AWBU to go home?(65 Posts)
We currently live in a sunny Med country - been here 15 years... Have our own successful business, nice house, car, pool etc. Neither of us are from here, both DCs born here (primary age now). So we have what many think is a great life in the sun... but we have no real friends even after all this time and although we have material things and are busy with the kids (who are bi-lingual) etc, life can be a bit empty. So, we now have the option to wrap things up here and go to a village in the north of England, near where I grew up many years ago (some family left, no friends). We have a rent free house lined up, good schools - but no work - we have savings, but we do need to work - only mid-40s!... Question is AWBU to jack in a perfectly comfortable but lonely life for the possibility of a new life in the UK that we are imagining will be more socially rewarding, less material luxuries but the more important things in life covered off? Both torn - are we seeing the UK through rose tinted specs and will we be OK? Gulp! Any views much appreciated!
I will bravely and selflessly offer to house swap with you for a year, just to see how you get on?
I live in a market town in the NW.
I am prepared to do this, for the team.
Seriously, a pool means nothing if you don't feel you have friends to share good times with. If you have a rent-free house here, do you have to make a decision straight off - can you try for a while and keep up the house abroad?
And remember, the weather here, especially in the North is pretty terrible.
I live in a village in the North of England. Wouldn't swap it! However the weather is crap at the moment. And has been for weeks and weeks .
How easy do you think it would be to find work with your particular experience and skill sets in the area you are looking at? Is it possible to keep your property abroad and use it as additional income (rental) and/or a holiday bolt-hole so that you keep a toe-hold in your adopted country, and therefore have the best of both worlds?
If you could keep your property abroad I would seriously consider relocating if you are feeling a bit homesick/lonely. It is only likely to get worse when the DC are older and, when they are older and have settled into senior school and have their own social life, it will be considerably harder to relocate.
Your still young! Do you have an idea of a business or work you would be able to get into? Are they likely to work in the north of England? eg swimming pool cleaning business isn't likely to transfer
If you've also got enough savings to get you through 6 months or so, and a load of cash for the first winter fuel bill and clothing, go for it.
We have recently moved out of the UK for a few years, and found set up costs quite high ( a years rent up front is usual here, plus school fees as you need to pay for schooling, and a car, but 6 months in are saving again).
Guessing you've been out of the UK 10ish years?? Things have changed. It won't necessarily be as you are picturing, but if you go, could you go back to the Med, knowing it wasn't right, rather than always wondering if you should have gone?
Have you checked on the flooding situation where you are hoping to go to?
Just to make sure as it will only get worse as the years go by.
Also, are you ready for the weather issues?
After a lovely outdoor life, you just won't have that option for over half of the year in the UK.
Have you had a look to see how easy it will be for you to get jobs?
You can call up agencies and get an idea from them.
Why have you not made friends over there over the 15 years?
There is usually a great ex-pat community around somewhere.
Do you just not really like the people you have met?
Can you do more to get to know more people out there?
Personally, after that long and the kids being bilingual, I wouldn't come back here but that's just my personal choice!
Honestly I wouldn't and I do think you are thinking of life here through rose tinted spectacles. That's what we all do.
If you haven't made any friends in 15 years there, why do you think it will so easy here?
Yeah that's a tricky one!
What about schooling and employment opportunities for your DC both in the country you're in now or the Uk? How do those stack up?
Do your DCs have local friends?
Is there any kind of ex-pat network you could get involved in?
Any obvious was to become more involved in the local community (church, work, through the school etc)?
How is your fluency in the language?
We did it.
20 years in California, I had a few friends.
We sold up and quit a good paying job (Dh) with pension and fantastic insurance by US standards and moved back to family.
We now see more of each other, I work Dh is home with the youngest child.
We also get to keep an eye on the aging relative who we worried about.
Living in constant sunshine is over rated and not more valuable than family and happiness.
I think you need to make a real effort to make friends where you are.
Give it a set time. If it's still not working then maybe come back for a trial period to see how it goes?
I think if you haven't made a social circle in 15 years that it is more to do with yourselves and your social interactions rather than the place you live. I've lived in various locations due to dh job and never manage to make lots of friends.
I put this down to myself rather than others though as some people are successful at creating social circles whereas others aren't.
The reason for this? I don't know but would be interested to find out!!
Just don't underestimate how depressing wet, grey, cold weather can be. Really, it can be miserable. And often is, for days at a time.
Having friends is important, but if you'd still have to go out and make a big effort to create friendships, then there's no reason why you couldn't do that where you are.
Do you know why you don't have any friends in the Med country? I'm not judging, just genuinely asking as it may be a problem that follows you.
If friends are important to you then perhaps think about where you feel it'd be easier to make them.
If not, think of what else is important. Would it help to actually sit and write a list together and number/order things in order of how important they are to you?
Sorry not to reply sooner - I couldn't get onto the site on my phone yesterday evening...
Thanks for all the replies - to explain... we dont seem to have any friends for a range of reasons - but the 2 main ones are 1. not really meeting many people who 'fit' with us and 2. the local people are very friendly, but very family oriented - socialising is very much done in the family and although we know quite a lot of people, it has never felt 100% like they are real friends. We seem to pay a lot of people for various things, and are friendly with them, but I dont want to pay for my friends and wonder how long they'd be around if we weren't paying them! We both miss just being around people with the same mind set and also both wonder what the children will think of having parents with no social life to speak of. Or will they care? On the flip side I'm sad to see them lose their language skills and outdoors opportunities, but wonder if they wouldn't be happier in the long run in the UK. They are at an international school at the moment (in the local language side) and have never lived in the UK so they dont know...
Finally - long!!! I'm terrified that we wont be able to make a living in the UK. Our business is not transferrable so we would be starting from scratch... thanks for all your input!
Do you live in a mainly local or expat or international community?
Could a move in your present city/ country help?
Well, I guess you need to decide first whether you could practically, financially, live in the UK.
After that I'd still recommend writing a list of life priorities.
If it were me I'd be looking closer at why no friends after fifteen years. You could move anywhere and be in same position.
Can you join a club, get a hobby etc and try to widen your social circle that way?
I'm not sure I'd uproot my kids for what may not be any better lifestyle just cos I've no friends.
We have enough saved to survive in the UK for about a year without working (not ideal!) and are planning to keep the business here going for that time to generate income. DH will shuttle between the 2 places... I just spoke to the head of the UK school we would be using and she was just so nice and friendly that I nearly cried. I cant explain the feeling of being in a country and not having the ability to talk freely due to language restrictions (I can speak the local language but not like a native) but I'm worried I'm being selfish about this - my DCs can speak to anyone in both langages without this issue... going round in circles .com! The head mentioned what a wonderful community we would be moving to and it seemed to sum up all we have been missing...
On the issue of friends, I had loads of friends when I was younger and in the Uk - like everyone I suspect to some extent, as time goes by these numbers dwindle etc due to life's changing circumstances. Perhaps we are to blames for not having a winder circle of friends here, but I am a friendly person and so is DH... and I can live without the pool etc, but I'd love to be able to pop to a friends/ the pub etc for a chat every now and then.
I think a lot of people are underestimating how difficult it can be to make real, good, friends in a culture and language that is not your own. It doesn't necessarily denote anything about you as a person. It very much depends on the country you are in, the region you are in, whether you speak the language fully and colloquially (in some places you may be dealing with a dialect as well as the actual language), and more.
OP, I would rate a social life for the family and for you as individuals as far more important than sunshine. And I would certainly move back if the conditions were right, but its all about the ability to earn a living. You need to work out what you would be doing BEFORE you make the leap.
The long term benefit to your children of having an international bi-lingual upbringing far far outweighs any (hard to perceive) benefit of living back in the UK where all it does is rain and go dark! Is there any kind of ex-pat community where you are? I'd be looking at doing far more to integrate myself - you say you are paying people? What for? Services? Maybe they see you as 'employers' rather than approachable potential friends? I think you need to give it a set time period - say 18 months - then reassess.
I couldn't live away from this complicated imperfect country.
I know there are complications for you regarding transferable business etc. But I would come home.
The long term benefit to your children of having an international bi-lingual upbringing far far outweighs any (hard to perceive) benefit of living back in the UK where all it does is rain and go dark!
That's not the most nuanced summing-up and I'm not sure it's helpful. There's more to the UK than that. And I'm not being defensive specifically about this country; I'm sure a lot of people in a lot of countries would be most unimpressed if their home country was dismissed in a few words.
Making new friends is hard as an adult wherever you are, and it's more depressing being friendless in the rain than in the sun!
I'd stay where you are for a bit and try harder socially (and it IS hard work...) even if it's with the expat community if there is one.
I'd be on the first plane home. I'm not at all surprised you haven't made friends amongst people who don't share your primary language and culture. I bloody love the UK, rain and all. I kiss the ground when we get back from Majorca each year
You can't put a price on being amongst people who get you. Sunshine gets boring and brings it's own problems. And foreign telly! Don't get me started.
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