Getting off the Expat waggon?

(35 Posts)

Has anyone done it?

Did you return to your country of origin? Or stay put?

Were you happy with your decision or did you get lured back into the expat lifestyle?

DH got made redundant recently and we cannot get our heads around not being expats anymore. In a way we have to consider all options but the option of staying put and taking a more "pedestrian" job doesn't seem to be one of them.

papalazaru Fri 14-Jun-13 17:02:36

Been back in the UK for nearly two weeks now. And the oddest thing is that it almost feels as though the last nine years never happened! Everything is oddly familiar but different. And not one person has commented on my lovely accent smile. The last couple of days before we left were just terrible and we all cried all the way to the airport. But we just have to get on with things now.... I just wish it was a bit warmer - think my short shorts will never come out of the wardrobe wink.

thereistheball Tue 11-Jun-13 06:02:03

Sorry to butt in but Hello Mrs S - sorry to hear you are going! But it sounds as if you are very happy to. I hope your DDs settle in to their new schools quickly. Good luck wight the move. We are just transferring onto a local contract so look as if we'll be here for a bit yet. I am a bit jealous of you going back to London though.

FamousFiveForever Sun 09-Jun-13 13:00:09

Papalazaru, I am very sad for you. I hope you and your children will be happy in your new home.

FamousFiveForever Sun 09-Jun-13 12:58:42

Hello, REexpat, I know what you mean. I am so excited to move, We have found a wonderful, warm school for our children, so much better than anything we could offer them here.

I have lived in various countries since I was 20, nothing too exotic such as the Congo or Peru, but I ticked all the locations off that I wanted to experience. The last one is the US and I can't wait to go.

As others have mentioned before I also feel restless and can call no place truly my home.

MrsSchadenfreude Sun 09-Jun-13 10:44:01

Papalazaru - how did it go?

I think there will be less of a wrench to leave Paris for us. DD1 has had a horrible time at school in the last few weeks, and many of her friends are leaving, and DD2's BFF is going back to the US, so in some ways it would be worse for them to be "left behind" as it were. I am also being driven mad by my job and the bureaucracy here and the Parisians and am really ready to leave.

So interesting to see the different experiences. It is exciting and addictive this expat thing, isn't it? I sometimes feel that people who travel with a circus must feel similar.

DuchessFanny Fri 31-May-13 12:13:38

I get so homesick for England, but tend to be back for a few weeks then yearn to come 'home' to friends who understand what this ex pat life is like and our lovely way of life !
We have a nice home, good school, fantastic social life and I don't feel ready to give it up, my DH however us ready to go home and settle down, buy a 'forever' home, but all my friends who have moved back have really struggled and told us to stay out here as long as we can - feel a bit torn !

Hooya Fri 31-May-13 11:52:56

Papalazaru so sorry sad must be awful - here's hoping the worst phase of the transition is over soon.

RE we've been considering this question a lot as I am pregnant with our first DC, and we have been having the 'should we go home' debate... but we think we're just not ready to give up the interest and excitement and perks... Even if we stay longer and I go off my expat deal onto a local contract, and it's all a bit more pedestrian like you say, I'll still be an expat smile but then we're in Japan where you never feel like a local unless you're Japanese, I think.

A friend I met in HK nailed it I think - she's from Sydney and has thought about returning home, dreaming about running along her favourite beach of a morning. But then she said "I know I'll have an amazing couple of weeks back home, go for my run along the beach and love it, but then look out to the sea and ask what's next?"

gohound Fri 31-May-13 02:11:36

papalazaru sad

papalazaru Fri 31-May-13 01:53:19

I've only got 48 hours left and my heart is breaking to leave here. My kids are So happy and settled (and yes yes I know they'll adapt). But the last day at school tomorrow is going to kill me!! sad

pupsiecola Mon 27-May-13 20:49:42

For us, after a very stressful and not very successful first attempt at living overseas, we have decided to stay put here in the UK until youngest DS is 18. Just not brave enough to try again and actually it is really settling to be back in the UK although a new area but the next door county to where DH and I grew up.

DH and I would still like to try Canada/US and reckon it's going to be much easier and more fun when the DCs are finished with their education. I guess there will be some sort of spanner in the works to consider then too, but knowing that we can try again at some point helps :-)

MrsSchadenfreude Mon 27-May-13 20:04:33

I am an International Woman of Mystery, Hellohello. grin

I am feeling very in limbo at the moment as I don't actually have a leaving date from here yet - it could be August, it could be September. DD1's school starts, inconveniently, in the middle of August, but we could go back to the UK to settle her in and then come back here and pack up, then leave finally in September before DD2 is due to start school. The stress re schools is still not finished, either.

Thanks Redundant. Oh I'm just having a stress whine really. The other positions I've seen for DH, his functional boss won't let him apply, as they're going backwards, and they have a PLAN for him. I don't care, as it would be where I want to live, and the money is the same! He applied on his managers instruction for something in Sth America, but the manager also told his colleague to apply for the same job, and as the colleague knew managers over there already, he got it. Very happy for him and his family, but you know, hard pill to swallow.

I know the hardship is all on me when we move next, finding a house, kids schools, daycare, and also starting work myself! DH can just pickup is "briefcase" and go to the office. I just know it would have been much easier for us in the M.East for example, to get a nanny, into school, and get to work. I find western countries more difficult to settle into, I have no idea where to start, what area's not to live in, which schools to try and get in the catchment for. Coming up for summer holidays as well is going to be tricky, we can't apply for a school if they're closed. I also tend to feel less satisfied, everyone around us buying houses, putting down roots etc... whereas in a more exotic expat local it wouldn't bother me in the least.

It looks like it will the be the US for us, I've had a chat with my boss and he thinks he can get me a "good for my career" position which will be interesting and challenging.

We both work for the same company, so it is a little easier in that respect, I leave it to my boss to try to place me. We work for an international engineering/construction company which we do love, but somedays it's just not worth it.

hellohellohihi Wed 22-May-13 21:56:32

Interesting thread. My work involves a lot of international assignees... I'm curious, what do you guys do for work/your DH's do for work?

I had to get off the expat wagon about a dozen years ago - it was getting dangerous for me. I was living the high life, huge offshore salary, single, living in exotic locations, dating exciting men, jet-setting around the world. It was fantastic for a long time but then it (or my attitude) started changing - I started feeling like the "normal rules" of society didn't apply to me, I was so much better paid than my local colleagues, etc etc. I knew I had to get back to reality or I would lose my place in the world. I was starting to not like the person I had become.

But in my case settling down didn't involve returning "home" - DH and I (both Canadian) chose London to live and raise our family. But we are definitely not expats. No fancy salary packages, no school fees, no housing allowance, just 2 normal exhausted hard-working parents. After 10 years I like to joke that actually the only thing about me that's not English is my accent grin

Canada will always be there and it's definitely in our future (retirement maybe?) and we visit often (both sets of grandparents and all of our siblings and DCs cousins live there) but London is definitely home now.

papalazaru Wed 22-May-13 21:33:03

Everything you have all said rings true with me. I long for stability but am afraid that if I do actually stare down the barrel at a lifetime ahead in one place I will become bored and restless. Do we get addicted to moving?

We are days away from returning to the UK after 10 years abroad. My DH stays with his company and this is a good career move for him. For me and the kids it is awful..... we have become properly integrated into our US community - not part of an expat group who come and go (which is the nature of the beast). Don't get me wrong - I have done both and can see the up and down sides but this time we are all struggling to leave deep and meaningful friendships.

I have said 'never again' but ask me after in three years in London and I'm not sure what I'll say.

Good luck to all moving....

Returning home after an absence seems to be the hardest. I haven't done it but know from colleagues who had to return to their old jobs after they had done maybe more responsible and dynamic things overseas that it is difficult.

DH is getting proposals from Belgium and Japan. We have been to both, so it seems less painful to return to an expat posting.

Maybe if I had a permanent job we'd be moving less?

TeaAddict235 Wed 22-May-13 19:35:16

We're temporarily back in the UK from germany, and it took me longer than I thought. DH breezed back into uk life, even though its not his homeland.
I must admit though, coming back I've had to work a lot harder at friendships than I thought. Old friends have stayed distant friends now that we are here.

And sometimes I think....um, we should have stayed out there for a bit longer. That said, I know that our time here is limited, and as the old cliche goes " you don't know what you've got until its gone!".

For me there are pros and cons, I always have to start from fresh in my industry, whereas DH has an extension to his career. He progresses upwards, and I feel like I remain stagnant.

Sorry you feel low, HerRoyal. Could DH not actively look for posts in the places you would like? or does he actually like it where you are?

Salbertina - what do you mean by pulling the finger out? If you move on every few years there is little room for making deep and meaningful friendships and to maintain them over the distance, isn't there?

Some days I feel like I want to stop it, but we don't know where we should live. I hate the town DH is from in the UK, it's completely grim, and we don't fit in there. There isn't enough work in his industry in the country I'm from. I want to live in my own house and change the kitchen, update the bathroom or paint it whatever colour I want and have the furniture fit the house.

On the other hand, I like travelling around and seeing new things. I'm in a state today. I feel like we've wasted 5 bloody years of my life in Canada and now possibly be moving to the States for another 2-3. Not what I want at all. My colleagues meanwhile are heading to South America, Africa, the Middle East. Which is EXACTLY what I want. I feel that we get shit on continuously because we're too nice to kick up a fuss well DH is, they know how I feel. If this happens, that'll be 8 years I've wasted somewhere I don't want to live. Whoopee for being an expat.

<sorry, I'm on a downer today>

AdoraBell Wed 22-May-13 18:09:15

I can relate To feeling uprooted. If we do make the move back we don't have a 'home' To go To so we're trying To decide which part of the UK works best for out needs. And now family are interfering.

It's not an easy choice To make. Good luck with your situation.

I have been saying that I want to stop moving for a number of years.

I left my home country when I was 19, and I have never wanted to return, have been happily travelling and expatting, but at 44 and with 3 school age children it would be nice to slow down a bit. Just not sure where and how. The thing is that one gets very used to the lifestyle and it's not so easy to give up the perks and excitement that come with it. Also, I just don't feel drawn to anyone place as home. So it's not that it's between home and being an expat, I just feel properly unrooted.

CoolStoryBro Wed 22-May-13 03:19:14

Ime, how successful the move home has been directly related to how the families have ended up returning. For those that specifically came out for a limited contract and never intended to stay, they have happily returned. Some have hated it here and VERY happily gone back.

However, unfortunately, I know many people who, over the last few years, have had the Expat proverbial rug pulled out from under them. And all of them, bar one, have struggled going home. Currently, for every 20 British Expats coming into NYC, there are probably a whole plane load going home.

Famous Welcome to NY! Lol!!

AdoraBell Wed 22-May-13 02:59:33

We're trying to sell the dream house we built when we thought we would stay permanently. OH is planning to still work abroad and we'll be in a completely new area. I'm having palpations at the idea of me with 2 preteens, four dogs and no friends in the the area. We can't afford to go back to London and have no family outside of London. PILs are toxic so I don't want to be near them anyway. While I could take up gardening (shudders) the thought of the WI fills me with horror!

Good luck with your decision RedundantExpat

Salbertina Tue 21-May-13 07:25:20

And ikwym about friends- rather in limbo here (have fun friends rather than deep friends after huge initial flurry of interest died off) and i feel I've rather given up bothering as i know we're here only a while longer. Makes for lonely and disconnected life though so probably should pull my finger out!

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