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How to get your head around decision to move continents? (or not, even)

(35 Posts)
lljkk Fri 29-Mar-13 10:36:02

...with a family. Deciding what would be best.

Fine for me + DH. But with DC to consider, omg, I need to go lie down in a dark room. I feel so overwhelmed. Is there a trick, a strategy, for figuring out what's best? Should I go back to reading the Tips thread?

Acinonyx Mon 01-Apr-13 09:16:41

The language issue depends where you go. I think if you are moving within Europe you definitely need to learn the language but in other places it's not so necessary. In Africa and Asia English is a common language even among locals who often speak several different languages. I've lived in 3 countries and only learned the language of one of those. OTOH, learning the language can be one of the positive experiences even if you never become fluent (I didn't).

I generally like the small stuff. The culture gap, to me, is part of the draw - the wider the better (as long as people are basically friendly and I would avoid places where that doesn't appear to be the case). It's the little stuff that keeps every day life interesting.

There is no doubt that getting stuff done is tough and requires vast amounts of patience and perseverance. Especially in some places. And that is not a perk, I totally agree.

We are also an Anglo-American couple. I no longer have any family here and dh is not particularly keen to live near family in the US. We have occasionally thought about moving there - the main pluses would be the outdoor landscapes and climate (if you pick the right parts). We do not like the urban feel though - the endless low-rise suburbs and driving everywhere. We are neither of us very keen on the idea for ourselves. If dh were closer to his family and they were in a good place that might be a deciding factor though (although it would be of no consequence without dd). Healthcare is scary though.

This urban style is also typical of the middle class areas of many larger African and Asian cities and with dc we would be out in the burbs anywhere we went. I lived that style in one of my 3 countries. I was working FT and had my own car then but as a non-working, car-less accompanying spouse that could get very dull (anywhere).

turkeyboots Mon 01-Apr-13 08:38:09

I grew up being trotted round various countries after my DF. The things that may be important for kids (based on me and international school friends) is that in some way life is better. In my case DParents were financially better off so we were encouraged to take up more opportunities like school trips abroad, skiied regularly and DF was traveling less, so we saw him more.

Maybe if you are closer to extended family or can have more "child friendly" adventure that would help you decide? But DC won't be initally happy at all, so brace yourself for that.

I have a terror of US schools based on kids tv and gossip from friends who went to them. So if you have teens watch out for things they ve picked up from tv.

TheAccidentalEgghibitionist Mon 01-Apr-13 08:18:47

DieWilde I completely agree about speaking the local language. Life is extremely difficult if you can't speak the local language unless there is a large ex pat community to assist you. It's day to day things which can seem impossible. Just finding out how to do things and where to go for things is infinitely harder if you can't ask!

pollypandemonium Sun 31-Mar-13 20:21:10

I get the feeling that going 'home' will be for good. Once you are surrounded by family again it may be hard to leave again. As a family you will set roots which may tie you down but in a good way. As the dcs get older you will have support around them which will enable you to escape to adventure from time to time. Are you wanting this or worrying about it? The US has everything in terms of landscape and adventure I think you are very lucky to have that option.

DieWilde13 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:07:11

I mean petty little things like the availability of marmite, not being allowed a satellite dish or to mow the lawn on a Sunday, no shopping on a Sunday (priceless American faces in Switzerland when they realise grin), milk tasting "wrong".

You usually anticipate all the big deal breakers, but in my experience it's a multitude of little things that wears you down.

lljkk Sun 31-Mar-13 18:21:34

What kind of things did you write down, DeWilde? I'm not easily thinking of other things. Guns? Think that comes under "less crime".

I did have "Giving up my beloved Fiat 500 car" but DH threatened to burn the list if I wrote that down.

DieWilde13 Sun 31-Mar-13 15:07:28

Your list seems very short. Make a longer list each. Add every little thing you can think of. Compare your lists.

It is not easy! Having moved around quite a bit, the single most important thing for me would be whether I speak the local language or not.

butterfliesinmytummy Sun 31-Mar-13 14:59:10

We left a 12 year old cat with my dad when we moved to singapore from the uk. Living with a toddler, the vet thought that the cat might only live another year and the relocation would probably hasten that. 5 years of being pampered at my dads house (and ruling the roost), she's still going strong grin

lljkk Sun 31-Mar-13 12:37:54

"ties to the UK" I meant, oops.

lljkk Sun 31-Mar-13 12:37:23

Eek, we have 3 cats, too, but I think UK-> USA isn't so bad, right?

Pollyp the list wasn't in order of preference. I would love to see more of my (very huge) family than was possible last 22 yrs. They are a big pull, even DH likes them. If his mum (heaven forbid) died tomorrow he wouldn't feel any compelling family ties to the USA at all.

I've found 2 state secondaries that offer International Bauccalareate near to where we'd live, with loads of IB schools in their feeding clusters. I hate hate hate the way GCSEs operate. It's a big pushing force away, iyswim. Which is partly why we feel we need to make decisions in next 6-24 months. Yet UK University funding is fabulous, far superior to the system over there.

Acinonyx Sun 31-Mar-13 10:27:44

Yes - most people think I'm just a crazy cat lady! Will look into it - but I think it depends on particular agreements between countries. Last time I looked (2 years ago - when we had 2 cats so even harder), Singapore had a pet agreement that meant you didn't need quarantine but India didn't. I'm not sure how easy C would be to re-home - he has, er, quirks....

scottswede Sun 31-Mar-13 10:18:44

We brought 4 cats from the US, the whole process was so stressful for the cats(I was a basket case) all the blood samples, waiting on results. We could do the 6 months quarantine at home in the states. We actually delayed our move because one of the older cats had too much fat in his blood and we had to start the whole 6 months thing over. The flight was long and they all still had to stay in UK quarantine for 2 weeks after we arrived. When we moved again within Europe this time, I decided to re home them before we left. Really hard decisions when you have pets. Needless to say we have acquired more cats here, but it's a lot easier to move within European countries. I have had a lot of incredulous looks from (non-animal) people when I have said we have to 'consider' the pets in our move.....

Acinonyx Sun 31-Mar-13 09:56:45

Really smile smile! I must look into that again. I just don't know how our aging cat would take to southern India. At present we have a lovely cat sitter for when we travel - I wonder if I could find someone like that. Hmmmm. I drive dh crazy with this stuff!

Salbertina Sun 31-Mar-13 09:51:24

You know quarantine has gone seeing as its a major factor for you? If pet complies with anti rabies regime- negative blood tests for x amount of time on top of annual jabs etc.

Acinonyx Sun 31-Mar-13 09:37:39

The single biggest downside for me personally is re-homing our cat who will be 14 and would not cope with the move and definitely not with quarantine on the way back. It breaks my heart to think about it but dh (who was the one who insisted on getting cats) doesn't seem quite so distressed about it hmm.

Interesting to hear about the schools.

We're generally attracted to places that tend not to have better health care. This is a major dilemma - we were in fact evacuated from our last posting for this reason. Dh was so ill I don't think he really remembers it the way I do - I'm more anxious about it than he is. I think it broke my nerve and then having dd turned my risk-aversiveness up even further.

But then I look ahead and think - another 10-20 years like this? <<shudder>>

juneau Sun 31-Mar-13 09:23:17

there are lots of countries with a better health service than the UK

Yes, this is true, but most of them cost a lot of money, so you need to be sure that medical insurance would be part of your package or that you'd earn enough to be able to afford good coverage.

When we moved from the US to the UK the main reasons were: DH's job opportunities were better, our preference for the British education system, wanting to have Europe on our doorstep again for travel, my large family (DH's family consists of just three people), and just that living in the UK was our long-term plan and we didn't want to get any more settled in the USA as the next stage for us was to have a 2nd child and buy a house.

TheAccidentalEgghibitionist Sun 31-Mar-13 09:00:19

I agree about the international schools. The one my DS goes to is wonderful but is about a year behind UK schools. It exists in its own little bubble but without the interaction from other schools it doesnt compare or monitor how its doing aginst other schools.
The pastoral care is very good, small class sizes, imaginative teaching.
I don't know where you are thinking of moving to but it's worth considering there are lots of countries with a better health service than the UK.

Salbertina Sun 31-Mar-13 08:52:00

In my experience international schools vary hugely.. Some offer little more than local schools but at much higher fees and are not the mini rainbow nation one might expect ..

Acinonyx Sun 31-Mar-13 08:39:44

I absolutely could not live anywhere colder than the UK. In fact, I find the UK climate very tough.

I've always liked the idea of an International School - but I know it's hard to get into the best ones and we might be able to apply that far in advance.

We won't be able to cover the humongous mortgage on our UK house with rent so we will need to be careful working out the package.

We're favouring India at present.

scottswede Sun 31-Mar-13 08:00:42

We are in the same situation with schools. Not wanting to move back to the same area, and trying to find out about schools via the net. Also my kids are 2 years behind the UK education system, so we are doing a lot of homework, which is not going down well, might I add. The main reason we moved was for a better education for the kids. I am not impressed with the system here at all.
If dh's company could post him somewhere warmer we would definitely consider it. 5 straight months of winter here, I could scream.
We are only returning to the UK because we don't like it here.

pupsiecola Sun 31-Mar-13 00:27:16

We moved to Singapore last June. We'd been several times and have good friends here. We're 95% sure we're going back to the UK this Summer. Dh might stay out here for a bit. The international school my sons are at has turned out to be a total disappointment and we don't believe we have another workable alternative here. I'm glad we came. If we hadn't we'd have regretted it and we're going back in a stronger financial position, and it has been an adventure, and we've already had some fantastic holidays.

But I'm now facing trying to find out about schools in a new area (we don't want to go back to our old village) from 7000 miles away.

It's impossible to know how it's gonna work out. And I do think it's all part of life's rich tapestry. But always keen an open mind. That's what I would say.

pollypandemonium Sat 30-Mar-13 20:22:11

Interesting that your family comes second after weather in the 'Go' list. Do you see yourself getting involved with your family much as I would say that's a very important one.

Acinonyx Sat 30-Mar-13 20:15:39

Yes it's very different and we'd have to accept that we won't be running around all hours like you do before kids. Do you mind saying where you are in Africa Salbertina?

Iljkk - that's very like our lists. NHS is high on the list of 'stay'. Weather (but could go against as well), international school, food and adventure are high on the 'go' list. No family here - no family there.

lljkk Sat 30-Mar-13 20:06:10

So far we have

Stay: NHS, his family, less car-dependency, BBC, generous Uni funding, seasonal flowers, few Bible Thumpers, less upheaval, better work-life balance, less crime, less materialism

Go: Vastly better weather, my family, cycling, better secondary system, more and better jobs, more diversity & opportunities (in most ways), better food, adventure

Salbertina Sat 30-Mar-13 18:07:07

Acoonyx - who knows what might happen anyway? We were in a not dissimilar position but with 2 dc to uproot. We are now in Africa. Should we have? Who knows. I have some regrets but it is an adventure.. To be honest its obviously v different w kids than carefree and kid-free 20s on oneway ticket, been there too. Its v v different w kids and when older.

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