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Living abroad - How often does your family visit you?

(66 Posts)
WidowWadman Fri 13-Aug-10 22:29:47

Do they ever or do you always have to do the travelling?
Do you get a lot "Oh, I'd like to see you more often", "When are you coming over again?""Such a shame that we see our granddaughter/niece/cousin so rarely", but never real plans of visits.

Do people promise to visit and then never do it, e.g. because flights/ferry tickets are so expensive? But then go onto a package holiday twice within the space of 3 months?

Am I being unreasonable to wonder if I reduced my efforts of going over to see them to the same amount of effort they make to see me, I'd never see them again?

It's not only that I miss them, and that the majority of my annual leave and holiday budget goes on going home to see family and friends, which is often more running around and stress than holidays, but I'm also kind of sad that people don't seem to want to come and see what the place I've chosen to be my home is like.

Just wondering whether it's just me and I've got the wrong expectations. Or whether it's just my family being utterly utterly thoughtless, or whether it's kind of normal when you move away.

alicet Fri 13-Aug-10 22:40:58

I can see both sides tbh.

My sister lives in New Zealand. She moved away about 7 years ago. In that time I have been to see her once when I was pregnant with ds1 5 years ago. We have paid for her to come back once (we discussed at the time whether she would come or I would go to her but given that she could come for several weeks and I could only go for 1-2 she preferred to come here). We are saving at the moment for me to go and see her next year after her 2nd child is born. She comes back once or twice a year and has done since she moved over there. My parents have been over every year except one (when my mum had some health problems)

However there are a few reasons why it is easier for her to come here than for me / us to go there.

1) She is now a sahm. Prior to this she was self employed so could come for 6-8 weeks at a time with no problem whereas I work part time so could only go for 2-3 weeks at a time. Therefore she can come for much longer.

2) Her financial position means that it is relatively easy for her to do this. Ours (stretched with a big mortgage and 2 children in nursery over the age of 2) means that we struggle to pay for a ticket for me never mind for all 4 of us.

3) She arrives to my parents who are very hands on and helpful so has a (relatively) good time of it adjusting to jet lag with her 2 year old son. We would pitch up to her and have to deal with it ourselves. I have listed this third as this is the smallest of the reasons why it is easier for her to come here though.

I have had the discussion with her that I feel bad that I have only been once yet she always says that it has been her choice to move away not ours and that she understands and would always come as often as she does regardless. She wouldn't say this if she didn't feel it. We have also talked about how it will be harder once her children are in school and visits are restricted but then both of ours will be out of nursery so we will have more disposable income meaning our financial restrictions are eased. We have also talked about meeting halfway for family holidays.

Don't know if any of that helps. I think in summary of a very long post I think YANBU to be frustrated by your family reactions but at the same time it was your choice to move so I feel this means you should do more of the travelling.

I will probably have cross posted loads - there was only the OP when I started writing!

alicet Fri 13-Aug-10 22:47:33

So didn't cross post then!

Another thing to say is to invest in a webcam and get skype. Means phone calls are free so you can blether on like you would if they lived down the road, and being able to see them when chatting makes it much more personal and almost as good as being together!

Also if finances are not an issue for you but the stress of travelling is (not sure if this is the case but you don't mention money being a barrier in yoour op) why not offer to pay for friends / family to come? I don't mean all the time but as a one off? Then they get to do the travelling and have the associated stress, and also see where you live - both things you have flagged up as being important to you?

My sister has also found it less stressful since she has lost touch with a lot of people over here over time. Sounds funny and sacking friends isn't necessarily the answer but it means she gets to spend the time when she is over with people who really matter to her rather than running around like a mad woman trying to do it all. She is also pretty strict about making people come to her (at Mum and Dads) reasoning that if she can fly halfway round the world a couple of hours drive for them shouldn't be out of line! And if they are not prepared to do it then she knows how highly they value her doesn't she?

Sorry another epic!

Portofino Fri 13-Aug-10 22:50:07

We've definitely had visitors more often than we've gone back home. I think that is because to them it is like a little holiday abroad ie a treat, whereas when WE go on holiday, we also want to go "abroad" as in not UK.

I do feel mean about this though and know that I need to make more of an effort. <<reminds self to book Eurostar ticket to visit aged gps>>

It will be harder now too as dd starts Primary in September and days off aren't allowed!

WidowWadman Fri 13-Aug-10 22:56:39

We do talk on the phone, skype etc. I go over twice a year, can't afford it more often, and the only other holidays we have are usually camping within the UK, we couldn't really afford more (but thankfully like camping), so paying for them to come over is not an option.

It's only Germany, not New Zealand. My parents have been here to visit twice since I moved here 5 years ago. My sister wanted to come a couple of years ago, but had to cancel short notice because she lost her job (which is a fair enough reason to cancel). Now it's 2 years later, she's got a job again, is financially better off than me, and there was never a mention of visiting us anymore. They can travel all over the world, but just not here. I've given up on asking now, because it just hurts.

scaryteacher Fri 13-Aug-10 23:08:42

My Mum is on her third visit to us in Belgium this year, and will be back again just before New Year. We go back to see her once a year, but the Devon/Cornwall borders are a hike from Brussels!

The pils will be out for Christmas, they normally average once or twice a year.

I email my friends a lot, and have a good phone deal for the UK, so speak to those I am bothered about regularly. I am sad that some friends haven't come out, especially as we made the effort when they were posted abroad, but life gets in the way at times.

JeMeSouviens Fri 13-Aug-10 23:11:38

It's a bit difficult for me as my family and DH's family are in different countries, at opposite ends of the world. I went back to my home country 2 years in a row, but haven't been back for 4yrs now. Lived in DHs country for a couple of years, and haven't been back there since we moved abroad, 2yrs ago. He has been back twice. His mum came over once. Unfortunately they're pensioners so can't really afford the travel. I imagine we'll offer to pay for his mum to come over in Dec if she wants to, as we have a new baby on the way.

My mother visited us once when DS1 was newly born, and has made noises about coming to see us when DS2 arrives, but we don't get along, so I'm not keen. My dad will never visit, it's too far, and he just won't get around to it, not to say he doesn't love us or want to.

We're trying to figure out whether to go home (mine) in December, as I'd like to take my sons out there for a trip to meet the family. However, one of my sisters is about to move to Scotland for a couple of years with her family, and my brother is also there, so we figure we'd visit DHs family sometime early 2011 and then visit my siblings at the same time. But that means I'll probably miss out on going home again. Plus I really love travelling, and want to go a few other places.

It's always a case of too little time, not quite enough money, as we're here working to save as well, not just fritter it away, so we can't just do everything, but have to accept that others can't visit us as well, as they have less income than we do. Not that any of our friends ever promised to visit! We have had one friend come over, which was lovely, and we also want to return the trip and visit with her in her home country. I'm beginning to think I should spend my maternity leave jaunting around the world, while DH stays here and pays for it grin

echt Fri 13-Aug-10 23:17:04

Never, unfortunately. I like to think it's finances, but as friends have managed it, I'm a bit

On the other hand, most of the friends who have visited have been in better finances/health, so that might be the reason.

On the other other hand, it's still me who phones, never the other way round, as it was when living in the UK. (Self-pitying emoticon).

MrsIndianaJones2 Fri 13-Aug-10 23:17:46

Oh WidowWadman, that's hard - I feel for you. Have you raised the issue with them? Sometimes people don't realise how welcome they are unless you tell them. Hugs.

carocaro Fri 13-Aug-10 23:35:41

Never mind abroad! My SIL lives in London and we live in Manchester and it may as well be Argentina for all the efforts she makes to see us, she also never has time to see us when we suggest coming to stay with her or see her, he and her DH (no kids) never havea free weekend. It's her missing out on her nephews.

Same with MIL and FIL in Dorset, always such a drama to drive 3.5 hours up the M6.

Such narrow minded tossers.

So I say fuck them.

DS's think it's odd as they see friends with relatives that come from other parts of the UK even further away. Hard to explain it to him.

ClaudiaSchiffer Fri 13-Aug-10 23:39:13

OP I feel for you too. Particularly as you're not far away. It is very hurtful.

I moved to Australia 4 yrs ago, my parents (Gawd bless 'em) have been here loads. Which is completely brilliant for me and the kids but a bit tough on dh.

I've only been back once, but am about to go back for my second trip shortly.

BUT no other family have been over. To be honest I don't really expect them to as my brother has an autistic son who wouldn't manage the flight and I loathe my other brothers wife so would be astonished if they booked a trip.

What makes me feel sad is the number of friends and family who just don't phone or email. I really think it's out of sight out of mind for most people.

presario Sat 14-Aug-10 09:26:39

I moved 360 miles way from my family 5 years ago. I have 4 kids. My mum has visited once a year since we came, even though she has a free bus pass and can travel the whole way for nothing. Neither my brother or sister have visited even when I had my daughter. My PIL visit once a year too, my sister in law has visited once. I am the only one with young kids, yet I have visited them every year without fail. I very rarely receive phone calls or emails, my sister said she would only keep in touch through facebook and refused to answer my emails because I wouldn't facebook her. Now she says she is upset as we do not have a relationship. I agree out of sight out of mind. If I knew that moving away was going to ruin my family relations that were fine before I moved I wouldn't have done it. People should accept it is a risk

BonniePrinceBilly Sat 14-Aug-10 09:36:03

You moved away, the onus is more on you to visit them IMO.

tryingtoleave Sat 14-Aug-10 09:50:04

I can kind of see this both ways. My parents came to Australia from SA and my mother was always terribly upset and hurt that her family hardly ever came to visit her. And I can see how lonely she must have been without family to share big milestones and harships etc. But now my sil has moved os and said she is never coming back and we have to visit her hmm. She has just got married and was angry that we didn't all go to the wedding (dh went). But we don't have $10000 lying around to spend on tickets for 4 of us, nor were we keen to take our demon children on a 36 hour plane trip for a week's visit. I can't imagine when dh will see her again, which I think is very sad, but until she has dcs it would be much easier for her to make the trip. So it is complicated.

shoshe Sat 14-Aug-10 09:58:38

We live in Dorset Dh family in Stirling, they have been to visit twice in 15 years. sad

I used to make sure we went up twice a year,,now I dont bother we maybe go once in 18 months.

Psammead Sat 14-Aug-10 10:06:32

Live in Germany - my family live in UK.

My parents have been over 3 times and we have been living here for 5 years. Once just to see the place and meet my future in-laws (we were engaged), once for the wedding and once when DD was born. Actually my mum came over again by herself to help with DD after my DH went back to work.

My sisters have both been over twice.

We travel to the UK twice or three times a year, in summer and around or at Christmas. And sometimes at around Easter.

I am the one who moved, so I wouldn't expect them to travel excessively to see us. Would be upset if they never ever made the effort though. I think once every 2 or 3 years is enough.

kelpie6333 Sat 14-Aug-10 10:07:09

I moved to the UK from Canada 6 years ago and I got married to my lovely (English) DH 2 years ago and we have a 1 year old DD.

It was like pulling teeth to get my mother to come over for our wedding (the rest of the family was fine but my mother doesn't like to be out of her 'comfort zone'). It wasn't as though this was a foreign trip for them, my parents are Scottish (but live in Canada now)!!

When I was about to have my DD, I talked to my mum about her coming over but she didn't want to. That was very hurtful. I didn't want her in the birthing room (!) but I wanted her around and to give me some help. And I thought she just may want to see her first granddaughter. Nope. My lovely inlaws came down instead (2.5 hr drive for them) and stayed for a week.

So my DH and DD took a 7 hour flight to see my family (and wonderful friends) when DD was only 3 months old. Now the only time they see their granddaughter is when we go to Canada (about once a year).

We even offered to buy my parents a simple laptop for Christmas so we could email and send photos (I'm rubbish at printing them out and posting them) but my mum didn't want to pay the monthly fee for the internet. Not sure if that is her Scottishness or indifference coming through!

I was really upset before but now I just try to brush it off. They won't change so I can't waste my time stressing about it.

Email, the odd long distance phonecall and Skype has been a godsend for staying in touch with my close friends in Canada and even though we don't speak as often as we used to, we pick up where we left off when we do talk and my trips to Canada are mostly to see them! smile I do miss them dearly though. sad

frikonastick Sat 14-Aug-10 10:09:08

presario is right, it can completely ruin family relationships.

all my family live in different countries and most on different continents.

EVERY frikken year we have some sort of family todo about who is making an effort etc etc. (and as the familys expand it only gets worse!)

generally though, me and DH work on the assumption that if we want to see someone, we have to go to them.......

secretskillrelationships Sat 14-Aug-10 10:11:39

I am in Hampshire, family all in London. My mum comes to see me but neither my brother nor sister have been to the house we moved to 2 years ago. I find this particularly painful as my H left me a year ago but still neither has made the effort.

We lived in the last house for 8 years, they each made it down once. I have suggested family meets at mine but 'It's too far for everyone to go', no mention of the fact that I have 3 DCs and have to do the return trip on my own (mum would never offer to put me up overnight either).

5DollarShake Sat 14-Aug-10 13:47:43

I think if you choose to move away, then you have to accept that other people's priorities for their money and their leave time won't necessarily involve you.

I'm a Kiwi and DH is Irish - we live in London.

My Dad comes over to visit every couple of years of so, and I try to go back once a year.

DH's parents have come over more frequently since the arrival of the DCs and likewise, we have been over there more often.

scaryteacher Sat 14-Aug-10 14:08:05

'You moved away, the onus is more on you to visit them IMO.' Why make it sound as if it is a negative thing to move? I disagree with you.

People move away because their jobs demand it. My pils never lived near their parents and my parents were at least 5 hours away from theirs because of work. I would find it unusual to live near family. My brother is about to move again because his career mandates that he does so. You can't live your life tied to one geographical spot if the work and opportunities are elsewhere. Until my Mum retired and chose to move near me (and then I moved abroad) I spent 14 years with no family closer than 3.5 hours driving.

Journey Sat 14-Aug-10 14:10:36

I think if you've chosen to move away then it is likely that your relatives won't have had a choice/say in your move. It could be viewed that you've been quite selfish moving away and leaving your relatives behind! If you had to move abroad because you had no choice then personally I view this in a different light. If it's your personal choice then I think it is unfair to expect people to come over and visit. They have their own financial commitments. I agree with BonniePrinceBilly.

My brother lives aboard and it is so much cheaper for him to come over here because he stays with his parents and in-laws so no accommodation and food bills. If we went over to visit him we couldn't stay in his house because it is too small, so not only would we have flight costs we would also have accommodation and food bills to pay!

ilovemydogandMrObama Sat 14-Aug-10 14:15:11

My mom lives in California. me and the DCs (2 and 4) went to see her in January, and there was some discussion about all 4 of us (me, DP and DCs) visiting my aunt in Seattle for Thanksgiving. In the end, decided that they would come visit us and we're all going to Cornwall.

My mom comes over about once a year. But she doesn't get much holiday time. It's a different system and gets 'personal time' that also has to include any sick time off, and she likes to have a buffer in case she gets sick.

Hopefully she will visit more when she retires smile or perhaps could talk her into moving here...

diddl Sat 14-Aug-10 14:21:31

My parents come every Summer for a month & every other Christmas for a month.

Ils have never bothered.

pranma Sat 14-Aug-10 14:42:56

Other way round for me.Ds and family-dd-i-l and dgd live in Turkey.When dgd was a baby I visited 3 times a year because I wanted her to know me properly.When she was 5 I cut down to twice a year and now she is 10 I have only been once this year so far[in April].They came over I think about 3 times in 5 years then about 3 times since then.When they come here we Pay half the fares as earnings are lower.When I was ill in 2006/7 they visited at their expense twice and havent been since.
It is difficult-they dont want to spend all limited holiday time/budget visiting family but I do miss them.My dd and family have only visited her db once although she came with me before she was married.
I think everyone does what they can and I hope they will come here Nov/Dec some time.

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