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Why can't I be like normal people and want to stay in one place forever?

(20 Posts)
RainbowLoom Fri 01-May-15 14:36:56

We've been back in the UK for less that a year, and I can't do it. I can't stay in one place.

I'm having to see this as a three year placement, to see my time through it, and just hoping DH comes home with telling me they want us to go away again.

I love the UK, I love our house, I have great friends here, but I just like living somewhere where I'm different to the majority. It makes like so much easier!

And I feel guilty for not being content with our life, especially because we have our health.

Vagabond Fri 01-May-15 16:19:36

Did you grow up in the same place? When did you become an expat?

I'm the same as you. I have moved country every 2-4 years since 1987. It's exhausting. But, I don't think I would change it as I have never found the place I want to be for good. I can't imagine living in the same place/house/friends/jobs forever unless I was very happy there. I have just moved to Australia, a place I swore I never wanted to live, and so far, I absolutely love it and I can't imagine wanting to leave.

My problem is emotional and cultural ties to the UK and believing that it is the superior culture and society. I was indoctrinated to believe that England is the best from the day I was born (abroad) from my expat mother who basically screwed up my notions of nationality.

Growing up in Canada, I was taught by my British mother that baseball is 'dreadful' and that in England, they play cricket, that American football is "dreadful" because in England, they play rugby and don't wear helmets. I joined the cheerleading team and that was like hell for my mother. Etc.. etc… I was always taught to doubt and hate the place I lived because it's wasn't England. But then I lived in England for years (which I loved) and it didn't solve any problems either.

Basically, your parents sure can fuck you up!

I DO envy my friends who go back to visit their parent's house and see their childhood home. I think that would be lovely. Because I didn't have it.

There are no answers. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…..

Bonsoir Fri 01-May-15 16:22:15

I think that it is easy to get used to the "not belonging" mindset. It relieves one of responsibility.

Annabannbobanna Fri 01-May-15 16:25:19

I don't know many people who 'stay in one place forever', so I really don't think of that as being 'normal'. You also need to give it much longer than a year!

RainbowLoom Fri 01-May-15 16:48:23

Vagabond - well your name says it all!! Your Mum sounds like a true expat - being more 'British' than if she was living in the UK!!! I had the opposite childhood - very very stable and settled. We moved three times from when I was born to when I left home for uni, and all within a 10 mile area. I actually think that level of homogeneity meant I became pretty afraid of change and hated going on holiday, as I wanted to be back in the safety of my home...

Bonsoir - yes, anything that annoys me when overseas, I can just put down to cultural differences, whereas in the UK, when someone is rubbish at driving or bad mannered, then I take it much more personally...

Anna - I do agree about a year is too soon - the same if someone was homesick in a new placement, I'd say 'give it more than a year'. When I say 'the same place' I mean planning for kids to be at same school from Reception to Year 6, or Yr 7 to Sixth form, so not necessarily forever, but for 5-10 years.

I know I'm feeling pressure to commit due to school choices for my eldest, and aware that we have only three or so years before 13+ and the last chance to move. She wouldn't want to be in boarding school with us in a different country, so we do need to commit, and then after that, we'd need to commit for the next child, and the next, and the next...

A wonderful Mother in my extended circle of friends died, and I feel so guilty for what I have - my life really, and the chance of being with my children and seeing them. I feel that this should be enough, as if this was taken away from me, I would just be so desperate to have this life back, that I have right now, and would feel disgusted at myself for thinking that it was boring or predictable.

purpleapple1234 Sat 02-May-15 06:04:54

I have lived in 6 countries over the past 20 years. I have loved moving around and can't understand those who live in the same place all their lives. How suffocating. It is interesting that while and DH have no problem with it other people can do. I makes them feel insecure in some way. Anyway I believe it is result of moving to 4 different places by the age of 5, including 3 schools when I was 5.

Bonsoir Sat 02-May-15 07:37:47

purpleapple - I am a mover (though have settled in the past few years) and come from a family of movers - generations who have moved around the globe. Having a transient life doesn't make one a better person than having a sedentary one.

cannotseeanend Sat 02-May-15 09:22:42

Maybe a trip to the other mumsnet boards where there are less fortunate people might put this dilemma into perspective.

airedailleurs Sat 02-May-15 09:28:11

As a mover-arounder myself I completely understand you OP...don't beat yourself up! It's an intoxicating way of life and it IS hard to settle somewhere when are not from that place, or from any one single place really. Try to make the most of where you are now and look forward to the next move!

airedailleurs Sat 02-May-15 09:35:06

Bonsoir I'm interested to know what you mean by being "relieved of responsibility"...in many ways life can be harder as an ex-pat, especially if your new life hasn't been arranged for you by your employer.

Bonsoir Sat 02-May-15 09:37:29

You don't have responsibility for eg political decision making or your local community and you can often cherry pick between national and expat institutions (schools, hospitals...) to get the best of both worlds.

airedailleurs Sat 02-May-15 09:41:31

Personally in each place I have lived outside the UK I have made a point of getting involved with the local community, maybe more so than now I am here in the UK.
I don't remember ever having any special treatment regarding choice of hospital, and schools didn't come into the equation as I didn't have DC then. I think it depends what kind of ex-pat location you are living in too as not everywhere has expat institutions.

LillianGish Sat 02-May-15 21:59:44

I'm a mover. I think it means you can enjoy all the best things life has to offer (knowing it won't last) and ignore the things you don't like (because you know they are not a long-term problem for you). I also think all the tedious monotony of everyday life is so much more interesting when you abroad because it is different which means life is never boring. I think non-movers don't really get it. Sometimes I have a slight pang about not having a house and garden and an ordinary life, but I know if I had that I'd probably die of boredom. Luckily DH is the same as me. I wonder what we are doing to our children?

BertieBotts Sat 02-May-15 22:08:15

The grass is always greener, eh? grin I am the opposite. I wish I could love moving around, but I get so attached to places and people that I find it really hard to leave. In my head I am a nomadic, free spirit, spontaneous type but in real life I am very settled, routine, and boring blush

ifink Sat 02-May-15 23:00:06

This is a really great thread (for me anyway grin). DH and I have moved overseas once so far and are going to our next country in a few months. We have spent a lot of time in Oz discussing whether we should stay or go....before we came here we never even considered what a moving life might do to us or our family. It feels like we will never be 'settled' again as we have moved on from our UK life and like you OP know that we won't be able to pick it up in the same way again. I feel sad about that but not enough to return home or give up expatting....it's addictive for sure, you can form amazing friendships very quickly but then don't feel terribly guilty when you have to move on as that's part of the deal of that friendship that you or they might leave.....

choppings Sun 03-May-15 09:22:08

Completely understand. We're about to 'settle down' and we're both terrified of it. The reason is to be in one place for the children's education, and we think we need to have somewhere that they can call 'home'. However, it's feeling claustrophobic already...

airedailleurs Sun 03-May-15 09:53:00

I hear you Choppings...that is why I have lived in one place for 11 years now. I do find it claustrophobic, not least because it's hard to find other people who understand my previous lifestyle where I live now, but my memories and the prospect of being able to move around again once DD finishes her schooling keep me going!

RainbowLoom Sun 03-May-15 15:52:31

Yes choppings that's where we're about to get to. Apart from my youngest, my other three all want to stay in one place now...when we go out for the day they think we're going to move there, so they clearly need reassurance of a base.

My eldest was desperate to return 'home'. She got stuck in while we were away last time ( and was too young before that really) but was clear the whole time to me she wanted to be in UK. I don't want to f* her up!!!

AggressiveBunting Mon 04-May-15 06:17:17

Very interesting point about the ability to abdicate responsibility. If I had only a local passport (and more to the point if my children did) I'd be seriously worried about how things will pan out here politically. But as it is, it's easy to say "I dont have the right to an opinion on this" (and on this topic the local population has made it pretty clear that they don't want expats sticking their oars in on either side). It's not that you dont care, more that your ability and /or obligation to do anything about it is somewhat limited, and you can also get pulled up on the "When in Rome" thing.

I've been thinking about why I'm reticent to move back to the UK despite feeling emotionally pulled in that direction, and I think this is exactly it- my deep seated need to assume personal responsibility for fixing everything I can see is massively neutered here, and it makes for a more relaxing life. Good food for thought.

Laptopwieldingharpy Wed 06-May-15 00:50:49

I totally identify with your post Aggressive.
And also family. Love them but extremely relieved there are oceans between us.
Am still very worried that we f* up the children with too many school changes ultimately. I would love them to be settled for a long chunk of secondary school but have not yet figured out where.....

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