Errr... Moving back? Long, and might result in death by boredom(11 Posts)
I'm from Iceland (I lived in a place called Skógar, near the mildly famous Skógafoss waterfall and then when I was a teen, lived in Reyjavik).
DD1 was born in Skógar and we moved to Grundarfjörður which had just under 1000 inhabitants and was in a peninsula area, so very pretty, though couldn't compete with the waterfall etc;. From there, three years before DD2 was born, we moved into Reyjavik, again, bigger, but very, very small. That was when DD1 was four.
We moved to Snowdonia five years after that, so very nearly three and a half years ago. DH comes from Israel (Beersheva) but was on a trip studying Iceland (specifically, waterfalls, then glaciers, icebergs etc;) and decided to stay with me, which was why we lived there.
I am a teacher, originally primary teacher, but later have trained so now work in schools to help pupils who don't speak English/much English (I work for a council, so I go into secondary and primary). I used to teach French and German, but after a short leave as a SAHM (didn't work out) I went into primary teaching.
After some research, as the qualifications are recognised in Iceland and part of the original training was in Iceland, I'd be qualified to be an English teacher there.
But I'm having doubts. We live in a tiny hamlet-y place (population around 40 including babies etc; and most people here are old, so it's not going to grow) so size wise, this is not a massive change. DH and I love Iceland, especially me, and I think it could give loads of oppurtunities for the DCs, but might also be limiting. Iceland is small. The 'cities' (Reyjavik, the biggest has 120,000 roughly, but most are more like large villages called cities really, so tiny) are small. The universities exist- but aren't especiall famous across the world.
In the UK, they have the oppurtunity not just to go to the EU universities, but places varying from Oxbridge to Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, etc; and every town has colleges, and every city seems to have a university. There is a wider job market (possible jobs, although currently not very open to anyone because of the recession), a wider range of choices, transport, milder weather etc; which means you can travel all over the UK. I'm worried that, in Iceland, the oppurtuniies such as universities, jobs, travel, and simply a larger mix of friends which wouldn't be available in the tiny places in Iceland, and a wider range of experiences, wouldn't be available to them.
The education system seems okay. DD2 is 5, currently in school, and loves reading etc; and is fluent in Icelandic, as well as English. If we move next year (if we move, that's when it will be) then we'll move a bit before she starts school, giving her time to make friends. She has quite a few friends in both Skógar as well as the area of Grundarfjörður where we'd move too, as we go for nearly the whole summer holidays, every other Christmas, and some of Easter (we'd go to Israel, but the relatives are close to Gaza, so we won't go until it's safer or they move, the former probably won't happen) and the families will sometimes come over for the Christmasses in Wales, and stay for the weeks when they have holidays and we don't, or their longer holidays overlap half term. This should suit DD2 fine.
DD1 is 12. She goes to a small secondary (200 pupils, even though it's a state) and comes from the school DD2 is at, which had about 35 pupils in total (the classes blend years together to make class numbers a bit bigger) and although she has good friends here, she still has good friends from her school which we left, they go every holiday etc; and a few times she's stayed with them over half term etc; without them. Last year, she spent three months in school in Iceland after a health problem which only had treatment there, not UK, (heart condition, thankfully she's fine now ) and she seemed to like the system and thought it suited her well. They seemed to make more allowances for her condition than in the UK as well.
DS is currently 3. If we go, he will have two years to settle in (they start aged 6) so should be fine, and as his first words were Icelandic and we speak it at home, so he's as fluent as a 3yr old gets, he should be fine there.
I'm pregnant (30wks, nearly 31) but that baby would grow up to either be fully Icelandic or Welsh, so it probaly shouldn't affect it.
I love Iceland and can see us living there, and I think we'd have a better lifestlye there too. But I'm just worried that living in such a small, limited place if you see what I mean (even if we're in a very small area in Wales, we have the oppurtunities of everyone in Wales, cities, towns, larger villages etc; and the UK, which you can't get if there isn't the population for it) that I'm a bit hesitant.
The job would also include a payrise for DH, but even then, I'm feeling mixed up about it.
Why are you seeing it as a be all and end all decision?
Why not decide to go for a few years and stay if it is working out, or move again if it isn't?
Why is this move the final one?
Fwiw, I lived all my school life in one country and then have moved around the world ever since with my own dc's. We live in Canada at the mo, with 12,10 and 9 yo, and aren't intending to move, but who knows?
And even if we are here for the next five years, who is to say that dd1 won't want to go uni in the UK?
I don't think there are absolutes. Life is infinite in variability.
Thanks. It's just when we moved to Wales, we were fairly sure it was going to be temporary. So moving away is fine. But if we move to Iceland, it just feels so different from Wales, and I think the differece makes is seem more permanent or something (I'm not making any sense...)
You put a lot of perspective in for me though, so
Perhaps it feels permanent as it's your home? I'd go with it with a view that you can move again if you don't settle, or after a few years if you feel like you/the kids need a change or need to be somewhere bigger.
We're also currently in Canada (not home for either of us), and may move back to the UK soon (DH home) for work, but we know that will be temporary, and will just enjoy it for what it is. Somehow familiar, make the most of it type thing, then move on again after a couple of years.
I don't know where we will end up, or where the kids might choose to study, the world is really open to us. Keeping in mind, you may have to save for university fees as your kids might not qualify as resident students where they choose to study.
god, I'd go. The easy access to steaming hot water straight from he ground would probably swing it for me. I read a book about Iceland once, here's an excerpt which I though was relevant to your concerns:
"It does have its advantages. Set your heart on being Iceland's leading radiographer or animal impersonator or consumer terrorist and the limited competition implied by a population of 270,000 gives you every chance of success. People in Britain who really want to work in television spend eleven years photocopying autocue scripts at HTV for the chance to land a job arranging the prizes on the Generation Game conveyor belt. In Reykjavik, string a sentence together without being sick or pulling your trousers down and you're the evening news anchor within six months"
The author is married to an Icelander so I think it's written affectionately.
It sounds like your heart is calling you to move home to Iceland, and that fear is more what might be motivating you to stay in Wales. Always better to go with the heart than with fear, I think - and that is coming from someone who has done the opposite several times and learned the hard way.
FWIW - I met a fantastic Icelandic woman on my writing course in Glasgow. She spoke a few different languages fluently, was a confident writer, and was genuinely friendly and warm. Being brought up on a small island didn't hold her back at all.
It seems to me the only downside you see to moving back to Iceland, is that your dc won't have the same access to universities. Firstly you can't even be sure that is what they will want to do; and secondly they can still go to university there, or travel overseas to go if they want more choice.
But overall you seem to be saying that Iceland will offer you all a really good life, and you already seem to spend a lot of time there now, so have a realistic view of it.
I guess I do really really want to go back to Iceland. Some of the reasons I gave were ones I knew didn't matter/could be worked around, because it kind of feels selfish to move back home to Iceland when DH can't say 'let's move to Israel'.
I love Iceland.
Happy kids have a happy mum. Do what makes you happy and the rest will fall into place. I believe Iceland has applied to join the EU so if your kids are so inclined they could go back to the UK fairly easily when they're older.
DH is actually working in Reyjavik at this very moment (or out eating, having looked at the time!) It's his first time there and he loved it the moment he stepped off the plane. This is high praise indeed from him (very, very well travelled).
I want to go to Iceland!
If it doesn't work out you can move somewhere else. The saddest thing is to hang on living somewhere you don't want to while your children go through school etc. Then to retire to that place, and only then discover you don't really want to be there anymore.
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