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wherever you are - expat support thread, new or otherwise, sign in here for support/advice/comparing stories etc

(186 Posts)
ExpatAgain Tue 31-May-11 11:41:51

Well, a few of us seem to think this is a good idea, so here goes!

I'm 39, got 2 dc both at school (youngest just half-day though) am "trailing" my husband whose job moved him to Africa 6 months ago..

I love many things about it but am struggling right now as back to being SAHM something I'm not a natural for...Looking forward to developing closer friends here. we've also had lots of security issues which we need to do something about or move house again sad and dc have been much more homesick than I'd reckoned for.

On the good side, it's great to have ventured out of the UK, it's a fantastic outdoor life in summer, when everything works, i've got time to keep fit, see the kids more.

Hope some of you want to join me on here smile

gregssausageroll Tue 31-May-11 13:20:20

I am 40 with DH and DS aged 3. Moved to Perth, WA in 2008 but returned in 2010. We were only there on temporary visas and there were massive rule changes in December 2009 which made it virtually impossible for us to stay.

I had felt quite unsettled but did have a holiday back to the UK planned but the visa changes overtook that.

I am not that particularly settled back in the UK either. Catch 22!

No regrets about trying. Sometimes the cash investment is a hard on. Our entire trip cost us about £50,000 plus we are back at the bottom of the property ladder but I keep telling myself you can't look back and at least we had the guts to give it a shot.

I absolutely cannot watch anything on the TV to do with Australia though as I just get upset!

barbie1 Tue 31-May-11 14:31:41

Signing up too, will post more after dd is in bed smile

malteserinbelgium Tue 31-May-11 15:58:08

I'll give it a go grin

I'm 32, moved to Belgium 5 years ago, lived in Antwerp for the first 1.5 yrs (still miss that time) but commuting to Brussels everyday was too much, as we were planning a family.

We came here temporarily, but it looks like we're here to stay as bought a property recently.

DD is currently at the creche, but will start school early next year & hopefully will be pottytrained by then hmm

Miss my family terribly, the sun even more but financially it was a good move. But sometimes i do feel guilty about the fact that my parents don't get to see a lot of their only grandchild, and i know that DD misses them as she mentions them every day.

chebella Tue 31-May-11 16:07:57

me too me too! got the dinner on but will check back in later.....

barbie1 Tue 31-May-11 17:32:20

Right im back.

Im 31, moved to dubai nearly 3 years ago. Gave birth to my dd here in feb last year.
Having a baby thousands of miles away from home is tough, god knows how many times i had to skype home with random questions and at the most stupid of times blush
Like malteser i am also incredibly aware of my parents missing out on dd growing up. I try not to dwell on it too much but it hurts.

DD goes to nursery 6 hours a week over two afternoons, this is the only time i have to myself, it's not like i can pop along to family and ask them to have her.

We are currently impatiently waiting for email detailing our next move which is thought to be Kuala Lumpa. eek!

Nice to meet you all

EmmaNicole Tue 31-May-11 18:21:47

Hi! I will be moving to France in a couple of months (DH's job) with a 2 year old DD. I'm very excited about lots of things (weather, chance to experience a different culture, DD learning French) but I'm nervous too as leaving family, friends and job behind. I currently have loads of help with DD from doting grandparents and work 3 days a week. I know I will feel very alone and I sometimes find DD very challenging!! I would like a 2nd child (I'm 38 so feel clock is ticking) but I'm terrified of having a toddler and new born in a foreign country with no help from parents. I would be grateful for others experiences of having a child abroad. And any tips for coping in general....

DrMuffy Tue 31-May-11 18:26:57

I hope I can join too! I'm in Canada and have been here for over 30 years now (moved here when I was 10). I have been back and forth to the UK during that time, dragged DH back to Canada with me one of those times. ;)
I have 4 children, ages 9, 7, 6, 4 and they were all born here and know nothing else.
We recently (last week!) put our house on the market in an attempt to move back to the UK.
My family is all in Canada, DH's family all in England. Wherever we are, we are always away from someone.

GoingToBeSize12 Tue 31-May-11 20:22:00

I'll also join in please. Am currently in Panama with DH and our 14 month old DD. Am also 'trailing' and struggle with it sometimes. Before here we spent 18 months in Romania which I found v hard - life here is much better. And before that I was in Dubai for 5 years (where I met DH) and we both loved it and still miss it. We are due for another move at the end of this year and if we aren't happy with where we go then we will look to move back to Dubai. It would be a big step for DH to quit the company he is with as it's a very secure 'all in' expat package, but there is no point living somewhere you aren't happy with is there?

I currently have a house with a millipede infestation and it's just awful. I'm assured the fumigation men will come this week - at some point - sigh. The joy of living in Central America......

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 31-May-11 20:53:14

I moved to Poland at the age of 22, now 46 and have spent hardly any time in UK since (I think around 5 years, tops) - have lived in Poland (twice), Austria, Israel, Nigeria, Romania, Belgium and now France. Met DH in Nigeria, we are in France for my job. Thinking of going back to UK after this - getting tired of travelling and need some roots.

chebella Tue 31-May-11 21:26:45

helloooo, ok, just introducing myself: 32, moved to Italy 6 months ago with a 2.4year old DS - left FT work (job i adored) to follow DP's too-good-to-turn-down new is lovely but, EmmaNicole, as you have no doubt anticipated, quite hard: the move combined with isolation with toddler can be v hard. i have been lucky making a few expat friends and am doing my best in a language i didn't know at all before moving here but i'm not going to lie - sometimes i pine for my old life and it has made me re-appraise so much in my life (which may be good!).

you sound like a fascinating group of women - can you elaborate, say, on the highs and lows as you know them? or, as Homer Simpson might say, the best and the blurst of times?

looking forward to getting to know you all.

shelscrape Wed 01-Jun-11 00:23:37

Hello! I'm 40 and moved to Northland, New Zealand about five months ago with DH and DS - aged 6. DH is a teacher and the flipping pen pushers have still not sorted his pay .... gggrrrr! DS has settled into a local school and made some good friends but still gets a bit homesick and is plotting his return to the UK already.

In the UK I was well established in a professional job, but my qualifications are not recognised here so I am currently studying to requalify here in NZ .... exams in 6 weeks time .... eeeek!!! I miss Mr Kiplings cakes (strange but true), M&S and Sainsbury but other than that I rather like this expat lark so far

PrairieDog Wed 01-Jun-11 00:33:20

Hello! I am in Midwest USA with DH's job. We have been here since Nov '08 and had our 3rd dc here.

The contract and visa are coming to an end later this year and although DH would love to stay I am keen to go home. Lots of reasons but mainly missing family and friends, wanting a job (my qualifications and experience don't count here), lack of friends here and general cultural differences.

I think living abroad can be an amazing experience and our kids are so well travelled I wouldn't change anything but I do think that once you live in another country you run the risk of never quite feeling "at home" anywhere.

MrsDistinctlyMintyMonetarism Wed 01-Jun-11 00:42:10

Hey, I'm joining in too!

Moved to Brisbane 2 months ago (trailing DH's job) with my dd 7 and ds 5. They are both in school, dh works long hours and I am SAHM although wondering how to get a toe in the door of work, mostly so I have someone to talk to!

Am in depths of homesickness at present. Moved around a good deal within the UK previously, but never been so far from my mum (and I'm missing her a lot).

Unlike Greggs I am relieved that this is a 2 year contract. I am looking forward to going home. (not quite at the stage of counting off days or anything grin).

Australia is lovely, but as there is not much of the fabled sunshine around in QLD at the moment, it is not feeling like the utopia that I had imagined and I think that it making it harder.

Had dd in tears this morning about missing home too. Is so hard to keep it together for them when you are hurting too.

PrairieDog Wed 01-Jun-11 00:56:26

MrsDistinctly it will get better I'm sure. I understand about having no one to talk to and in the first couple of months I scared the hell out of a highschool student who came to the door raising money for his wrestling team by almost talking him to death! He was actually backing away from the house while I was still jabbering on.

My advice for the first few months is go to EVERYTHING and talk to EVERYONE and then after a while you can start to get picky about what you do and who you spend time with.

I found a huge sense of responsibility as a mum (and particularly as SAHM) to make sure everyone was ok and happy and settled but it is hard at the beginning and really hard if the kids are sad too.

anon4now Wed 01-Jun-11 00:57:04

Morning grin

I moved abroad when I was 21, met DH in Paris and, apart from a couple of years in Scotland, have been abroad for the past 17 years. Lived in Paris twice, Spain, Azerbaijan, Dubai and this is our third posting to Singapore (been here for 3 years).

Have 2 DDs aged 6 and 2 and moved here 6 months pregnant. Love being an expat, can't see the point of moving back and apart from seeing family and friends, not particularly looking forward to the annual pilgrimage back to the UK this summer.

DH travels nearly every week so I do my single parent thing from Mon to Fri. Apart from that I run a mums support group and work as a freelance translator. Life is busy and good.

Have a great day expats

madwomanintheattic Wed 01-Jun-11 02:43:14

we are in canada. grin we have been here for two years this time and are staying, but we lived here before and i had ds1 out here that time. dcs are 11,9,7 and love it. we have just moved though (or are sort of in the process of, as we have stuff in two houses and a month left to run on the old lease)

we currently have a resident chipmunk in our own house, rather than millipedes <sigh> and dh has just set up an elaborate web of traps and a sonic repeller in an effort to evict it. we aren't quite sure where exactly it is, currently, but it's been spotted in the downstairs bedroom, and the understairs cupboard <which are theroetically linked via the furnace room and conduits...>

i gave up work a month or so ago to finish my msc (write up) and will be job hunting again when the kids go back to (new) schools after the summer.

i am also a compulsive volunteer, so clearly missed a trick moving out of the uk prior to the whole 'big society' thing. grin

Livinginoz Wed 01-Jun-11 03:46:03


I'm 32 with one DS who is 2.4. We moved to Sydney in July last year and are permanent residents. We came over here backpacking in 2003/4 and always wanted to come back, and it took us a long time but we are here and very very settled.

I work full time and DH is a SAHD as this is the way we get the most money (DH works in Hospitality, I am an Executive Assistant which pays ridiculous amounts of money here compared to home!)

I am really not homesick at all! My parents just left after 3 weeks here and yes, I miss them but to be honest it was a relief to get our tiny apartment back to ourselves! We have a lot more friends as a couple here than we ever did at home (which I think was down to DH's work and stupid hours!) and we get to spend more time together instead of spending our weekends catching up with family.

Will probably need this support thread as MIL is out in 2 weeks for a month! wine

LisabethChan Wed 01-Jun-11 04:04:28


I'm 39 with DH and two DDs 4.5 and 13m. We moved to Auckland in January this year so still very much in the settling in phase although both girls have taken to it like ducks to water.

So far I am loving the place and pace of (and attitude to) life but I too am struggling a bit with being the 'trailing' spouse (the move was a relocation for DH) having had a pretty good career prior to DD2 and at times I really miss my family and good friends in the UK.

So hopefully this thread may help me through the odd bouts of homesickness and remind me how lucky we all are to be having this experience.

nothingnatural Wed 01-Jun-11 04:05:11

Hi everyone

I'm <harumph> years old and have 2 dd's, one almost 6 and the other 3 yrs old. DH, dd1 and I moved to Adelaide, South Australia, almost 5 years ago - ooh, it will be five years next Wednesday! DH is Australian as is DD2, but DD1 and I are poms and always will be <stands up, sings God Save The Queen>.

DH loves it here, having spent the previous 10 yrs in the UK. I do love it here about 80% of the time, then I think about home and feel gripped with sadness. I don't know if that will ever go, but it does get heaps easier the longer we stay here.

EmmaNicole I had dd2 over here, I was fortunate to have my In-laws fairly close by so not the same position as you but my mum came when dd was born and stayed a month fantastic for me a bit hmm for dh. I constantly feel like my dds are missing out on their grandparents and their grandparents (my lovely mum and dad) are missing out on my lovely funny dds. Which is pretty unhappy making at times.

However I have good friends here, it's a great way of life, a lovely place to bring up children and overall we are very happy here. I think if I had insisted we stayed in the UK dh would have been v v unhappy and prob would have left to come here by himself tbh. sad

Eralc Wed 01-Jun-11 04:09:34


I'm in Sydney, a SAHM, and have 2 DSs (3 and a half, and 3 months). We've been here for 14 months of a 2 year contract, so 10 more months to go. As much as I love certain things about being over here, I think I'm ready to go home - have been finding things a bit hard at times with two small children, and a family visit a few weeks ago has stirred up all sorts of homesick feelings I thought I'd got over!

nothingnatural Wed 01-Jun-11 04:20:55

Eraic, those family visits are buggers for making you feel grim. I always feel absolutely heartbroken for a week after waving off visitors. I hope you feel better soon. At least you can look forward to planning your move home.

expatinsingers Wed 01-Jun-11 05:01:38

Hi, we emigrated to Oz (Perth) 14 years ago from Uk, have 2 aussie DC, then to Singapore for two years in 2009 and just moved to Houston 2 weeks ago. Miss friends in singapore, miss home in Perth, and the kids are bored already - disclaimer - the older one has a fractured foot so hard to get around and do stuff!

HengshanRoad Wed 01-Jun-11 05:20:38

Hello! I'm in Shanghai. I'm 30, and I've been here for nearly three years now. I moved on a whim from London, and it's been great so far. I'm a writer, and live with my French boyfriend whom I met when I first got here.

We don't have any DCs yet, but are thinking about thinking about it (IYSWIM) when I finish the travel book I'm writing!

Great to meet some other expats on here.

BlameItOnTheBogey Wed 01-Jun-11 05:32:18

I'm in Africa too (East). Can empathise with the security issues - they are a fact of daily life for us here too. Where are you Expatagain ?

I'm somewhere in my 30's and we moved here 9 months ago. This is about our 4th move but I've found this one the easiest because we've met lots of people through the children (first move with them). It helps that we both secured jobs here in our own fields too - I realise that's really lucky...

When things get bad, I try and remind myself how bad the daily commute was in London and the cost of childcare and the small flat and all the rest of it...

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