to feel sad that I'll probably not return to the UK to live

(99 Posts)

I left the UK for NZ a decade ago. DW is not from the UK and generally dislikes people who are (me excepted, most of the time). We have two children, born here, who go to a good school and are in zone for good secondaries. They are happy here. We have a house which, although bloody freezing in winter, is big enough for us, has a big garden and a small mortgage. I have a reasonably-paying and very secure job which doesn't require horrible hours and requires a very short commute.

..and yes I would love to leave all that and return to the UK for reasons of missing my family and simple homesickness, plus the usual things the UK offers such as history, culture etc, despite the recession and the manifold problems the UK is said to have.

I have this horrible feeling that I now have been given most of what life has to offer me, and I can see precisely where I will be in twenty years time: the children will have grown up, I will have redecorated the house, replaced the shed, I will still not quite got round to reading x,y,z books or fixed a,b or c, and will still be right here, older and a bit wrinklier - unless there is some disaster in which case things will be worse.

If we were to return to the UK: would my children go to as good a school as they have here? Probably not. Good house big garden? Probably not. Decent job? Late 30s in my profession, no better than possibly. Would DW get a job? Probably not. Would she like it back in the UK DEFINATELY NOT.

Please tell me IABU and why I should get a grip.

CaffeDoppio Thu 18-Apr-13 19:23:45

Well I do understand how you feel but speaking as someone who DID return to the UK from somewhere hot and prosperous I'll have to ask you to believe me when I say I wish I hadn't. Most of the time anyway! Yes, we have the history and Europe on the doorstep but everything else is a bit shit don't you think? I think it is! DS is counting the days till he can leave and get back to America. Can't say I blame him!

GoblinGranny Thu 18-Apr-13 19:27:42

'I can see precisely where I will be in twenty years time: the children will have grown up, I will have redecorated the house, replaced the shed, I will still not quite got round to reading x,y,z books or fixed a,b or c, and will still be right here, older and a bit wrinklier - unless there is some disaster in which case things will be worse.'

That will happen if you moved to the UK as well. smile
You need to find happiness there if you can, late 30s is a crunch time for many.

gloucestergirl Thu 18-Apr-13 19:28:34

I'll tell you YABU :-) I live abroad and have done so in a few different countries. The UK is fun, vibrate, interesting, and fascinating country. Brilliant for holidays with cheap meals and drinks and sensational scenery. BUT I couldn't face living there with a family as a working mother. Count self lucky that you are lucky enough to the opportunity to experience life outside the grind.

Jinty64 Thu 18-Apr-13 19:30:58

Being realistic I don't think you will be able to return to the UK with your family and, from what you have said, presume you don't wish to return without them.

I think you need to focus more on the things you can change and less on those you can't.

What about a holiday in the Uk or doing something else with your life or finding new hobbies in NZ.

It really doesn't sound as if your issue is with the country you live in.

I have this horrible feeling that I now have been given most of what life has to offer me,

Moving country is really really not the way to solve that one.

abbyfromoz Thu 18-Apr-13 19:33:55

I have the opposite problem! I want to get back to Australia at some point but finding it will be like starting a life all over again since i have spent most of my adult life in the UK and DD was born here...But we are both Australian so it's on the cards at some stage. Why can't you make a compromise with DW? go for a couple of months in the year? what' your profession?
I know if i moved back home i would miss so much about the UK...what you listed to name a few! But the grass is always greener. I can see pros and cons on both sides... That's the downside of being an expat! It's like too many brands in the supermarket and you can see the benefit of all...even though some are superior in some ways- others may be more affordable? I am probably taking that metaphor a bit far now! Lol
But i think you just need to be happy with what you have for don't know what the future holds!

I live in Canada. I'm also sad that I may not live in the UK again, for all the reasons you stated. I try to remember the bad. Public drunkenness, pride in a lack of education, terrible economy, crowded. I try not to remember the good...

gostraighttojail Thu 18-Apr-13 19:35:44

My best advice to you is to go back to the UK for a few weeks holiday. It will remind you of all the reasons you left. Happens to me every time! grin

OTheHugeManatee Thu 18-Apr-13 19:35:57

YANBU to miss your country of origin. There's nothing wrong with feeling like that; but lots of people make decisions that mean some kind of compromise and at some point the reality of having made one sacrifice or another starts to hit home.

It sounds like you and your family have a nice life where you are. To obtain that, you had to give up some things that meant a lot to you. Nothing wrong with acknowledging that and feeling a bit of yearning - the problems arise when you blow that yearning out of all proportion and either deny it until it explodes in some kind of compensatory behaviour or else results in you throwing the baby (as it were) out with the bathwater.

marjproops Thu 18-Apr-13 19:38:18

I love the UK SOOOO much. My England. the greenery, locations, heritage, history etc etc etc....

but the people spoil it for people I mean the government (surprise surprise), the hipocrisy, crime,prejudice, anti-socail behaviour, 'justice system', financial probs etc etc...but then again you get bad stuff in every country in the world. nowhere is perfect.

the thought of ever leaving here freaks me, i love it so much, yet sometimes.........desert island and DC....any sort of hunky guy......

ZZZenagain Thu 18-Apr-13 19:38:36

YANBU if it isn't the right place for you, it isn't , however many benefits you see for the dc or however much your dw loves it there. I can understand why you feel sad. It is a tricky situation to solve though, given that your dw isn't keen on Brits so she will not want to move to the UK and be surrounded by them, and the dc sound settled in good schools which is a big plus. No harm in looking at jobs and even applying but I don't see you getting your wife to leave there really.

PeppermintBark Thu 18-Apr-13 19:42:35

I don't think YABU.

We moved to the US 11 years ago, with a couple of years back in the UK in the middle, and I am just starting to come to terms with not going back to live in the UK permanently, despite all its 'faults'.

My DCs are in High School here and will be going onto college here; they will most likely stay here. My DH has no desire whatsoever to move back to the UK, and I have really struggled with this as I miss my family.

In the last few months I have started to try and have a more positive mindset about the prospect of staying here permanently, and have told DH that I would be prepared to get citizenship and retire here if we move somewhere better weather wise (we have long and very cold winters where we are). He and our children are the focus of my family, and although I miss relatives in the UK, my family is here now, IYSWIM.

North America is close enough for trips back every year, though, and we are fortunate enough to be able to afford to do so.

MunchMunch Thu 18-Apr-13 19:46:48

By the sounds of it your dw wouldnt want to come here anyway so unless your coming back on your own I don't think you will be moving!

What's your dw's problem with the uk? confused

HighJinx Thu 18-Apr-13 19:46:58

In my experience once you've lived abroad, unless you had an awful experience in either country, you never fully settle in quite the same way again.

Wherever you are you're missing something about wherever else you lived.

As for you having been given most of what life has to offer, I can't see what the UK could offer instead, except maybe a few months of excitement/upheaval as you relocated.

grovel Thu 18-Apr-13 19:48:09


NZ is a parochial place at the wrong end of the world.

Some nice views though.

grovel Thu 18-Apr-13 19:49:49

Oh no, Peppermint, you're going to end up a blue-rinsed retiree in Florida with grandchildren calling your DH "Pop".

MunchMunch Thu 18-Apr-13 19:49:53

YANBU btw.

MrsHuxtable Thu 18-Apr-13 19:50:37


The UK has nothing to offer.

grovel Thu 18-Apr-13 19:51:46

You don't get decent state funerals in NZ, MrsH.

DontmindifIdo Thu 18-Apr-13 19:53:13

Would your DW do it for a year, renting out your place in NZ on the grounds that do it soonish before your DCs start secondary schools and it can't be done? See if she hates it/you love it as much as you both think. Also, does it have to be the UK? Could it be you want to be closer to home, so mainland Europe as an option?

juneau Thu 18-Apr-13 19:53:42

Well, firstly it sounds like you're having a bit of a mid-life crisis. All this evaluating and seeing yourself in 20 years in the same place - it's normal, wherever you are. I'm going through it myself at the moment.

I think it's hard when you marry someone from somewhere else and you end up living in their country for good. My DH is from the US and when we met and could see that things could seriously go places I made it very clear that I wanted to end up in the UK. Fortunately, he felt the same, because, for me, it was a deal-breaker.

But this is your life, your DW and kids and unless you're willing to put all that on the line I think, ultimately, you're going to have to make your peace with it. If possible, choose the life you have.

The grass is always greener, but it really isn't. I've lived overseas and life is really the same, wherever you live it. Visit your family, if you miss them. Save up and come over here and take your kids to Europe. You're not consigned to living in some shit-hole somewhere - you're living in a beautiful country that many people consider to be rather like England was 50 years ago and you have fresh air, beautiful beaches, mountains, good food - celebrate what you have. And visit. And make sure your kids have UK passports so they can come over here and experience life in the UK when they get older. It will give you another reason to visit and, you never know, they might settle over here!

Thanks everyone for replies.


I'm a lawyer.

I'm interested in what you say: the last thing I'd want to impose on my kids is the relentless desire to get back here. The truth is that I half expect them to leave for the UK or somewhere else when they grow up. The benefits of an NZ education are considerable, but they tend to tail off by university - lots and lots of people leave to find decent work.


Yes it is parochial here. Don't remind me! It doesnt' help me get a grip.

Graveyard Thu 18-Apr-13 19:55:39

Your lifestyle sounds lovely to me, but understandable to be homesick.

juneau Thu 18-Apr-13 19:55:58

P.S. Why don't you pick up one of those books now? The ones you think you'll never get around to reading.

LoveSewingBee Thu 18-Apr-13 19:58:51

Difficult situation. How old are your children?


I'm monolingual, so continental Europe is out, really. We do have a third option - South Africa - which is where DW is from. SA is actually not as awful as people say it is, and I tend to get on with people (of all colours) from that part of the world.


DW doesn't like the UK's weather - too cold and wet - and she doesn't like the people - she says they tend not to front up and be honest.

PeppermintBark Thu 18-Apr-13 19:59:59


Nah, not Florida, far too humid. I have my sights set on one of the Hawaiian islands. I'd take a tiny house there with some outdoor space in the blink of an eye!

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 18-Apr-13 20:52:55

I'm another who lived abroad for a while. We moved back to the UK a few years ago. A work move so not entirely our choice.

We have settled back but but but. Sorry to say it, Britain is a dump. I drive past litter and fly tipping at the side of the road. Our garden is tiny. Last year we missed out on summer.

The only time I am truly happy is when working on my allotment - except when the gobby little whatsits who have a playground next to the field shout - 'Oi! Fat woman! Give me an apple'. Stupid, gobby, little whatsits who dont realise that you cant pick apples in April in England.

Is this what you want to come back to?

Loulybelle Thu 18-Apr-13 21:04:26

Pfffft, Im English born and bred and if i had the money to or chance to live in Australia, you'd only see my shadow left.

Used to be a good country but now with greedy bastards taking everything bloody you have, its shit.

Stay in NZ, and feel free to come get me while your at it.

coorong Thu 18-Apr-13 21:14:27

It's absolutely swings and roundabouts. I grew up in the outback and find Europe (we live in the north of England) stifling - so many people and cars everywhere. But when I go back to Australia everyone seems so rude and self centered. I was also shocked at the inherent racism in Oz. For all the travelling young australians do, the country retains a remarkable inwardly looking view.
If I had the choice I'd return to Australia - but is that because I'm returning to my free, "single" life with no responsibilities, or because it would be better for my children and as a mother? I really don't know.

Gingerodgers Thu 18-Apr-13 21:25:24

You are being wistful and romantic! I too am in nz from UK. All this state funeral shit, jubilee and recent royal wedding reminds us about the only thing Britain is good at, pomp and ceremony! I know what you mean tho, I hardly know anyone here who has a political opinion.......

specialsubject Thu 18-Apr-13 21:32:13

this is one of many reasons why I didn't move to NZ, much as I love it. However I agree that it sounds like you have the problems, not the country - so look into what you can do.

Nowhere is perfect, but those who think the UK is 'a bit shit' - well, you know where the door is. And perhaps your lovely wife does need to get over her dislike of 60 million people.

expatinscotland Thu 18-Apr-13 21:40:45


Startail Thu 18-Apr-13 21:52:36

I don't think you ever stop being vaguely home sick, even if you move within the UK. I miss my childhood Welsh hills (even though I was born in Yorkshire). DH misses his Cornish Sea.

My DF will always miss Canada even though she accepts, for exactly the same reasons as you, that she'll probably never go back and is now a British citizen.

Pudgy2011 Thu 18-Apr-13 21:56:37

I've lived offshore for over 5 years and whilst I miss my family and friends, the longer I'm away, the more certain I am that I will never return to the UK to live.

I can't see any future for us there, we earn tax free here which is great, but aside from that, the idea of going back to work in the city with a young son, fills me with dread.

I love the UK, especially London but now that I've been away as long as I have, I can truly appreciate it for the brief time whenever I go back. I love walking over Waterloo Bridge like I used to, going to see a show with DH, taking DS to a farm and just meandering through a shopping mall (don't have those here either!)

But I spent 5 weeks there last summer and by the end of it, I was ready to get out of there. I don't think I'll stay here in Cayman for the rest of my life, the island is too small to fulfill our needs long term, and I imagine we'd move to Canada in the next 5 years. I would move to Australia in a heartbeat too.

I think you need to pay the UK a visit for a month or so if you haven't been back there for a while - a short stint there keeps your rose tinted glasses at bay for a while!

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Thu 18-Apr-13 22:05:41

We had the chance to move to NZ and I have been over several times and looked into it thoroughly.
I completely get what you say about it being parochial. The country seeems like Australia's little brother who's always having to prove himself and is a bit chippy in the process.

I also get your wife's dislike of the weather. It's shit here and I've told my kids to emigrate if they can - never underestimate the beneficial effects of a good climate on your health and sense of wellbeing.

I still have days when I wish we'd emigrated but rose tinted specs are just plain trouble.

I agree with other posters that you maybe need to think about how to be a happier person in yourself, though, as wherever you go in the world, you'll have to take yourself with you.

freedom2011 Thu 18-Apr-13 22:13:14

Have you considered how to feel happier with what you've got or building stronger ties in the country? I have been abroad for 7 years now. I probably won't be moving back to the UK. It may not be possible with your family commitments but I found that in the last year my comfort in my new country has vastly improved. This is because I have taken up an activity/hobby in my free time. I love it, I love the people I meet, I love the change of scene from my day job, I feel much more part of my local community. Regular projects or plans to look forward to help too. These can be with your family or just for you.

We all feel sad and nostalgic sometimes and I think that is ok. After we're done feeling sad, I think it's time to focus on deciding to be happy again.

PortHills Thu 18-Apr-13 22:23:03

Might out self here. Used to live in NZ, came home for family reasons. DH in the same profession as you.

Such a difference between practising there and here. There: respect for your personal life and proper work life balance (from both clients and firm). Here: dog eat dog internal crap, pain in ass demanding clients.

Maybe it's just the firms involved, but I was also in professional services and found the same thing.

Drink a monteiths and count yourself lucky.......

ReadySteadyDrink Thu 18-Apr-13 22:23:30

OP is there a reason why your suddenly so home sick now? Are your family suffering ill-health or other problems at the moment that make you miss them so much now after a decade?

ReadySteadyDrink Thu 18-Apr-13 22:35:52

Sorry OP, I didn't mean to imply you didn't miss your family before or weren't homesick. I was just wondering if perhaps something had happened to make you feel like this now after living in NZ for a decade. Because if this is the case then perhaps things will change again in the future and you can be happy again as it doesn't sound like DW would move to the UK.
Best of luck. xxx

Babyroobs Thu 18-Apr-13 22:38:51

We returned from NZ in 2001 after living there for 5 years. Our 2 eldest children were born there, and I'm hoping they will be able to return when they are older if things get too bad here ! We came back for family reasons, wanting the kids to be near grandparents, but in many ways I regret coming back. The weather here has been dire the past few years, cost of living very high etc . I'd like to come back to NZ someday, but couldn't bear to leave my little dog here so it will need to wait til she is gone.

ArabellaBeaumaris Thu 18-Apr-13 22:39:26

I think this is something that comes with the territory of living out of your country of origin. Certainly my father (who is a South African) still, after living in the UK for 35 years, feels homesick for his home country. Although he is very explicit that he wouldn't want to return there, he says he still looks out of the window & feels the shock that Table Mountain is missing. So my conclusion is that it is tough but something you have to work through...

MoovinMama Thu 18-Apr-13 22:39:38

I feel for you. I think I might be in the same position as you, shortly.

We've just moved to NZ and bought a house after years of moving around for work - Switzerland and Asia. Work-wise, we're both in a similar situation to you (though less good on the commute, we're in East Auckland grin ).

I dithered for years about whether we should come here or not - like you, I knew I'd miss family, friends, the culture, old stuff. But now we are here, I'm surprised by how much like home it feels. OK, I've been here each year on holiday for the last 17 years, so I guess I'm pretty adjusted. I just wonder how long it will take for the novelty of having our own house, boys in nice schools etc, to wear off...

Sorry for the waffle, not sure I have anything useful to add other than general "me too" sympathy! I think I agree with some of the earlier posters - a lot of the feeling has more to do with "is this it?" generally, than NZ specifically.

Loveiswhereitfalls Thu 18-Apr-13 22:57:44

The UK is your home - it doesnt matter where you are from or where you go- its where you feel at home.
I love it here - Yorkshire tea , Roast dinners,cats, dogs,mud,sheep,knitting,crackling fire on a freezing day,Corrie,the bliss of a hot summers day - the smell of it when you wake up and know its going to be HOT .
Grass, cricket,Wimbledon,strawberries,peapods,the beach and then Fish and Chips...

YANBU I remember when I realized I'd never go home I was devastated (been in California a long time)
But you never know what life holds.
My oldest finished Uni and moved to UK, he said he would, I said thats nice and never believed he would. Ds 2 finished high school last summer and moved a month later to UK. Didn't think he would either.
Today I spent the day researching and calling shipping companies, we are following, theres only Dh, me and Dd left. Christmas was dire. We want to live in the same country as our kids, go to their weddings, see them occasionally (not live in their pockets) Mum is getting older, she could do with s near now she's a widow. Dh's family is all there, he hasn't lived there since he was a teen. I know we'll feel the cold, today is 22 and I still have long sleeves on.
So chin up, you never know, you could end up back there one day.
Never say Never.

sashh Fri 19-Apr-13 03:51:57

You can't go back because you don't have a time machine.

You could return to the UK but it would not be the same place you left. You could be in the UK and still miss the UK you left.

Maybe plan for an extended break when your children are 18+, you could do a 'gap year' in the UK then, something to plan for. I know it sounds a long way off, but it isn't.

I've never been to NZ but met quite a few kiwis through work. Every one of them plays sport/lives an outdoor life at least part of the year.

In Britain we have obese children, partly because for 6months it's too cold and wet to do anything outside so kids play on computers.

If you drag your family 1/2 way round the world now they will resent you. As soon as the kids are old enough they will be on a flight 'home'.

Mutley77 Fri 19-Apr-13 06:22:45

I really think you need to talk to your wife and review your situation.

DH is Australian and I am English. We lived in England most of our relationship (12 years) and had 2 of our DC there (now aged 4 and 8). DH has always hoped to move back to Australia and it got to a real point of contention a couple of years ago; although he was able to work through and realise that this may never happen - he did really like most of our life in the UK - weather excepted.

However last year he got offered a company re-location to Australia (other side from where he grew up) and we agreed to come. I must say it is not what I wanted and there are elements I am finding really really hard although it is very early days for us. I also got pg with DC 3 just as we were making the decision to come so arrived pregnant which was far from ideal ;) Neither of us are naive enough to think Australia "offers a better life" and there are clearly pros and cons of both countries.

But I do think that there is a strong pull to home for many people - he also wanted our DC to experience life in their other country of origin. And with the opportunity on the table to move I do feel I had to say yes, much as I didn't want to, and recognise for us as a family it has been the right decision even thought is wasn't the right decision for me as an individual. We are fairly likely to return to England in 2-3 years (we shall see!) and have left our options open (kept home etc). In a loving relationship I think you do need to compromise. The move has put us under pressure - I do resent him to some degree for "making" us move, and for unsettling the children. Although I recognise that he may well have resented me for "making" him stay in England for the rest of his life with not even a few years to experience his home country with his children. Therefore I am trying to graciously make the best of it and in my rational mind accept it is totally fair enough that we live here at least for a couple of years!!

ruthyroo Fri 19-Apr-13 06:28:10

You've had lots of good advice above.

We are both from the UK originally, moved to NZ for about 5 year, then returned home shortly after our first baby was born. It was just too far from grandparents and other family, and I wanted my children to really know their wonderful families here, not just by Skype. DH had no desire to return to the uk so we have chosen to live in continental Europe instead, not quite on the doorstep of family, but also a lot closer than NZ!

If it weren't for family being here though we would both return to NZ in a heartbeat. Coming back to Europe... It feels cramped and crowded and noisy. There is so much competition for everything - jobs, schools, housing, parking spaces even! People in NZ generally worked to live and their jobs did not define them. Here, the expectation seems to be that one lives to work and seek to move up and on all the time for bigger house, fancier car etc. DH Is a teacher, who enjoys teaching and does not want to move on up to all the *t of a managerial post- but there is plenty expectation that he should. In NZ he would have got a clap on the back and people asking about his bee keeping/ home brewing / kayaking / tramping / whatever random stuff he actually wants to do.

Enough of our woes. Your ANBU at all to miss the UK. I still miss the idea of where I grew up though I have to say, it doesn't take me long to get over that when I visit, and remember all the less pleasant aspects of life there! Life is what you make it wherever you find yourself and when feeling a bit lost, it's easy to look out wards and blame your environment rather than looking inside to identify where the feeling is coming from.

maddening Fri 19-Apr-13 06:50:12

Well I do think you'd be thinking the same things about the "next 20 years" wherever you lived.

I reckon remind dw of how homesick you are and make a pact that if the dc leqve nz when they get to their 20's then you can revisit where you want to live then - you could winter in SA and summer in Uk - dw will have to compromise too. And SA and UK are easier to travel between than NZ and UK.

I also think plan a few holidays back to cheer yourself up smile

WorrySighWorrySigh Fri 19-Apr-13 07:06:19

I wonder if the big problem you are hitting now is that in your late 30s you are coming to the end of the first half of your career. The big leaps forward are probably coming to an end. Now your career will tend to move forward at a slower pace. You may also be starting to get a glimpse of the limits of your career.

At the same time your children are in primary school. This can feel like a long hard grind:- endless fetes, fairs, parents evenings, easter bonnets, cake sales, blah, blah, blah.

Both of these things - career and primary school can make you start to wonder 'is this it?'. 'Am I going to spend the rest of my life doing exactly this?.

The answer at least for me was 'no'. My children moved on to secondary school with a sudden switch of emphasis as parents take a big step back. At the same time I got made redundant so that had an impact on my career. Not the end of the world but it did make me rethink my career.

Dont assume that moving back to Britain could or would change these things. You would still be in your late 30s, still be a parent to primary school children, still be a lawyer. You would just live somewhere different.

Snog Fri 19-Apr-13 07:06:45

Come to the uk for a year and then see how you feel after that.
It would be nice for your family if dw could get over her prejudices.

MilanToMinsk Fri 19-Apr-13 07:14:51

I think some of the feelings you describe here ARE unique to living in NZ. Some of the others are common to this age and stage in life.
NZ is small. It is isolated. It is quiet and can be parochial. I live in NZ. And would rather not. But I do provide my children with an excellent quality of life, which I try to supplement by overseas by travel and other exposure to a bigger world and cultural history. When they in secondary school they will be encouraged to do student exchange overseas, again to supplement the monolingual, is
You say you are

MilanToMinsk Fri 19-Apr-13 07:17:04

Agh - lost post before finishing.
Anyway, you say you are comfortably off here. Can you stretch yourself further and look at more travel, secondment abroad, etc? I tend to think of NZ as a base rather than a life sentence!

WorrySighWorrySigh Fri 19-Apr-13 08:21:26

Outside of cosmopolitan cities I'm afraid that Britain is terribly parochial as well. Most places are I suspect. It is only if you live and work with people from different parts of the country and the world that you get a more worldly outlook.

Trillz Fri 19-Apr-13 08:26:23

Why does your DW dislike most people from the UK?

diddl Fri 19-Apr-13 08:43:28

I'm only in Germany & have just been back to UK for a visit & I loved, loved, loved it!

And wanted to move back, & the thought of never living there again tugs at me.

And then I come back home, settle back in & wonder what on earth I was thinking!!

diddl Fri 19-Apr-13 08:44:32

Oops-so meant to say-is it that you particularly want to be in UK, or you just don't want to be where you are?

BeeWi Fri 19-Apr-13 09:10:29

Toad - where abouts in NZ are you? Could you try somewhere else? We're in Nelson and it's pretty great in terms of arts, music, national parks, sports etc. Also quite kind in winter.

We moved about 5 years ago from the UK. Went back 2 years ago for a visit and was shocked by all the litter and feeling so hemmed in by people- two things we'd not really noticed when we lived there.

Also, we feel we'll be able to give our daughter a lot more freedom as she grows up here, which is pretty priceless as things go.

TanteRose Fri 19-Apr-13 09:19:25

interesting thread

I left the UK 22 years ago, after graduating university - Thatcher had only left office a year before, so her funeral made me realise where the time had gone IYSWIM

I do sometimes think, wow, I will probably never live in the UK again, and its more that I miss my family, now that my siblings are finally having kids! and I won't be part of that...which is sad sad

but I made my life here (Japan) and maybe because its sooo different in many ways, it makes it easier to be away from the UK somehow confused

I think we have to make the best of what we have and where we are smile

Littlehousesomewhere Fri 19-Apr-13 09:22:41

Yanbu I have lived in both and IMO the uk has a lot more energy and life to it. And you also have the added attraction of being closer to family and friends.

There seems to be more diverse personalities in the uk compared with nz. Also I found the nz sarcastic and 'put down' style of humour quite wearing after awhile.

It is interesting that your dw prefers people from nz to those from the uk, especially since she is from sa herself. I would have thought she would have preferred a more diverse society.

Since it does sound like you agreed to stay in the nz it doesn't sound like there is much to do about the situation unless you want to rock the boat.

I would insist in getting central heating installed though and I would also demand that holidays to the uk are prioritised above holidays to sa, considering it is your dw preference to remain in nz.

froggers1 Fri 19-Apr-13 09:29:05

Hi - I am married to a kiwi - lived there for 3 yrs and we have been in the UK for 6 yrs now and had two kids here. I felt like you to be honest. I found NZ to be too quiet and small and felt very removed from the rest of the world not to mention missing family etc. Its not an easy decision because my DH was quite unhappy here to start with and still gets homesick but does like it here and has better work opportunities here and we have help with the kids that we wouldn't have it in NZ. I am not sure what to suggest but think you should really think about coming over for a month to see if you really are missing out and see family etc. Funnily enough, I am pushing for a visit to NZ for a month and my DH isn't that bothered. Things can change. But I think a trip back is the way forward.

sashh Fri 19-Apr-13 09:34:21

It would be nice for your family if dw could get over her prejudices.

I'm letting her off, I can't stand the Kiwi accent, to me it is like fingernails being scraped. It's totally irrational, I know that, but I can't help it.

Lazyjaney Fri 19-Apr-13 09:46:28

Having lived in 3 countries, I'm afraid there will always be somewhere else where some of the grass really is greener, as no country has it all. In my ideal home I want the good points of each and none of any of the bad points. Problem is some are mutually exclusive - high buzz global cities and vistas of empty landscape very rarely occur together (Sea cities are probably the closest)

TBH though sounds to me you're getting into a rut, even in NZ there are probably other paths you could tread rather than the one to the shed smile

echt Fri 19-Apr-13 09:56:31

While it's not entirely the point, just google "that nz mp gay marriage speech" to see why NZ os place with heart. smile

Sorry, I'm crap at links.

Get on to the bit where the Maori song is sung to celebrate the passing of the Bill. grin grin grin

Thanks everyone for the replies.

In answer to questions above:

Nothing bad has happened, in the sense that there has been no specific crisis. I can't say I'm enjoying life very much. My job exhausts me, and there are times when I feel hopelessly out of my depth, and when I don't, I'm bored. DW is scraping around for work, and so I think the responsible thing is to stick with it as it is secure: lots of lawyers are out of work at present. At home, DW and I have bickered and rowed frequently enough over the last six years or so. Currently there is a lull, but I am afraid it will revive.

The feeling that I want to, must return, has been building up over a similar period and while I don't think it is directly associated with the bickering, I expect I'd think about things less if it weren't happening.

diddl, you ask whether it is being here that is the problem. I think that is a very good question. I am not sure DW actually enjoys NZ much: she is more foreign than I am and has found it harder to adapt than I have. Her view is that we can be certain of giving the children a good enough upbringing here in NZ and that we cannot be so sure of doing so in either of our countries of origin.

FWIW I think NZ probably is the best of the three for a safe, basic, but not particularly mind-expanding childhood.

OhLori Fri 19-Apr-13 23:12:07

You sound pretty disillusioned/demoralised about lots of aspects of your life, and maybe you should explore this too? Some personal counselling? Marriage counselling? A career change? A course you are interested in?

Re. moving, I think if you let the issue percolate for a while, I think you will become clearer. However, if the feeling has been growing for some time that you must return then I think this is probably what you should do, even if its just a holiday, and see how you feel after that. But I still think there's some other stuff maybe needs to be addressed...

MrsLion Sat 20-Apr-13 01:00:02

I could have written all of your posts myself- bar a few details such as me not being male or a lawyer.  Dh is a kiwi and I have been here for 8 years, we have 3 dc together. I am also terribly homesick for the uk. It's not bouts, but more of a gradual, increasing need to move back.

Like you, I tussle with the fact we are comfortable financially, have a naice house with large garden, good schools and a happy childhood for the dc full of outdoor activities, friends and space.

Our commute is 10-15 mins and I am lucky enough to be able to work part-time in a senior position in a job I love.

I really do appreciate these things- we are lucky.

BUT and it's a huge but, I'm just not happy here. It's beautiful, there is space and freedom, but it's isolated, parochial, expensive  and somewhat backwards. Hard to explain without sounding like an arse, but truly, you feel like you just don't exist here sometimes, there's so little going on, and so few options. 

The uk? I miss the architecture, the countryside, the choice, the opportunities, the feeling of being in an exciting hub, the history and strangely the supermarkets and tv. Most of all I miss my family and friends.

We have discussed moving back to the uk, but dh has lived there before and didn't like it. He doesn't have a problem with the people, but with the weather, 'tiny houses' overcrowding, litter, etc. He does recognise a lot of those things will be minimised if we weren't in a major city.

I could probably convince dh to move back, but is that fair on the kids? Or him? Like you op, would our life really be any different? Would it actually be worse?! Is my 'homesickness' actually the very normal strain and stresses of having 3 young dc that will manifest in other ways when I get home? Not sure.

Sorry I haven't been much help- but just wanted to say I feel exactly the same. 

I think perhaps the solution is to  get stuck in, and enjoy the good things, and try to get home as often as possible to get a 'fix' of the things you miss. That's what I have put in place anyway! 

aldiwhore Sat 20-Apr-13 01:49:27

My slant on it is this, and I sympathise massively though my homesickness doesn't involve the globe only a 4 hr drive.

I long to be back home in Devon, apart from my family, it's my one true love. I miss it, ache for it, my family are there, and even if they weren't, it's home.

Every so often I become depressed/ill with yearning.

I turned a corner this year. I decided that where I am is WHERE I AM and at present it is better for the family to be here, and it's not so bad, and damn it, as I can't change it right now I will embrace it. I am so much happier. To the extent that actually if you gave me the means to move now, I'd hesitate.

I will always have half my heart and one foot in Devon, but I am concentrating on the other half my heart and my other foot here up North. I may be landlocked and emotionally restricted (anyone who loves the sea will probably understand it!) but y'know, my life is pretty good... and there's many MANY benefits to my current location.

I would swap everything and work 17hr a day in a shitey job just to be able to walk home and see the ocean. however, would my children definitely benefit? I think they'd adjust!! (Just like I HAD to when my parents moved me up north - not something i want to put them through).

If I could take what I had here, and the opportunities for both myself and children back home, that would be my ideal, my own personal 'lottery win'.

Don't get me wrong, if the opportunity arose that all the family could even 'vaguely' accept, I'd be off and damn the consequences! Until that opportunity presents itself (or I find it) then I will put every bit of whistful energy into falling in love with where I am now. Every year, it becomes a tougher decision, because every year I actually do find I have more to give up.

YANBU though, not at all.

maddening Sat 20-Apr-13 02:04:48

If neither of you are happy there why don't you both apply for jobs in the UK and SA and see if you get any offers worth considering?

Littlehousesomewhere Sat 20-Apr-13 02:41:55

Is it really that good a place to raise children?

Maybe get your dw to do some research into rates of domestic violence and teen girl suicides (just 2 issues off the top of my head). Shocking and not things that people think of when they think if nz.

Not a place id be raising daughters (or sons for that matter).

TraceyTrickster Sat 20-Apr-13 03:06:42

I lived in Aus for 10 years and often thought longingly of UK.

Well a couple of years ago we had the opportunity to go and live in UK for 2 years- I thoroughly enjoyed it but because I knew it was not forever. Living overseas makes you see UK through rose coloured glasses. I will always love the country but some things gave me a jolt.
Commuting (I was in London)...what a waste of life and money and time better spent with family.
Traffic queues wherever you go.
Drunken yobs.
Snow- that was a shock! Looks lovely. Horrible after a week of it.

There will always be a part of me which thinks wistfully of UK but sometimes it is too 'Enid Blyton' to be real!

JustinBsMum Sat 20-Apr-13 03:40:11

I think there might be a problem finding work in NZ for your DCs when they grow up, so, after their fun childhood, you will be left alone as they are forced to look elsewhere for work.

Not guaranteed of course but jobs are limited I should think.

It might not matter but if DCs have a special talent it would be harder to fulfill their study needs in a small pop country.

Has your DW been out of the SE of England? I think people are more forthright in the north and she might prefer that, maybe Glasgow (people are friendly), though can't fix the weather, but you could have a holiday home somewhere hot, Italy, France? That's the good thing about Europe, everything's near by.

I am getting on a bit so want to be back in the UK, childcare and commuting irrelevant now, but have to admit that NZ and Oz lifestyle and weather does look good for children.

How expensive is university in NZ. Perhaps you should plan to stay until DCs have their degree then look at a move because it costs a lot now in the UK. Of course jobs are harder to get in the UK now, so your chance of a move could be limited.

There's an awful lot to consider. Perhaps start with trips to places you think you'd like to live and see what they are really like.

MomsNetCurtains Sat 20-Apr-13 05:22:57

I'm from the UK and now live in Brisbane with my DH who is from here. We've been here almost a year. We've worked abroad for all of being a couple together in Europe, Caribbean and North America (10 yrs) and have now settled here to try it out.

I also lived in Auckland (North Shore) for 2.5 years. I hated it. I never settled. I just couldn't get used to the Maori mokos, the gangs - it all felt a bit low rent to me - even the affluent suburbs like Remuera. It felt like a very confused and divided country - as I would imagine SA to be - with the Maori/Pakeha thing. I come from an affluent suburb in the UK similar to Remuera...but the two just didn't compare. Everybody feels a bit on edge in NZ....and the racism is always in the background which I hated as I hadn't grown up to dislike another culture. There was always so much violence on the news between gangs...not for me. But it has some beautiful scenery - south island was gorgeous! And the beaches are great - it has a lovely cafe culture and brilliant restaurants too. There are good aspects of course, but just not enough for me to stay.

I honestly believe that no matter where I live, I will always have one home - Glasgow. And so will you! I miss it desperately at times, but more because that is where my Mum and Dad are. The other reason is the familiarity...well, also the friendliness of everybody and the sense of humour. Nobody takes themselves seriously in the UK and the Aussies tend to think quite highly of themselves! Although getting shafted at the Olympics has brought them down a peg or two! grin I miss the down to earth attitude of Glasgow. I can't stand the put down sense of humour here either - so I watch Kevin Bridges on YouTube! Cheers me right up and I feel as though I have had my fix of being a Glaswegian again. Of being home. It doesn't make me more homesick. My Aussie DH has been out of Australia for the last 10 years so the Aussies annoy him and he now doesn't get their sense of humour so he laughs along with me! grin

Nowhere is going to feel like home as nowhere will have the great memories that you have of growing up. I definitely agree with others who say to go back for holidays - although that can get pricey more than once a year and you need time off work to do that. I go back for Christmas which I think is worse as you can't beat Christmas in the UK. I love it!!! It's just not the same here....Santa hats in the sun with prawns on a BBQ. What's that all about? confused haha!

BUT - I do love living here. It is a great life - though EXPENSIVE! The UK is so cheap compared to here! It's always a massive topic of conversation here. The ONLY thing I wish is that my parents lived here too. But I know they love Glasgow for the reasons you miss the UK - the architecture, the culture, the arts, the scenery and Europe on the doorstep. There is no way they would move here.

I'm still finding my feet - it helps that my MIL is from London and is lovely, so we have a little British rant to ourselves over mundane things such as Eggplant is actually called Aubergine and laugh at the Aussies. That's such a tonic for me.

Do you know anyone else from your area that lives where you are? It may help you.

I don't know if you don't like NZ for the same reasons that I didn't - I couldn't explain it when I was there, but now I know why - but if it is, then try Australia? I definitely agree with someone above who said NZ is like Aus's little brother. Like the poor relation in the hand me downs. Did you know that out of all nations, Kiwis are the ones, by head of population, that travel the most? For such a small population, we met literally hundreds of Kiwis in our travels. In 10 years, I met 7 - seriously 7 - Scots. It speaks volumes.

I hope I've been somewhat helpful although I fear not. Very best of luck to you - as my Mum says, it will all fall into place. xxxxx

SavoyCabbage Sat 20-Apr-13 05:42:21

I think once you have emigrated, then you will always feel as if you might not have made the right decision. I know two people, no actually three, as I know one here in Australia too, who are in their sixties, emigrated in their twenties and despite all having a lovely life, have questioned it constantly.

I don't care that England is 'shit' and cold and I will have to live in a smaller house. That's where I am from and that's where I want to be and that's where I will be soon. My dh doesn't want to live in the UK, he's not English so has no ties to it at all. I find being an immigrant wearing.

I think my dd's will have a 'better life' in the UK, going to weddings and going to visit their Grandma at Easter. Today they have been to the park on their bikes in shorts, which is great but they are not at my niece's birthday party which they should be.

Laquitar Sat 20-Apr-13 06:28:32

OP in my experience what makes me home sick (i live in UK but i am not British) is being with people who share the same memories, lived the same history. For example even here on mn i read some threads about school in the 70s, the food, the games, the tv programs, and i cannot relate. Even the talk about Thatcher's years for example. When i am with people from my country we share similar experiences, that feeling that you lived the same history you know even a joke or a tv program...(for us it is the language too). For this reason i like having a group of friends that are from my country and we sometimes meet up and have our 'Spanish Day'. Is this something you could do? Do you meet up with British expats?

Also,i agree with Sashh that if you go back to your country it is never the same country you have left.

I must say that if my dh said he doesn't like the people from my country this would make me uncomfortable. Does your wife knows millions of British people then?
Are the children aware of your dw's feelings towards Britain?

ZZZenagain Sat 20-Apr-13 09:18:36

I think it would be best for you all 5o move to the UK, even for DW since whe struggles to get work there. IMO people can have arosy tinted view of a NZ childhood. Compared to life in a rough estate in a depressed part os the UK, most dc in NZ are better off. There is simply more space. However, as a lawyer presumably that is not the life you would be transplanting the fanily to.

Atm I would not consider living in SA, just too dangerous. I would worry about the dc - their safety and prospects. Also hard to predict how it would be for you when you are elderly.

I think life in the UK with holidays abroad, including SA if possible might work best.

Apply for jobs and when you have something concrete it is easier to make a decision.

onemorebite Sat 20-Apr-13 10:28:17

plenty of jobs in the uk for lawyers in their late 30's (legal aid work excepted as that is being cut like buggery). Unless you want to be a partner in a City firm there are jobs about if you wanted to look. I think the market is quite different now than it was 10 years ago. Partly recession caused imo.

I would love to leave abroad for a bit but would feel totally the same about leaving for ever. I feel kind of the same about having left London! And I can hop on a train there (time, money and kids permitting) pretty much whenever I want.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Sat 20-Apr-13 11:01:57

YANBU, and I say this as a Kiwi married to a (sort of) Brit. Well, an Irishman who's lived in London since the age of 15, lost his accent and only left to move to NZ with me...

We moved here in May 2011. My Dad had had a massive health scare and so it prompted the move. Our (London-born) children were 2.3 and 9 months at the time.

Nearly 2 years to the day since we moved, and we both really miss London. DH, obviously... But I have utterly surprised myself at how much I miss it, too.

DH left a huge circle of friends that he was basically the lynch-pin of. He misses them, and the social whirl, dreadfully.

I miss everything, really. I lived there for 13 years and basically grew up there. First proper job. In my time there, we got married, mortgaged up together, pregnant and had two children. We had a wonderful life. I worked from home, we had an au pair, two great salaries. Our set-up was amazing.

Here in NZ, I can't get a job, because what I was doing was so specialised and international-based that it just doesn't exist here. I'm pretty much looking at admin work at this point. Unbelievably fucking depressing. I used to go to New York every 3 months, and now I can't even get a shitty admin job.

All my old friends are totally dispersed. All over the country, all over the world. There's only a couple left where we are. We're trying to put ourselves out there, to make friends. Going along to stuff, toddler group hell, etc, always being the smile-plastered-on, faux bonhomie newbie... And then spending the weekends skyping all our old friends who desperately miss us and want us to move back.

The only reason we're here is for my Dad, to be honest. Some big decisions to be made in the next few months, especially if I can't get work.

I feel for you, I really do. A least DH and I are pretty much on the same page.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Sat 20-Apr-13 11:16:34

Well people are always going on to me about how great America is, how could I possibly prefer England, why don't I want to go 'home'. I could give you a long list of the reasons I would never leave the UK but this won't make you feel better. I feel your pain though.

I think you need to come back to the uk for an extended period to see if it's general malaise, early mud life crisis or something more. I have a friend who is married to a guy from South America. After 15 yrs... She said she needed more time on the US. She just couldn't take if any more. They are doing six months there six months in the US. School aged children too... Wouldn't work for me but it does for them. So... I think that it's reasonable for your partner if SHE wants to support you to also consider alternative scenarios. It's not easy.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Sat 20-Apr-13 11:26:42

I also agree with Laquitar re your wife's views on people from the UK. I can't conceive being married to someone who felt that way about people from my country- and It's not that I can't take criticism of the US. But it's quite a strange stance for an adult to take, to generalise about individuals from a country. I wouldn't want that transmitted to my kids.

(Suspects there's more to all this.)

LadyHarrietdeSpook Sat 20-Apr-13 11:37:28

I've just seen your wife isn't even from NZ. You are both living in a country that is not home? Well it's just me but I would be more robust about moving.

JustinBsMum Sat 20-Apr-13 12:21:22

I've moved round the uk and I could understand your DW being a bit off some Brits, there is a big difference living in the Scottish countryside or the home counties commuter belt. Mind you I don't think SAs would rate particularly high in Brits' favourite nationalities.
I often generalize about different national traits but when you actually get to know an individual the nationality is forgotten.

Unami Sat 20-Apr-13 12:23:44

YANBU (Sorry this is long and rambly)

I lived abroad for a while - in an English speaking commonwealth country praised for its "quality of life" (that always makes me think of the Stewart Lee sketch about what quality of life means to people - massive prawns...).

Anyway, I had a happy life there - rent was cheaper, energy bills were laughably cheaper, eating out was cheaper. But, to be honest, I just didn't feel like it was, or would ever be, my culture. I kept reading the british press and following british politics, as that was what I felt most connected to. I didn't feel able to get involved in local organisations in the same way that I would have had at home, and that diminished my feeling of...usefulness. I know that it would have been up to me to change that over time - but everything just felt slighly unnatural and unreal to me - as if I had overstayed on a holiday. My life felt kind of...inauthentic. And yes, I really, really felt the lack of history. It seems like such a minute concern (and it is horribly eurocentric) but it bugged me. So I decided to go back home.

I don't really understand why people knock the UK. It has so much going for it - especially compared to other English speaking countries abroad. I don't regret coming back for a second. A few people questioned the decision, but I didn't care. I was happy to be home.

All that said and done, I was single at the time, so it was as easy as jumping on a plane. Uprooting a family across the world is an entirely different story, and it's not something I would consider unless I was really, deeply unhappy. A vague sense of malaise isn't really enough of an impetus to put all those changes in motion, I don't think. But what I'd say is that you're not unreasonable to feel it! Don't try to make yourself feel bad about feeling it, or punish yourself for not making the most of it. I felt that the UK - and my home city in particular - had a tangible history and culture that I felt cut adrift from abroad. If that's how you feel then there's no point in trying to deny it, but why not think about accepting that yes, you have lost something, yes, you are missing out on something - without feeling that the only solution is to move back home?

I'm trying to think back to how I felt just before I moved back to the UK, and try to think about how different it would have been if I had a partner and kids there. I suppose that I would have tried to work out exactly what I felt was missing from or inauthentic about my life there and work out how I could remedy that. In my case it was a feeling of detachment from domestic politics and an estrangement from the local media - and I suppose I would have tried to get more informed about them and over time, become involved. But I would have had to have given myself mental permission to stay first, and maybe that's what you're missing too. The mental permission to stay?

MomsNetCurtains Sat 20-Apr-13 12:34:53


I agree. If neither of you are from NZ, why remain there? Could you live where she is from or is it a language issue? It's a real issue, I know.

Maybe you are both in a rut and are not sure of the next move? Or acknowledging that there is another move?

DW doesn't like the UK's weather - too cold and wet - and she doesn't like the people - she says they tend not to front up and be honest.

There are 51M in England, 5M in Scotland, 1M in Wales and 1.8 in NI. It may be worth educating her on the cultures between the countries as she may find one that she likes? We do have our similarities, but also our vast differences - which makes us each wonderful and unique. Has she had a bad experience in the UK? Glasgow is pretty honest - haha! grin

Robinredboobs Sat 20-Apr-13 12:47:12

Would DW get a visa? Probably not. You might want to look into the new financial requirements of sponsoring a non EU spouse (I'm assuming she's a new Zealander).

MomsNetCurtains Sat 20-Apr-13 12:54:46

I just re-read that your DW is from SA. I actually missed that in the OP, apologies. She was Asian in my mind! confused It now makes more sense. As politely as I can say, and I DO know this, SA's are pushy, forward and in your face - very honest (!) and lovely! Brits are not. I have worked with 100's of SA's. It's a massive culture difference, so I understand her reluctance to live in the UK. She would hate it. There are LOADS of 'Saffas' here in Oz - literally loads. We have loads of Saffa friends - maybe worth a look? She would be right at home here and lots of SA's have other SA friends!

itshothere Sat 20-Apr-13 15:19:13

OP I'm feeling really homesick too and have done for a while now. My situation is different to your's as in we have not emigrated, been here for 10 years though, and one day a return home to the uk will be on the cards. However 'one day' will probably be a long time coming...
We have a nice life, nice weather (most of the time), nice house, nice salary blah blah. But I feel pretty much all of this is material. I realize that the important things, to me any way, are my family and real friends and they are what are lacking from my life here. I sometimes feel like I'm living a surreal life, then I feel terribly guilty for having selfish thoughts of wanting to go home.
My dh doesn't want to go back to the uk any time soon and I've even considered going back without him. My dc's are in the uk at uni but love coming back here for term holidays. One of them has even suggested that she wants to work here when qualified, so I think it's only me having these thoughts?
It's ironic that your dw thinks that people from the uk are not up front because I think the total opposite,in fact I miss the directness and humorous sarcasm of british folk. One of the reasons I love mn grin . So I know I haven't been much help to you, I have no genius suggestions, but just wanted to say that you are not alone in your thoughts and yanbu smile .

zadie78 Sat 20-Apr-13 15:54:22

Itshothere - we moved back to the UK after 8 years abroad, and throughout the whole of those 8 years, I too thought like you regarding my 'real friends'. Now that we've been back here in the UK for just over 2 years, I've hardly seen those 'friends' and feel I have very little in common with them, bar one or two, who incidentally, were school friends. The people I have something in common with, and who feel more like my 'real friends' now are the other people who have moved back here from abroad, and those are the people I spend my evenings on the phone to, or the people we make arrangements to see at the weekends.

I have been disappointed by this, but what I want to tell you is that since you've been abroad for 10 years now, you might find, if you moved back to the UK, that like me, you've moved on and the UK itself has massively changed in 10 years and is definitely not the same place you left.

I was also guilty of looking at it through rose-tinted glasses when I was abroad.

Now all I want to do is get our dc through school in order to retire abroad again!! The thought of retiring here in the UK makes me shudder with horror.

itshothere Sat 20-Apr-13 16:18:28

Thank you zadie78, it's nice to hear from someone who has been through it. I suppose it's a case of the grass being greener, maybe what I need is an extended trip home to appreciate what I have here again. X

JustinBsMum Sat 20-Apr-13 18:30:06

But, to be honest, I just didn't feel like it was, or would ever be, my culture. I kept reading the british press and following british politics, as that was what I felt most connected to. I didn't feel able to get involved in local organisations in the same way that I would have had at home, and that diminished my feeling of...usefulness. I know that it would have been up to me to change that over time - but everything just felt slighly unnatural and unreal to me - as if I had overstayed on a holiday. My life felt kind of...inauthentic. And yes, I really, really felt the lack of history. It seems like such a minute concern (and it is horribly eurocentric) but it bugged me. So I decided to go back home

Unami, so it's not just me - it seems daft to complain about the lack of decent news or radio progs as a reason to want to return to Britain but that is what I feel. Also the history - and all that you said.
There is also a feeling of superficiality, prob cos I am in the US and the news is so well, extreme. Something can't just happen it has to be dire, terrifying and everyone has to work together to solve it. confused

juneau Sat 20-Apr-13 18:42:49

When I lived in the US I really missed Radio 4. It felt like a stupid thing to miss, but when we arrived back here I loved being able to listen to it again as I made breakfast. I HATED American radio - it was just awful, awful, awful! But it's the little things you miss - spring flowers, radio and decent documentaries, history programmes that aren't just about bloody WWII ... I could go on.

OP, I realise that your situation is actually rather different than I understood from your first post. The dissatisfaction with your job, etc, and arguments with your DW - it sounds like there is a lot of stuff involved here.

YADNBU to feel the way you do and since neither of you is from NZ I also understand your lack of ties to that country. With no family there to anchor you, no wonder you feel detached. I wouldn't move to SA though with young DC. I have a few SA friends in the UK and they've told me absolutely hair-raising stories about the crime there - car jackings, rapes, home invasions - that's why they moved here. I think I would make a long visit a priority if I was feeling as you do - a month at least - in order to see if there is anything to your homesickness. You never know - a decent visit might cure you of it - or condense in your mind what you want. In an international marriage you both need to compromise - and in this case perhaps your DW needs to do that.

lljkk Sat 20-Apr-13 18:59:48

I suspect what OP is wrestling with is the lack of Roots.
I know I have this problem after 22 yrs in UK.
The idea of finishing out my years here just seems wrong, even if by then DC are grown with own families surrounding me.
I still want my cousins & places that I have known all my life.

BBC Radio is something I would miss hugely, too.

mummytime Sat 20-Apr-13 19:20:39

Can you come to the UK for a "sabbatical"? Because that might just make you want to go back to NZ quickly. If you come to the SE there are a lot of SA people here. I would also beware of going to SA right now as I hear very mixed reports from people there.

juneau Sat 20-Apr-13 19:38:00

I also can't see how moving to SA would help with your homesickness for the UK.

University fees in NZ are typically less than 5,000 pounds per annum and students can take out loans from the government interest-free. However, NZ universities are clamouring for more funding to stop them slipping down the league tables and I wouldn't be surprised if the government allows them to raise their fees substantially in the next ten years.

DW only lived in SE England (she was in the UK for about 2 years). I think we would have to live outside that area were we to return - it's too expensive. I was thinking of Birmingham / Midlands, as it seems to be closer to cycling / hillwalking areas: she is very much an outdoors person.

There are lots of British (mostly English) expats here, and even more who have a British parent. I understand 10% of New Zealanders are British citizens. I don't think anyone here sees me as foreign: I am too 'normal' by NZ standards, and I expect the reason for this is because of people's ancestry / parentage. Things like Bonfire Night are celebrated here too. So, oddly enough, it isn't that easy to take time out do 'British' things, if you see what I mean.

Our children have certainly heard us talk about our respective countries, but I don't know what they think themselves. They have visited both places. DD1 enjoyed both, but DD2 was 3 when we went to England, so I don't know what she thinks.

Laquitar & Ladyharriet
I can live with DW's views on British people because she does in fact take people as she finds them. So she's not a bigot, although she can be a bit uninformed at times. I'm not aware that she finds Northerners and Scots very different from Southerners.

I'm very sorry to hear what you say. I hope things start to go better for you.

How did you give yourself mental permission to stay? Was it something you ... just woke up one day and found you could do?

Mummytime & Juneau
DW has actually no interest in returning to SA. It's not because of the crime or the politics - she and her family generally don't incline to the apocalyptic view of SA expats - but because she thinks it was "another life", which is now finished.

SA, like the UK is a more exciting place than NZ and would probably provide quite a few of the things I miss here, but I take your point.

By the way, I can get Radio 4 here!

Thanks everyone for the advice. I think I will plan a long holiday. It is financially feasable for us to return due to the weakness of the pound and the British economy, and while that won't last indefinately, I daresay it isn't going to change just yet.

Unami Mon 22-Apr-13 15:08:39

I'm afraid I never managed the mental permission to stay myself...I had no family or romantic ties to the country and I arrived thinking it would be fun for as long as the fun lasted.

But I met lots of expats who had once struggled with all the same "stranger in a strange land" feelings I'd had..and they'd basically grown bored of maintaining a mental tug of war between wanting to feel at home in their new home and their old home, and had basically decided - you know what, I feel the way I feel, I don't entirely feel like I belong here, but this is where I'm staying anyway. Once they allowed themselves to relax about the fact that they didn't feel like they 100% belonged there then it stopped bothering them.

I think this is the kind of incredibly nuanced (neurotic) culture shock/adaptation that you really only experience when you move abroad somewhere with a remarkably similar language and's the 3% of daily life that's different that's hard to deal with it's...uncanny.

HermioneHatesHoovering Tue 23-Apr-13 11:07:35

I have felt some of what you are going thru Toad, I've been in NZ for almost 27 years, raised 3 kids to adulthood, single parent for the last 11 years.

For me the pull of home is strong but the reality is I have no close family ties "back there" and if I were to move back I'd be leaving my 3 kids here, they are kiwis thru and thru.

So damned if I do and damned if I don't, basically. No help to you I'm afraid but you are not alone in your feelings.

I watch Kirsty and Phil, look on Rightmove, etc. Never thought I could afford to go back (from S.E.), but with the exchange rate it would now be possible BUT I cannot live on the opposite side of the world to my kids, that would be unthinkable (and I don't think mine will be moving overseas of their own volition).

I am aware that I probably have my very strongly tinted rose coloured glasses on though confused

JustinBsMum Tue 23-Apr-13 16:45:11

The SE is very crowded. I don't know Birmingham or the Midlands but if you google cycling scotland or running Scotland there is loads of stuff.

Scottish Law is different to English Law and, no doubt, NZ law so don't know how that would affect things.
I live on a cycle route and there are always nutters cyclists out, rain hail or shine.

One thing which might solve your problem is for you to find something really rewarding to do where you are. The DCs won't always be little and you will eventually have more time to spare.

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