Our oldest child Yasmin announced yesterday that she has bought a ticket to Melbourne. Not for a trip but a one-way ticket to go and live there. Yasmin has been talking about it for a while but her buying this ticket seems so much more definite.
She has been sorting her belongings for weeks now. She is browsing through our house to see what she can take to her new abode. Her age is right for moving out, she has the maturity and she needs to start her own life.
Yet, I feel as if someone has cut my arm off. If it would be the right arm, the one with the bursitis and the tendonitis, it could be a god sent. However I will miss her heaps.
Her plan is to live a couple of years in Melbourne either working as a graduate in some firm or if things do not work out that way, she may opt for a Masters degree. Either way will give her 2-3 years in Melbourne.
It means that we will leave behind one of our kids on the other side of the world. Our plan is to move to Europe in a couple of months. Familiar feelings come to mind as we did the same to our families when we moved to Australia some 25 years ago.
I believe when you have emigrated once or twice, have travelled the distance back to the home country for visits, it becomes less of a BIG thing. Some of my friends would find it hard to move 100 km away while I take an overseas move in my stride as if it is only 100 km away.
Leaving a child behind…
I am a bit more aware of it at the moment. To leave a child behind or have a child moving to the other side of the world is different. In my immediate Australian environment I have a client whose daughter lives in London. A friend whose daughter studies for a Masters in York, England and another who has a son in the USA and a daughter in England.
It seems common enough and it all causes us mums and dads to have extra worries and fears about what could go wrong. It think that is where the problem lies. What could go wrong and our inability to pop over to check it out. It requires at least a 24 hours flight and a couple of thousand dollars. Not so straight forward!
It is not Yasmin’s first move. She has studied at a university in Hangzhou, China for 6 months. She went by herself and sorted it all out independently. We visited her and were for a week or so witness of her independent life over there. I fell in love with China, against expectations by the way.
A little secret is that in the same city where she studied, we have a friend. Our first homestay student ever was from the exact town where Yasmin ended studying in. That was a tremendous peace of mind because she could be there for emergencies and support when Yasmin arrived.
Letting a child go….
Our youngest daughter, Zoe wants to study in Groningen, the Netherlands. As she has the Dutch nationality, she can go to university there as a Dutch citizen. No international University fees for us!
We are going in the same direction but I have to admit that I would not be able to let her go by herself to Europe at the age of 18. I would really draw the line there. First of all she does not speak any Dutch and secondly she is inexperienced when it comes to settling in a different environment. Point blank!
We are actually not going to live in the Netherlands so eventually she will be by herself. The fact is that I can fly less than an hour and I will be where she is. Also there is family nearby and other connections.
Something to think about….
You could ask if I would leave her in Brisbane by herself? What if she would decide to study at UQ and live in a share house? Would we still be able to leave to go to Europe. Between you an me I am glad I don’t have to answer that question….
Just imagine though. Would you sacrifice your dreams and stay in a country for your child? We have been living with the plan to move back to Europe for 5 years now. We even bought a house in the South of France. Would we forsake on that plan if the Zoe wanted to stay in Australia?
She is only 17 at the moment. How much is age a determination? When is someone mature enough to be independent? My sister was 18 when she became an orphan, I was 20. Maybe it is because of that that I would have my doubts.
We were so young, I would have loved to have some advice from an older person at the time. I am sure we made some crazy choices. We may have thought at the time it was totally cool but in the end it was very likely not so sensible at all.
So in a couple of months our little family unit will have fallen apart. Yasmin is moving to Melbourne in May and our homestay student needs to find another Brisbane host before we move out in July. I will fly to London in July and my husband and youngest daughter will follow in the beginning of September.
The beginning of another era…
Please feel free to write about your experiences or to comment on mine. I was told that commenting on my blog was a pain however after a thorough search I found a box to un-tick. It seems easier now. Let me know as I only will know if you tell me.
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