Do you regret moving abroad?

(99 Posts)
ODearMe Thu 06-Feb-14 06:59:07

We are considering a move to Australia for two years only initially.

I wanted to ask about your experience of taking the leap-was it the best thing you ever did (and why) or do you wish you had stayed put in retrospect (and why)?

Thank all

bigtallpurple Tue 25-Mar-14 14:15:30

Interesting thread. This subject is never far from my mind. We left the UK five years ago. It had never been something we had wanted or planned to do but we kind of had to due to DH's work. We have both been very unhappy. The experience has reinforced how important it is to me to feel settled and secure. Being on a visa linked to your employment is a huge worry (although of course some people's jobs are far more secure than my DH's). Plus, living in rented accommodation has been hard (although I realise that other people can cope with this a lot better than me!). It's just been a really stressful time in general and when you're away from all your friends and family, feeling lost and insecure where you live is difficult.

So basically I wish we'd never come. But...I can't regret the move as I think we made the right decision with the information we had. With the benefit of hindsight, I wish we'd never left the UK. I think that once you're really considered moving abroad, unless you both later decide 100% that you don't want to do it, it is hard not to. Living with the "what if we had made the move" thoughts would be torturous IMO.

Good luck with your decision OP.

bigtallpurple Tue 25-Mar-14 14:41:35

My previous post is far too depressing! We have just been very unlucky with DH's work situation so basically we have never really had a chance to feel secure here as we have spent the majority of the time expecting to be sent home any minute! Moving abroad doesn't have to be this stressful though so take no notice of me! grin

Actually we are now about to move to Australia...wink Not quite sure how that has happened! So many things will be different there though (we already have permanent residency so all the issues re employment and visa etc won't apply thankfully). We might stay there, we might go back to the UK, but we have to try it. I think people's experiences of emigrating can vary dramatically. I hope your situation is nice and straightforward smile

giggly Tue 25-Mar-14 16:06:52

Regret no, but not happy here in Australia for many reasons. We both work longer hours with less disposable income with me in a less experienced role as health care is way behind the Uk. Despite having top of the range health care cover, healthcare costs are proving too expensive for us and will only increase as dh has a degenerating disability.

Earning capacity is very important here in WA, very...

But mostly I want my dc to have an active part of their extended family sharing and making their own history, phone calls and skype just doesn't cut it.

I am not embroiled with my family but feel very sad that I have little contribution in their lives and them in mine.

So many other reasons for us and that's why we will be heading home at the end of the year.
However we are so glad we tried living away and have lots of fun and adventures along the way.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 25-Mar-14 16:55:00

Giggly my sister - who lives in Autralia feels the same way about healthcare. Her and OH are approaching retirement age and find themselves having to prioritise their treatments. My BIL has an ear and a knee problem my sis needs varicose vein and elbow surgery, Even though the have good ( and expensive) health insurance they do have to contribute some costs, so they can't afford to have everything treated- they have to decide which is a priority.
On the other hand she has a very dim view of the NHS and doesn't think it's right that prisoners are allowed the same treatment as pensioners.

NancyinCali Tue 25-Mar-14 17:10:21

2 and a bit years in to our life in the US and no I don't regret it. There are good days and bad days of course but that happens wherever you live. We knew that one year wasn't long enough to base a decision on (it went really fast) and that we'd decide at year 2 what to do next. We're now applying for our green cards and about to have our second DC here (we moved when I was 5 months pg with DD).

Downsides: no family help; when family come to visit they stay for 2+ weeks (I like my own space so find that really hard!); DD doesn't really know her GPs etc.

Upsides: amazing weather; loads to do; better standard of living; an adventure!

You get to know people and build a new support network. I have some amazing friends here. Skype is brilliant for keeping in touch.

If I had to make the decision again knowing what I know I would go for it in a second.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 25-Mar-14 17:42:04

For those that live abroad and have left family behind- is that a situation you can easily deal with? Does it ever cause you sadness?

Robfordscrack Tue 25-Mar-14 17:55:09

yes, it causes sadness especially around Christmas but life goes on. I am lucky in many ways. can't really be depressed with a toddler around - she very giggly. Have lived "abroad" for 14 years now, this location we've been at for under 2 years. I don't really know if I have what I consider "home" country - the country where I am from no longer feels familiar.

atthestroke no, I can't say it does. Not everyone who moves overseas moves to Australia though, we are in Germany. I am glad the school term dates here give me a get out pf jail free card from my mother's awful, dreary, church and ritual based Christmases, but we still see family a couple of times a year. If we were in the UK we'd be in the S.E. and they'd be 5-6 hours drive away anyway. Have you talked to a councillor about your feelings - it seems a little out of proportion as a response to a sibling moving abroad decades ago...

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 25-Mar-14 18:11:37

I don't need a counsellor tumbles. As time passes the loss of my sister become even more acute. She died without seeing our father, our mother is disabled and I care for her. I don't have bitterness, but I see the sadness in my mother's eyes when my sister sends happy smiling photos of beach picnics including great grandchildren she can never hope to meet. The repurcussions of her emigration continue to have fallout, and what's more my sister feels it more acutely too with the passing of time. Now that she herself is a mother and a grandmother herself she is becoming acutely aware of the impact that her leaving has had on the family.
I have spend my life without my sister, and don't care whether she is here or not, but our mother feels bereaved.
I'm not sure a counsellor would help me with that one!

Nomad55 Tue 25-Mar-14 19:07:20

Its a shame that the smiling photos cause ongoing sadness and not pleasure that she has a happy life - isn't that what we all want for our children?

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 25-Mar-14 19:12:14

She is sad because she is not part of it though. It's a virtual family, not a real one to her. Yes she wants her children to have a happy life but wouldn't it be nice if she was a part of it, instead of living alone, old and frail with only phone calls and christmas cards instead of loving little hands and sweet cuddles.

Sadness on behalf of a lonely very elderly parent makes more sense - but it sounds as if there is an awful lot of romanticising of what might have been... if your sister had stayed in the UK, her children and hrandchildren might never have been born - you can "mourn" any fork in the road, but it seems maudlin to morn the fact your child has a happy life, even if you are not in tbe midst of it...

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 25-Mar-14 20:17:14

But they may well have been born too. It's not romanticising - my mother has grown old surrounded by the sticky kisses of my children.
I can't ask my mother to stop mourning for the daughter she has lost.

pupsiecola Tue 25-Mar-14 20:22:47

Nancy whereabouts in the US are you? We hope to move there at some point in mid future - good to hear you're enjoying it.

idlevice Tue 25-Mar-14 20:57:03

The mention of mourning emigrated family made me remember that families used to hold a going away event for emigrating family members that was effectively like a funeral. This was in the days when ordinary households didn't have telephones etc and most "common" people were illiterate so they wouldn't have had written contact. It was supposed to help in the same way going through the ritual of a funeral is supposed to help.

I lived abroad for 6yrs & don't regret it as I am one that also couldn't have lived the "what if I'd gone" type of thoughts. I also felt some of the sadness about lack of direct family interaction as I had 2 DC abroad. It has made me appreciate even more the things I like about the UK.

PossumPoo Tue 25-Mar-14 21:16:25

Atthe your post is very sad and it does sound like you are still struggling with your sister leaving.

People have to live their own lives though and I am glad that on the whole, I dont have to deal with this sort of melancholy from my Dsis. DH and I are from opposite sides of the world so there will always be someone who is sad/missing out. Skype isnt the same as in the flesh but it really is the next best thing and really amazing for those of us that have "robbed" our families by moving away.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 25-Mar-14 21:27:59

Apart from my mother's feelings I really don't care, my sister is seven years older than me, we were not close as children, and she left home when I was nine, emigrating when I was 11. What I do remember is my mother's depression, and her cheerful voice when she spoke to my sister on the phone. Pretending that all was well. It wasn't.
My sister's emigration was like a death to our parents, my father became terminally ill two years after the emigration too. THey lost their forst born child.
I don't care for my sake, but I do for my family's. I also now see that my sister herself is starting to feel a great burden , especially with her own grandchildren she now realises the pain she has caused by driving the massive rift of half a planet between her and us. She didn't then realise the consequences and impact at what starting a new life abroad would do.
If you are liiving abroad and enjoying a new live without those you have left behind you may not see this perspective, but I can assure you it is very real, and families such as ours are not alone in feeling the bereavement that emigration causes.

NancyinCali Tue 25-Mar-14 21:41:36

pupsiecola we're in Silicon Valley, about an hour from San Francisco grin

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 25-Mar-14 21:43:30

People have to live their own lives though and I am glad that on the whole, I dont have to deal with this sort of melancholy from my Dsis."

We don't live our lives in isolation though- family may not be important to you but it is to some.
My sister does not have to live with my melancholy - I can assure you I lead a fulfilled and happy life. Even if i was melancholicii doubt she would glean that from the five words we exchange on our annual communication in the form of a christmas card.

pupsiecola Tue 25-Mar-14 21:49:02

Oooh Nancy that's a strong contender for us. We're there for a few days over Easter as part of a road trip around California/Nevada. Do you think you will stay long term and do you have DCs?

mummytime Tue 25-Mar-14 21:56:21

Gosh I find this talk of mourning very sad.
In my family quite a few members emigrated at the beginning of last century (1900- 1913 ish). They went with everyone knowing they might never come back ever. But they were still part of the family. I still have very fond memories of the excitement when the letters arrived at my Grandma's house from the Great Aunt in Canada (who my mother had only met once).
They were still very much part of the family. And yes at times it was hard when they were a long way away (such as when a brother died). But no one was that heartbroken just by the distance.

Anyway OP you have a chance to have an adventure, and then maybe come back for good one day. If you have nothing really anchoring yourself right now, then I'd go for it.

rosiesmartypants Tue 25-Mar-14 21:59:55

My husband and I left the UK this time 2 years ago, as he was offered a secondment to the US, and we were there for 15 months, and I regret that we made the move every single day.

When we arrived my husband was really busy, and it was really just 'normal service' for him, except in a different part of the world. I wasn't prepared for the impact that giving up my work would have on me (we weren't married at the time, so I had no right to a work visa), and having no income of my own. His employers weren't considerate of my situation, and no spousal allowance was on offer, to take in to consideration of how negatively impacted financially we were by our move there.

Now that we are back, I can't get back in to the freelance work I was doing when I left, which has impacted us massively now we are home! So all round it was a lose - lose situation for us, and we are still counting the cost.

On plus side was I brought home a beautiful son (who has a US passport).

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 25-Mar-14 22:01:21

Sad but true. Can you imagine your own child leaving your life and how you would feel. Yes you would want them to be happy in a new life and have exciting opportunities, but you would not feel sorrow?

Atthestroke no wonder the poor woman is "feeling a great burden" - I assume she is being emotionally blackmailed about her "betrayal" down the phone every time there is any contact - do you resent her not being there to help you care for your mother now? hmm

GhettoPrincess001 Tue 25-Mar-14 22:22:07

We emigrated from Britain to New Zealand in 2011. I'm married to a kiwi. I didn't want to emigrate/relocate as in my opinion the two countries are pretty similar and it was a lot of upheaval to replicate what we already had. Anyway, he was having his mid life crisis so I came along for the ride !

His mother and sister live in the same city. His sister is married with children. That city being Auckland, by the way. Where my husband comes from but does not want to live there. Good, suits me.

We live a few hours drive from where they live, mercifully !

We get by on my husband's salary as I've really struggled to find work. I've had some short contracts but nothing permanent. Referring to the short contracts I've had when applying for other work means nothing apparently.

Anyway, we've agreed to go back to Britain. I shall continue to tread water/mark time here. I cheer myself up with the remark, 'you know you're going home, don't you ?'

My Dad, Sister, Niece and nephew live in Britain. My Dad will be 72 this year. Sadly my mum died in 2005. My Niece and nephew are teenagers pursuing their further education goals.

So, not much of a family pull for me but I still want to go home.

My husband's idea for emigrating was that we would buy our house with the proceeds of the sale of our house in Britain both get jobs and live mortgage free and have more disposable income. Sounded good. The practical reality is quite different !

OK, we own our own home but it's mortgaged and we get by one income. We've ended up in regional New Zealand where jobs are scarce. So I spend most days inventing things to do to stave off the tedium. Yes I do voluntary work.

To me, it's not a question of whether it worked or didn't work. It's a finite period of time and in a couple of years time, it will be, 'time up'. Win, lose or draw doesn't come into it as far as I'm concerned.

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