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It's all getting a bit much for me....

(15 Posts)
middleagefrumptynumpty Sat 20-Jul-13 08:23:36

Last night my DH found me in tears (poor bugger) as I am feeling a bit overwhelmed or perhaps more underwhelmed.

Overview - been expat for 15 years in 3 countries. We were heading home this year and it has been delayed until next summer, so I have exactly 1 more year here. All of my good friends have left and now all of my acquaintances have left too. This is the first time in 15 years that people leaving has actually got to me and upset me. I've seen 3 people leave in the past month and what upsets me is that they are getting on with their lives, setting down roots and making plans for the future. I feel like my life has been and is, like ground hog day. I don't begrudge them at all, in fact I am very very happy for them as I know how they feel. I find myself a very angry, stressed out person whose nerves are permanently on edge because I am frustrated.

My DH says that it is going to be one hell of a long year if I am wishing it away and am this upset. I agree with him but am finding it hard to drag myself out of this hole. I want to though. I keep telling myself that I am going to be really busy from the start of the new school term, getting things organised, we have quite a few trips booked to see places before we go and then I need to spend time in the UK early next year looking for a house. I look on line at houses I love, then a week later they are snapped up and it makes me feel worse. I am usually a very positive person and quite a fighter, but right now I feel like one of those dogs who in the end just sucked up the electric shocks.

I need some perspective and some motivational tips to make the most of the next year. Fellow expats, share your wisdom.

I really feel for you. I've been an expat for 17 years and have just made our 10th move. Everyone seems to be moving at the moment, i reckon that 70% of my friends moved from singapore this summer and by the end of summer 2014 i would know less than 10 people there...... It's horrible being the one left behind,especially if your time is limited so you really don't feel like making new friends or starting anything.

Where are you living? Do you have dcs? Are you working? What is going to make yourself feel better? Can you start a new hobby or learn something that you can take with you? Even something not too taxing like a cooking class? Anything to take your mind off not moving yet. If you can throw yourself into something, time will pass quicker. What will you do in the uk? Can you pick up a new skill or internship in preparation for a new job there? Dot look online for houses as you will undoubtedly fall for ones that you can't buy yet. Can you start pinning ideas for a new home on Pinterest though?

Not sure if any of this waffle is helpful but you'll know as an expat that a year is no time at all and things can change really quickly.

mummytime Sat 20-Jul-13 23:20:59

I wouldn't look too much at houses yet. At least in my area of the UK houses are either selling pretty fast, or hanging around for ages. You could look at areas, schools, (maybe styles of houses). You could also try lots of little rationalisations of stuff (but you may be good at moving).

Try to find something to do. And try to resist the urge not to make friends because "it doesn't seem worth it"; you haven't moved yet, and anything could happen.

middleagefrumptynumpty Sun 21-Jul-13 02:53:45

Thanks ladies. Mummy, I've pretty much done most of my research as we were meant to be moving back this year. Incidentally we didn't move back because my DH's replacement came and then left as his DW hated it!!! I know where we will be living and what school etc. (had to go independent as no chance of good school and places deferred). I've even de-cluttered already, but still have more to do. It worries me that I am cutting back to save as much money as possible, whilst the UK housing market is starting to take off again.

Butterflies. I live in Singapore too. It is a very sociable place with loads of expats. When you first get there you make loads of friends and do lots of stuff, but after many years they leave and it can be quite lonely, as you have mentioned. I hate shopping by the way. I used to work here but now don't. I did have a few friends at the school, but they have all left. In one way I am lucky because during my time as an expat I have made some brilliant friends, people like my family and they all live now in the UK. I can actually deal with being on my own most of the time and I have got used to it, but had a bit of a wobble the other day. I have done what you have suggested and started to do some courses that will benefit me/ us when we get back. You are also right that I don't feel like making new friends. My DH says I need to make more effort to meet people. I did organise a coffee morning a few months back with 6 women in my new condo, but not one has invited me back!! I really do need a change from here and I know that our move will be a "change is as good as a rest" for me. I am hoping that my motivation is going to come back very soon as I am usually like a rat up a drainpipe to get things done and love projects and love a challenge. The down side of being like that though is that being underwhelmed can have very negative effects on your MH. Very much an idle mind is the devil's playground!

Battleagainsttheodds Sun 21-Jul-13 03:42:05

God I understand. Been waiting for proper return date for 10 months, finally have flights booked. Horrible interim period. Fellow British expats who have been good friends dropped us when they realized we may not be around much longer which has been relatively understandable but not prepared for the hurt as I thought they were life friends. 10 months ago I thought it would never end and looking back its disappeared quite quickly. I agree Groundhog Day is a cracking way to describe the feeling. Keep going keep as busy as possible and I'm just sending you lots of unmumsnety expat hugs. It's only 12 paydays...

Battleagainsttheodds Sun 21-Jul-13 03:52:58

Not meant to be flippant with the 12 paydays just how I look at it.

The loneliness can be crippling when you're putting the time in. I've been nuts with lack of social and family support in last few months particularly if many friends have already left, but it will end.

Pm if you want a friendly chat via email.

SavoyCabbage Sun 21-Jul-13 04:24:00

Can you not take your dc and go earlier and your dh can follow on? That's what we are doing.

Ah singapore, super transient lifestyle, even compared to everywhere else we've lived. Can you get on to meetup? Find a group? Pick up some voluntary work? Everyone leaves singapore in the summer so it's bound to feel empty at the moment. Are your dcs at school? There will be another influx of families soon. If your kids are at school, is there a class mum system? Could you be class mum? I did this last year and it kept me busy (alongside my paid job and voluntary work) and really got to know the mums in dd2s class. If you have preschoolers there are loads of groups around for socializing. A year will pass quickly but it's still a long time to not meet anyone iyswim.....

Hang in there.....

middleagefrumptynumpty Sun 21-Jul-13 06:55:11

Actually that is a very good point Butterflies. My youngest is just about to start school so a good time to beef up the socialising.

middleagefrumptynumpty Sun 21-Jul-13 06:56:00

It has been a very long summer (and only half way through). The haze, not going on holiday, everyone away, no kids at the condo. Singapore sucks in the summer months.

Which school are your kids at?

Singapore does indeed suck during the summer. Is the lowest point if the year so not necessarily just you feeling low. The dh's just don't get it as they are still busy at work, enjoying the lack of traffic on the roads whereas the rest of us are struggling to fill 10 weeks with no play dates. The upside is there is loads to do with the kids although mostly inside I guess as I heard the haze was coming back...?

picklesrule Sun 21-Jul-13 14:44:31

what school are your kids going to Middleage? And what area are you? we are in Singapore, it is super quiet right now..
Are you into sports/fitness/yoga at all? I'm a yoga teacher and have a couple of group classes with some lovely ladies you could join us?!! I go to some fun bootcamps around the place too, lots of nice people if that is up your street?!

picklesrule Sun 21-Jul-13 14:45:04

oh and meetup is fab as butterflies says, lots going on..
How old are your DC?

May09Bump Sun 21-Jul-13 16:47:41

I have experienced this - IMO, the first 3 months are hard (Keep as busy as possible) - the next six months are on more of an even footing and the last three months fly buy!

Keep your self busy -
book hols, activities, get out of apt / house as much as possible.
organize your move for next year - list of actions, contacts, thoughts of booking hols at home.
Buy things you want to ship with you in advance - clothes, furniture etc (customs may charge you if you have owned less than 6 months).
Build lists at home - I had ones at John lewis, M&S, next, amazon, etc with things I needed to renew on return / wanted or just window shopped.
Maybe take up a hobby - exercise, art, course, etc.

I'm just on my way back home, in NYC - heat / humidity is awful. It will go faster than you think and you will feel better!

A99Sing Wed 24-Jul-13 09:38:25

I've only been in Singapore for about 6 weeks and its been up and down. I feel for you as i can imagine what it must be like to plan to leave and have it changed at the final hurdle.

Since I've been here there's a couple of small groups of mums that have started to get together and you'd be very welcome to join us if you'd like to. Most are fairly new to Singapore but some have been here longer too. PM me if you'd like.

There's also a night out this Thursday if you fancy a couple of restorative glasses of wine. It's on Meetup, under bukit timah playgroup. I went to the last one in my second week and it was really friendly. Mix of long term stayers and newbies, mix nationalities though fair few British, different aged DCs (though no DCs at the night out!)

I agree to keeping busy. And focus on short term future.....getting youngest sorted with school, then pick something else, then work towards Christmas. Might break the year into smaller chunks that seem to pass quicker rather than counting endless weeks

Chin up, you must have got,through so much in your 15 years expatting and you'll get throug this too

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