How to avoid reverse culture shock(10 Posts)
After 5 years abroad on two continents, I'm heading back to the UK. And despite the fact that I should be excited I'm going home, I'm actually really apprehensive.
I've been a full time student/freelancer for the past two years, living in a hot climate with a great outdoors lifestyle and loads of free time. I'm now going back to cold, wet, dark UK - alone initially - as well as having to find a job, manage a commute, find a flat, do my Masters AND plan two weddings.
Of course I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends, being closer to them etc, but I feel like I can't tell them that I'm not looking forward to coming back because they will get defensive/take offense. I'm also wary of being an expat bore and finding nothing in common with people from my small town again.
I guess this is just a very long-winded way of saying - those of you who returned back to your home countries, how did you deal with it?
Why are you returning? Can you keep that reason uppermost in your mind?
Oh that's definitely key - we're returning so that I can work again. I've had two years out of work to help accelerate DP's career and it's now my turn.
Part of it is getting back into the monotony of work, getting up early etc. DP has lived in 11 countries in the past 9 years and he wants to settle down. I compromised a lot for the move to where we currently are and he will be compromising for the move back to the UK. I guess the uncertainty around the impact on both of our careers and "will it be worth it?" is playing a big part.
Then I would keep that uppermost in your mind. You've been treading water these last few years, and compromising your own career prospects for your DP's, even if it's been temporary fun. This move is, as it should be, for you. It does sound like you have a lot on. Do you know you will definitely have to have a significant commute? Can the weddings be postponed?
Initially I will have a commute of about 1-1.5hr combination of train, bus and walk. Mainly until I find a flat in the city, so probably need to pull my finger out on that one.
Re the weddings, we are having a tiny "secret" one in May that is pretty much all booked (although DM and DSis are trying to turn it into something way bigger than it is) and DP is very hands-on with the "big" party type one next year.
I'm fine once I've got all my shit together and I'm in a routine, I just get anxious at the unknown. Which is weirding me out because going home shouldn't be the unknown.
Can you plan your next career move so that it may lead to expatriation? Keep your options open and work towards a destination good for you both?
It's really nice raising a young family abroad then coming home when they are ready to settle in primary.
Just saying ;-)
I returned after five years and can honestly say it was quite different to what I had anticipated. Firstly, I'd read expat forums which universally went on about how dreary the UK is, and, actually, it isn't! Even the weather can brighten up sometimes!
Second, the UK had changed in the time I was away, people and places seemed more lively and community minded.
Thirdly, I changed, and started two new enterprises which I couldn't have done while abroad. It's all been good!
I got away from the south east and found one of the many areas where it is less of a rat race. Lots of returned expats around here who know a good thing.
Not returning to the london commute was a big part of the plan .
Drinkable water, pleasant climate, decent TV, libraries, no insect borne diseases, seasons, flowers ,scenery - love it.
Am also apprehensive about returning to the UK. We are due to go back next year - we will have been away 23 years. Am looking forward to decent tv, bookshops, theatre etc, but the administration side of moving back makes me want to hide under the duvet.
I find following Facebook pages on my local community/ city/ area really helps. Keeps me up to date with what's going on so I don't feel too lost when we go home for the summer.
Also, your (potential new) Mumsnet Local page might be worth following.
I don't use twitter, but DH does.
Good luck with the move.
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