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New Friends in New Places

moving to australia
Alli and her two minxes in their new home

When I was given the ‘go ahead’ to write a guest blog on Tizzie’s site I had to stop and really think about what topic I was going to address. I mean, I’m not an expert on sleeping, feeding and all things baby. But there was something else that can be equally as challenging (that both Tizzie and I have experienced) and that’s picking up sticks and moving all the way across the world.

I moved back to Oz in September, 2010 after living overseas for 10 years. Some of you may feel that having already lived here before I was one up in the relocation stakes but I have to say that although I could drive places without a map, pretty much everything else was new. Plus, I had left a singleton and returned a mother of two, so was completely unaware of resources for parents in Australia. To give you an idea of how much had changed I left for OS with a Discman and a film camera; coming back my camera had gone digital and I had acquired an ipod!

The first word that comes to mind when relocating is challenging, the second is isolating. Although I had friends when I left they had now scattered to the four corners of Melbourne and life had moved on. Dinner was now fish fingers at 5pm and drinks were those found in a sippy cup. I needed to make new friends but had missed mothers’ groups and there’s not really time to strike up a conversation when doing drop-off at the childcare centre.  

I decided the first thing I would do was be ballsy. My desire to make friends outweighed the embarrassment of approaching mums and I became a master at starting up conversations on the tram, in supermarkets and at immunisation sessions (you can talk about their/your kids – the ultimate ice breaker!). If someone seemed nice I would let them know I was new in town and would they mind catching up for coffee sometime?

I also enrolled my daughter in activities and classes and made it a mission to meet mums while my daughter sang and danced.  Playgroups were also fab for getting that initial contact.

Lastly, I asked my daughter who she played with at nursery and left messages for their mums to bring their daughter’s around for a playdate. Even if I didn’t manage to make any lifelong friends out of it, my daughter did, and this was of equal importance to me.

So, how did I go? Well, I’ve managed to develop one friendship and have learnt loads about meeting people that may be helpful to you in your travels. 

  1. It will take a hell of a lot longer to form a friendship later in life as you just don’t have the time to put in you used to – and you have kids distracting you both all of the time!
  2. Everyone is busy and although people may have the best of intentions, you will get let down a lot. Don’t take it personally.
  3. Take the lead! If you sit back and wait for the phone to ring there is every chance you will have lonely days.
  4. Develop a hobby or interest so you have something to do with your spare time if no one’s calling that day.
  5. Remember it won’t happen overnight. Look at me. I’m from Melbourne and have been back four months now and still feel like I’m not settled. I expect it will take a year.

I hope this helps with your relocation and if you’re moving to Melbourne and need a friend, look me up!

Cheers, Alli x

Alli Price is founder of Motivating Mum, a website and events service offering support and advice to mums in business, or those wanting to be. Now in the UK and Australia, she also consults with businesses wanting to franchise, distribute or relocate from one of these countries to the other. www.motivatingmum.com

6 Responses

  1. I love this article im a single mum. I had an unexpected birth. Didn’t knw i was pregnant till phoebe arrived. Since iv had phoebe iv had lost my confidence i lost most of my friends.And i didnt have the courage to attend mothers group.

    I have a close friend and we make sure we catch up once a fortnight so our little girls can play and for us to have a chat. I live in a country town.

    The struggles i find that most of the mums have partners and i feel that i will be singled out because im a single mum. I find fathers day xmas day hard coz phoebe doesn’t have a day.

    I knw i have my familys support but its not the same then having a partner to share moments with phoebe.

    Thanx for ur tips

    kaz

  2. Hi Alli

    Great blog. This hits home on a couple of fronts. I myself returned home to a country town after living overseas for 3 years after I finished uni. Coming back my friends had moved on and I moved back in with mum and dad, and yea those 3 years had made a huge difference, but at least I hadn’t had any kids yet, so i was to free to suit myself.

    Secondly, after the birth of my first child, I experienced a natural disaster and lost everything, including house contents and a car and then a few months later I had a miscarriage and then I moved to the city, all before my baby was 9 mnths old. I knew noone. I then had my second child a year later. Not suprisingly after all this, I ended up with PND!

    I am getting treated for it, and my life has turned around. I have started approaching other mums from kindergym, my little ones swimming classes and inviting them around for playdates! Its amazing, what seemed impossible a couple of months ago, is now really easy, and these other mums really appreciate someone approaching them. I have ended up with two really good friends for me and for the little ones.

    So thankyou for your blog, I know exactly where you are coming from! Good luck being back in Melbourne, its a great city.
    Cheers
    Lisa

  3. Love the post…funny. I am form the UK and have been living in Australia for 10 years now. I arrived here with a backpack, and soon enough, we married and now have 2 kids. Now that I have a family, being away from my immediate family is the hardest thing. Neither of us are from here, so we don’t have that network to rely on when the going gets tough. However, it seems that the friends we’ve made are real friends, and we all rely upon each other like family. So therefore once you do make those friends, you keep them…
    Its not easy though – you have to bite the bullet, and join committees and all sorts of other things (even joined a choir!), and go to a playgroup etc…now I run the playgroup and welcome all those lost souls in (like I was)!!!!

  4. Hi there – great blog. I too have moved to Oz a year ago after nearly a decade away – however moving back ‘home’ with a hubby and toddler in tow is a far cry from the young kiwi chick that took off a few good years back. Ourove back was complicated with a move first to Sydney and then 9 months later to Melbourne. It’s been a crazy busy year and I am only now starting to feel settled here in Melbs. Totally agree with alli that you just have to face up to the brave new world – it’s tough going making new friends! My time in Sydney was great but pretty lonely and I was so grateful to the few fab girls that did make me feel v welcome. Some of which I introduced myself to in a park! Good luck everyone – maybe an expat/returning mums group is on the agenda?!

    Ps – having been one of the girls that has also caught up with alli here in melb – I can say she is one great lady!

  5. I agree with you that new friends at new places. I have gone to the brisbane tour with my daughter and I got friendship with the lady whose room was near to me in the same hotel. x

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