we returned last month. She is a very quiet pleasant woman yet she fulminated against how terrible the central London schools and spoke about the police on site and the stabbings. She had been able to withdraw her son from the state school, put him into a private school where she cleaned at in the evening to pay his fees as well as doing her day job in the primary school. Her boy was bright and the private school worked well for him. Our kids need special support. I am starting to look at the private sector but with two to pay for and as yet - no sense that specialist support will be available, I feel a bit lost.

My gut reaction at the school we looked at "Westminster City School" (Not to be confused with Westminster School, reminded me of something out of Dickens - scruffy, rough with little ethic mix.

I am finding it helpful to get this stuff off my chest and thanks to all you guys who have responded.
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Old Aug 13th 2007, 8:54 pm
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Default Re: Where should we be? No man's land?

Originally Posted by JoanL
I'd be inclined to try Nimbin or Byron Bay first, before moving back to London. espcially Nimbin!! I met a young girl at the University of Queensland who had been brought up there - she was happy, open minded , and at ease with the world. If you're in the bible belt forget it! You don't have to be gay to experience prejudice from that lot: being left wing/poor/agnostic/eccentric: you name it, they don't like it.

If you do return to London, how about checking out private schools? Even though my politics are very left-wing, I kept my lads out of the State School system here, because at the time the State was almost fascist (The Joh Bjelke-Petersen era), and found the catholic school system to be kinder, more open-minded, and generally better all round. Of course, I don't know the current UK system.

I do hope things work out for you.

best wishes

Joan
Thanks Joan

You are reading my thoughts. The problem with region Oz is work. We would find employment tough.
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Old Aug 14th 2007, 4:04 am
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Default Re: Where should we be? No man's land?

Originally Posted by Ian12
Thanks Joan

You are reading my thoughts. The problem with region Oz is work. We would find employment tough.
Mate anyone heading to Nimbin is walking into one of the most crime infested, drug cultures now- police have lost control of this previous hippy paradise. Now ice is being sold on the streets in the open.. Would not catch me there again..
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Old Aug 15th 2007, 4:56 pm
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Default Re: Where should we be? No man's land?

Originally Posted by Ian12
... They think that it would be very different if we were in the CBD. But would it? Why would it be? What about the children - cooped up in a ...
Can I ask which part of Sydney you're in? The reason that I ask is that Sydney is a large and significantly diverse city, and some areas will no doubt be different from, and harder than, others.

Also, as an aside, I definitely agree with whoever it was who said don't move to Nimbin (unless you want to be in a 1970s psychedelic time-warp, that is - apologies to those who like Nimbin, of course!). In any case, it sounds to me as if you want to live in mainstream society and be integreated into it, which is not something that Nimbin is noted for...
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Old Aug 16th 2007, 11:59 am
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Default Re: Where should we be? No man's land?

Originally Posted by Ian12
My gut reaction at the school we looked at "Westminster City School" (Not to be confused with Westminster School, reminded me of something out of Dickens - scruffy, rough with little ethic mix.
Would you have to live right in London? There are some great and very commutable places in the burbs with great schools.

One thing I've had to stop myself doing is comparing salaries and vacation time over here with England. Here isn't England and I realised if you can't change something you'd better get used to it. My new job has zero vacation for the first year and a generous week the 2nd year. And that's a working week not seven days!
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Old Aug 16th 2007, 8:25 pm
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Default Re: Where should we be? No man's land?

Originally Posted by Ian12
Hi

This is what I am talking about. I want to be frank. Our boys classroom aid in London was a lovely black lady from Zimbabwe. We got friend with her and her family in the weeks before we left the UK in 2004. We caught up when we returned last month. She is a very quiet pleasant woman yet she fulminated against how terrible the central London schools and spoke about the police on site and the stabbings. She had been able to withdraw her son from the state school, put him into a private school where she cleaned at in the evening to pay his fees as well as doing her day job in the primary school. Her boy was bright and the private school worked well for him. Our kids need special support. I am starting to look at the private sector but with two to pay for and as yet - no sense that specialist support will be available, I feel a bit lost.

My gut reaction at the school we looked at "Westminster City School" (Not to be confused with Westminster School, reminded me of something out of Dickens - scruffy, rough with little ethic mix.

I am finding it helpful to get this stuff off my chest and thanks to all you guys who have responded.
Hi Ian, If you are considering returning to the UK why not try somewhere other than London. We live up north in Cumbria and have some excellent schools. It is a lovely county to live in, friendly and welcoming people, lovely scenery, relatively low crime, jobs available (maybe not as high salaries as London but everything else is cheaper) and plenty of open spaces and fresh air free of charge for the kids.

Susan
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Old Aug 17th 2007, 3:04 am
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Default Re: Where should we be? No man's land?

Originally Posted by heading downunder 2002
Hi Ian, If you are considering returning to the UK why not try somewhere other than London. We live up north in Cumbria and have some excellent schools. It is a lovely county to live in, friendly and welcoming people, lovely scenery, relatively low crime, jobs available (maybe not as high salaries as London but everything else is cheaper) and plenty of open spaces and fresh air free of charge for the kids.

Susan
Yes its a beautiful part of the world, I am from north Lancashire, only a few miles from the Cumbria border. If they came and lived in the village I grew up in they would have pretty much the same problem they are having right now with not being accepted.
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