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Thread: 6 weeks in and feeling very unsettled

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Default 6 weeks in and feeling very unsettled

    I have been following this forum for the past few years and have found posts so helpful we are now in NZ for 6 weeks but have really struggled to settle down and wondering if we have made the right decision to come Ė does anyone feel like this as all the posts I have read are about how everyone loves it from the time they step off the flight.

    We (myself, my two daughter now 18 and 13 years old) have been planning this move for the past three years and couldnít wait to come over it was my dream. We obtained our visas but due to a delay due to a medical waiver being required for my older daughter, (then 16 years old). We had to delay the move as she had then started her A level s and I decided that I wouldnít move to NZ until she had finished and then she would come over and do her university in NZ. We came over to NZ in Dec 2009 for a few weeks in order to validate the visas just before the year deadline .

    Upon our return to the UK we sold the house and continued our plans to come handing in my notice at work , giving notice to the school etc. My daughter now 18 years old decided that she did not want to come after all and planned to go to university in the Uk. After much talking we all agreed that myself and my 13 year old daughter would still make the move and try and complete the two years to obtain IRRV .

    We moved my older daughter into university in September 2010 and then we got our flights via Hong Kong. We sobbed so much on the flight leaving the UK I think everyone wondered what was wrong with us. We then realised that we didnít actually want to go and that we would miss my older daughter too much and that we had made a terrible mistake.

    We arrived in Auckland to the rain and cold and got our connecting flight to Palmerston North where my parents and sister live ( they had both emigrated some years ago and loved it). This being one of the reasons why we decided to come as we felt very isolated in London although we had a great network of friends in London we had no family there anymore. Also my dad had been diagnosed with cancer and I wanted to spend as much time with him
    Since we arrived both of us have struggled to feel settled and every day all I can think of is going back to the UK and missing my daughter so much especially when she tells me that everyone is going home for a weekend and she cant do this so itís the little things she misses and I know if we were there we would only see her every few weeks and would still miss her but somehow being so far has been so hard. She is coming to spend xmas with us and we look forward to that but I feel it will only make it worse and make us want to go back even more.

    We have found a rental in Palmy which we hate as it is a back section and I didnít realised how closed in this would make me feel and this is not why we came to NZ Iím now tied in to a 6 month contract and feeling really miserable. Our container was delayed so we were in limbo for a month before we had anything of our own around us but even now this hasnít helped and I cant even bear to unpack the boxes they are mainly stacked in the garage and we have taken out the bare essentials. My daughter started at an Interemdiate school in the town but hated it and I had to move her to a country school where her cousins go and she is much happier. I havenít really looked for work as I had decided that I would need this time being a single parent to help settle my daughter in etc and we are still trying to find her a high school that we feel comfortable with and running out of time as most schools have already allocated places. Luckily we have some savings which we can live off( pity about the rubbish exchange rate though!!!) Iím a social worker so donít think it will be too difficult to find work when Iím ready and think maybe it may be great to use the summer to visit the South Island where we have not been as yet.

    I am in a real dilemma at the moment as I feel we havenít made the right decision and keep wondering if we should return to the UK but feel like a failure if we just pack up and go back .
    Firstly we have sold our house in the UK and there is no way we will get back onto the London housing market Ė if we rent in the area we lived previously the cheapest rents for a flat will be £900 -1000pm. If we went back we would only want to go back to the area we know as I donít want to have start all over again.
    If we returned my parents would be devasted adn they need my support at the moment.
    There are the costs of returning and what if we get to the UK and find that we should have stayed afterall. I am so confused I feel if we go back then all the money and time we invested will be for nothing and we will not have fulfilled our visa criteria but not sure if we will be able to stick out the two years to get this.
    Has anyone come over and left a child at uni if so how did they and you cope?
    Has anyone gone back after such a short time in NZ ?

    Help Im so miserable - everyone in NZ is so friendly and it is a beautiful country im trying to get out each day to enjoy some of this beauty to try to help me feel more postive about this move but when I return home all i can think of is I want to go back to the UK.

    Bernie

    arrived September 2010 - Palmerston North

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Waikato
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    1,785

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    Hey Bernie, your situation sounds tough but I think is hugely complicated by having had to leave your daughter in the UK. I don't know what to say as I think it's hard for you here because you don't have her here, yet it would be hard for you now back in the UK because as you say you'd have to leave your family here in NZ and also there are practical obstacles that could mean what you return to is not what you want either.

    Whilst there are many people who step off the plane and it's all "sweet as", I PROMISE you there are many, many who struggle for at least the initial months. You are not alone in feeling like this and it isn't a sign that you've made a bad decision. It's a big deal moving out here and it takes a lot of mental and emotional adjustment, so go easy on yourself and don't expect too much. Whilst it's neat that you can take the time to settle in before needing to work this does leave you exposed to being more isolated than if you were working and probably gives you more thinking time too, which isn't necessarily a good thing (speaking from experience here!!). Try and make sure you're getting out the house every day and working toward settling here because whatever you decide in the future you do need to try and make it work for now, at the very least so you don't later wonder "what if I'd ...".

    If your daughter is coming out for Christmas I think the best thing would be to plan to really make the most of that with a "wait and see" policy on your longer term plans. I'm secretly hoping that your older daughter falls in love with NZ and decides to come here for uni! I'm so sorry you're having a hard time but you really aren't alone in finding it hard at the start and it doesn't mean you've made the wrong decision, regardless of how it might seem so right now! Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Christchurch
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    We had a hard time settling in at first ourselves. It may take forever but it will pass. (although I get the odd moment when I feel like running off again)

    I think the hardest part for you is the separation anxiety with your daughter which is a separate issue from the move to NZ but is only exacerbated by the distance. I would suggest dealing with them as two separate issues though.
    Dealing with a child growing up and moving on is hard---it's a big change in your life. And to be across the globe (and preventing weekend visits to ease the situation) makes it almost unbearable.
    Hopefully, your daughter will reconsider and transfer to NZ uni? If not, then you must just accept that she is a grown up now and going to get started on her own life.
    I would focus on the family you do have here--your other daughter and your ill father. It is so great that you can be here for him.

    The bad first rental is a right of passage for immigrants so just grin and bear it and then choose better the next time.

    The best advice I can give you is to just forget about moving back. you have said yourself that the money wasted would be too much, and that you would have a hard time of regaining the life you once had. That life is now gone. So you have an uncertain return. Just forget it. It will haunt you if you let it.
    We have only been successful here because we know we will never return to the US. So we have to make this work. This attitude has been our saving grace in the darkest days. We wanted to move here and we did. And we are going to suffer through the hard parts because it is worth it. The hard parts do pass eventually. You have to choose to settle. You have to make up your mind that you are going to make a home here.

    I honestly sympathize. It was so hard for us at first. I cried and cried for months. But getting out and making friends has helped tremendously. Getting a job was the best medicine. It returns a sense of normalcy to your life as well.

    I hope for you that you are able to make it through this dark time. The sun is shining nicely on the other side!! {{{hugs}}}}

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Earth
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    139

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    Hi Bernie,

    Welcome to the forum..

    I think you will find most people don't love it from the moment they walk off the plane, a lot of people are so busy in the initial first months they don't have time to think, and then it hits them..!

    It really took me around six months to feel settled, even then I still had wobbly days after that..

    I hated it at first. I had been 4 times and stayed with hubby's cousins, who were great...when we moved over all of a sudden the wife told us she didn't want us there for more than six weeks, and we had to find a house by then..hence why I have sold my house as I always felt it was the one we were rushed into..I hated nz and wanted to be back on the first plane to sydney and couldn't stop crying..

    Then we had xmas, new year and a holiday, and I pined for my family in Oz..finally I settled down, but no it wasn't a good start, and I intend to do it different next time around..

    Give it time, I know people will always say that to you, but it is true..I understand your situation is complicated by your daughter back home, so i can't give advice on this, only knowing if it were me and one of my girls, I would feel exactly the same..

    Chin up, take care, and glad you let it out, it feels good to vent!

    Michelle

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Animal Farm
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    Hello Bernie,

    Your definitely not alone. OH and I have struggled here for the past two years and are leaving shortly. It does take a little while to settle in anywhere, so after that initial period you will probably have a better idea if you have made the right decision or not.

    Best wishes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    35,532

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    Hello and welcome.

    I'm sorry you're going through a bad time right now. We get MANY posts on the forum from people who have trouble when they first arrive, so you're not alone and not abnormal. I think you've forgotten that people can have trouble making their way in a new place even when they move areas within their own country.

    Also, I firmly believe you would miss your daughter whenever she left home, wherever you were, and vice versa. I was 'parent-sick' (rather than homesick) when I left home. I have a friend here whose son has just gone to university after a gap-year spent travelling, and even he, who has managed to fend for himself on three continents, has found it hard to make a new home for himself, away from the parental base. And quite honestly, being able to make visits doesn't help - there's a bad temptation to give up and not go back. I used to talk to myself and say, 'But you always wanted to be a grown-up, didn't you? So get on with it.' And I knew my mother and father missed me, and we wrote often (before the days of easy phone calls), but they backed me up by pushing me to stay away.

    I agree with Kanga that you might actually find some benefit, both in distracting you from what is depressing you, and in making new contacts, if you went straight for finding a job, or at least, joining in activities outside the home. You do NEED other people, and if you don't give them the chance to know you by getting out and about, they CAN'T make contact.

    I do SO agree with every word GG has written here.
    The best advice I can give you is to just forget about moving back. you have said yourself that the money wasted would be too much, and that you would have a hard time of regaining the life you once had. That life is now gone. So you have an uncertain return. Just forget it. It will haunt you if you let it.
    We have only been successful here because we know we will never return to the US. So we have to make this work. This attitude has been our saving grace in the darkest days. We wanted to move here and we did. And we are going to suffer through the hard parts because it is worth it. The hard parts do pass eventually. You have to choose to settle. You have to make up your mind that you are going to make a home here.
    Of course there will be tears, and of course you will ache. But this does not stop you from taking charge of your feelings. Feelings do not have to be the most important thing in any situation (otherwise we'd all be pulled all over the place all the time). It's possible to acknowledge, 'Yes, that hurts. Poor old me. Now, what do I need to do/decide/think about next?'

    And it's VERY important to get in the habit of making yourself find something good in everything that happens - something to find pleasure in, or something learnt that will be useful for another time, or some benefit to another person - and concentrate on that, rather than looking at all the dark side.

    Don't look at the whole situation as too big to swallow. Take your life one step at a time. Recipe for sanity: at each point, live in the present, and do 'the next thing', whatever it is, to the utmost. Good luck, and be brave in making that luck for yourself.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Animal Farm
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    710

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    Quote Originally Posted by JandM View Post
    And it's VERY important to get in the habit of making yourself find something good in everything that happens - something to find pleasure in, or something learnt that will be useful for another time, or some benefit to another person - and concentrate on that, rather than looking at all the dark side.
    I have to disagree with this statement. Yes you can learn something from every experience, but not every experience is good. It is better to maintain some semblance of objectivity rather than becoming deluded with the premis that everything has some good in it. Somethings are good and somethings are bad, and the recognition and catagorization of experience helps us get through life.

    What if someone can't find something good in a situation, but they are constantly told that there is good in everything, then they think something is wrong with them and it makes everything worse.

    Sorry for the little rant, but the whole positive think movement chaps my behind. I recomend the book "Bright Sided" by Barbara Ehrenreich.
    Last edited by eassae; 10th November 2010 at 10:20 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Wellington
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    Hi Bernie
    I empathise with your predicament but as the others have said, you are not alone with your feelings. It is always difficult when families are split over thousands of miles. You do, however, have one advantage that a lot of us don't and that is you have parents and other family here in NZ living close by. Emigrating is a stressful time for everybody, regardless of family situation. Keep reminding yourself of the reasons why you chose to come to NZ.

    When a teenager goes off to university it is an emotional time for any parent so you would miss her whether she was in the UK or not. Think about how you would feel if it were the other way round and you were living in the UK and she decided to go overseas for uni or to spend a couple of years backpacking round the world Ė many young people do this and it is hard to be separated whichever way you look at it. Your daughter had the choice and she made an adult decision by choosing to be independent and remain in the UK for her education. It does not mean that she will stay there forever.

    You are a single parent so the bond you have with your daughters is quite strong and you need to be proud of yourself for bringing them up to be intelligent, independent young women able to make their own decisions in life. For the sake of your younger daughter, you need to stay positive and not let your feelings affect her. Most children at that age sympathise with the parentís feelings and say whatever they want the parent to hear so if you say you are unhappy and want to go back to the UK, of course she will agree.

    Use the time you have now to improve your personal situation Ė look for a new rental (you are lucky you only signed for 6 months, it could have been worse if you had a 12 month lease), start to apply for jobs, join social clubs etc and get to know your locality. With too much time on your hands, you are dwelling on negatives. Itís time for a positive change and you can do it!

    Good luck and keep us updated.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Great White North, Canuckistan
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    Bernie, I feel your pain. Your world is likely upside down and after having taken the plunge, there is little to hold on to. It may be a blessing for you that you have your parents and sister in NZ, but having to leave behind a young child on the other side is hard. However. The reasons you and your family had for making the move will likely still be the same though. Nothing has to last forever and sure enough moving from one place to the other does not have to be the final step. Give it a chance for a couple of years though. I think we've all been there in some way.

    It is hard to let go of all security around you and you have done so. As mentioned before, that is a done deal. Although it is possible to go back to where you were in life before coming to NZ, it won't be the same and you may have to rebuild your life then as well. Longing for the past is not making you happy right now and it seems to obscure your view to the future and the plans you had. Chin up! Wishing you all the best.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    USA
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    70

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    sad to see you are not happy. I think it is not so much about NZ but more about your personal situation with respect to separation from your loved ones that has left you in this state of turmoil. Any body will feel sad , so you are not wrong in feeling that way. I hope you will be able to make the next set of decisions with a calm mind and hopefully those decisions will make you happier. Best

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