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to feel sad that I'll probably not return to the UK to live

(99 Posts)
Toadinthehole Thu 18-Apr-13 19:20:21

I left the UK for NZ a decade ago. DW is not from the UK and generally dislikes people who are (me excepted, most of the time). We have two children, born here, who go to a good school and are in zone for good secondaries. They are happy here. We have a house which, although bloody freezing in winter, is big enough for us, has a big garden and a small mortgage. I have a reasonably-paying and very secure job which doesn't require horrible hours and requires a very short commute.

..and yes I would love to leave all that and return to the UK for reasons of missing my family and simple homesickness, plus the usual things the UK offers such as history, culture etc, despite the recession and the manifold problems the UK is said to have.

I have this horrible feeling that I now have been given most of what life has to offer me, and I can see precisely where I will be in twenty years time: the children will have grown up, I will have redecorated the house, replaced the shed, I will still not quite got round to reading x,y,z books or fixed a,b or c, and will still be right here, older and a bit wrinklier - unless there is some disaster in which case things will be worse.

If we were to return to the UK: would my children go to as good a school as they have here? Probably not. Good house big garden? Probably not. Decent job? Late 30s in my profession, no better than possibly. Would DW get a job? Probably not. Would she like it back in the UK DEFINATELY NOT.

Please tell me IABU and why I should get a grip.

LoveSewingBee Thu 18-Apr-13 19:58:51

Difficult situation. How old are your children?

Toadinthehole Thu 18-Apr-13 19:59:24


I'm monolingual, so continental Europe is out, really. We do have a third option - South Africa - which is where DW is from. SA is actually not as awful as people say it is, and I tend to get on with people (of all colours) from that part of the world.


DW doesn't like the UK's weather - too cold and wet - and she doesn't like the people - she says they tend not to front up and be honest.

PeppermintBark Thu 18-Apr-13 19:59:59


Nah, not Florida, far too humid. I have my sights set on one of the Hawaiian islands. I'd take a tiny house there with some outdoor space in the blink of an eye!

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 18-Apr-13 20:52:55

I'm another who lived abroad for a while. We moved back to the UK a few years ago. A work move so not entirely our choice.

We have settled back but but but. Sorry to say it, Britain is a dump. I drive past litter and fly tipping at the side of the road. Our garden is tiny. Last year we missed out on summer.

The only time I am truly happy is when working on my allotment - except when the gobby little whatsits who have a playground next to the field shout - 'Oi! Fat woman! Give me an apple'. Stupid, gobby, little whatsits who dont realise that you cant pick apples in April in England.

Is this what you want to come back to?

Loulybelle Thu 18-Apr-13 21:04:26

Pfffft, Im English born and bred and if i had the money to or chance to live in Australia, you'd only see my shadow left.

Used to be a good country but now with greedy bastards taking everything bloody you have, its shit.

Stay in NZ, and feel free to come get me while your at it.

coorong Thu 18-Apr-13 21:14:27

It's absolutely swings and roundabouts. I grew up in the outback and find Europe (we live in the north of England) stifling - so many people and cars everywhere. But when I go back to Australia everyone seems so rude and self centered. I was also shocked at the inherent racism in Oz. For all the travelling young australians do, the country retains a remarkable inwardly looking view.
If I had the choice I'd return to Australia - but is that because I'm returning to my free, "single" life with no responsibilities, or because it would be better for my children and as a mother? I really don't know.

Gingerodgers Thu 18-Apr-13 21:25:24

You are being wistful and romantic! I too am in nz from UK. All this state funeral shit, jubilee and recent royal wedding reminds us about the only thing Britain is good at, pomp and ceremony! I know what you mean tho, I hardly know anyone here who has a political opinion.......

specialsubject Thu 18-Apr-13 21:32:13

this is one of many reasons why I didn't move to NZ, much as I love it. However I agree that it sounds like you have the problems, not the country - so look into what you can do.

Nowhere is perfect, but those who think the UK is 'a bit shit' - well, you know where the door is. And perhaps your lovely wife does need to get over her dislike of 60 million people.

expatinscotland Thu 18-Apr-13 21:40:45


Startail Thu 18-Apr-13 21:52:36

I don't think you ever stop being vaguely home sick, even if you move within the UK. I miss my childhood Welsh hills (even though I was born in Yorkshire). DH misses his Cornish Sea.

My DF will always miss Canada even though she accepts, for exactly the same reasons as you, that she'll probably never go back and is now a British citizen.

Pudgy2011 Thu 18-Apr-13 21:56:37

I've lived offshore for over 5 years and whilst I miss my family and friends, the longer I'm away, the more certain I am that I will never return to the UK to live.

I can't see any future for us there, we earn tax free here which is great, but aside from that, the idea of going back to work in the city with a young son, fills me with dread.

I love the UK, especially London but now that I've been away as long as I have, I can truly appreciate it for the brief time whenever I go back. I love walking over Waterloo Bridge like I used to, going to see a show with DH, taking DS to a farm and just meandering through a shopping mall (don't have those here either!)

But I spent 5 weeks there last summer and by the end of it, I was ready to get out of there. I don't think I'll stay here in Cayman for the rest of my life, the island is too small to fulfill our needs long term, and I imagine we'd move to Canada in the next 5 years. I would move to Australia in a heartbeat too.

I think you need to pay the UK a visit for a month or so if you haven't been back there for a while - a short stint there keeps your rose tinted glasses at bay for a while!

LetsFaceTheMusicAndDance Thu 18-Apr-13 22:05:41

We had the chance to move to NZ and I have been over several times and looked into it thoroughly.
I completely get what you say about it being parochial. The country seeems like Australia's little brother who's always having to prove himself and is a bit chippy in the process.

I also get your wife's dislike of the weather. It's shit here and I've told my kids to emigrate if they can - never underestimate the beneficial effects of a good climate on your health and sense of wellbeing.

I still have days when I wish we'd emigrated but rose tinted specs are just plain trouble.

I agree with other posters that you maybe need to think about how to be a happier person in yourself, though, as wherever you go in the world, you'll have to take yourself with you.

freedom2011 Thu 18-Apr-13 22:13:14

Have you considered how to feel happier with what you've got or building stronger ties in the country? I have been abroad for 7 years now. I probably won't be moving back to the UK. It may not be possible with your family commitments but I found that in the last year my comfort in my new country has vastly improved. This is because I have taken up an activity/hobby in my free time. I love it, I love the people I meet, I love the change of scene from my day job, I feel much more part of my local community. Regular projects or plans to look forward to help too. These can be with your family or just for you.

We all feel sad and nostalgic sometimes and I think that is ok. After we're done feeling sad, I think it's time to focus on deciding to be happy again.

PortHills Thu 18-Apr-13 22:23:03

Might out self here. Used to live in NZ, came home for family reasons. DH in the same profession as you.

Such a difference between practising there and here. There: respect for your personal life and proper work life balance (from both clients and firm). Here: dog eat dog internal crap, pain in ass demanding clients.

Maybe it's just the firms involved, but I was also in professional services and found the same thing.

Drink a monteiths and count yourself lucky.......

ReadySteadyDrink Thu 18-Apr-13 22:23:30

OP is there a reason why your suddenly so home sick now? Are your family suffering ill-health or other problems at the moment that make you miss them so much now after a decade?

ReadySteadyDrink Thu 18-Apr-13 22:35:52

Sorry OP, I didn't mean to imply you didn't miss your family before or weren't homesick. I was just wondering if perhaps something had happened to make you feel like this now after living in NZ for a decade. Because if this is the case then perhaps things will change again in the future and you can be happy again as it doesn't sound like DW would move to the UK.
Best of luck. xxx

Babyroobs Thu 18-Apr-13 22:38:51

We returned from NZ in 2001 after living there for 5 years. Our 2 eldest children were born there, and I'm hoping they will be able to return when they are older if things get too bad here ! We came back for family reasons, wanting the kids to be near grandparents, but in many ways I regret coming back. The weather here has been dire the past few years, cost of living very high etc . I'd like to come back to NZ someday, but couldn't bear to leave my little dog here so it will need to wait til she is gone.

ArabellaBeaumaris Thu 18-Apr-13 22:39:26

I think this is something that comes with the territory of living out of your country of origin. Certainly my father (who is a South African) still, after living in the UK for 35 years, feels homesick for his home country. Although he is very explicit that he wouldn't want to return there, he says he still looks out of the window & feels the shock that Table Mountain is missing. So my conclusion is that it is tough but something you have to work through...

MoovinMama Thu 18-Apr-13 22:39:38

I feel for you. I think I might be in the same position as you, shortly.

We've just moved to NZ and bought a house after years of moving around for work - Switzerland and Asia. Work-wise, we're both in a similar situation to you (though less good on the commute, we're in East Auckland grin ).

I dithered for years about whether we should come here or not - like you, I knew I'd miss family, friends, the culture, old stuff. But now we are here, I'm surprised by how much like home it feels. OK, I've been here each year on holiday for the last 17 years, so I guess I'm pretty adjusted. I just wonder how long it will take for the novelty of having our own house, boys in nice schools etc, to wear off...

Sorry for the waffle, not sure I have anything useful to add other than general "me too" sympathy! I think I agree with some of the earlier posters - a lot of the feeling has more to do with "is this it?" generally, than NZ specifically.

Loveiswhereitfalls Thu 18-Apr-13 22:57:44

The UK is your home - it doesnt matter where you are from or where you go- its where you feel at home.
I love it here - Yorkshire tea , Roast dinners,cats, dogs,mud,sheep,knitting,crackling fire on a freezing day,Corrie,the bliss of a hot summers day - the smell of it when you wake up and know its going to be HOT .
Grass, cricket,Wimbledon,strawberries,peapods,the beach and then Fish and Chips...

SquinkiesRule Thu 18-Apr-13 23:59:40

YANBU I remember when I realized I'd never go home I was devastated (been in California a long time)
But you never know what life holds.
My oldest finished Uni and moved to UK, he said he would, I said thats nice and never believed he would. Ds 2 finished high school last summer and moved a month later to UK. Didn't think he would either.
Today I spent the day researching and calling shipping companies, we are following, theres only Dh, me and Dd left. Christmas was dire. We want to live in the same country as our kids, go to their weddings, see them occasionally (not live in their pockets) Mum is getting older, she could do with s near now she's a widow. Dh's family is all there, he hasn't lived there since he was a teen. I know we'll feel the cold, today is 22 and I still have long sleeves on.
So chin up, you never know, you could end up back there one day.
Never say Never.

sashh Fri 19-Apr-13 03:51:57

You can't go back because you don't have a time machine.

You could return to the UK but it would not be the same place you left. You could be in the UK and still miss the UK you left.

Maybe plan for an extended break when your children are 18+, you could do a 'gap year' in the UK then, something to plan for. I know it sounds a long way off, but it isn't.

I've never been to NZ but met quite a few kiwis through work. Every one of them plays sport/lives an outdoor life at least part of the year.

In Britain we have obese children, partly because for 6months it's too cold and wet to do anything outside so kids play on computers.

If you drag your family 1/2 way round the world now they will resent you. As soon as the kids are old enough they will be on a flight 'home'.

Mutley77 Fri 19-Apr-13 06:22:45

I really think you need to talk to your wife and review your situation.

DH is Australian and I am English. We lived in England most of our relationship (12 years) and had 2 of our DC there (now aged 4 and 8). DH has always hoped to move back to Australia and it got to a real point of contention a couple of years ago; although he was able to work through and realise that this may never happen - he did really like most of our life in the UK - weather excepted.

However last year he got offered a company re-location to Australia (other side from where he grew up) and we agreed to come. I must say it is not what I wanted and there are elements I am finding really really hard although it is very early days for us. I also got pg with DC 3 just as we were making the decision to come so arrived pregnant which was far from ideal ;) Neither of us are naive enough to think Australia "offers a better life" and there are clearly pros and cons of both countries.

But I do think that there is a strong pull to home for many people - he also wanted our DC to experience life in their other country of origin. And with the opportunity on the table to move I do feel I had to say yes, much as I didn't want to, and recognise for us as a family it has been the right decision even thought is wasn't the right decision for me as an individual. We are fairly likely to return to England in 2-3 years (we shall see!) and have left our options open (kept home etc). In a loving relationship I think you do need to compromise. The move has put us under pressure - I do resent him to some degree for "making" us move, and for unsettling the children. Although I recognise that he may well have resented me for "making" him stay in England for the rest of his life with not even a few years to experience his home country with his children. Therefore I am trying to graciously make the best of it and in my rational mind accept it is totally fair enough that we live here at least for a couple of years!!

ruthyroo Fri 19-Apr-13 06:28:10

You've had lots of good advice above.

We are both from the UK originally, moved to NZ for about 5 year, then returned home shortly after our first baby was born. It was just too far from grandparents and other family, and I wanted my children to really know their wonderful families here, not just by Skype. DH had no desire to return to the uk so we have chosen to live in continental Europe instead, not quite on the doorstep of family, but also a lot closer than NZ!

If it weren't for family being here though we would both return to NZ in a heartbeat. Coming back to Europe... It feels cramped and crowded and noisy. There is so much competition for everything - jobs, schools, housing, parking spaces even! People in NZ generally worked to live and their jobs did not define them. Here, the expectation seems to be that one lives to work and seek to move up and on all the time for bigger house, fancier car etc. DH Is a teacher, who enjoys teaching and does not want to move on up to all the *t of a managerial post- but there is plenty expectation that he should. In NZ he would have got a clap on the back and people asking about his bee keeping/ home brewing / kayaking / tramping / whatever random stuff he actually wants to do.

Enough of our woes. Your ANBU at all to miss the UK. I still miss the idea of where I grew up though I have to say, it doesn't take me long to get over that when I visit, and remember all the less pleasant aspects of life there! Life is what you make it wherever you find yourself and when feeling a bit lost, it's easy to look out wards and blame your environment rather than looking inside to identify where the feeling is coming from.

maddening Fri 19-Apr-13 06:50:12

Well I do think you'd be thinking the same things about the "next 20 years" wherever you lived.

I reckon remind dw of how homesick you are and make a pact that if the dc leqve nz when they get to their 20's then you can revisit where you want to live then - you could winter in SA and summer in Uk - dw will have to compromise too. And SA and UK are easier to travel between than NZ and UK.

I also think plan a few holidays back to cheer yourself up smile

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