After a long and rigorous interview process, the initial news that we were moving to Australia was real, we decided to go! Some people may not have a choice to move to a different country, in which case, these emotions may be experienced differently.
Initial feelings: shock, overwhelmed, excitement
I think I was in state of shock initially, full of emotions, but my head also full of things to do and sort out. I became particularly overwhelmed, trying to combine work, children and a move abroad. I felt like I was walking through a long and dark tunnel of organisation, bureaucratic processes and logistics. I kept feeling determined enough to keep everything ticking and trying to take everything in, but there was so much to take in, so much unknown… Yes we were making a decision, I never felt that I was pushed or that I was made to go, we could have decided not to go. After long debates and discussions, we felt we had to go for it, live life to the full, take a great opportunity on!
Denial, unknown and fear
Initially, I felt the move was far ahead and could not necessarily envisaged how we would make it work. I was upset to announce my leaving to my colleagues and friends. I was not ready for ‘for sale’ board to go in front of MY house…Not sure it was denial, I had agreed to move and shared this project. I felt more shock that I agreed to do this, such a long way away on the planet. As a child, I had always felt that Australia was way too far to go to (from Canada). After living in the UK for 18 years, I felt more connections to that country as we had met Australians, but my knowledge of that country was still very limited. I was not sure I would be able to live the daily life. Being there on holiday is pretty different to living daily life. Yes there were fears of not being up to it, ‘what if it fails’, ‘what if we don’t like it’, ‘what if we end up in difficulties so far away’…
What do we tell the kids?
We felt that the full interview process and initial thoughts about a potential move was not for the kids to be part of. We told the kids we were moving when it was a reality. Yes, we had alluded to it along the way, just asking them their thoughts about possibly moving one day, but we never talked about it firmly before we were not 100%. We chose a moment where we are all together to announce the news, after we had been given a go ahead from the company. We invited friends over to tell them the news too. We felt it was important for it to be a celebration. Yes, there were tears but also laughter, celebrations and talks of opportunities and exciting times ahead.
Staying strong and positive
There were moments (and still are) where kids were anxious, upset and doubting our decision as parents. There were many situations where we had to bring positive thinking into discussions. I have found that it’s important children see you do that, as parents, as it will set example and shape their ways of thinking too, showing them how to think positively.
“it will be a great adventure”
“we will be able to see this and this”
“think about the weather”
“let’s look at houses together”
“let’s look at new activities you could do over there”
“you will be able to make new friends, have friends all over the world”
“what about we set ways to speak to your friends” (technology really helps nowadays)
It has really helped to talk to the kids in this way. It has allowed the future to be present in our lives and bring excitement to our move. There are occasions where we could have dwelled into the negatives and doubts, but this had the danger to bring us all down. We remained strong, turn possibly negative thoughts into positive ones, and carried on.
So if you are moving abroad:
- allow time for your emotions to be lived and talk these through
- plan discussion time within your family routines
- encourage everyone to think positively about the move and choose a new activity or projects so that it is a move for everyone