Tag Archives: migration

Reflections on my emigration to Europe so far…..

I am sure that most people would find an emigration stressful. Off course there are different types of emigration and it makes a huge difference if your move is a consequence of free choice or to escape danger. Our move back to Europe is a result of our own decision based on assessing Australian versus European living standards.

emigration, Stradbroke Island

One of the beautiful Australian beaches. I will miss them but their memory is chiseled in my mind.

To be honest there is not much wrong with Australia. Although a couple of nasties are sticking up their head! All over it is a very pleasant country with a stunning scenery. We just have decided that we like a different scene for the near future.

We have had our fair share of Down Under, more than 25 years to be specific. It also helps that both our kids also like the idea of moving to Europe. The youngest is planning to study in The Netherlands and our plan is to attend a couple of open days in November at some Dutch universities.

Funnily as we made the plan to migrate together, so far it has been only me who has made the move. I booked my ticket to leave immediately after we would leave our house as it seemed a logical consequence?? For my husband and youngest offspring there seemed to be some reasons to hang on to Oz a bit longer. As a result they both leave on different dates after they have finished their ‘things’ 😉

Emigration and stress

I just read an article written by a psychologist about moving stress and it seems I am doing naturally what she recommends. As I have some hidden psychology knowledge in me dating from a long time ago some common sense may be guiding me here and there.

It was weird yet good for me to arrive by myself. This way I have only my own feelings to deal with and I can ease into a strange but also vaguely familiar territory. I arrived in London where I lived for 5 years and where my husband is from. There is family there and I had a place to stay. The same goes for The Netherlands where I do the round of friends and family.

emigration, Bunne, Dutch country side

Bunne. Flat as a pancake but oozing with charm. Very pretty surroundings for walking and cycling.

I suppose from that point of view it is very different from other migrants. So far there has been no stress to find a place to live and fortunately I have people to talk to. Furthermore I speak all the languages of the countries I visited so far and they are familiar to me.

Despite this both England and The Netherlands do not feel as my home. I am not a citizen in either country although I am Dutch, I am married to a Brit or own a house in France. I have no immediate rights in these countries and really at this stage I am just a tourist.

Resident status

Officially though I am still a resident of Australia. From their point of view I have just left for a holiday. There could be an issue to get back into the country as I left without having a re-entry permit. I tried to apply online before I left but the immigration website was being a pain so I gave up. The girl at the border mentioned it but we both knew I am able to apply for an Aussie visa when I am abroad.

emigration, moving, stress

Limoux – view of the bridge and the church tower in the centre of town

France is the place where I intend to become a resident but so far I have not really an idea how to go about that. This is also important for my husband because Brexit will throw a spanner in the works for him. However as my husband he has European access and we only have to make it official. This again is strange territory but I am sure there is an answer.

The joy of emigration

It all is exciting and to be honest slightly daunting but that makes it also a challenge. I love challenges…! Every official thing I manage to accomplish feels like a small victory and gives me confidence. I am not a novice at migrating either. Australia was the 4th country I lived in for longer stints and there were several more where I spent shorter periods. Norway and Greece are amongst those.

There is a difference off course to live a short period somewhere and to remain a citizen of your home country. It is not the same as leaving officially and to become a citizen elsewhere. I suppose we fall into the last category with this emigration.

While I am writing all these things and am busy contemplating the above issues, I realise it helps writing about it. Everything becomes quite clear and easier to oversee. I suppose writing is about delving into your inner feelings and thoughts and expressing them somehow in words. It makes you step back and assess not only the situation but also your way of thinking. It definitely helps me putting things in perspective.

My emigration rules

Therefore my rule at the moment is to have no expectations, to live every day as it comes and enjoy consequently the proces! I have just spent a lovely week with my sister and I am in the middle of catching up with three long time friends. I am enjoying these moments and will make the most of it 😀

emigration, Groningen, outdoors, coffee and cake

Enjoying the summer and outdoor living in Groningen.

Most of all I like to thank the people who have opened up their houses for me and made me feel comfortable. I hope I can return the favour in our house in Limoux, France

Feel free to comment, express opinions and share experiences about emigration. I am sure those considering a move may benefit from it.

See you next time!

emigration, happy, at ease



Planning to leave a country after 25 years

Planning to leave a country is very likely an un-imaginable concept for many people. Most people never had to deal with it – or may not have toyed with the idea at all.

I can remember a girl friend whose husband was offered a job in a different town in The Netherlands. The town was less than an hour away and it meant a big improvement career wise.

To cut a long story short,  she could not do it. She could not face the prospect of giving up everything that is familiar. Nor could she imagine having to make new friends and leaving her family behind.

Planning to leave a country – what does it mean?

All the above factors come into play when you move. Even when you move only an hour away. However if the distance from familiarity is merely a short drive away it is not too hard to step back into that ‘other old life’.

It is a different story when you move to a different country. Many more things will be unfamiliar and it takes considerable time to adapt to new systems and ways of doing things. Even nowadays when distances seem to have gone smaller, it still requires substantial effort and ability to adapt to make a living elsewhere.

It becomes a fair bit harder when your new home is on the other side of the world. Take for instance the distance to Australia or New Zealand from Europe.

When during the fifties people were immigrating to Australia it meant you would go forever. You bought a ticket for the boat trip over, took all your worldly belongings with you and set of to create a new life on the other side of the world. Usually you would never return to the home country.

Nowadays it is very different. You can fly in 24 hours to the other side of the world. It may shock the body a little bit but it is very do-able. I think I have done it 15 times forward and backwards. People who make the move to a country like Australia or New Zealand have plenty of opportunity to see family and friends again.

Our emigration to Australia

sydney, harbourview, harbour bridge,

New Years in Sydney 1993. View from Neutral bay

We, my English husband and I, as a couple, made this move 25 years ago. We actually met in Australia as back packers. The emigration was my third trip to Australia. We both applied for skill migration. Keith was an IT professional and I was an experienced restaurant manager and both these professions were ‘wanted’.

It only took 6 weeks for our application to process successfully.  I have to admit I submitted my application from London as I had my doubts about success through the Australian Embassy in The Hague. They had not been willing give me a work permit years before my application, so why would I have a chance to get permanent residence?

We arrived in Australia in 1991 and started building our new life in Sydney where we lived for 7 years. We had two daughters and moved to Queensland. Since 2000 we have lived in Brisbane and raised our girls there who are now 23 and 17.

Planning to leave Australia

leaving, migrating, aeroplane, Australia, planning to leave

Distances seem shorter however it still takes almost 4 hours to fly from Brisbane to Darwin

We toyed with the plan to leave Australia for the first time in 2011 before the oldest would go to University and the youngest start high school. Bad economical and financial situation in Europe held us back meaning we stayed in Australia. Only realising we were committing to a new stage in the life of our kids – uni and high school.

Now 5 years further, that stage is over. Yasmin, our oldest has just received two letters containing the certificates of the double degree she did over the last 5 years. And Zoe has finished the International Baccalaureate (IB) and is keen ,or not, to go online to see her results on January 5th. That is when the IB in Geneva releases the scores worldwide.

That means there is another window of opportunity to ‘call it a day’ in Australia……

Planning to leave a country?

I believe it is a matter of mindset and it may take a couple of personality traits that is not in every one’ genes . Is it a sense of adventure? A wish to start all over again? Exploring the unknown?

I don’t know the exact answer – all the above reasons have an appeal to me. In general I find predictable ‘hard to take’ and I love challenge. Actually I function the best when I am challenged.

When you live in a country like Australia it is not hard to find similar minded people because most people here are migrants or at least the descendants of migrants. Australian only tend to call third generation Australians ‘real Australians’. The rest is all new!

UK, London, view, planning to leave

A view from St Paul’s Cathedral over the city of London on a grey summer day

Every time when we visit Europe we realise that the ‘easy’ attitude we seem to have adopted is not accessible to all. People who have never moved are in awe of our plans – inspired and at the same time horrified. But I know that planning to leave is not something they would do that easily.

There is a first time for everything

They say, it is a first for everything and maybe you get desensitised when you have emigrated before. We went from England to Australia in 1991, back to England for 2 years in the late nineties and to Brisbane in 2000. Only to return to UK in 2001 because there were no jobs in Brisbane but that trend had caught up in the UK as well.

In the end we returned to Brisbane in the end of 2001. Before that I have the experience of moving to Switzerland for work and from Holland to London to live. I am kind off a seasoned migrant and take it all in my stride quite easily. I do realise it is not that easy for many people.

It is remarkable that Australia is the country where I have lived the longest. Time will tell how we will handle the next move……

If you are intrigued and would like to follow our progress, put your first name and email address in the form below and I will make sure you will get my next posts delivered to your mail box!

change, emigration, France, planning to leave