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I just need a bit of information about settling in and how other people originally saw you when you first moved.
DH and I are currently planning to move, after his workplace shut down (we're in Glasgow, but previously moved from County Kerry in Ireland) but with openings for the same job in other countries, and he's talked with the company and he can transfer. Discussing with my work (aeronautical design, I'm an aeronautical engineer) transfers are available (thankfully we both work in international companies, so transfers are possibilities), and realistically, although I earn the higher wage, we need his wage too.
So we're moving. Currently, we live with DS (17, but going to a university- in England btw- next year), DD2 (11, but 12 soon) and DD3 (8, but 9 in a week). DD1 is currently at university in the Netherlands (she plans to live there).
Due to the different jobs, there's only about fifteen countries which we can feasibly move to, and within them, only a few places, however that's still a large choice. Most of them are English speaking, but some aren't, and some of them are in Europe.
Out of the fifteen, we've chosen eight which we think we can move to. The other seven are- China (Beijing, Shanghai), Egypt (Cairo only), Brazil (Rio only, although I could also go to the capital, DH can't with his work), Dubai, France (Paris, although DH could go to Lille or Toulouse as well, Paris is the only one we could both transfer to), Finland (Helsinki, although I could also transfer to Rovaniemi, Dh can't) and Spain (Madrid, Barcelona- only places we could both transfer to).
The countries we are considering- Australia (Perth, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, although DH could transfer to Adelaide, I can't)
NZ (Auckland, Christchurch, only ones)
Canada (Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Although DH can go to Calgary, we were thinking about areas around it, anything up to an hour and a half drive even from them, so doing some googling, Manotick, I think Surrey for Vancouver, but heard it can be really bad in rush hour, or did my research go wrong?)
USA (NYC, California (Burbank, Ontario, LA, only palces we can both transfer to), Alaska (I specialise in temperate flights, so a lot of transferable places will be either very warm or cold, or have odd weather, in Alaska there's Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau I think), Seattle, New York (NYC, Rochester), Hawaii (Honolulu, Lanai, Kahului), Nebraska (Omaha), Ohio (Cleveland), Wisconsin (Milwaukee), Maine (Portland), Colorado (Denver), Florida (Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Fort Myers). A lot of options!
Sweden (Gothenburg, Stockholm, Malmo)
Germany (Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Mainz)
Denmark (Copenhagen only)
We had the alternative of moving to London (I was born in London, I love it a lot, but we think that moving abroad might give us better options etc;) Bristol or Cardiff, in England, and Belfast in Northern Ireland (Glasgow is the only Scottish division where we can both work, although in eighteen months there will be the option of Edinburgh, and in twenty six months, apparently there will be Aberdeen- we don't know why they're closing down the Glasgow section). Ideally we could wait, but we need both wages to support us really.
If we move, it will be in roughly seven to eight months.Help! Currently, we're thinking about
Australia (Perth, Brisbane) New Zealand (not sure about cities) Canada (Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver?) USA (NYC, Alaska, Seattle, Wisconsin, Hawaii! Although Hawaii and Alaska are probably fantasies....) Sweden (Stockholm) Germany (Munich) Denmark (Copenhagen)
So not Singapore (although welcome to be convinced!) and cutting down on places.
We also want to know how you settled down and how your neighbours reacted to you. When we moved from Ireland to Glasgow, it was easy settling down, I mean, same language, in an area where a good few people will have moved.
But what about other areas, especially non-English speaking countries?
Are people welcoming, stand offish, used to foreigners in a multicultural area, not multicultural, good with foreigners, helpful, and are language barriers a real problem? I know these are big generalisations, but I'm sure there must be some differences between countries. Is moving to Australia, Canada, NZ and the USA a big culture shock, as much as the others will be?
I know some German (adopted by German born parents, but it didn't rub off so much that I'm fluent), and DD1 has been helping with Dutch things. DH is Norwegian/Irish, is Norwegian slightly close to Swedish or Danish? I honestly have no idea.
Your list is immense. Can you start by looking at your top 5 priorities and going from there?
Like some have said - distance from your children may be key. Its not just a flight away its also time difference. I skype my family but with 8 hrs time difference it only gives us my morning and their night times to do so.
Cultural differences are easier to spot and learn about if you share a language at least.
I would say that if you are going to uproot yourself to that extent, its a big trip home if things don't work out (and can be expensive, if not built into your deal). You absolutely have to visit the place you intend to travel to and do some research on the ground floor, as it were.
And ultimately, its important to remember that you may be seen as a transient in some communities and perhaps not taken so seriously as someone to get to know, as a result. I experienced this in a town where everyone had lived since high school (uS) and it was okay but took some getting used to.
Anyway, just a few thoughts. Personally I've been to and loved the following places (and lived some years in some of them): NYC, London, Paris, Hamburg, Los Angeles. All good.
Portland Maine is a major city - and a thriving, multi-cultural one at that, so I don't know if a previous poster saying it was "middle of no where" knew the place.
Maine does seem like the middle of nowhere to me, the whole population of the state is about the same as the city I live in. Our metro has about 2 1/2 times the number of people in the whole state. Prior to living here I lived in the South of England where there are a lot of people and a lot of things to do and not huge amounts of open country.
If the U.S. interests you at all try the city-data forums for that place.