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To be terrified of moving to China

(71 Posts)
TiffanyBonj Wed 13-Apr-16 18:19:14

DH and I have been together for 13 years, he's Chinese but has lived in England for 15+ years, we have two DC's 9 and 7, who can poorly speak Mandarin but not read or write anything.

DH is an only child with Elderly parents, for the past few years, his parents have become a real worry for him, they're all alone in a big city, a lot of their friends have either moved away to live with relatives or have sadly passed on.

Last summer I finally agreed to move to China and have the in laws live with us, so they'll always have company or extra help. They don't speak English and I don't speak a word of Mandarin, although I've been taking lessons the past few months.

Everything has been going smoothly so far, DH and I managed to secure work for when we move, the kids have been accepted into an International school, we've got a property to live in, all that's left is to book the tickets but I'm completely and utterly petrified.

I don't even know why, the mere thought of getting flight tickets and moving, makes me sick, I didn't feel like this before but now I'm so bloody scared, it's too late to back out but I can't help feeling like this, I don't know what to do. sad

Bailey101 Wed 13-Apr-16 18:28:20

It's a big move, you'd be a bit odd not to be nervous! But having said that, it sounds really exciting and a huge life experience. Does your husband or his parents know any other expats in the area? If so, they might be happy to email you before you go with things like where to buy British food and English speaking beauticians - little things like that might make it feel less alien until you get settled.

BabyDubsEverywhere Wed 13-Apr-16 18:31:23

Is there a reason they couldn't have come here? It seems odd to uproot you all to move over there, especially as you and your dc don't yet fully know the language etc... I wouldn't even entertain the idea but I admit to being less adventurous as I get older!

LucyLocketLostIt Wed 13-Apr-16 18:32:44

Yes, why don't they come to you?

IthinkIamsinking Wed 13-Apr-16 18:33:56

YANBU..... I couldn't do it but then I'm a coward and don't cope well outside a familiar environment. I even start to get twitchy after being away from home for a few days. It's a huge cultural shift so no wonder you are feeling the way you do.

BlueRocksPinkPebbles Wed 13-Apr-16 18:34:32

HI Tiffany, that sounds like a huge step and I'm not surprised it all feels daunting.

Would it be possible for your pil to move to England? It's understandable that you are anxious about this move if you are going to be in a new country and also have your pil living with you, that's a huge change of life. When is this move scheduled to go ahead?

thanks it sounds like a difficult situation but remember there is always a choice, nobody can make you do something you really don't want to do.

happystory Wed 13-Apr-16 18:35:13

Gosh that's a big move. A totally different culture. I know what they say about getting to know the locals etc (yes all you folks on Escape to the Sun!) but personally I'd need to meet some expats quick smart to make some friends and get to know the lay of the land ..,

WonkoTheSane42 Wed 13-Apr-16 18:35:59

Is there a reason they couldn't have come here?

Under the current immigration rules it's practically impossible to bring elderly parents from outside the EU into the UK.

Roseberrry Wed 13-Apr-16 18:36:26

Oh dear, it does sound scary! Do you know if there will be any English speakers in the area, maybe a group you could join?
If it's too late to back out then I suppose worrying will achieve nothing. You need to get your mind thinking positively about the move.

happystory Wed 13-Apr-16 18:37:01

Maybe the international school can help with some networking

Haudyerwheesht Wed 13-Apr-16 18:37:20

It's only natural to be scared I think. Especially when you're changing your family dynamics and also culture.

Fwiw a friend of mine emigrated to China with her 2 dc about 3 years ago when they were 2 and 5. They all absolutely LOVE it.

fatowl Wed 13-Apr-16 18:38:20

Where in CHina are you going?
I assume it is one of the big cities as DC are going to an international school. There will be an expat community based around the school.. I would normally say embrace the culture etc, but a friendly western group of friends may well be your lifeline in the early days.

My dd has lived in China and loved it (but learning the language was key to getting most out of it)
I live in Asia (not China). I'd post on the Living Overseas section, and if you are on Facebook, search for PlaceName Expat Group - I'll put money on there being one.

BlueRocksPinkPebbles Wed 13-Apr-16 18:40:47

Dh travels to China frequently and we will go to Shanghai in September together. He loves it there and says that Beijing for example is very well developed and apart from the smog a really cool place. We are actually looking into relocating to China for a few years but our plans are at the early fact finding stage.

TiffanyBonj Wed 13-Apr-16 18:46:36

As @Wonko said, current law makes it pretty hard to bring over Elderly relatives outside the EU, and I would feel horrid uprooting two elderly people from everything they've ever known.

@BlueRocks we're suppose to be there by August 1st, so still some time.

I've researched a few ex pat forums but haven't had the nerve to contact anyone and I'm hoping parents at the school will be super friendly and take pity on me.

I was honestly feeling fine, even a little excited and now it's like a switch has been flipped, and I'm really scared. I know I don't have to go but DH and his parents will be heartbroken if I back out, I feel like I should at least give it a try.

@Haudyer kids are really excited, I'm hoping I'll love it as well, but can't get over my sudden terror.

TiffanyBonj Wed 13-Apr-16 18:47:59

@Fatowl We're moving to Shanghai

fatowl Wed 13-Apr-16 18:52:04

Shanghai has a massive Expat community (All nationalities, not just Brits)
Go, embrace it and remember nothing is forever.

I remember feeling the same when we moved- I really didn't want to go.
You will be fine, so will the dc.

Contact someone on the FB page- someone will befriend you.

Lollipopstick Wed 13-Apr-16 18:52:11

Are you planning to stay for ever or just for the lives if your in-laws.

It's normal to be nervous - but thanks to the internet you won't seem as far away from home. You can still go on mumsnet. You can listen live to your local radio station from home or podcasts from the bbc etc.

Your in-laws are lucky to have a daughter in law like you who is prepared to uproot her whole life to make sure they are taken care of.

Rafflesway Wed 13-Apr-16 18:56:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FreakinScaryCaaw Wed 13-Apr-16 19:03:33

When I first read your title I felt awful for you. But reading the messages makes me excited.

Do you have really close friends and family? It's understandable to miss them. Hopefully you can travel back occasionally? Good luck!

simonettavespucci Wed 13-Apr-16 19:03:34

Tiffany it sounds to me like you're just getting pre-moving nerves, and it will all actually be fine. However it is a daunting move, so it's hardly surprising you're wondering about it.

I think you should talk to your DH about it and make sure:

a) that you are agreed that you will both prioritise making sure that you feel at home - that means devoting time and money to e.g. language classes for you, which is a good way to meet people in the same situation as well as useful for communicating, or going to expat meet ups, or whatever is your thing. And make sure that this actually happens - don't let your concern for your DCs and his DPs take up all the time and effort.

And b) that you have agreed a time scale for assessing how it's going and discussed possible back up plans if you really don't like it. Maybe also consider buying tickets back for Christmas, or whenever you plan to come back to the UK next, so that have a return ticket in your hand, if that makes you feel better.

You don't say if you've been there before, but guessing yes? So you know approximately what to expect. Also are you moving there potentially permanently? Or for five years? How old are his DPs?

I think you'll have an amazing time, and it will be great for your DCs to learn such a useful language and connect with that side of the family.

trashcanjunkie Wed 13-Apr-16 19:04:49

My brothers friend is in Shanghai and has been for years. He LOVES it. I think it's quite natural to feel so scared. You are being very brave, and I wish you the best. It might take a little while to adjust but if you have a good try and hate it, you don't have to stay.

CiderwithBuda Wed 13-Apr-16 19:04:52

I have had a few friends live in China as expats and they loved it. Especially Shanghai.

International schools are usually very welcoming. We were expats in a few places and have made amazing friends. In fact I found moving to a new area in the uk much harder.

There will be an expat or British women's group of some sort. Probably both in a city as big as Shanghai. Join as soon as you get there.

the social life will be great and you may well find your friendships become quite intense quite quickly. I know you are going to family but if you can't communicate with them you will need the outlet of friends,

TiffanyBonj Wed 13-Apr-16 19:06:29

Okay, I feel slightly better that not everyone thinks I'm insane to be doing this, I think I'll post in living Overseas as well, thanks for the tip.

@lollpopstick It's only suppose to be for the duration of their lives, but honestly anything could happen, I might love it and never leave or I might just come running back home asap. I hope when I'm super elderly, Karma will remember my decision and my kids and their spouses will be just as nice to me as I am to my in laws.

@Rafflesway LOL, I keep trying to view it as a positive adventure and not a terrifying leap into the unknown.

NameChanger22 Wed 13-Apr-16 19:09:22

Try and see it as a massive opportunity and expect good things, but don't expect everything to be perfect. At worst it will be a huge learning experience that you and the children will grow from massively. At best you will have the most wonderful time of your life.

I would love to be in your shoes. I lived in Hong Kong when I was much younger and I loved it. I also lived in a few other countries and traveled a lot. I'm now unable to go anywhere and I really miss it. I am very jealous.

Once you are there you will soon get over your nerves. It's just fear of the unknown.

Leeds2 Wed 13-Apr-16 19:09:24

I know nothing about this, but would encourage you to try and make contacts on social media before you get there. The people on these sites have been in the position you now find yourself in, and will be keen to help/give advice. As I said, I haven't done this myself but friends who have, to various countries, have found friends made online before departure to be of invaluable assistance.

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