Longterm expats- coming to terms with things

(14 Posts)
missinghome123 Fri 13-Oct-17 23:29:16

Have been living in the UK for nearly 15 years now. Moved here from Oz in my early 20s, got married and now have 2 young children. I think I am finally starting to process the enormity of being so far from home. Parents and close family are all well and healthy but obviously getting older. I feel anxious about the prospect of a middle of the night phone call. Starting to realise that it is highly likely I will be attending my parents funerals/ hospital beds by myself (ie without support of DH).
Always been relatively happy in UK but feel like I have been here so long that any move would be huge. Also as much as DH says he would move to Oz, it is clearly not going to happen without a big push.
Just rambling really and I guess I am kind of grieving now for all the things I have missed with family and all the hard times that will lie ahead. Realistically I am going to have several flights home in tears over the next 20 years or so. 5 siblings too. Closed to them all.

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missinghome123 Fri 13-Oct-17 23:30:21

*close to them all!

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Cantseethewoods Sat 14-Oct-17 07:48:02

Understand where you're coming from, although my situation is less extreme in that we don't really have the option to stay here forever so we'll likely find ourselves back in the UK at some point or being global nomads.

We've been saying "two more years" for nine years now and DH has just taken a new job which he realistically has to do for five-ten years (I know that sounds odd but it's how the comp structure works). In a way, it gives me certainty so I can plan, but at the same time I'm facing the prospect of moving back for retirement, and the DC spending their whole childhoods here. It's not so much that that's a huge downer, more that I kind of mourn my "minority report"- i.e. my parallel life in London/Home Counties that I always thought I'd have at some point and now won't, and I feel that life has just sort of happened rather than me ever saying "I'd like the kids to grow up in HK".

Also, like you, I feel that the risk of one of the parents dying and finding out by a 3am call is increasing, even though they're all still in good health. I am fortunate in that we see them fairly regularly, but I still have guilt about the distance, especially as my DC are my DParent's only GC.

However, I get that it's much more a major thing for you as it's potentially forever. Do you get to see your family much?

MrsOverTheRoad Mon 23-Oct-17 09:04:40

How old are your kids? My DH is Aussie and I'm English. We moved back to Oz for him...when the kids were ten and 7. He badly missed it and I felt that there was more opportunity here...

I would say this...if you want to come back, do it now. Don't leave it too long. Once they get to high school age, they'll be harder to move.

If DH says he will come, then grasp it and come.

It's better in Oz.

lifeisunjust Mon 23-Oct-17 23:24:49

You may want to evaluate what constitutes hard times look to the many positives in your life

Want2bSupermum Wed 25-Oct-17 05:45:34

I hear you OP. We live in the NYC area and my dad has cancer. I fly home every three weeks leaving Thursday night flying back on Sunday morning. I hold down a FT job, have 3DC, looks like a 2nd has ASD and DH and I both run businesses in addition to our jobs.

We are here because of DHs job and now his business. I really miss what my life would have been in the U.K. and being close to my family and friends.

Just to warn you, I think there is actually less tolerance and understanding now by the airlines. I fly home every 3 weeks, spending a fortune. I needed to fly home urgently because my dad was struggling with his cancer treatment and I could not get on a direct flight. I managed to get to him via London but I ended up with an 8 hour lay over in heathrow so took the train instead. The staff were rude and clearly thought I was lying. I paid $5500 for my economy seat and when wanting to take an earlier transfer to Manchester they wanted to charge me £150 to change my ticket. I got home, took a shower and went straight to the hospital to sign consent forms post op backing up the verbal consent given earlier. It's all very stressful and not part of the glamorous part of living overseas that people have in mind when you tell them you live abroad (because yes I can only do an NHS appointment for my father on Friday mornings). Given the reason for flying home and not even considering my frequent flyer history you would have thought BA would have taken the opportunity to do the right thing. Instead they took advantage of me and my situation. When my father had to fly home after my uncle died in 1992 BA flew him for free from HK.

CrazyDaze1 Sun 29-Oct-17 17:45:08

Sorry to jump on your thread, O/P, but I have a suggestion for “Want2beSupermum”:

Take a look at flights with Aer Lingus to/from Manchester.

They have cheaper flight prices than BA and some of the connections in Dublin have short layovers (and I guess you probably only take carry on baggage?). US Immigration and Customs is cleared in DUB so the flights arrive in the USA as if they were domestic flights.

Aer Lingus has now resumed flights out of Newark in addition to JFK.


Hope this helps and all the best to your dear dad x


pallisers Sun 29-Oct-17 17:50:35

I've had both parents die while living overseas. It is hard - very hard. We are closer than you OP so in each case the entire family came back so at least I had that. Still, saying goodbye to my mother and leaving her after my dad's funeral was probably the hardest thing I have done.

Want2be, sorry you are going through this. I've been there and it sucks.

Want2bSupermum Mon 30-Oct-17 00:45:27

crazy that is my back up flight. The connection takes too long. If I go direct I leave work at 4pm on Thursday, have my regular uber driver get me either to the airport (sometimes I take the subway downtown if traffic is bad) or worst case the heliport on the west side. I then take the flight at about 7ish. I arrive at about 6:30am, run through passport control, meet the rental car person, drive home arriving at 7:30am, feed child I have with me, snack up, quick shower and get everyone back into the car to drive to GP/hospital for 9am appointment. I get loads of filthy looks etc because I'm taking calls and dealing with responding to emails. It's a regular workday for me. The nurses and admin team know why I'm working like this. I also have lunch delivered to the nurses station each week as a thank you because no one else there seems to be thankful! It's stressful, tiring and nonstop. I leave Sunday morning at 6am for the 9am flight back to Newark.

Thermowoman Mon 30-Oct-17 01:19:32

I hear you. My FIL died recently and my husband had to fly back on his own for the funeral (from Oz). We were quite lucky in that there is a British travel agent lady who specializes in organising flights for this kind of thing, so we only had to pay $1300 for his flight, but three of us going was just too much. I believe you can take out insurance which will cover flights for your family if you want to look into that option.

If your husband is willing to move, maybe you should come back? It took my husband a long time to persuade me to move here, wish I'd done it years ago!

WS12 Tue 31-Oct-17 00:33:31

Hi there missinghome. I just wanted to tell you a bit about where I am and where I've been this past year, I guess to help you feel that you're not alone in your predicament and maybe to give you some perspective.

I am English and met my Aussie DH in 2008. We got married and had two children and built a life for our selves in the UK. The possibility of living Australia was always there but we didn't really do anything about it until after our DD was born in 2015(by this point he had been in the UK about 12 years). Like you, my DH was desperate to come back to Aus, he missed the weather and lifestyle - not necessarily his family though - but I could tell he was getting more depressed by being in the UK. He would perk up when talking about moving to Aus. I on the other hand liked the idea of living in Aus but don't think I ever actually wanted to leave my family and life in the UK. My DS was at nursery and I saw my parents sister and niece a few times a week or more. I loved my job and had friends... I was very happy. But my DHs sadness really made it hard to enjoy life. We hadn't bought a house or put down an real roots because "what about Australia?".

So here we are in Australia, moved here in September 2016. The last year has nearly killed me! I don't know how I am still sat here on my sofa, living in Aus 🤣 It seems unreal. We visited the UK in September just gone and I do feel it's a nicer life here in Australia, but I miss my family terribly. I was so so so home sick before we went to visit, I was bordering on being ill. But I do feel a bit better about the whole situation now. I have said to my DH I will go until March/April/ May time next year and see how I feel. If I'm still unsettled we will have to go back (my DH is open to this though I know it's not what he really wants to do- but he will have to for my own sanity. As I say this last year has nearly killed me.) My DS who is 4 misses his grandparents so badly, he talks about England a lot and asks if we can go there nearly every other day 😢.

I think I'm wittering on. All I mean to show is that in any international marriage there is someone away from home. For me I feel as a woman I need to be near family. I too worry about my parents and what would happen if one of them got ill or worse and the other was alone... there'll always be a pull for one of you. In the UK it's the pull or your home, in Aus it'll be the pull of his home.

How old are your children and are they at school and have good relationships with family in the UK? Sometimes I feel so bad for taking my children away from my parents, but then I remember

"No matter how far you have travelled down the wrong road, you can always turn around".

You are not alone. And there is no easy answer. Many a visit to Aus would do you well. Think about the quality of your life in the UK. How would life change if you moved?

CrazyDaze1 Tue 31-Oct-17 20:32:47

Sorry again to the O/P for jumping on your thread again, but I really want to give this info to ‘Want2beSupermum’:

I think I’ve seen in some of your other posts that you live in Hoboken, NJ? Your nearest major airport is Newark (EWR). Your schedule is insane, you must be exhausted.....going via LHR must be a nightmare!

United Airlines has a daily flight (nonstop) to Manchester, England (MAN) and I checked the Thursday outbound and Sunday inbound flights in November:

It departs EWR at 7.30pm on Thursdays, arriving MAN at 7.15am

The return Sunday flights depart MAN at 9.00am, arriving EWR at 12.20pm


Hope this helps.

Want2bSupermum Tue 31-Oct-17 21:08:10

Yes that's my usual flight. It's hard to get on as United reduced their capacity on that route a couple of years ago.

Yes it's a hectic schedule but whenever I'm about to complain I always remind myself that I'm really lucky that I can afford this to be an option.

missinghome123 Sat 04-Nov-17 12:59:02

Wow! I posted this in a rather tipsy state and forgot about it. But so lovely to come back and find all your responses. So sorry it has taken me so long to reply. I will write a longer post tonight when the kids aren't around and I can focus!

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences. So much to think about!

lifeisunjust - interesting what you say about hard times and I can see what you mean. I keep saying to me DH that I do think want to run from life in the UK. I want to be happy here and I mostly am. There are lots of positives- good relationship, 2 kids who are annoying and hard work but lovely, I have a good part-time job and I know my boss would bend over backwards to help if anything happened (& I could work from home in Oz for a bit of needed). Financially we are doing OK, in laws live 3 hours away but come to see us often and happy to help with babysitting for nights out etc. We are even going away for 3 nights alone next year to celebrate wedding anniversary! I could have more closely friends but feel like my social life is OK. Just joined the gym and trying to get fit again. Sorry sounds like a stealth boast about my life but just looking at positives! Don't love London but life is relatively balanced here and can't imagine where else we'd live in UK. Love all the museums, parks, culture that UK has to offer and of course the British! I feel quite British now myself and my accent is so subtle most people don't really notice.

Want2bSupermum sounds like things are really tough at the moment. Thanks for your perspective. I think I would only fly back once if someone was unwell. Obviously hard to know until it happens but have given it some thought. Luckily my parents have lots of other children for support and we all get on well so I feel that is a positive. I hope things are OK for you going forward. If you ever need support, a babysitter or somewhere to stay in London on your way through please please do let me know, I'm more than happy to help.

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