Pic: Uniquely Pacific

Exciting new career prospects or just a change in scenery may mean you have to leave mum and dad’s nest and relocate. And in many cases, to another country.

For example, the “Poly Exodus” means that more and more ambitious SUGA’s are moving to Australia from New Zealand for better opportunities.

For many SUGA’s, it is a natural first thought to stay with family, and if you are moving from country to country like New Zealand to OZ or vice versa, it is more than likely, you will have cousins in the new city you will be calling home.

But is staying with family always the ‘cheaper’ or better option?

After all, the cuzzies will know the in’s and out’s of the city you’re in and of course there is that moral support. In our minds, it may seem cheaper to live with them and that ‘being cheaper’ means we will be able to ‘save.’

Boarding seems to be a more comforting term than paying for a place where you would live on your own (if you don’t know anyone). And the home-cooked meals are always a draw card to staying with family!

But from my experience as a young SUGA having stayed with relatives in the past, it actually turned out to be more stressful than I thought. And I think I did it because my parents were comfortable knowing I was with their siblings, aunts, uncles etc.

I love my reli’s, don’t get me wrong, but after I while I learnt that personal space is so important. And having space is something that is not always encouraged by some island parents (mine included).

To cut a long story short, my lessson learnt was that by staying with family, I was NOT saving money – and I was actually more stressed out! 

Each to their own, but one thing we should never rule out as career-driven SUGA’s is the idea of house sharing or flatting which is working wonders for me. Contributing 125.00 a week that covers all expenses in a four bedroom modern house in Melbourne’s Melton suburb is a winner for me. And 40.00 a week for food was easy to do too. 

My Palagi and Asian flatmates are very cool. But most of the time they are never home! The amount of discretionary income I have after all my obligations are paid is mind-blowing compared to having lived with my cousins back in Sydney a few years back. And this means I am able to help out mum and dad back home too.

I can come home from a long day at work to peace and quiet and not have to worry about what kind of “trouble” I may be in this time. 

I was always told that ‘flatting’ is something that the Palagi’s do. But now you can see why they do it. Because it is a sensible thing to do. And our choices to flat should never be judged by our Pacific peers. 

It may seem daunting to many of us family-oriented SUGA’s, but the independence of it all, may mean it can be the best decision you’ll ever make. Distance from relatives living in the same town can be good for you and if anything can make your relationships even better.  

We spoke to other SUGA’s who shared their experiences of relocating. Here’s what they had to say.

“When I stayed with my family, I would give them board of 500 every fortnight to cover absolutely everything which I thought was reasonable.  But I found they would constantly ask for money and I felt obligated. I don’t think my aunty was paying any bills either. This eventually made me annoyed and paying the amount I was paying made it hard for me to actually save up bond to move out.”

“I love my extended family to bits but I felt my every move was being watched. Like even if I’d take a sick day off work, they would tell my parents back home? I wasn’t comfortable with the family gossip, I thought that was a bit rude. Having to walk on eggshells around your own family members seemed a bit odd.”

“My Aunty had only just started dating someone at the time I moved in. Although I was grateful to her, his relatives and friends were always over.  She can do what she wants, it’s her house. But I think having space and peace is very important for me.”

“Staying with my Aunty was great. It was good as she lives on her own, so we were great company for one another! She always made sure I was happy and I would go out of my way to make sure she was ok too. I think we cured each other’s loneliness lol.”

“When I stayed with cousins in Sydney who have lived there since they were born, they didn’t know where many places were? I ended up getting to know Sydney on my own really and then they followed my lead. They were surprised that I had taken the train on my own to interviews and things. They told me they admired my independence and I didn’t mind showing them the ropes.  Sometimes you can even teach them a thing or two in their own city”.

-Lynn Maiava



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