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Anyone regret moving back to the UK because they were so homesick.......

(160 Posts)
scottswede Mon 20-May-13 16:11:21

Following on from the homesickness threads. I was wondering if anyone had moved back to their home country because they just couldn't settle, only to regret the move back home.....
I know everyone has bouts of homesickness, from every day to only on special occasions, from little things like not being able to buy certain foods to huge hating the weather issues. From taking a couple of months to settle to unbearable homesickness after 10 plus years.
What made you say"I just can't do this anymore"
Was moving back what you though, did you settle in, did you regret moving back, wished you'd stuck it out longer, taken more trips home to quench the thirst.
I am lucky I have the opportunity to return to the UK, with a willing dh (living in his home country now) we are making plans for next year. We have lived here for 3 years and I knew almost immediately it wasn't going to work though we have tried hard to make it, just not feeling the love.....
I know the UK is not the perfect place, but I know we can can a more enjoyable life there.

Missymoomum Tue 21-May-13 08:28:08

An interesting thread. I'm on the cusp (i think!) of heading home after nearly 3 years of being away. I was really homesick about 6 months in and then have been fine for the next 2 years. However this year has been very hard as the air pollution for the first 3months of the year has been dreadful (you can probably guess where i am!) and it really made start to question how much longer our family could remain here. Other things have also started to grind so a couple of months ago DH told his company that we would like to be considered for a move and then we waited. Things have started to improve here as it has really heated up and the air has been much better recently so i was starting to get back in the groove of being here when suddenly it looks like our relocation request has been approved (although still waiting for confirmation) and now i'm suddenly feeling like shock and panicking as i keep thinking of all the things i'll miss which tbh is literally just all of our friends and our house! Oh and the hot summers and the fact that we can holiday in SE Asia! At the moment these feel like big things but i know that if we stay then once the bad air strikes again which it will probably do in July the my feelings will return, but part of me does worry that i'm going to regret leaving earlier than we were supposed to confused .

Salbertina Tue 21-May-13 09:49:22

Agree, feelings change, sure they'll always be some regret when we return as obviously dome things ARE worse in UK- for me all the obvious ones, weather, everywhere crowded plus also feeling of ageing/options narrowing/giving up for going back...

However, guess much of that is in the mind and something i can do something about- escaping to Scotland regularly and other quieter places, enjoying the many advantages of Uk -its culture, nearby Europe, free health & education, train travel and of course (some) family and longterm friends.

Don't know if that helps at all, Op but good luck.

Erebus Tue 28-May-13 19:36:40

I returned to the UK after 15 years in Oz.

It wasn't really desperate homesickness that drove me but I must say it was only once I returned to the UK (with my Aussie DH and 2 little Aussie DC!) that I realised how much I didn't want to be in Aus any more. I thought I'd settled but my better mates ended up being non-Australian, and I sort of think you have to be Aussie born to really get that 'No Worries' outlook.

We've been back here 10 years now and DH is perfectly happy, has a better job than he'd be likely to have in Aus and the DC are getting a better education that suits them better than what was available there. We have a wider range of friends here and the very recent visit here of my BIL reminded me of how bigoted, racist and misogynistic some Australians can be!

We went over on holiday 2 years ago which was quite cathartic for me. I recognised that if we had to return to Aus to live, I could if need be. But it would have to be pretty close to a major centre.

Oddly just about all the Poms I knew in Oz who shared a broadly similar outlook to us are now 'back home', but more or less none of the Aussies I know living in the UK seem to want to go back there!

Speaking only for OZ, I think people in the UK are sold a bit of an image. It's too easy to overlook that it's a long, very expensive way away, especially when one's parents are ageing etc. And I genuinely believe that if Oz were a 4 hour plane ride away, there's a far bigger chance we'd still be there.

Rockdoctor Tue 28-May-13 20:56:27

Hmmmm. I was going to write a massive "yes" to the original question, but having read Erebus's post I'm not so sure.

Returned to the UK after 20 years in Australia for all the reasons Erebus mentions. I guess I have no regrets, but I could certainly have remained in a much better job in Australia (mining related - clue's in the name), my DH would probably have a better job there, and my DCs would almost certainly have better opportunities as a result. I guess we were unlucky, redundancies following our return and then a lot of difficulty getting back into employment with CVs that were essentially Australian - no headhunters here would take us seriously. We ended up buying property at the top of the market here and selling a house in Australia that would be worth gazillions now.

But... and this is where Erebus's post made me stop and think. All the things I mention are very material. My DCs have grandparents that they see regularly, we "fit" culturally, we have all those things I missed (seasons, pubs, long country walks), and my DCs will always have the opportunity to go back there if they want to.

Don't know if that helps. I guess you always idealise the place you're not in (iyswim), so while I'm in the UK I am always thinking "what if we'd stayed..." but I'm sure if I went back the reality wouldn't be so rosy.

Erebus Tue 28-May-13 22:12:14

Yes, Rock, speaking of material things,- a thing that really struck me, talking to the in-laws this past week was how great their measure of 'success' was how new their kitchen was, how new the ride-on mower was, how many (empty) rooms they had in their houses... BIL's 'girlfriend' (a 70 year old widow, he's unmarried and 60) was positively glowing with pride at the fact she had 6 sheds on her property. Several empty, the rest filled with 'stuff for garage sales'. BIL has, over the last 5 years, bought, then sold almost unused: a tinny (tin boat!), its larger replacement, a convertible car, a 'slide-on' to convert a ute into a caravanette, a custom bird aviary, and is currently sizing up, literally a new motorhome. He has a pool he barely swims in and acres of land he complains about constantly having to mow. He is surrounded in material wealth yet isn't anything like as 'content' as DH and I feel with our lot! GF is selling her property to move in with BIL but is worried that, and I quote, 'The Abo next door' may lower her property value shock...

Children and grandchildren's success was directly measured by 'age at which they bought their first 'plot'', and current wage. Educational achievement or 'standing' in their particular field made no impact whatsoever. Several have 'gone into the mines', 'doing really well', being largely tradesmen, ($$) but including young blokes who see their families one week in four.

But yes, our DC, being Australian can go over there when they want to make money if that's what floats their boat, I guess! Providing the Chinese economy doesn't implode first, mind....

WhataSook Wed 29-May-13 08:15:51

Erebus did you tell your BIL's GF that making statements like that is not acceptable or did you just nod and shake your head and get off the phone and comment on it then?

mummyk2012 Wed 29-May-13 16:11:58

We have not made the move back but i am crossing my fingers that we can move back to the UK in the next 2 years. I too wonder if might regret it after. But I have been in Canada for over 4 years and i still suffer from homesickness and still dont feel totally settled. Things have got better made a couple of friends etc and life not bad at all. But i still miss being close to my family so much. I still feel out of place here and when i visit home it just feels right. Plus it gets me upset that my son does not get to see his grandparents and family regularly. Hubby has a few sisters in Canada but they rarely see us which often gets me down too.

My husband is Canadian and we now have a son here who is 1yrs old. It has started to kick in even more since my son. Hubby has finally agreed for me to do some research into moving back and we plan to visit some new potential areas when we visit end on the year.

My only worry is.. he still thinks our lives will be better if we stay here and better for LO too. But i struggle everyday and i just need a balance again in our lives. I am in and out of will this be a mistake? But i am more for leaving then staying at the moment and hope to move back soon.

pupsiecola Wed 29-May-13 17:40:05

Where in Canada are you mummyk?

mummyk2012 Wed 29-May-13 19:01:52

We are in Ontario in the GTA.

howcomes Wed 29-May-13 19:13:40

Hi mummyk2012, I'm in GTA too. It has taken me a good two years to feel settled here but seem to be turning a corner now. Ds is 3 now and has just got his citizenship. I felt most homesick around Xmas and watching the Olympics!

Erebus Wed 29-May-13 19:42:53

sook I had her sitting opposite me more or less day and night for 10, long days. There was no 'getting off the phone'.

I was the soul of good manners, being English and all. She, within her culture would find it totally acceptable to measure 'success' in life via accumulation of material things. At 70, I doubt I'd change that! But it did remind me of a strong aspect of Aussie-ness that I don't miss.

As for homesickness, it wasn't so much 'family' I missed, though it was a bit of a factor. My parents lived in Africa for 8 years where I was born so we're hardly strangers to distance. And they visited us lots in Oz (as they're considerably better off than we'll ever be! grin)

As much as anything, it was the seasons, the changing light, the broadness of outlook one generally finds, and having one's views legitimately challenged from time to time.

Actually, a famous Aussie poem comes to mind:

"The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!"

... I prefer the former, myself!

yetanotherworry Thu 30-May-13 08:22:33

We returned from Oz 2 years ago for practical reasons rather than because of homesickness. I do miss bits of our life in Oz - the kids were in a great school, I had some great friends and obviously the weather was better at times. We are as happy here in the UK as we were in Oz. However, I think once you have lived in another country you will always remember the good things and I often wonder what we would be doing now if we'd stayed (and occasionally have a look at houses on the real estate pages). I think the phrase ' the grass is greener on the other side' comes to mind...

Rockdoctor Thu 30-May-13 13:20:20

I think yetanotherworry sums it up well; once you've lived overseas there will always be a nagging doubt wherever you end up.

Salbertina Thu 30-May-13 20:08:04

Erebus- love that poem, evokes Africa for me! Which i love and hate in equal measure. It's in my v bones but is fucked up and frustrates me- for peace of mind i need to go back to Uk but oh how sensible and boring that sounds, even to me.

Yy, grass always greener. hmm sometimes think id be much happier if I'd never had lived overseas and therefore might never have thought of such a notion. And just been content with my little lot under those grey skies.

ihatesonic Thu 30-May-13 20:17:30

I moved back from the US after living (and loving it) there for 5 years. Although I felt homesick sometimes, it was nothing to when my mum became terminally ill and I realised my kids barely knew her. I moved back, kids knew Mum and I realised all things I missed when I was back, like close family, long term friendships, always knowing the social etiquette.

7 years later, I don't regret a thing

chloeb2002 Fri 31-May-13 02:40:10

I spent 5 years living in melbourne and Sydney .. Then retuned for a few reasons. Firstly a failed relationship, a small baby, missing my mum and friends.. Needing to retrain all list amongst the reasons. The first regret was my mum picking me up from the airport,. Stopping at a big service ration to feed my bub.. On the freaking toilet! I was mortified.. No where else to feed without being stared at and disapproving grunts.. I then cried all the way to my mums hose.
The novelty of a granddaughter was short lived for my mum who ultimately had her own life. Babysitting for the odd work shift, the odd Sunday out. My brother was the other end of the country. Never saw him. Friends were great but I had those in aus too!
First trip to my home town, one for the blokes who was a customer in the pub I worked in 5 years earlier jut walked past.. Nodded... Gave me a now then.. And walked on... Felt like ground hog day!
I then vowed to train as fast as possible and leave back to aus.
One plus. Going back meant I met dh.. And brought him back to us with us! Now with 4 dc living in qld... Not going back again! (Well to live) been back 6 years and not in a a hurry to visit. Dh had two business trips back and is reconciled life is better here grin

MrTumblesBavarianFanbase Fri 31-May-13 11:30:09

Maybe its deeper seated even than once you've lived overseas you'll always wonder if the grass is greener... I think maybe the majority of those of us who move overseas are restless by nature (or nurture) anyway, and would never have felt totally settled and content even if travel hadn't been an option for whatever reason grin

Salbertina Fri 31-May-13 11:34:28

Too true, know a lot of restless expats!

scottswede Fri 31-May-13 13:17:23

Salbertina, I agree. I know a girl back home, doesn't have a passport, never even left the county she was born in, happy as a pig in sh##.
I envy her in a way.
I spent 10 years travelling the world with my work, then lived in Greece, America, now Sweden. Now we are moving again. I don't feel I'm wasting time, but that I can't live my life to the full until I feel happy where I live. Like I'm waiting to settle.
Just pure wanderlust I think, but it has to stop sometime RIGHT???????

WillowTrees Sat 01-Jun-13 00:53:17

scottswede i know EXACTLY how you feel!
Lived away from UK 13 years, Norway, then Australia. Moving back this year, I want UK, DH Norway. I don't want to live in Norway because I lived there for 7 years, and it never felt like home then, so I know it won't now!
I'm constantly in limbo, can't even hang pictures up because I'm always waiting to find my 'home' (not helped by the fact we seem to move apartments every year)
I'm also waiting for it to stop, thought it would have by now with 3 kids in tow, but no, still looking for the place where I can settle ...
I'm starting to think though that maybe I'll never feel bound to one place, despite having a longing to, it's weird though because I love being at home and looking after my kids, I don't feel the need to travel, just can't settle on a country!!!

RubyOnRails Sat 01-Jun-13 04:46:35

We've only been back eighteen months and husband is sizing up a job back where we left...I'm very wary, had such a bad time there. We are having many discussions at the moment about WHY I was so unhappy and how things would be different. In terms of career we'd be idiots not to go for this job....

Has anybody returned to a place where they were miserable to find that second time around it was better! What changed?

TheRealFellatio Sat 01-Jun-13 05:32:26

Funnily enough I was having dinner with a group of friends last night (we are all expats in the Gulf) and one of them was saying exactly this. He has been out of the UK for 15 years and he has known loads of people who chose to go home and then regretted it.The grass is always greener I suppose but I think there are certain privileges to being in a cosy expat bubble (certainly where I live) as well as the inevitable frustrations, but it's not until you go home and the reality hits you that you realise why you fancied being an expat in the first place.

MrTumblesBavarianFanbase Sat 01-Jun-13 08:23:40

Not everyone who lives abroad is an expat though - at least in the living in an expat bubble sense grin There are 2 vastly different experiences of living oversees, and the expat (ex pat contracts, ex pat bubble, kids at international school, moving on every few years) experience sometimes seem to me to have very little in common with the experience of emigrating or moving very long term/ semi/permanently to a partner's home country, kids attending the local state school and speaking the local language, perhaps living somewhere where there are few other foreigners and trying to live as a local (through necessity or choice). The almost is key though, because I think one of the very few similarities to the two experiences is the restlessness/ bouts of homesickness and wondering whether you/ your family could be content moving back (to the UK or other home country) permanently.

The expat thing is an odd one as where I live there are both - expats passing through on 2 or 3 year contracts, massive salaries, 11k a year per child private school fees paid, and a whole different set of expectations and different outlook, alongside people who have moved here for good or long term, and we overlap at the same groups/ events/ venues sometimes, but on a bad day I feel I have as little in common with the expats as with the locals!

Salbertina Sat 01-Jun-13 09:00:33

Was just thinking the same, Mr. We have a small allowance, fortunately, on top of local salary but doesn't cover the significant extra costs we incur with sch/medical fees/high rental etc. Don't feel insulated therefore, rather much more exposed! Its only dh's career/dc friends/sense of adventure keeping us here as wd be far better off in UK.

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