Anyone regret moving back to the UK because they were so homesick.......

(108 Posts)
scottswede Mon 20-May-13 16:11:21

Following on from the homesickness threads. I was wondering if anyone had moved back to their home country because they just couldn't settle, only to regret the move back home.....
I know everyone has bouts of homesickness, from every day to only on special occasions, from little things like not being able to buy certain foods to huge hating the weather issues. From taking a couple of months to settle to unbearable homesickness after 10 plus years.
What made you say"I just can't do this anymore"
Was moving back what you though, did you settle in, did you regret moving back, wished you'd stuck it out longer, taken more trips home to quench the thirst.
I am lucky I have the opportunity to return to the UK, with a willing dh (living in his home country now) we are making plans for next year. We have lived here for 3 years and I knew almost immediately it wasn't going to work though we have tried hard to make it, just not feeling the love.....
I know the UK is not the perfect place, but I know we can can a more enjoyable life there.

Newbrummie Wed 29-Apr-15 20:15:32

We arrived back 4 weeks ago and you know the uk isn't bad. It gets slated but aside of the shit weather I don't think it's any worse than any other country

rita68 Tue 28-Apr-15 19:01:14

I moved back to the UK four years ago, having lived in the middle East for over 7 years. Like you Karma, there were things I noticed when I moved back here that I had never noticed when I actually lived here before. There is a bitterness to the British people, an 'I'm allright Jack' attitude that I had never noticed before presumably because I'd had nothing to compare it with - obviously this is a gross generalization, but that, coupled with the intolerance for children I found very hard to re-adapt to. This business of insisting that your children leave home the minute they leave full-time education is also a peculiarly British thing, and the attitude of 'our parents never helped us out with money so why should we help our own children' is abhorrent.

The riots in the summer of 2011 (or was it 2012?) just about summed it all up and I felt really disappointed in my home country, or rather, in it's people.

I absolutely LOVE the weather, the scenery, the coastline, the gardens, the smells, the Sunday night television, Strictly Come Dancing, bonfire night, camping in the summer, cycle rides by the canals, picnics in parks, reliable postal service, waterproof houses and just knowing where to go and what to do with silly things like car repairs, electricity suppliers, broadband etc. I felt all at sea with those things living abroad.

Lovstigen Fri 24-Apr-15 11:02:49

Thanks KarmaNoMore, interesting reading, where do you live? In some ways where we have lived here so long I wish I could feel like that, I do a bit but feel mostly the pull of home......

KarmaNoMore Fri 24-Apr-15 09:02:42

Interestingly, I now find my old country irritating... I love the weather, the warmth of the people, the food, my old friends and family but... I really hate that everything is life us measured by the size of your house and that people don't read much (I find the levels of ignorance, racism, chauvinism, and homophobia absolutely appaling, interestingly... i never noticed them when I was living there)

KarmaNoMore Fri 24-Apr-15 08:56:41

Beautiful, the only thing I can say is that homesickness makes you idealise the distant place. I spent 8 years begging my then husband to move back to his country or min, no day passed on those 8 years when I didn't tell him how much I longed to go back. At some point we started to resent each other (I resented him for forcing me to stay, he resented me because by asking to leave, I was asking him to abandon his dreams) and eventually we split mostly, because I hated it here.

Although we often talked about me moving back home with DS, the moment we split he said I could go wherever I wanted but DS was staying here. Obviously, there is no way I could have left my child behind so, I spent a full night crying big time, proper big cry with sobs and everything and after that I decided that if I couldn't leave I would make the best of it.

Less than a year after I had totally fallen in love with the city I hated with absolute passion for 8 years, I was surrounded by lots of supportive friends, some old, some new, and found the place full of interesting things to do. I have spent the last 8 years loving my life here and no longer want to go anywhere, this is my home now.

Sometimes I ask myself if I would still be married if I had taken this more positive perspective earlier, but to be honest... I don't think that was the case... I think that I got to the level of negativism in the first place because I resented my husband's selfishness and unconsciously thought that if we went back to where we started, the balance would be restoreed. In my case (not saying this is the case with yours), my hating of all the local things was just a symptom that my relationship with DH was no longer satisfactory. It was not the city that I resented, what I resented was that he didn't care I was so unhappy here)

Lovstigen Fri 24-Apr-15 08:27:57

I know this is an old thread, now in a similar situation, been living in Sweden for almost 8 years, all children born here, but as we are all English never felt that sense of belonging......Long for the culture of home.....something maybe on the table to move home. After so long I have become to used to it here but never loved it completely......long winters, very different culture etc etc, miss the ease of the brits and the sense of humour etc etc
I know we have to make the move and I want to, but now its becomes more of a reality its starting to scare me!!!
Anyone regretted it or was it the best move???

ceedub Mon 05-Jan-15 16:54:19

Hello,

This is such an interesting thread. I guess I come at it from the other side, in that I'm a dual Brit/Australian national - born in the UK, grew up in Melbourne and then came over here in 2006, when I met my scottish husband. When I came over, I was in a bit of a rut, it was easier for me to come to the UK than for him to go to Australia and it was all an adventure. we lived in central london, i had a great job and 2 fantastic years of discovering and enjoying life in the UK. we then decided to have children, moved to sussex and we've since had dd who is 5 and ds who is 3.

Since having children, I have really struggled with being here. those great job opportunities were no longer available to me because i couldn't work the hours and couldn't find the childcare to fit around a 5-hour daily round-trip to London. After working part-time, working from home and starting my own business, I've recently gone back to working in london, but my heart just isn't in it.

I'm lucky that I have one sister here, though she doesn't have children and is more settled. i see her maybe 4 times a year. All the rest of my family is in Australia. My mum had cancer last year and that really tipped the balance for me. She's in remission now, but I feel that if I don't go back soon, I will miss the chance to spend time with her, and for my children to get to know her.

I have made some friends, and we live in a lovely town. DH is close to his parents and has a sister and nephews here. But after nearly ten years, I just want to go home, and the UK still doesn't feel like home. I know australia has some flaws and things which will annoy me terribly - and when we last visited in 2012, I came away a bit shaken at how much it had changed.

But as my circumstances here have changed, and the opportunities which attracted me have disappeared, the prospect of spending time with my family, in the sunshine and with friends who just 'get' me becomes increasingly attractive. I've tried to get my mum to move over here (she's british), but she doesn't want to - and the cancer has made it impossible.

It's a bad time of year for aussie expats in the UK, and I always feel homesick at christmas and in january - when the short days, cold weather and absence of family combine to exacerbate how I feel. But this year feels different. previously, I could always imagine things getting better, but now I just see more of the same slog, and feeling lonelier and more depressed.

DH has the chance of a secondment through his work to Australia, and I might be able to do the same. It would be a big upheaval for the children, though deep down, I know once I get home, I won't want to come back to the UK.

Is this how people who made the change in the other direction felt? I so miss those hot mornings, magpies warbling, waiting for the cool change to come through, the smell of rain on hot ground and the sense of space and light. But most of all, I miss being with my family and for all that I love our town, I want my children to experience the culture and environment I grew up in.

SmillasSenseOfSnow Thu 01-Jan-15 23:06:33

I'm not in the same situation as you MrsPaloma, what with only being just shy of 27, childless and I've only been here for just over two years, but I wanted to say that I am also in Denmark.

I've been reading this thread with interest because I often wonder just how long I'll be here and where I might go if I decide to leave at some point (which may require a fair bit of negotiating if it's with the partner in tow - he seems to be happy to stay in Denmark forever since he's never been outside except for a holiday or two as a child).

I lived in Germany for around 9 months before moving back to the UK for a year and then to Denmark, and I absolutely hated my time in Germany, which surprised me. The first year or so here in Denmark was quite isolating, but it's starting to pick up now. I'm getting on towards fluent in Danish and I'm about to start a very long university degree, which is taught in it, so I'm sure to be completely fluent pretty soon, and to finally gain a collection of my own fast friends, as opposed to people I know through my partner.

My degree will qualify me for a job that will allow me to move quite easily, thankfully. But I worry about future decisions I might find myself making, like those the people in this thread have been discussing. I think I need to get out and about and travel the world a bit more to see if that satisfies my wanderlust.

MrsPaloma Tue 30-Dec-14 17:55:08

I've been living in Denmark for 20 years now and really want to go home to the UK. No DH anymore, no job, no friends, but 3 DS's, the youngest is nearly 16 and will be taking his exams in june 2015. I've learnt the language, but never really been happy here, have stayed for DS's sake. When I visit the UK I feel much more relaxed and happy :-) I keep saying to myself I'll go back to the UK when my DS is finished at school, but I don't know if I can leave him, because I love him so much. Though I feel like I can't take much more of these feelings inside. I've been homesick before, but never like this. I don't want to be a bad mother :-(
Is there anyone out there in the same situation or have you been and what happened?

itsveryyou Tue 16-Dec-14 20:38:35

We will be moving back to the UK next year after 3 years in America. We always knew it was a short term move and although we've had the most amazing adventure, I can't wait to get back to the UK. So many things I love about being here, but so many more I miss. Mostly friends and family, not having to explain myself the whole time, not being the 'outsider' and while people in the main have been incredibly welcoming and friendly, it's just not quite the same. Kids looking forward to getting home too, though they've been in an excellent school and had a fabulous time. DH would stay, but is also happy to go back. This time of year is particularly hard for me, I miss tradition and family a lot.

Pupsiecola Mon 27-Oct-14 10:20:22

*Moosey we were in Surrey until 2012 then spent a year in Asia. We have returned to Hampshire and whilst where we are is not the most inspiring place (we are in a highly residential area) there's a lot to recommend it. Great state schools (our boys are 11 and 9), 90 minutes to central London and Heathrow. 20 minutes from the New Forest/the coast, 15 minutes from Winchester/Southampton.

We did consider Bath and also the Cotswolds, but we moved back from Asia without coming for a visit and just didn't feel confident enough to choose somewhere completely and utterly new to us. So we moved an hour away from where we were in Surrey, to a vaguely familiar area. Bath is lovely though :-)

PM me if you want more details.

Moosey4000 Mon 27-Oct-14 07:54:41

Loving these posts...) we have been in Sydney for 16 years & we are now looking at move back to the Uk in the next year or so.
So many reasons to go home & we are finding the weather here is not a good enough reason to stay. Although the thought of the long English winters is worrying! Mostly we are going back to be closer to family. My gorgeous Dad passed away last year & it was such a huge reality check for me. I now just can't bear the idea of my Mum getting older on her own....I am the only daughter who would help.
The trouble we are having is finding an area to move to & schools! We have 9 & 11 year old boys.
We have lived in London & Surrey before so for a life change & to feel like we are not just stepping back into our old lives we are looking at Bath are as an option.
Any help suggestions or. Input very welcome....))

Amaike Thu 16-Oct-14 03:21:03

Re the above two posts, I recommend a great Ted Talk by Dan Gilbert on the science of happiness. It explains a lot about why having these international (reversible) choices makes us unhappy.

It has taken me 9 months of being in Australia, with no choice to return to UK, to not hate it every day. I can now see the benefit to the children of the safer outdoor life. Having said that, if your children are young enough to move, and you liked the UK before, you will like it again. Also, before you move, know your legal rights especially around The Hague Convention. If one parent changes their mind, the other one can be stuck somewhere they don't want to be.

kiwidreamer Wed 15-Oct-14 22:03:40

I am in deep deep angst over whether to stay or go, if I think about too much I feel ill with the worry and guilt of what is the right thing to do. DH and I are from NZ and have been living in the UK for almost 12yrs now. Its only in the past 3 yrs or so that I feel settled, have some lovely friends and 2 happy DC, DH would happily stay here. For past six yrs my folks lived here too but they have gone back to nz now. Ive always maintained we WILL go home but now we are looking at returning in the next year or two and I'm crippled by the guilt... we will be financially worse off moving back, I'm scared I wont fit in, all our friends have moved on, scared that it will be all my fault if it turns out to be the worst decision ever.

On the other hand its home, the DC will have their grandparents back and have access to the outdoor lifestyle I grew up with. We can always come back but its a massive expense and we are financially behind our peers because of being 40 and still not on the property ladder since we left NZ originally.

I know its not healthy to have regrets but we've made decisions in the past that have really put us behind the 8 ball and I'm scared this one will screw us for the rest of our lives.

Gummybear1 Tue 14-Oct-14 12:28:54

Born in SA, and I moved to UK with wife and 3 kids at 40. The job paid a lot less but it was a career move to get a further qualification. So that went off well & I even got a better job offer in central London. But then the wife and i got homesick and so it wasn't long before we packed up and headed back home. Been back in SA since 2011, and I've had the worst case of expatitis. Not a day has gone by without me wanting to go back to the UK. I miss the public transport, the NHS, the schools, and even the weather.

Our oldest kid is 11, then 7,6,&1. So now would still be a good time to move. Problem is it takes a lot of courage to uproot the whole family, and start over again. It's daunting, with the prospect of getting homesick again hanging over our heads.

I think it's one of the hardest things to endure...the indecision of going or staying. Many a sleepless nights have been suffered due to this indecision.

I envy those who can just get up and emmigrate without churning endlessly in indecision.

My advice...don't ever leave the UK once ur there. It's a great place.

Amaike Thu 02-Oct-14 23:21:05

BabCNesbitt you are right , after London most places will feel slow. I am not sure I will ever adjust but maybe time will work some magic. I hope I can leave when my children are older.

pupsiecola Thu 02-Oct-14 16:15:42

sharon in our case unless it was an amazingly brilliant life changing offer we would not move our kids again. The reason things didn't work for us in Asia was that DS2 (then 7) absolutely hated school there, and the school wasn't keen on him either. I've talked about it before on here, but they were convinced there was sth wrong with him developmentally. They sent us to some batty woman who asked him the most ridiculous questions:-

Her: I'm from outer space. I have no idea what time is. Explain it to me.

DS: trying to talk about a year and months and weeks.

Her: I don't know what those are. I'm from outer space.

DS: trying to talk about a clock.

Her: I don't know what that is. I'm from outer space.

DS: I give up.

Her: Oh, you have sensory processing issues.

Nowt wrong with him (apart from probably depression/withdrawal whilst there). Just a very very bad fit (IB system really didn't work for him as he was a bit slow on the uptake when he started school age 4 so he missed some of the basics and IB didn't really allow for that).

Anyway, I digress. We've been back a year. His report in July just gone was wonderful. He's exactly where he should be. And he's happy. He loves going to school. He's got a really cool male teacher who is about 15 (or looks it lol).

It would be, for us, incredibly selfish to uproot him and I'm not even sure we would do it for a vast amount of dosh. Also DS1 has just started at an excellent state secondary and is really happy and settled too and has found a lovely group of friends.

DS1 has never struggled academically but it takes a while for him to find his friends. DS2 is the exact opposite. So each have their challenges.

DH was absolutely gutted to come back, but understood we had to. Work was going really well for him. He was a round peg in a round hole where he was - right time, right place in his industry (quite niche). We sacrificed for the sake of the kids. What else could we do? And actually the relief of knowing they are happy and learning and in the right environments for them is immeasurable, because when you are stressing about your beloved 7 year old biting his finger nails down to the skin and not sleeping you really can't enjoy whatever adventure you are on anyway.

BUT if we hadn't been through all that then yes, we would consider another move, but I would try to remember that no place is perfect etc. I do think some kids are fine moving around and now DS2 has caught up I would be able to move him without worrying about that aspect. So I do think it is possible. Our situation was just peculiar and I didn't want you to think I'm saying you should never do it.

I think we may try again in a few years' time. Once the boys are off doing whatever they're doing. But we're a close family, all 4 of us, and I don't know if we would bugger off in reality.

The other thing we may do is move to London. We are really liking that idea. Perhaps a flat there and a flat in Surrey/Hampshire where we have grown up/moved around.

One thing I am doing is going back to college. I started a part-time HND in Business this week. It will take 2 years, and then I can top it up to a degree after another year. I realised I needed a focus, and I am also prepping myself for workplace re-entry when the boys are off 16+. Also as you say it is so very hard to meet people at this age, especially if you're not in a cosmopolitan city where people come and go. Another reason I'm doing the course is to just meet some people and have something for me. In a way it is a relief to be past the school gate phase :-)

It's taken me over a year to get to this point and I still have bad days, but they are fewer and further between. Of course there are massive things you cannot change, like the winter days and the loss of an adventure or missing family etc.

Whereabouts are you living?

Sorry for the essay!! (Practising for my college homework).

rushingrachel Thu 02-Oct-14 15:57:40

The claustrophobia thing is funny. I love being home, but it's weird and not always easy planting yourself back in an old life again amongst those who haven't been away. Silly anecdote. I was at the gym the other day and got out of my car to find that the person standing behind the car next to me was my ex boyfriend from 6th Form. Hadn't seen him for 20 years, and there he was. His opening gambit was "Rachel, you haven't changed a bit" (which I was pleased with). The follow up was "I'm surprised you've washed up back here" (less pleased about being "washed up"!) When you're overseas you kind of expect to keep meeting new people. When you come home you have to adjust to meeting old people!

BabCNesbitt Thu 02-Oct-14 14:18:46

Amaike, I think most places would feel slow and provincial after living in London. We moved back to the UK from the US (DH is American) because I was horribly homesick, but having lived in London before we moved, we're now living in a city up North and even that feels a bit claustrophobic compared to the capital!

sharonsglover Thu 02-Oct-14 10:56:55

Thank you pupsiecola, I take a lot of comfort from your post knowing I am not alone in my struggle.

Do you think it is too late to move your children? Does your dh feel the same as you? I remember when we were in Oz hearing lots of stories of teenagers having a terrible time emigrating at such an impressionable age.

It is also harder I notice to make friends now the children are older in this country, unless you are from that village or met at baby groups etc

Its easy to have paradise syndrome though isn't it and I look back with rose coloured glasses sometimes.

Now the reality is staring at me

pupsiecola Wed 01-Oct-14 19:07:19

I really feel for you sharonsglover and can relate to much of what you say. We were only away for a year but came back unexpectedly and largely due to circs beyond our control. We chose to come back to an area an hour away from where we lived before for all the reasons you state. Whilst that has been hard at times it was definitely the right decision. People just don't get what you've been through, especially if it wasn't plain sailing, and without wishing to sound mean the whole live in the same village/town your whole life makes me feel really claustrophobic. Global village - good expression.

The kids are really settled here (11 and 9) and that makes it very hard to consider another move, but resigning ourselves to staying in the UK long term is a grim thought. Of course it's been far easier these last few months because of the amazing Summer we've had (hasn't it been gorgeous - even yesterday we were in tee-shirts). It's been a really good distraction. But I do think I suffer from a bit of SAD too and I am not looking forward to the short days etc.

Nothing really to help you, but just to say there are others feeling how you feel - you're not alone.

sharonsglover Wed 01-Oct-14 16:34:24

Hi Amaike, Do you think you will be able (emotionally) to leave once your kids are older? Is the only reason you are staying now is because of your mum? If you cannot leave now, maybe you just need time on your side to settle once again

Amaike Wed 01-Oct-14 13:37:03

I have heard it takes 2 years to settle in to a place, for some people even longer. I am really struggling to get used to Australia after 15 years in the UK. I find it too isolated and unsophisticated here compared to London. The outdoor life is nice for the kids but Sydney is so expensive and hard to get around.

sharonsglover Wed 01-Oct-14 08:30:56

Hi infink, Yes I think most of the time (can't generalize of course) it is females who struggle more than men, maybe the emphasis for us is on relationships.

My DH loves surf, no class system, weather (he gets sad syndrome here) and mostly positive the positive/up for it attitude. So its hard to fill that criteria here. I think Hairylegs47 got it right in the fact that your friends will still be there but as you don't share any experiences for any length of time you become out of sync and mostly I have found I have changed more than I realized. This sounds awful but their world appears small to me now and its hard to relate.

Once the seed is planted by living overseas its hard to be happy with your lot in life as you know there is another life out there or global village as they call it now.

I guess you settle eventually though but not for a while?

Hairylegs47 Wed 01-Oct-14 06:35:45

I do get times when I want to go home, but 8 weeks of being 'home' every summer really diminishes the feeling.

Everyone has moved on since we left the UK 7, no 8 winters ago and we no longer 'fit in' there. But I don't think we fit in anywhere tbh. Coming to that realisation was very freeing for me smile My friends aren't really friends, even my closest ones. Too many not shared experiences just created gulfs that were to hard to cross. I tried for a long time, but realising my friends only came to see me when I was home so they could store up ammunition about how different we were than before made me re evaluate. sad

Our grown up children are still in the UK, in my head I'd be doing the grandma bit, but, they all have their own lives, so really how often would we see each other? They all live in different parts of the UK, how would we pick where we live?
We still have 2DC with us who will, by the time they finish Uni and if they don't go to a UK one, have spent more time living away from the UK than they have living there. So what 'nationality are they now?

We've just moved to another ME country and I've learned there will always be things I'm going to miss, no matter how awful the country, but there's so much more to experience. I don't want to 'Go home' really regretting the decision down the line. The DC and DGC are free to visit whenever they wish, I'm hoping they are able to too!

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