Is anyone here realistically never going back? How do you feel about it?

(33 Posts)
GoodtoBetter Sat 28-Jun-14 21:36:02

I've been in Spain for the best part of 15 years and am married to a Spaniaird with DC of 6 and 3. Due to family issues/money we haven't even been back to visit since 2006. I will realistically never live in the UK again, bar civil war or something in Spain meaning I have to flee. I'm quite happy about that, I like my life here and I've been away soooooo long now and have no ties there really now (some friends and my nationality basically) I don't feel a desperate longing or miss it. I'd like to visit and show the DCs, but ca't imagine living there again, I think I'd miss's where I've spent my whole adult life. But sometimes I get a bit wistful, or something..I don't know, a little twinge. Over silly things like watching Countryside 999 of all things just now on the iplayer and seeing the beautiful landscape.
Like I say, I'm happy, my life is here, my kids are Spanish to all intents and purposes, but at the same time I'm not Spanish, not explaining it well. Does anyone know what I mean?

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SecretWitch Sat 28-Jun-14 21:43:47

Good, I think I might understand. I have been in the US since I was a young teen. I have been through university here, married twice to American men and have American children. I have only been back to visit twice, both for funerals. I have no plans to live anywhere but the US.

allisgood1 Sat 28-Jun-14 21:45:27

I've been in the UK for 12 years. I do plan to leave but don't know how realistic that is!

lavenderbongo Sat 28-Jun-14 21:45:39

Hi. i'm in New Zealand and have been here about 5.5 years. I know we are unlikely to every move back to the UK. in fact occassionally I have nightmares about being forced to move back!
I am her with my two dds and my DH. The rest of our families are all in the UK. It was very easy for us as we very quickly fell in love with the lifestyle, landscape and people over here. I think I knew after just a few months that we had found the place we would spend the rest of our lives.
Leaving my family is one hell of a wrench but we didnt live near them in the UK and I am lucky enough that my parents are willing to travel and visit us every couple of years. Skype and facetime also help enormously.
We just couldn't give our kids the lifestyle and childhood they have here in the UK.
I think home can be anywhere where you feel you belong. And for me it just happens to be the otherside of the world from where I was born!

GoodtoBetter Sat 28-Jun-14 21:47:07

Are you happy, SecretWitch? I am and don't want to live in Britain again but it feels strange sometimes for it to be a big part of my culture, it's my language and yet I've not even set foot there for years.

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GoodtoBetter Sat 28-Jun-14 21:50:53

Glad you are so happy lavender. I came here on a whim, but fell in love with Spain and DH and the rest is history. It wasn't a planned emigration.

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DramaAlpaca Sat 28-Jun-14 21:56:48

I know it's not exactly very far away, but I've been in Ireland for 15 years and I can't imagine going home now.

DH is Irish, the DC although UK born are culturally Irish, and I have put down roots here, I love it & consider myself settled.

However, I know I will never fit in completely because I'm not Irish and I don't have the same cultural references or background. I have plenty of Irish friends, but I seem to have gravitated mainly towards friends who, like me, are from another country but whose DHs are Irish. My closest Irish friends tend to be those who've lived in other countries or whose DHs are not Irish.

I don't miss much about the UK apart from my remaining family & a few friends there, and I feel guilty that I don't get back very often.


SecretWitch Sat 28-Jun-14 21:58:41

I am happy. The US is my home and the only home my children know. The thought of uprooting them is not in my plans. My mum visits often ( she has more friends here than I do) hmm My children get to see and chat with other relatives via Skype.

echt Sun 29-Jun-14 06:21:33

We moved to Australia eight years ago, in our early 50s, so knew we'd have no jobs to go back to. Possibly this coloured our attitude to settling in, i.e. make the best of it.

With all its imperfections, I do like it here, but then I didn't leave the UK because I though it was shite, just that something new and interesting turned up. There was never a sense that the grass was greener in another country. We liked the UK, and now we like Australia.

I have family in the UK, and have been back a few times. Have they come here? Nah. sad

GoodtoBetter Sun 29-Jun-14 09:18:19

That's a shame, echt is it a money thing for them? If I had family I could stay with I'd be there for a visit like a shot!!
We don't get many visits and don't really have room for them anyway. Good friends come and stay nearby every 1-2 years. My mum lives out here too but that's a whole other complicated story and to be honest, life would be easier if she didn't sad

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MrTumblesBavarianFanbase Sun 29-Jun-14 09:56:13

We are in Germany (Bavaria, hence the name grin ). We moved here in 2007, shortly before DC2 (of 3) was born, with DC1 a very small toddler. DH is local but from about 50km from where we live and we met and married in the UK, and lived there together for 7 years before moving.

I am in between, as in baring unexpected/ unwanted emergency situations we will live here until the kids are finished with school - so at least another 15 years, as the youngest is 3 ... my kids are more German than English (specifically Bavarian more than German) though they speak English indistinguishably from native speakers, and the eldest is bi-literate. I would hate to uproot them and "return" them to a country they have only visited on holiday, and I think it would be worse for them on almost every level to live in the UK.

I don't "belong" here exactly though - I dislike ex-pat society (by which I don't mean I dislike everyone living as ex-pats obviously, but I dislike the prevailing attitudes of "otherness" and superiority, and of impermanence) but I have really only got good German aquaintances, not close friends, and don't think I'd be here (esp in the countryside, where we live) if not for the kids.

I hope to live somewhere else by my late 50s, but no idea where, as DH and I both agree on moving then, but have different ideals about where - it will probably depend on work and other practicalities in the end.

I am very clearly British and will never be anything else, it is important to me that the kids have that side of their identity in tact too - there is nothing in particular that would make me want to live in the UK again though.

GoodtoBetter Sun 29-Jun-14 15:13:28

Hello, MrTumblesBavarianFanBase I know what you mean by disliking the whole expat thing. I've been involved in TEFL one way or another for years so most of my friends are not Spanish, but they're mostly like me in that they've settled here and had kids, often married to a Spaniard. Other, younger, more flighty expats, I don't tend to mix with. I know some other Spanish mums now that DCs are at school, but nobody really I would, say meet for coffee or go out for a drink with.
I'm OK with that though, I have a good social life with a set of people who are, like me, realistically here for the long haul.
Like, I say...I haven't even visited the UK since 2006 and I'm not sure how I'd feel now...I think it would feel quite familiar and yet so changed, it must be. I think I'd feel a bit like a fish out of water there now too. It's home, but it's also not.

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SteveBrucesNose Sun 29-Jun-14 16:55:46

We're not going back. We've been away for 6 years now. We won't be staying in the UAE forever, because it's not that sort if place. Our next move we're thinking Canada or Far East - I fancy NZ but he thinks it too far away

We're in the process of buying our 'forever home' in villamoura in Portugal. ThTa where we plan to retire to, unless we find somewhere else in the meantime

PasswordProtected Fri 04-Jul-14 23:13:05

I have lived in Germany for over 26 years. I cannot imagine returning to the UK, ever.

MumofWombat Sat 05-Jul-14 01:29:22

I've been in Australia for just over four years now. Married an Aussie and have two little Aussies around my ankles.
I still get homesick, but am very lucky that immediate family have visited a lot and we've been over to the UK three times so far. DH is open to living in the UK, but tbh I can't see it happening. We are very lucky that DH bought a property before house prices went silly here so we have a 4bed 2 bath open plan house with enough garden to play in. On visits to the UK my kids missed the space everywhere. In the house, in the (many within walking distance) parks and play areas, at the beach etc. And I think not being able to play cricket almost every week of the year might be too much for DH! DH has a secure job with prospects for promotion and he seems to be well regarded there.
My DS as a rare heart condition and my DM feels that the proactive care they (public health) gave me during my second pregnancy and then my DD to fully check her out just wouldn't of happened on the NHS. She worked for the NHS for half her working life.
I just don't feel I can uproot the known and the security we have here for the times I am homesick. So I'm making the best of it. I'm going to apply for citizenship this year, DS will start Kindy next year and I'll learn to not hate the hot weather!

gregsageek Sat 05-Jul-14 01:37:18

I have been in the US for six years now - DH is American, I am not. DCs were both born in UK but we moved here when they were toddlers - they have only ever known here and have American accents etc. Interestingly they both said recently that they felt more British than American, although I think that is simply because they were born in England, and therefore in their minds they are British.
I try not to think about it too much, but I know we will probably be here forever - I couldn't move the DCs without a massively good reason, would feel so awful about such an upheaval for them.
It can be a difficult life being an emigrant, as opposed to an expat.

nooka Sun 06-Jul-14 06:56:31

We moved just over six years ago, first to the US and then to Canada. We don't plan to return to the UK and next year hope to be able to apply for Canadian citizenship (they are changing the rules currently so we might have to wait another two years which will be annoying). We decided that we didn't want to go back to the UK a couple of years ago, not because we don't like it there, but because here feels like home, and we think that if we decide to move it will be somewhere else new. I was asked if I would apply to a job in the Middle East last year and seriously thought about it but dh would like to live somewhere in the developing world at some point and 'give something back'.

TanteRose Sun 06-Jul-14 07:06:41

Been in Japan for 23 years now, obviously will never ever be thought of an one of the locals but I speak/read the language fluently and have made good local friends so do feel part of the community.

My DH and DCs are Japanese (DCs have dual nationality) and I imagine I will be here for the rest of my life. I have good role models for this as I belong to a group to foreign wives married to Japanese guys and some of the ladies have been here for nearly half a century! Can't imagine how tough it must have been back then - very glad I have the Internet etc.

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Sun 06-Jul-14 07:24:53

I think I know how you feel. I left my country in 1998, and going there less and less because of money and lack of place to stay. I have been twice this year because my dad is really ill.

I like it there but don't really belong, but to tbf I never really fitted even before I left.
I will probably never go back as DH is from 2 different countries, DD2 was born in another.

DD1 was born in the UK and feels british even if they refused to give her a passport We are here for now, but with no "expat" community and almost no movement of population it is very difficult to fit in. Almost everybody was in the same primary as their kids and are not really open minded to change and different ideas. They are pleasant but I have no friends and feel really isolated. I really can't join in the conversations they have their knickers in a twist about things I find completely normal or even good (especially at school!).

We will probably be on the road again, anyway but it would be nice to have so kind of friend there. Well it doesn't help that we have no money and are living with MIL so we can't invite anybody and I can't go out with them either. The price of a night out in the UK is "gasp" shock

alteredimages Sun 06-Jul-14 22:20:40

I am realistically never going back to the UK, though sometimes I feel that I want to.

I am in Egypt and married to an Egyptian with 2 DCs. We have just returned from a couple of years in France, where DC2 was born, and perhaps the settling in period is colouring my judgement at the moment.

There are lots of things I really love about Egypt and I feel that there are lots of opportunities for us all here. Although he is open to the idea, I don't think that DH would move to the UK when push comes to shove, though he would be happy to return to France.

However, although I speak Arabic fluently and have a good relationship with my in laws, sometimes cultural differences make me question my sanity and I feel more alone than I ever felt possible. The next day I am fine again, but I do worry that I will reach a point where the loneliness becomes less fleeting.

I also worry (probably just narcissism) about my children growing up with such a different frame of cultural reference to me that we will always be to some extent strangers. They are trilingual and I hope that they will feel a strong sense of identity and won't feel trapped between different roles.

I have one really good British friend here and I often call her to check if I am being mad or just British. grin

I can relate to a lot of what you say Mousquetaire, also living with MIL at the moment and it is very limiting.

RedNosedClone Mon 07-Jul-14 00:26:39

I've lived in DH's country for thirty years, raised my children here and now have grandchildren, so I'm unlikely to return to live in the UK .

On the rare occasions I return for a visit I feel slightly alien - the country I grew up in has changed, I too have changed. After living in a completely different culture for so long I see things from a different viewpoint now. Life in a poor country has changed my values, and I'm often shocked at how greedy and entitled some of the posters on MN appear to be. There is so much to be grateful for in the UK, especially the NHS and the benefits system. Living withoutthe security net they provide is stressful to say the least, and illness can cost thousands of pounds <speaks from bitter experience>

I will always be a foreigner in my DH's country, but I have also become a foreigner in the UK sad

Having said that, I felt terribly homesick yesterday watching the Tour de France going through places I visited and loved as a child, it made me ache with nostalgia, and a little part of me felt that life would probably have been much simpler if I had never left.

Britchick76 Mon 07-Jul-14 03:28:04

I moved to Toronto, Canada 6.5 years ago, I married a Canadian 2 years ago and now have a 7 month old. We have talked about moving back to the uk in maybe 6 years time once my husbands contract is up so that our child/children can get to know my family and experience life there. But it would only be a temporary move as I/we love the Canadian lifestyle.

alteredimages Mon 07-Jul-14 04:18:10

RedNosedClone you sound just like I imagine I will be in the future. The cost of medical care worries me too, and I know exactly what you mean about being a foreigner everywhere. sad I relate to your comment about having a simpler life, but when I talk to other people back home I realise that what I (we) have done is something extraordinary and has made our family's life and culture so much richer.

AdoraBell Mon 07-Jul-14 04:48:04

I know what you mean. We've been here, Chile, for nearly 11 years. DDs feel Chilean, speak Chilean (as opposed to Spanish Spanish) fluently, I'm still not properly fluent, and the only reason I can see for visiting the UK is because DDs haven't seen things like the London museums, Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament etc, but when we do visit we never go to London anyway.

Also, I have zero interest in football but was gutted when Chile went out of the world cup but completely not bothered when the England team lost to Uruaguy.

DH wants to move on, no expat package, but even he doesn't really want to return to the UK. It has changed too much and we have both changed too much.

GoodtoBetter Mon 07-Jul-14 06:54:37

I think that's it, rednosedclone I'll always be a guiri (foreigner) here however much I like it, but I think I'd feel foreign in the UK now too, it's not my home any more. I like my life here but sometimes I feel a bit like I don't totally fit anywhere.

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