It’s always a tricky one, telling your relatives that you’re moving all the way to the other side of the world. When, exactly, is it a good time to mention it? How do you tell “granny” that the cute little fella she dotes on twice a week when she looks after him for you, is going to be taken away from her?
It’s something I wrote about for Australia and New Zealand magazine and which appeared in their June article. It was called…
Telling the Relos
Moving to Australia starts with an idea. Something like “Hmm. I think I’ll move to Australia.” And with that very thought, you will embark on a long and sometimes tricky journey that will hopefully end with you securing a permanent residency visa for Australia.
Along the way, there will be many obstacles to overcome. The biggest one might well be granny and grandad; not yours, but those of your kids.
It could be your parents, your in-laws, or both. It doesn’t end there. Aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters may not be so keen on your plan to move yourself and your children to the other side of the world either. Each of them will present an additional hurdle in your steeplechase to a visa.
So, what do you do?
Firstly, as I am now an Australian, I need to find a word to collectively describe all these people, and relatives is just too long. So, henceforth, these objectors will be referred to as relos.
Your first dilemma will be when to tell them about your plans. Should you mention it as soon as you have the idea? Or wait until you have secured your visa before breaking the news? One answer doesn’t fit all, but here’s what we did.
We decided to tell all our relos as soon as we had the idea. From idea to visa can be quite a lengthy process; for us it was something like 18 months. From visa to “bye bye, must go, got a plane to catch, one way ticket to Australia” can be quite a short process; for us it was about three months.
Imagine saying all that to your relos with such short notice? Exactly! Awkward questions.
“Why didn’t you tell us?” “Have you been doing this behind our back?” “How could you do this to us?”
Now, you’ve got about three months in which to tidy up all your loose ends, sell the house, organise the removals, pack in your jobs, say goodbye to your friends AND patch up your now very fragile relationships with all of your family.
On the other hand, you could tell them when you first have the idea. Now, two of those questions are redundant. And the “how could you do this to us?” question is easily answered. “Oh, long way to go yet. Who knows what might happen? Australia isn’t an easy country to get into, we haven’t even applied yet. It’s just an idea ”
Now all of your relatives, sorry, forgot, relos have time to adjust to what ‘might’ happen. During the process, you can repeatedly say “But if we do make it, you will visit, won’t you?”
I believe Australia is a great place to bring up your children. I also believe that what is best for your children is more important than what is best for your relatives. That’s why I believe nobody should be put off by pressure from their own family.
I also believe that when your relos do visit you in Australia, the penny will drop. They will see the new lifestyle you are all enjoying and understand why you did what you did. And on top of all that, they’ll get a holiday with free accommodation in The Lucky Country.