You live overseas, your life must be problem free...

(21 Posts)
howiseverynametaken Wed 04-Apr-18 07:20:38

I moved overseas with my DP just over a year ago. We have moved somewhere hot and close to the coast. Since moving I have noticed that friends and family back home don't take any of my problems seriously, it's almost like I'm not allowed to complain about anything anymore as it's sunny here. I have tried explaining that day to day I still have the same problems with work and we still have similar complaints to back home but I am fobbed off with a reply of....you have nothing to complain about. Any other expats experience this?

OP’s posts: |
ListeningtoBowie Wed 04-Apr-18 07:24:57

Oh dear, sounds like jealousy. They don't sound very good friends tbh.

comfortandjoy Wed 04-Apr-18 07:32:31

Not really though I only go back to England every 4 years so I’m in holiday mode when I go back trying to forget my everyday problems. Why would the think you wouldn’t have problems living in other countries ? Sounds mad.

howiseverynametaken Wed 04-Apr-18 07:45:29

I don't know if it's that when people come to visit, they are on holiday and seem to think that my life is like that permanently. I try explaining but it's just getting quite annoying not being taken seriously on various matters. I'm not one for complaining lots and generally see the brighter side of life but currently have a set of visitors who are pushing me to the edge with it!

OP’s posts: |
GreenSeededGrape Wed 04-Apr-18 07:50:07

When I moved to the UK I had to convince everyone my life wasn't shit! The dreary weather, the chaos of London, terrorism. It was a hard sell smile

It will be the nice weather, it does tend to make things seem better, especially to those not used to it.

Tumilnaughts Wed 04-Apr-18 07:53:11

I had a similar problem when I moved to the UK from a sunny, warm climate. Everyone thought that my life before was perfect and that I must be crazy if I chose to move here. When in fact I had the same problems then as I have now. I had 99 problems but the weather was definitely not one. grin

yakari Wed 04-Apr-18 08:01:46

I have similar, where we live it's sunny (outside typhoon season!) near the beach and our residence has a pool. It's warm and often lighter in the evenings so a bbq dinner is as easy/difficult as cooking inside. And when visitors are here, of course we make more of an effort to enjoy all those things, make off time special.
So yes they see life here as one big vacation - deep down they know work can be shit, or kids can be problematic, etc but surely it can be compensated for by the sun, the beach, etc etc
I know what you mean, but I guess I just don't bother them with it. The people who genuinely care about my troubles or minutiae of my life, will listen and the rest 'meh' I don't stress what they think.

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ChilliMum Wed 04-Apr-18 08:03:01

Yes there is an assumption that my life must be great as I have this wonderful opportunity (which I am grateful for) and mostly I let it wash over me but it does annoy me and I feel like if I say anything I am being a bit if a snowflake.

I have lost the odd friend because apparently i dont get how hard their life is (as mine is so charmed) and when i went through a really difficult time a few years ago I really felt it.

Would have been tough enough in the UK but add to this the different language (and to some extent cultural differences) and no family / help nearby. I felt i was failing and alone and at breaking point.

I emailed a friend about what was going on and her reply was 'oh your so lucky, I can see how much this life suits you' hmm. I had to reread my email as I was starting to doubt my own sanity! I think from all the stuff I had put in my email it was probably just the last paragraph which said we had had a good weekend she read.

FinallyHere Wed 04-Apr-18 08:10:56

* currently have a set of visitors who are pushing me to the edge with it!*

I think its just one of those things, that people who have only ever been on holiday when abroad, will struggle to comprehend. Having said that, one of the things that I don't miss, is having to entertain a stream of people visiting, forgetting that no, we are not actually on holiday but are running round on top of daily life, to make sure they enjoy themselves.

How long are they stying (hint - it's probably too long) Can you send them off on their own for a bit, to give yourself a break. Oh, and next time, get them to book themselves into a hotel or airbnb, so you only have to see 5em when you are at leisure. Be firm up front, or life abroad will always have these long periods when you wonder why you are doing it?

AmygdalaeOnFire Wed 04-Apr-18 08:21:58

Had this problem too. DH also had to make sure he didn't have a suntan because HO bosses thought he was having too easy a time!! So he liked water sports (since being a kid) and had to make sure not to do any near visits from HO staff and certainly make no reference to them with colleagues from HO. There was even some talk about no pay rise because he was on holiday anyway!! It may have been a half-joke, but still.

And they didn't get that the country we were in had Friday off, not as a long weekend, but because Sunday was a work day!!

And he was working a minimum of 1.5 times the hours of people in HO were. There were months with no full day off at the weekend. In fact, when he went back to HO he felt he was working half time.

And as for friends and family, yup. Not much understanding there.

The flip side is that it's really hard to imagine difficulties of living abroad and/or that sun/sand/sea doesn't equal holiday when the only time you ever experience them is on holiday.

elQuintoConyo Wed 04-Apr-18 08:28:58

We get this. Live at the base of some wooded hills 10 mins from the beach, quiet, suntrap of a garden.

But life is 'same shit, different view'. Work problems, juggling family life with no relatives nearby, strikes, beaurocracy. Throw in language barriers and cultural differences and it is a wonder we live here grin

A breezey "yeah, life's a party!" and change the subject. I'm not a great whinger, tend to keep problems between me and DH.

Chin up and go to the beach

AltheaorDonna Wed 04-Apr-18 08:34:12

I know what you mean. The thing is though while we may have all the same problems as those living back in the homeland (and sometimes a few more, like language issues, isolation etc.) in their view at least we are having these problems in the sunshine and not the freezing rain! And personally speaking I think they have a point. So I try to limit any moaning to my mum or really good friends who are smart enough to understand. There's often an element of jealousy, so I try and watch out for that too, as I've found it can be the most unexpected people with sour grapes about me moving away.

elQuintoConyo Wed 04-Apr-18 08:51:28

It may be envy that they cannot move abroad themselves. I left the UK in 98 and it feels very bloody odd coming back for holidays, like being an alien in your own country. I read threads about schools and uni, properties, the price of wine (thread i read this morning was a proper eye-opener!) on MN, and really could not imagine myself living 'back home'.

But life isn't peachy here either. I'm in Catalunya. We have our terrorists and our 'independistas', cities have been turned yellow in support of Carles Puigdemont, there is high unemployment especially for 18-30yos. Catalans can be hard nuts to crack, so not the easiest place to make friends.

Pot-ay-to, pot-ar-to.

OlennasWimple Thu 05-Apr-18 01:41:37

Yes! Thank you OP, I nearly started this exact thread today!

Visitors are particularly at understanding that we haven't been to X attraction yet (because school and work keeps us busy) and we don't lie on the beach for five hours a day like they did for two weeks (because school and work keeps us busy) and no, the DC aren't going to miss their sports fixtures and other commitments to go kite-surfing (or whatever), because this is our real life and we still have the normal stuff to do too.

(Though looking at photos of the weather in the UK right now compared to where we are....I can see how the sympathy runs a little thin at times)

OlennasWimple Thu 05-Apr-18 01:42:00

*Visitors are particularly bad

citychick Fri 06-Apr-18 04:48:39

same shit, different view

Yes, I say this sort of thing to those who comment. It tends to put my friends at ease. Work, school run, parents evening, after school activities etc etc. Just getting on with life in a different place.

But for the most part, people simply don't care. I don't talk about living abroad unless they ask. I don't justify my living where I do. I don't crow about the great fun I have and I don't whinge about the bad moments.

habibihabibi Fri 06-Apr-18 06:18:56

There was a long time when you couldn't get tonic water when Qatar first was illegally blockaded.
Only other expats understood.

echt Fri 06-Apr-18 08:13:31

This thread has made me wonder because with one exception, I've taken leave/ made it abut school holidays to be around guests so it could look like a permanent holiday. The world of work wasn't there. Now I think of it, one guest was decidedly miffed when I spent a day doing mega-shift on the garden instead of, presumably, driving them around.

In my defence, 1) the weather had been shite for ages, and this was my first opportunity to get on top of the work and make the garden pretty for my holidays, 2) I had repeatedly emailed the guest that they would need to hire a car to get around. Which they didn't.

Effendi Fri 06-Apr-18 09:17:45

I moved to a warm sunny place 14 years ago and friends in UK seem to think we have a charmed life and everyday is a holiday.
Yes the weather is fabulous almost all year round but we still have to work, pay bills, do house chores etc, same as we did in UK.

I love where we live and would not think about moving back but it really is same shit, different view and weather.

Want2bSupermum Fri 06-Apr-18 10:19:45

Same thing here. I get particularly annoyed when family or friends don't respect our schedule when they visit us. I'm really busy between working and DC. I also can't take an hour for lunch every single day.

I'm very lucky that it's DHs family who are the worst offenders so I leave them to sort themselves out.

OlennasWimple Fri 06-Apr-18 13:39:05

echt - I did that when we first moved overseas, but the wise women on this board were near unanimous that the best way to survive having house guests (particularly those that come for a longer time) is to carry on with normal life more or less and let the guests slot into that. Since adopting this approach, visits have become a lot less stressful - though there is still a cognitive dissonance where guests see us doing the school run / homework / housework / getting the car serviced / taking the pets for their annual jabs etc etc, and the fact that they have spent the day on a lounger at the beach with a steady supply of pina coladas

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