what do you miss? what would your best advice be?(31 Posts)
looks highly likely we will be moving abroad next year and just wondered generally for those who have left the UK what do you miss? if you could give me one bit of advice what would it be?
Be prepared for things to never be quite the same again. There will be things you miss when you move abroad, but there will be things you miss from abroad if you return.
I don't mean that as a negative thing, but it is something that has struck me.
OP, depends where you are going.
We are in France and it has taken me 4 years I would say to settle.
I have a mixture of Expat and French friends, both are important in different ways, sometimes it is relaxing to have a natter in your own language.
Things which have been a lifesaver:
Saturday telegraph (buy it on a sunday so almost feels like sunday papers
Asda supermarket shop online and delivered by a UK company to near us
I try and go back at least a couple of times a year to buy clothes and shoes (DS either wers startrite or clarks)
Amazon deliver here
found a reasonable chinese restaurant
learnt to cook indian food!
But as the years go by, I miss less about the uk. I hate the traffic there and would miss the open spaces and sunshine we have here
Friends, pubs, cutting edge street fashion, trendy people, M&s food, wandsworth common, proper sausages and mash, cheap wine, amazon.co.uk - cheap books and toys, London sights days out with my baby, my best friend round the corner, my local mums.
Friends and family.
I used to miss British media and my uncle would send my cassette tapes of The Archers. Anything else you can get or substiute.
Watson's is ok, but still not as brilliant as Boots! Watson's actually own Superdrug in the UK and carry some of their products, so you can get some familiar stuff. Selected Mannings stores in Hong Kong are about to start stocking some Boots products - will save on airfares to the nearest one in Bangkok!
I remember when Boots arrived in Kuwait, we gad thought all our Christmases had come at once!!!!
For those of you in Asia that miss Boots, what about Watons? I love Watsons way more than Boots!
I agree with the pp who said do not try to recreate England, embrace the differences in your new country. Of course this is much easier if you speak the local language.
Dh and I are teachers and the school houses all the teachers within a 10 minute walk from each other in an area known or facilities for foreigners.
We are the exception as we live in an area heavily populated by locals. We are a 30 minute drive away from them, so have been forced to make friends outside of our colleagues. As foreigners, we stand out and for them I think it is like living in a goldfish bowl.
Pupsicola- I thought I missed Boots too- knowing where you could go to get a whole list of useful things. And then I went in when I was back in the UK and they had ONE thing that I wanted on a list of 6... The shelves were bare and the shop assistant looked at me like I was dirt on her shoe when I asked her if they had any of the face cream in stock that they had on display. Then I remembered how much I love Australia after all Plus the supermarkets in the UK terrified me- they are huge!
I think it all depends where you are going. Whenever I have been abroad before I have missed very strange things- like duvets in Africa or being cold in Thailand
I think the main thing to remember is to try and embrace your new home. Try not to think about all the wonderful things you miss from the UK and look for all the new great things you can now do and see and try and think of ways around things. Go out and do the tourist stuff and see the local area and do all the things that you could never have done in the UK. Say yes to everything and go out and make a conscious decision to have fun. Yes I miss a decent curry but instead I could get to sit outside on a warm November evening one day soon eating the best Chinese food I have ever had and drink the most amazing wine with it! And as someone said the sunshine makes my life so happy! I think maybe I had SAD and never realised it because every day was grey...
I had a moment just before I left when I drove through the Cotswolds and got sad I would be leaving all this behind. But then I pointed out to myself that I had not been for a wander in the Cotswolds for a good decade so I could probably live without them for a bit longer . I think the people that sometimes come unstuck are the people who try to recreate their old life in a new place with lots of other British people and then sit around and compare it (although I completely understand that some fellow ex pats may be required if you are living somewhere VERY different). Make it a new life and welcome the differences!
We missed friends and family most of all, but definitely Boots, getting the Sunday papers and having a dishwasher (strangely rare and expensive in Hong Kong!)
My advice is to give yourself a good 6-9 months to settle in. At about 3 months in I HATED HK, was convinced we'd made a hideous mistake and desperately wanted out. A trip back to the UK made me realise that the grass wasn't as green as I thought, and after about 7 months I really fell in love with our new life. So much so that we've sold up our house in the UK and are just moving back to HK after 18 months on another expat posting in China (now that I really did hate, but that's another story!)
Good luck, you'll be fine. It's all an adventure and the world is a small place these days with cheap flights and Skype.
-supermarkets that don't run out of staples like bottled water, coffee and peanut butter
-family and friends
Yes grass (oh the smell!) and walking, definitely!
My friends (I have made friends here but they will never replace the girls that I grew up with, went to school with and to uni with)
The 4 different seasons
Cold weather clothes
Walking rather than having to drive/take a cab everywhere
The English sense of humour
Fish and chips (specifically battered sausages!)
Good quality food at reasonable prices
The Sunday newspapers and all the supplements
Being able to travel easily and cheaply to other European countries
Don't get me wrong, living abroad has been such an exciting and interesting time for us and we will look back on it very fondly in years to come, I don't want to sound too negative! We are actually really quite happy here!
But beware the fake drugs in Thailand. Even those dished out by hospitals and reputable pharmacies.
Pups you def need that trip to Thailand.... Get thee to boots and stock up on nurofen 400, decent calpol for 6+, kids ibuprofen etc. They also sell antibiotics over the counter for recurring infections etc.
We sold up and spent the somewhat limited equity. We are tying to resave a deposit. Oh - I had such dreams that we would buy a cheap french house in the countryside and keep chickens and be nearly self-sufficient.
And now I am panicking because in 10 years my dh will retire and my dd will (hopefully) go to Uni and I don't want to live in the middle of fucking nowhere. I want to meet friends for lunch and go to the cinema etc. And we are not prepared for this....
I think that's great advice re keeping a base in the UK. Although we thought about it and reckoned that if we rented our house out we wouldn't be able to return to it in a hurry anyway. It was different for us too because we would have sold soon anyway (planned on being there 5 years, were there for 7). And if we go back we feel we'll not go back to the same area. So I think selling is fine too if it suits your situation. We're just deciding how to invest our equity to tie some up short term and some long term - keep me from spending it at all these shopping malls .
(And I just read that back and realised I put "if" we go back, and not "when" without even thinking about it ).
Thanks for the suggestion. I'm not sure why I miss it and I don't know if it's Boots per se. My 9 year old has been poorly all week with a really high fever. He hates the taste of the meds here (Panadol as the Calpol is much weaker and for his age he would need so much although I did buy some today). And the bottles are so small - when he gets a temp he REALLY gets a temp - has had up to 42 degrees before. So it's round the clock ibuprofen and paracetamol. We're getting through loads of the stuff. And they only have orange nurofen which he hates. And I used to buy a big bonzo tub of 96 Nurofen pills for me which would last months and month. Cannot here, and have had lots of headaches recently. I feel like a druggie when I have to produce my IC card at the local pharmacy! Still, it's a small thing and pretty minor. Being in Singapore too I get all the good stuff about it you mention butterflies and there is much to be thankful for - we wanted an adventure :-)
Bloody MN went off line whilst I was typing this reply so I'll try again
Don't live with other ex pats if you can help it
Rent if you can and keep a base in the UK is possible - it will make moving back/onwards a lot easier if it doesn't work out.
Learn the language - even a few words/key phrases will show you're making an effort and will be appreciated.
Things I missed
Waitrose/M&S quality & choice
relative ease of dealing with bureaucracy
Things I miss now I'm back in the UK
Cheap good quality wine
Fresh produce from my neighbours
living outside a lot of the time
and did I mention Sun?
Advice would be to think of your new country as home. We always tell out kids that home is where your family is. If you keep referring to the uk as home, you will feel "abroad" and not settle as well. Give it a good try, make friends, meet people, find out about your new country, give it the best shot you can. Remember that nothing is irreversible.....
I miss seasons but that's about it. We are in singapore which is really anglicized,we don't have language issues, we have theatre, book shops, excellent fish and chips, good pubs, marks and Spencer's .... Our easiest posting ever.
Pupsiecola I know it's not the same but you can order online from boots in Thailand (or take a holiday there and stock up, boots is everywhere in Thailand)
I miss Boots which is weird as I rarely shopped there but always handy to have one nearby. I miss Waitrose and Sainsburys and seasons and mild weather. The kind of weather where you can go play cricket at the park with the kids and be perfectly comfortable. I miss my friends but the hardest thing for us has been the wobbles the kids have had. Blindsiding us a bit. So I miss them feeling as secure and content as they did at "home". But I know this opportunity was too good to pass up and most of the time we're having a good time.
We sold our house in the UK 3 weeks ago so I def don't miss having a mortgage :-) We don't have a car here and oddly I don't miss that either!
As the others have said re same shit different place, try to think of it as running towards something rather than running away from something if that's applicable.
One piece of advice?
Don´t do it! Sorry I know that´s not helpful and many many people go to live abroad, embrace everything it has to offer and make a wonderful life for themselves and their family. I suppose I must be in the minority. It took a move abroad to make me appreciate how wonderful the UK is
I second everything that Portofino says. I can completely relate to same shit, different country Of course it helps immensely if you speak the language but in addition I would say to be confident. I speak Spanish very well but I have met people here who speak it much, much worse but due to having bags of confidence they seem to fair better. I hope that comment doesn´t sound stupid and you get what I mean...
Things I miss:
Supermarkets and variety
Cheap and good quality childrens clothes
Beautiful English countryside
Indian food and restaurants
Second buy a kindle. I miss Marks and Spencers and Sainsburys, country pubs, my friends.
As for advice, I would never say moving abroad is a panacea, fresh new start etc. It is same shit, different country. It can be REALLY hard at the beginning, and if there is a language issue, it can make it harder still. That sounds really negative I know, and I am actually really happy now - but I think I was not prepared for the reality of day to day life after the initial novelty had worn off. As a couple you really need to agree on how it will work.
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