Back in UK and can't settle

(20 Posts)
Magic7 Sun 01-Jun-14 23:31:16

Hi there.

So after ten years of living in Canada, USA, Dubai and others, we've come home with the 4 children to give them stability. They are aged 3,5,7,9. We have moved to a gorgeous area and the kids are settled in school. We've been back 1.5 years.

But both dh and I are struggling. We know we need to get our slippers out for their sake. We hope they will be happy and be given the chance to go to University if they wish.

We haven't bought - we are renting. We both have careers we can move around quite regularly. We are already looking at other areas to move to as logistics here are difficult (all in different schools).

But I know our next move needs to be for a long time - the eldest is off to seniors in two years. But we were looking at our photo albums tonight with the children and life was so rich then. The children agree.

So is that it now? Time to buy the bricks we have avoided and settle for the children to leave in 9-17 years with a clutch full of exams. Walking down the same street for 17 years - the thought of that is not good. Need to count our blessings if we are given the chance to do that. Many people are not.

But can others relate? Anyone else 'settling' for the sake of the kids? Or is there an alternative?

Thanks for reading.

Expatedout Mon 02-Jun-14 04:42:49

Reading your email is a bit worrying as I am heading back to the UK in July for the sake of the childrens education. mine however are a lot older than yours . We actually didn't leave the Uk until my eldest was 9 and we found she coped fine through the late primary/early secondary years . We have only moved country twice but the children have clocked up 4 schools now which for me is too many. Ideally I would have liked the children to finish their education here but it looks like my DH is moving country again so I am bailing out now and heading back to the UK as my eldest is starting A levels next year and needs 2 clear years without moving and I want to give my youngest an uninterrupted time for the rest of her secondary years.. Also As they have got older I have found the moves have become increasingly disruptive especially as they reach the teenage years and I regret the children not having a base with a core set of friends they have known a decent amount of time. I don't regret the time we have had abroad as we have had some wonderful experiences but I do wonder how it has affected their education and their future relationships with people. I don't necessarily believe that it has to be the UK but I do think that once children get to Secondary school they do need some ongoing stability

CluelessCrapParent Mon 02-Jun-14 04:58:31

Sorry, I cannot relate. I am the opposite. Having moved 4 times in as many years from uk to Dubai to Malaysia, living in rented condos , lively though they were. I don't feel settled as an expat at all, but that is probably more to do with all the uncertainties of dc's job situation.

Even though we made the most of the expat life by travelling to various exciting places, I am now ready to return to the uk and am counting down the days. After all the moves and changes, I am craving settling down and putting down roots again.

Already, I have it all planned out in my head that when I return back home, I will have chickens and vega table patches. I think of all the cooking, baking, gardening and pottering I will do and can't wait. Dd will take the boys to secondary school and will hopefully make life long friends. I should be able to work again. Child care support will be easier. I will have a cleaner.....Maybe it's rose tinted, maybe it will not work out as I envisage, but that's how I'm feeling.

CluelessCrapParent Mon 02-Jun-14 05:00:55

Bus not boys

BioSuisse Mon 02-Jun-14 06:56:17

We tried to settled down. DD1 was born in Berlin after living in Paris and New York. We moved back to London for good, we even bought a house, but good turned out to be 16 months. The next chance we had to move abroad we took and we are now in Switzerland. I just felt so uncomfortable settling down in surburbian London.

Now i have dreams of moving back to UK to a nice Midsummers Murders/Jam and Jerusalem type village somewhere outside London where we have a nice veg patch, i join the local WI, our period house is decorated in Farrow and Ball etc etc. Think it is just a pipe dream...DH is interviewing in Moscow on Wednesday.

There is no law that says you have to settle. But accept that as you grow older your DCs will inevitably end up living all over the planet because you raised them to have itchy feet.

sparklingsea Wed 04-Jun-14 14:38:08

I am reading here with interest. After 14 years I am moving back to the UK this summer solely for education reasons. Is really hard as DH will stay based abroad to oversee our business and there will be lots of coming and going. I feel certain it is going to be the right thing for the children but quite apprehensive as to how I will adjust. I want the DC to experience some of the things I had growing up, in fact we are returning to the area where I grew up and parents and some old school friends still live. Any advice on how to get back in to UK life would be greatly appreciated!

mummytime Wed 04-Jun-14 15:04:47

The advice for getting back into UK life - are similar to settling into a new country: get involved. Find the right place to live town/city/country. Then get involved. Get involved with the school, volunteer for the local residents association, join a Church/synagogue or Amature dramatics group.

Why not use the school vacations for travel? But also explore the UK - whether walking long distance footpaths, walking canals or exploring the industrial heritage.

But if you really have itchy feet - there is no rule that you have to settle in the UK. But just as you might breed restless wanderers as children, you might just breed real homebodies who settle in "somewhere" and never want to move, whether that is Huddersfield or Ulan Bator.

Magic7 Wed 04-Jun-14 22:32:50

Thanks everyone. Really appreciate you posting. Actually, I think I feel a lot better after putting a similar thread on the expat forum and everyone telling me they want to come home. I think my main problem is that we don't even travel anymore. I think the solution is to find an area we love and then to raise the money for more holidays. And perhaps get a caravan!!

mummytime Wed 04-Jun-14 23:02:36

Lots of people I know Camp or you could try Youth Hostels - they're fairly cheap and even have family rooms.

Housingheadaches Mon 09-Jun-14 11:51:50

I am moving back to the UK in a couple of weeks for all the reasons you state above. We have bought a nice house in a country village and hope to have a veggie patch and meet people we can be friends with forever. That said I have every plan to escape to the Med for the winter as an expat when I am older.

As an expat my kids have had a great, easy life with swimming pools and nice holidays. The photos look great and looking back I am sure we will think that life was rosier then. But whilst I am still out of the UK as an expat I can tell you that this is no way to bring up a well balanced child. Their friends are spoiled rotten, they have a massive sense of entitlement and their life is extremely superficial on all fronts. I used to be a HR Director recruiting Consultants for one of the top consulting houses and I can tell you that I never found a person worth hiring that had been brought up as an expat. There are a few in great jobs but they are the exception not the rule. Most people I have come across in my job have a very good balance of education and life skills. As for the schooling where I am living what an absolute joke. We have been paying 15K a year each and my eldest (8) despite being extremely bright has a very shoddy foundation from the school that promised the earth and failed miserably. When I compare the things that my son's year is doing in the UK I want to cry.

Something that I tell my friends when they leave their expat life - Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

When I was younger I had a real travel bug and to date have lived in 5 countries. Now I just want a bit of peace and quiet, some comfy slippers and some close friends. I am feeling old.

doradoo Mon 09-Jun-14 12:14:30

We came home......and didn't settle. Two years later we were off again (kids very small at the time) now we have bought and settled - but overseas and have decided that this is where we'll stay (Germany) - for the same sort of reasons - school / some semblance of roots etc.....

Interesting Housing that you have never found anyone brought up as an expat who is worth hiring. I know from professional experience that new graduates with expat backgrounds are often snapped up first and I know many international school leavers from Asia who are in their first choice uni in the uk.

We live abroad for two reasons: it's where dh will have the best career path and we have a much better quality of life here. We have done the Asian expat thing on a ridiculous package but we didn't have a maid or club membership, we both worked, and my dc were too young to feel "entitled". We also lived in the uk for 5 out of the last 20 years but couldn't wait to leave, we just didn't like it for many reasons.

Now we have a very normal life in the US, no expat package, weekends are spent gardening or bbqing with friends, kids have swimming lessons and our vacations are now spent exploring the US rather than 5* hotels in the Maldives.

You can't tar all expat experiences with the same brush. It is possible to raise expat kids without moving every 2-3 years and without a sense of entitlement ... and you don't need to return to the uk to have a "normal" life. It's a parent's job to raise compassionate, helpful and thoughtful children, regardless of their environment.

doziedoozie Mon 09-Jun-14 20:06:26

But aren't you now going to stay in the US, butterflies? that isn't really expat life that Housing was talking about, that's emigrating.

We'll be here til the dcs finish school I expect, unless dh's company moves us again, not applying for citizenship or anything.

What is the definition of an expat vs an immigrant?

doziedoozie Mon 09-Jun-14 21:13:58

I imagined you would stay in the US. If your DCs go to secondary school somewhere they will then go on to uni and thus probably settle there. So chances are you will stay there too.
If you are in a country, say Malaysia, would your DCs stay on to uni there, or, more likely, would they return to UK or some other English speaking country. So you would be an expat in Malaysia (ie not planning on staying for life) but am immigrant in the US (as you are probably staying there).

cannotseeanend Mon 09-Jun-14 21:17:27

Sorry cannot relate to not settling, I'd love a husband and kids settled in schools and a home, there are millions without those things and worse.

I can relate completely to "entitled" culture, I see lots of it, both in children and adults.

How about getting involved in sponsoring children who are less fortunate who live where you used to live?

Coconutty Mon 09-Jun-14 21:19:15

It took us a while to settle when we first came back but our DC were older and we saw how they were thriving in school.

Now, 4 years later I do miss the weather and the easy life but the DCs are doing really well and we wouldn't move them now. When they are off at uni we may well go abroad again.

Dozie, my kids are in a British school. They will leave with either a levels or ib qualifications. It's up to them where the go to uni if they wish to do so, bearing in mind that uk uni as an international student is currently generally cheaper than American college.... smile

Watching with interest - we are expats currently living in US, been here two years, likely to be here another two but then I want to move on. DC are currently 5&2 and I want them to be in the UK for their secondary education - I can't even really explain why but def want to be "settled" by the time eldest is 10/11 and then remain in the same place until youngest finishes school/training.

I was an expat child, lived in Sri Lanka until I was 3 then Nigeria until I was 7, moved from Northamptonshire to Shropshire to London between then and 12 and we stayed in London until my younger brother went to Uni. 12 was too old, hence me wanting to settle before my eldest DC turns 11.

I do "blame" my upbringing for my itchy feet and am keen to live somewhere else between here and wherever we will be in 5/6years time. But I can't imagine us then neccessarily staying in the UK once DC2 turns 19/20 - who knows, maybe we will.

It's pretty hurtful to read the above about expat kids being entitled - I have many faults but being entitled is not one, I think growing up as expat child has actually made me pretty compassionate....

desertmum Thu 12-Jun-14 15:12:02

wow, some sweeping statements here about entitled ex-pats and their kids - yes some are, but the majority are not. I know many people who sponsor children in countries they have lived in, many of my friends are putting children in those countries through school to enable them to move beyond being a housemaid.

I do get so fed up of the constant bad mouthing on here of ex-pats and their offspring.

While I admit many companies in UK don't want to hire returning long-term ex-pats as they worry they will get itchy feet and bugger off again, I have never heard people say that ex-pat educated young adults are a bad employment risk.

Love living overseas, am in UK for a while now but hope to head out again soon. Two DCs living here for first time in their lives - older teens, settled well, not entitled, just full of life and happy memories of extraordinary childhoods.

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