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Returning to the frozen north

Returning to the frozen north

Old Feb 1st 2019, 12:51 am
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Default Returning to the frozen north

Hi everyone,

It's been a long time since I've been on here. We came out here to Perth from Alberta in 2009. The boom was on, and he got a job offer before we'd even left Canada. The kids were little. Life was all beaches and sunshine really for the first few years. A real honeymoon period. We built a house in Baldivis. Some family and friends even came to visit. We made a few friends, and really enjoyed our time in WA.

Things started getting trickier though as the years went on. My husband was working FIFO a lot and the isolation and loneliness for both of us was tough. Back in Canada, my mother had the start of dementia, later progressing to full Alzheimers. I was flying back every year to 18 months to try and support my aunt and family who were having to deal with the situation. I was having trouble finding full time, permanent work in my field.

By 2014, I wanted to move home, but we decided to try a different city in Australia, as we couldn't say Perth represented all of Australia and if I still felt that way, we could say that we'd given it a real go. So, in 2015 we moved to Melbourne. The economy over here was picking up and hubby found a job quickly and has been working straight ever since. The kids settled well, made new friends, and loved their new school.

The couple of years went well, but then the wheels fell off. My mother ended up admitted into long term care in 2017. By the time I visited her in April 2018, she no longer recognised me. Hubby did a FIFO stint in Darwin in 2017 to early 2018 to help pay down some bills, but it meant a 4 and 1 rota and me as a solo parent, with no friends or family for four weeks at a time. Both of my children were diagnosed with juvenile osteoporosis last year (apparently genetic, likely some recessive gene we didn't know we carried), both with spinal compression fractures, and I spent the year in and out of Monash Children's and RCH with the kids who were getting dexa scans, MRIs, bone biopsies, and finally started on treatment. My daughter had a bad reaction to her first round of the infusion meds and collpased in my arms at home. She recovered, but it terrified me. Shortly after this, the panic attacks started and I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I'm doing better now, thanks to an inpatient stay in private hospital with some of the best doctors and nurses around, but it's still a process and I take things day by day.

After all of this, we have decided to move back to Canada, even though it means walking away from quite a few things that we like about living here. And believe me, with all the news about the polar vortex, it's not looking appealing right now. I feel that I need more support than we have here to deal with the plot twists (lol) life has given us over the past couple of years. My husband loves his work here, we like Melbourne, the climate, the peninsulas, the ranges, all that good stuff. And there are a lot of things about Australia that I will miss. We've been here almost 10 years, and I'm not the same person who left Alberta. As another poster said on here, we've been Frodo-ed and good luck to us trying to settle back into lives in Edmonton. But the kids will need ongoing treatment for the rest of their lives. My mother is still alive, but once she passes, well, someone is going to have to deal with her house. Currently, my aunt and step-brother live there. My aunt is leaving the task of sorting 50 years worth of stuff to me (hurray) and that would take longer than a fly in two week trip. My brother won't do a thing and my step-brother would likely have it all sold for cash in a day to his friends for the highest bidder. I miss having close friends and family there for the ups and downs, not only to celebrate birthdays and holidays with, but to sit by a hospital bedside as we go through regular treatments and tests with the kids. I think about how amazing it would be to cook Christmas dinner for my friends whom I've known for anywhere from 22 to 30 years, or to have them come to see the kids' concerts and science fairs at school. Or just to be there with me, as I sit by their bedside in hospital, watching another infusion take place. Just to not be alone.

And I feel like we have a more positive future in some ways over there than here. We've not been able to buy another house since we moved to Melbourne because it became unaffordable for us. Back in Alberta, we might actually be home owners again one day. I know the economy is not as favourable as it is here, but that's going to be something that we have to deal with.

That's my update. We're planning to move back later this year, but it's a bit daunting sometimes. We moved overseas in 2009 and interstate in 2014. Now, to do this once again and some days I feel exhausted just contemplating it. We'll get movers and a container and let them do most of the work. And we need to bring our cat somehow. Both of the kids have Australian citizenship, so if they feel like they want to move back someday, or come here for post secondary, then they have that option.

Last edited by Japonica; Feb 1st 2019 at 1:41 am.
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Old Feb 2nd 2019, 8:27 am
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Default Re: Returning to the frozen north

What a sad and worrying few years you've had.

I wish you all the best with your return to Canada :-)
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Old Feb 3rd 2019, 10:36 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the frozen north

Thanks Nicky.
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Old Feb 7th 2019, 3:45 am
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Default Re: Returning to the frozen north

I feel for you Japonica. We're in a similar situation with elderly parents in the UK and a house that needs clearing before it can be sold to pay the fees, but without the extra dimension of sick children and mental health problems. I can't imagine how hard it must be for you.

I really don't want to rain on your parade, but I hope your Canadian friends and family do step up to the plate on your return. I have read on here so many times about people who miss friends and family and move back, only to find the support they anticipated does not materialise and their friends have moved on in their absence. As you say, you are not the same person you were; they probably aren't either, though I doubt many of them would have had as many challenges as you have had to face this last ten years. Try not to expect too much of them, that way you won't be disappointed if all is not as good as you hope, but delighted if everything goes according to plan.

Fingers crossed it all works out for you.
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Old Feb 13th 2019, 3:22 am
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Default Re: Returning to the frozen north

Thanks louie.

It's a difficult situation all around. Many of my friends have had ups and downs in the past ten years as well, with ageing and ill parents and their own health concerns. Support goes both ways and at least I'd be near them if they needed me.

I think this highlights some of the unanticipated risks of emigrating. It's one thing to live away from support networks when we're all healthy and well and everything is positive, but when there's chronic health issues, mental health issues, financial issues, then it becomes a whole other matter.

We'll see how things go in the next couple of months. The move still feels daunting, but would probably be best in the long run. I have to say though that the polar vortex doesn't look tempting...lol.

Last edited by Japonica; Feb 13th 2019 at 3:25 am.
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Old Feb 16th 2019, 7:41 pm
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Default Re: Returning to the frozen north

Sympathies to you! The ageing parent thing is a ball and chain that many of us carry unfortunately. We "moved" (well, in truth we just never returned from a holiday) to UK and have been caring (too well, I fear) for my parents although only dad is now left at 95 (tomorrow). From our point of view the move has been great - I must be fortunate with my UK friends because I have a load of old friends who have been amazing and supportive since we have been home and I have made a load more who are equally fabulous, having been away from home for over 40 years I knew that I would have to treat it like a new place - everyone has been great so I hope it works that way for you too. I guess, dont think of it as going "back" more like going "forward" and treat it like you treated a move to Melbourne. Good luck
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