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To be fed up with 'expats'...

(349 Posts)
EveWasFramed72 Tue 19-Oct-10 10:33:46

I am an American, living here in England with my British husband and children (who have both nationalities, but have only lived in England). I've been here for 4 years, and when we were first here, I was miserable;I was at home full time with a new baby, then preganant running after a toddler, basically no close friends, etc. I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and got myself a life: went to uni, got a job, driving licence and created a life for myself outside of my husband. Now, I love our life here, I have loads of friends, a job I like, etc.

But...I am part of a group of American women living in the UK, some of whom have been here longer than me, married to British men. They won't drive, work, survive without several care packages of food from home(because they can't possibly eat what's on offer in England), basically, they sit around and moan about England, and how much better EVERYTHING is at home.

Now, I love my home country, and I do get homesick sometimes, but I just find myself fed up with these women who have given up on life because they are living abroad (and didn't they REALISE that marrying someone from another country means living in said country at some point???). When they aren't moaning, I do enjoy them...it IS nice to have home connections, but this attitude of deliberately NOT acclimating drives me nuts , and I feel like they make the rest of us who enjoy life in England look bad!!!

Rant over...I know, you're going to tell me to cut them off...and I have largely...just not completely.

I just want to know if this is 'typical' expat behaviour?????

colditz Tue 19-Oct-10 10:38:26

Just look at the behavior of British 'retirees' in Spain! They cluster around in little compounds and the only Spanish thing to pass their lips is the Sangria. They sit and moan about "The Foreigners" as if they and only they have the right to be in Spain.

Wordsonascreen Tue 19-Oct-10 10:38:50

I am 2 months into expat life.
Other than watching X factor on iplayer and seeking out marmite obsessively and hoarding salad cream I'm totally immersed

[ish]

NestaFiesta Tue 19-Oct-10 10:42:02

YANBU and good for you for getting involved and making the UK work for you.

My Mum and her DH emigrated to Spain ten years ago and not only do they bang on about how crap the UK is and how brilliant Spain is but neither of them speak Spanish and neither of them like Spanish food. He lives on cheddar sandwiches and British bangers and the only people they mingle with are bloody Brits!

I just think why did they bother apart from the boasting rights they enjoy re: the weather?

You are a great example Eve,YANBU.

RockBat Tue 19-Oct-10 10:42:57

colditz is right, it happens with expats everywhere and, to a degree I understand it. I'm sure I would need deliveries of Yorkshire tea and marmite but it ends there really. After all, if you're not going to take part in life in your adopted country then you might as well go home...in the nicest possible way, obviously! wink

As for making you look bad, bollocks! Who is having the better time? You and your job, uni friends etc, or them sitting around whinging about life in the old country?

EveWasFramed72 Tue 19-Oct-10 10:44:18

It's not a bad thing, Wordonascreen, to hoard the stuff you love from home (I do the exact same), it's when you refuse to eat anything from the local grocery store, because you just aren't familiar...seriously, I know an American woman who has been here like 7 years, and she has the folks at home sending huge pacakges MONTHLY because she doesn't like anything here. WTF???

DuelingFanjo Tue 19-Oct-10 10:45:29

My MIL has lived in Spain for about ten years, speaks fluent Spanish, is on the local council and takes an active part in village life.

EveWasFramed72 Tue 19-Oct-10 10:48:10

grin Nesta That's almost worse!!!

I just don't get it?? I mean, I KNEW when I married my DH that it would mean living in England...so why are people surprised when their British DHs want to come home???

Boggles the mind...

mummytime Tue 19-Oct-10 10:48:29

Us Brits have been doing the ex-pat thing for a long time. So (apart from retirees) it is commonly known, that what is even worse.

When you go "home" it is not the same! Everything is different, things have changed while you were away (how dare they!). There will be things from the place "you never settled" which you will miss, even if only Clarks shoes or that cafe which you go to to complain about the UK.

What could be even worse in the case of women from the US, is what if they go back to the USA, but to a different part. Utah is nothing like Connecticut, which is nothing like Louisianna, which is nothing like Wyoming, which is nothing like.......

So grit your teeth, you have done the best, if you can be flexible once it bodes well for the future.

sunnydelight Tue 19-Oct-10 10:49:02

YANBU. Australia is full of expats moaning about how much better life was "at home". When I arrived and saw people with bumper stickers saying "if you don't like it here f*** off home then" a bit shocking, three years later I'm tempted to buy one!

EveWasFramed72 Tue 19-Oct-10 10:51:02

Yes mummytime, you're right. I go 'home' once a year, and though I love to see my family and friends, they have moved on. Also, I feel like a foreigner in my own country now...everything seems too big, too loud, just too much...it's difficult for me,actually...I think my DH is much more keen to get back to the US than I am!

EveWasFramed72 Tue 19-Oct-10 10:52:04

sunnydelight too funny! I want to say that to my friends (however I think it may not be received well!) grin

squigglywig Tue 19-Oct-10 10:52:29

It's the same here in Sweden. I think it many ways it is harder when the differences in culture are not immediately obvious to spot.

We are sort of half-half these days, or probably a bit more Swedish than British. When I do feel like having a good rant about things in Sweden though I know that even though I'm saying things that Swedes say (and say way more often than I do to be fair) that it comes over differently.

I don't know. Sometimes homesickness is bloody awful and it hits people harder than they think it will, and you become a person you don't really want to be. That's not to say that forming expat cliques is the answer (and YANBU) especially when you've put so much effort in to integrate.

Are these women who would have been cliquey and whiney at home too? Some people are a pain in the arse wherever they are

expatinscotland Tue 19-Oct-10 10:53:40

Stop hanging out with them.

I've been here 9 years now and have worked, have a license, have 3 children, friends, etc.

I didn't go back to the US for over 8 years.

We're going for a month in summer, but that's mostly because this flat has no garden, DH has to work a load in summer (he's in the tourist industry) and with three kids and two flights of stairs it gets old.

Also it gets to be not really worth it to go for less time with such young children as the jet leg is a bit crap, you want to make it worth your while.

Morloth Tue 19-Oct-10 10:55:18

It is hard sometimes being an expat.

I have really enjoyed our time in London, but am glad I am going home.

You do view home with rose tinted glasses and I have spent silly amounts of money at the Australia Shop for little tastes of home.

YANBU but I can't slate them entirely because just sometimes I have been them.

We have been on the move for 10 years now and I am done. I am tired of constantly needing to 'think' about what I say before I say it to adjust for cultural differences etc. I want my kids to be Australian.

expatinscotland Tue 19-Oct-10 10:57:04

I actually enjoy going back now and don't feel foreign at all.

But it's like a big holiday where there are babysitters on tap, lots of great food I don't have to cook every single meal, warmth and sunshine and I get to drive my mom's and my sister's SUVs around and get cheap pedicures and speak Spanish every single day.

I love being able to just throw on shorts and a tshirt and that's me dressed, sashay out of the house (not a flat or converted house, but a nice bungalow) in sandals and no jacket or cagoul or jumper.

EveWasFramed72 Tue 19-Oct-10 10:57:30

See...*expat*, on earth didn't I meet YOU when I first arrived!!

squigglywig I suspect that they are the same at home...it seems like they are all really entrenched in family stuff (which isn't a bad thing...I'm close with my family, but we've never been in each other's pockets, iyswim).

I just feel like ranting today...thanks for letting me!

expatinscotland Tue 19-Oct-10 10:59:47

It can be very hard indeed, Morloth.

My children are very Scottish in many ways. Sometimes that's hard for me. So perhaps it's good we'll be spending every summer with my family.

I've never lived in England, though.

I did live in Edinburgh there were loads of Americans there.

Not around here.

BuntyPenfold Tue 19-Oct-10 11:00:12

Oooh, longing to see what is in the food parcels.

<greedy emoticon>

Psychommead Tue 19-Oct-10 11:00:34

I am also an immigrant. I speak the language, cook the food, have friends from my new country, worked before having DD and generally feel quite at home here.

I also miss England and actively seek out British company and get very excited if I see baked beans in the supermarket, for example. I pour scorn on some of the customs and certain cultural aspects here, but I do the same about the UK too.

A balance is needed. I met a girl on my first German course who had been here for seven years and who could not speak a single, solitary word of German. I cannot understand how she survived, basically,

I tend to make the most of situations in which I find myself. Some people do not, like your American friends, for example. They are making life rather hard for themselves instead of taking the opportunity to broaded their horizons. Their loss.

FWIW, I know quite a few Americans here and they are all trying their best to get immersed in German culture.

expatinscotland Tue 19-Oct-10 11:02:02

I don't get food parcels.

It's very very dear to post things here from teh US now.

I do source Jiff peanut butter here, though.

When I go back I load up on some stuff - particularly melatonin, which is only on prescription here.

But mostly I just enjoy what is there when I am there and what is here when I am here.

My first experiences as an expat involved countries with different languages so I didn't find it too bad to come here at all.

EveWasFramed72 Tue 19-Oct-10 11:03:34

It's strange, but I don't mind that my children are more British...I guess just knowing that they are American officially is okay with me. They are part of why I 'got a life'...they only know this as home, so I didn't want to be feeling so negative about where they are rooted, I guess.

And...I love their very cute British accents!

Going home now is a holiday for us, too...we always go in summer when it's warm there...it's lovely, but I do feel out of place, for some reason...maybe I was born in the wrong country!

BuntyPenfold Tue 19-Oct-10 11:05:16

Melatonin?
Wot's that for then?
What yummy things am I missing?
I was dreaming of maple syrup brownies or something?

expatinscotland Tue 19-Oct-10 11:06:39

Psycho, I definitely felt that way living in a country with a different language.

It's a different experience, indeed!

As an American living in rural Alsace in the late 1980s, too, I had to learn French (I had a couple of years of high-school French) because there really was no choice. It was that or German and I had no German at all at the time.

No internet then, either, and phones were dreadfully expensive for international calls.

I ran into some English people once and was practically skipping with glee.

I went 5 entire months without speaking English.

expatinscotland Tue 19-Oct-10 11:07:46

I'd practically clobber Spaniards, too, as I grew up speaking both English and Spanish and it was far less mentally taxing at first for me to speak Spanish rather than French.

Immersion, however, did wonders for my fluency!

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