Was your move worth it???

(17 Posts)
scottswede Thu 28-Mar-13 10:23:23

Everyone moves for different reasons I know, work, family, new challenge, just because you can.
Is your new 'home' country what you thought it would be ? better, worse, kind of what you thought, or could be a different planet !!!!!!!
Did you do lots of research, visits beforehand???
Did you just go with your fingers crossed and hope that all would be well ???
What would you do or not do if you could do it again ?????
I think my glasses were kind of rose tinted about Sweden. My knowledge of Sweden was:
_The Swedish chef from the Muppets. Thought the language was rather silly and hard to understand, still do.
Abba Loved them then, love them now. Found out they were much bigger outside Sweden though.
IkeaGreat for storage, a lot of the homes here look exactly like an Ikea store,
Before moving, I had only ever met Swedes outside Sweden( dh being one of them). I understand now that they have an ability to socialize chip implanted as they leave Sweden. Ordinary Swedes, living in Sweden do not have access to this.
Learned that being alone and being lonely are two completely different things.
Learned that being a SAHM in Sweden is about as acceptable as being a leper.
Learned I can eat my body weight in chocolate during a Swedish winter( that's a whole different post....)
Was the move worth it, yes and no. Kids and I have learned a second language. Another life experience, not entirely positive but a life experience none the less. The grass is not always greener,sometimes a different shade but not greener.

TheAccidentalEgghibitionist Thu 28-Mar-13 12:12:25

Oh, this is interesting. We moved for a variety of reasons but mainly in search of a better quality of life where we had more time to just be with each other. We have that, so it's been a success. We live in France now.

It helped that we have lived in the same place previously but each time is different. We did visit to chose somewhere to live and look at schools, which was massively helpful.
We saw the place when it was cold and miserable, which was actually good for knocking off our rose tinted specs.
The things that make it hard are cultural differences, the burocracy (sp) and just a different way of thinking about things. Sometimes that's positive and sometimes negative. Things we take for granted, systems that just work, quality and availability of different types of food, in the UK aren't so easy here.
I went through a phase of complaining about things a few months ago and have settled again now.
I agree, living abroad looks more glamorous than it really is, it's really as you say just a different shade of green!

peterpie Thu 28-Mar-13 21:10:26

scottswede - ahhh, your post made me laugh, probably because I relate so well to most of it smile

I agree 100% that the grass is definitely not greener abroad. I moved to Spain 6 years ago with DH who is Spanish. We had often talked about moving there and when a job came up for DH we didn´t have to think for long it just seemed the right thing to do - WRONG!

When we moved I was 5 months pg with DS1 and being totally honest I had started to develop cold feet but we had sold up and there was no going back...

I thought I "knew" Spain as I had spent a lot of time there previously and my degree was in Spanish, I definitely had my rose tinted specs on! Unfortunately, all my "experience" was useless when it came to having a baby there and living there as a Mum, not a student or just as a visitor. 6 years on and I still feel like I am living on another planet!

Learned that being alone and being lonely are two completely different things. Me too!

Learned that being a SAHM in Sweden is about as acceptable as being a leper. Well, it´s not quite leper status in Spain but you are pretty much on your own as most women go back to work very early on and children go to Nursery or are looked after by grandparents. Needless to say you are pretty much a Billy no Mates during the day, parks are empty and there´s no Mums and Toddlers.

In addition, I have learned that once you have children in Spain, this gives random strangers carte blanche to say what the Hell they like to you about your child...oooh isn´t he big, oooh isn´t he pale, ooh why is he sucking his fingers, you can´t allow that etc, etc... The good thing is that this is like water off a ducks back now I have had my third but when I was all PFB it used to really upset me.

I have learned that it really is same shit, different country!

I have learned that there is nobody like the English for being able to make small talk and have a good laugh at themselves. It´s a complete myth that the Spanish are a bunch of friendly, shiny, happy, people - sorry!

Like TheAccidental says there are lots of cultural differences which I think you eventually get used to, well more or less, and I have also struggled to get foodstuffs, although I have to say this has got easier over the years with the increase of globalisation although I still struggle when it comes to finding certain spices and good Tea...

I am so glad I read your post scottswede as I have often thought that life in Sweden would really suit me. Admittedly this is based on nothing concrete but I think I have just changed my mind grin

Ws the move worth it? Hmmm... well for me definitely not but hopefully for my children yes, although I am not entirely convinced....

Alligatorpie Fri 29-Mar-13 05:30:55

We moved to Egypt almost 2 years ago and for me it has been worth it.
Dh and I both have full time jobs. as newly qualified teachers we could not get f/t work at home, and teaching in an international school has been a great experience.
we could afford to have dd2 ( and i have been home with for the past 9 months) At home, we had decided not to have a second child as daycare was killing us financially. Here we can live on one salary, so when i go back to work, we will save the other.
I will go back to work in Sept with a promotion, (professionally a very good move) and dd2 will go into the nursery they are setting up.
We are moving to a villa, bigger than anywhere we have ever lived before. Life is easier with a cleaner, food delivery, laundry services etc, meaning more time for fun.
We go on several holidays a year, And i love seeing blue skies every day.

But, the country is in chaos, it is very sad to see people so frustrated and powerless to make change (2 years on from the revolution, people are more disheartened than ever).
We have an evacuation plan stuck on our fridge, so there is the constant threat of having to leave at very short notice, traffic is a nightmare, the food is shit and dd1 desperately misses her gp's.

nooka Fri 29-Mar-13 05:43:12

I made the move essentially as a re-commitment to our family, and somewhat surprisingly it has totally worked. I now know that I was naive to think that an international move would bring us peace in our relationship given the huge stress that immigration brings, but there we go. dh who was desperate to leave England admitted only a few months later that it's not where you are but who you are with that matters so we could very possibly have had the same result without the stress/expense etc.

dh thought that Canadians were nicer than English (well Londoners really) and on the whole he is right, although the general optimism and over the top praise for quite run of the mill stuff can sometimes really grate (apparently my English cynicism/love of complaining doesn't always go down so well either!)

We visited once on holiday and loved the emptiness and landscape and I still frequently look out of the window and feel wow. British Columbia really is very beautiful. With the exception of Feb/March when I usually think bloody snow, go away already!

Not sure if I'd do it again, but we are planning on staying put for at least the next five years. Although if a new challenge came up I don't know that we'd dismiss it out of hand.

Salbertina Fri 29-Mar-13 07:08:44

We wanted an adventure and have succeeded well and truly for good and for bad. Not sure whether it was worth it- certainly not in financial or my career terms or stability for us all...

We live daily in a stunningly beautiful wild place, as a family we have had amazing travel experiences, the dcs attend a strict traditional little school (the like of which hasn't existed in the UK for at least 2 decades!) with township kids and so have realised how hard life is for some.

And yet sometimes being so far from "home" gnaws away at us all, often at silly, inconsequential things like not being able to get hot cross buns or yet another misunderstanding at how things work at dcs school. Plus security, not a place to break down near a township in the dark awaiting the AA being told "your call is important to us"

scottswede Fri 29-Mar-13 07:52:56

I always had this 'dream' of living in a big yellow house in the Swedish countryside. I'll be careful what I wish for in future. I've noticed when I complain about things in Sweden to friends and family I get 'Oh that's a shame but you live in a lovely big house in the Swedish countryside'. As though that alone should be enough. I call it my' gilded cage'.
It is just the little things that make life bearable. The big stuff you just get on with, deal with and move on. The little, annoying, daily, grinding things are the hardest to overcome.

peterpie Fri 29-Mar-13 15:20:58

"it's not where you are but who you are with that matters"

Ahh nooka, I love that and I am going to write it out and stick it on my fridge and make it my mantra, especially on the days I am feeling homesick grin

WallyBantersJunkBox Fri 29-Mar-13 15:28:59

On the whole I would say yes, but I think it is really down to the individual persons sense of adventure and exploration and open mindedness that makes any overseas experience a good one.

For example I have a friend who has moved to the same country as me and she might as well be in Luton. She had learnt nothing of the culture, explored the city, sampled the food etc.

She lives in the expat zone, her kids aren't learning the language (international school), she flies home every four weeks for haircuts, Primark and Asda....it could be anywhere! It's not a temp move for them either, they are planning to live here permanently!

Research can also help overcome issues, and as a Rational over thinker, I did loads! I wanted to make the move right first time, no temp accommodation, it was life changing enough.

I made three trips, saw 30 houses in 2 cities and 6 schools. I even had a spreadsheet comparing basic supermarket prices and phone tariffs etc. 3 years on I am still happy with my location and home, and this is the longest place I've lived in since I was single.(Army wife). I have to say though, it was more important for me to get things straight before leaving the UK as I had accepted a step up in my career and knew I wouldn't have time to do this when I got here.

I think an accompanying partner who isn't working can do a lot of this after arriving.

scottswede Fri 29-Mar-13 16:31:30

I totally agree about having an open mind and being up for a challenge. Before I met dh my job allowed me to work all over the world for years, which I loved. Even after we married we lived in the US for 7 years.
I consider myself well traveled and extremely open minded. I also researched the country, schools etc. Asked my 2 SIL's tons of child related questions.
I still think you have to actually LIVE in a place before you know if it works for you.

Thumbwitch Fri 29-Mar-13 16:59:02

Is your new 'home' country what you thought it would be ? better, worse, kind of what you thought, or could be a different planet !!!!!!!
Well, it's pretty much what I thought it would be, tbh. Although as you say, living here is a whole different kettle of fish from just visiting.

Did you do lots of research, visits beforehand???
Research, not so much; visits - well yes, one before I'd ever met DH and then came here 3 times with him, using the last one as more of a "preparation for moving here" visit than a holiday, so looking at facilities, what's the same, what's different etc.

Did you just go with your fingers crossed and hope that all would be well ???
Well yes, to some extent - but we moved to a house that DH's mother owned, in a town 15minutes from where she lives, because that's what DH wanted to do and he couldn't be happy in England, so far from his mum (I know, but what can you do?)

What would you do or not do if you could do it again ?????
I think I'd hold out for longer. We moved out here when DS1 was 20mo and I think I'd have liked to wait until he was a bit older, tbh. I'd also need a personality transplant though, to become more organised and get everything sorted properly instead of leaving a bunch of stuff at my Dad's, which I'm supposed to sort out every time I go back there but never seem to get the time.
I'd bring more of the stuff I still miss now! Because we had to pack the house up weeks before we moved, as I still didn't have my visa, I kept back some stuff that I used regularly and that was then too expensive to fly/ship over later - I'd send that and borrow stuff to have used in the UK until we left.

Little things do make all the difference. One of the things that still bugs me, nearly 4y on, is that I don't just know where to go to buy certain things - in the UK, I knew which shop or which sort of shop I could go to for pretty much everything - here, I don't. And sometimes neither does DH.

But I will say that I have been pretty lucky in the people I have met - living in a provincial town in NSW has been kind to me, the playgroup ladies have become friends, and DS1 has moved on to primary school with several of his playgroup buddies. I'm now at the point (and probably have been for a year) of seeing people I know in the supermarket/shopping centre nearly every time I go, which makes me feel like I belong.

It has been said of Australians that they are good at superficial friendliness but not following through and becoming friends - I did find that to start with but persevering has brought me friends. If I had to move again, I'd find it very difficult to do so, which has led to DH turning down the opportunity for a promotion (involved moving to Melbourne) - his choice, I hasten to add, he wouldn't have wanted to be so far from his Mum either!

Was it worth it?
Overall I'd have to say yes, I suppose:
• I have a reasonably nice life here, even though I get pissed off to the back teeth with the invasive wildlife in the house;
• I don't need to work for us to get by, although if I did, we'd be able to save money as well;
• there were no issues getting DS1 into school as it's automatic right of entry into the local schools here;
• DS2 was born last year under the auspices of a very understanding obgyn - not saying I wouldn't have had as good care in the UK but the facility to have a private obgyn who was always the same one might have been harder to obtain - easy as pie here;
• There's only a teeny tiny language barrier and you quickly learn the words you need to be careful of - although I do now also ask if X is the same here as in the UK, just to be on the safe side. Openness helps. Also swearing like a navvy seems to help too, as it offsets the "seen as posh" English accent. grin
• we have our own swimming pool which would never have happened in the UK! [shallow]

Things that have helped:
• Persuading the local supermarket to stock Boursin (you have no idea, it seems tiny but it made all the difference to my general levels of misery!)
• Being able to go back to the UK every year with DS1 to see family, so that he knows them, and they know him and now we're taking DS2 back for his first visit as well
• Decent broadband and Skype
• Not having to learn a foreign language
• MIL being on hand to help with childcare - we wouldn't have had that in the UK as my Dad wasn't able to look after DS1 when he was tiny (in nappies) by himself.

Probably a lot more but my post is already epic enough! grin

Salbertina Fri 29-Mar-13 18:31:06

Realise didn't answer your qus

Is it what i expected? Not really- definitely had rose-tinted glasses beforehand!

Visits? Just the one for weekend only

Research? Yes- as much as cd be done in the 4 weeks notice we had!

In summary it was on a wing and a prayer rather than a well-executed plan

13loki Fri 29-Mar-13 19:20:29

Is your new 'home' country what you thought it would be ? better, worse, kind of what you thought, or could be a different planet !!!!!!!

We've been in Sweden since the end of July. But we are from Australia and had lived in the UK for 8 years, so being away from family is normal for us and our kids. I naively thought I would learn Swedish much more quickly. Turns out it is hard. I can cope if people talk to me like a 3 year old, but I sound like I have some serious issues when I try to talk.

Did you do lots of research, visits beforehand???

Ummm, does an hour in Malmö when we went on holidays to Denmark count a visiting beforehand? We did do a lot of research about housing and schools, I thought I had sorted out childcare (I hadn't, cue days of tears when I couldn't start work when I was meant to)

Did you just go with your fingers crossed and hope that all would be well ???

Pretty much we just assumed everything would be OK.

What would you do or not do if you could do it again ?????

I'd put more effort into learning the language before I moved.

All in all I love it here, I love being paid to stay home with my 7yo because I have maternity leave left over because I only got 6 months with him. I love that the child benefit more than pays for childcare. I love that for lower mortgage payments we have traded a 3 bed semi in Stoke for a 9 room house three times the size with a sauna in a village 15 minutes from a city.

scottswede Fri 29-Mar-13 20:18:30

Where about in Sweden are you 13loki? I'm near Helsingborg.( ok about 30mins drive)

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sat 30-Mar-13 06:04:23

Moving to Hong Kong has worked out well for us - we originally left the UK to move to Dubai, but that ended up not really working out for DH work-wise, so his company moved us to HK instead.

Weirdly we hardly did any research for the move to HK- we had a day to accept transfer to HK, or for DH to quit and go to another job within Dubai. I'd been to HK a couple of times on business, but spent most of that at the container port, so not really indicative of life in general grin. However, we had no kids then, so I think you can afford to take more of a punt. Nothing about the place has really shocked me that much, apart from the genuinely appalling air quality which I thought was exaggerated- it's not! What has surprised me on the upside is that HK is a great combination of "small town" and "big city". It's a major global city with so much energy, but at the same time, when you go out for a walk or to the park, you see loads of people you know, so you get a nice community feel.

Things I'd do differently- if I'd known I'd have DS so soon after moving, we would have moved to a more family-friendly complex with facilities straight away. As it was I was stuck in a colonial block in quite a quiet area for a year with baby DS before we could break our lease. There were very few other mums nearby and no activities so it was kind of painful.

13loki Sat 30-Mar-13 09:23:08

Hej scottswede I'm in Jönköping. Middle of nowhere. We drove past Helsingborg on our way here. Quite shamefully, I have only been to Linköping for a work thing, Göteborg for a short break and Malmö for an hour. I must travel more. Borås zoo this week.

scottswede Sat 30-Mar-13 12:43:19

A little too far away for a coffee, shame, still we have MN.

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