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moving to a new country

(59 Posts)
MaryP0p1 Fri 11-Feb-05 19:34:47

A question I thought I'd ask of all those of you who have moved abroad. What would be the best bit of advice you would offer. What did you miss and what was great!

Chandra Fri 11-Feb-05 19:38:50

Think it through, some times there's no going back even if you want to!

Hausfrau Fri 11-Feb-05 19:50:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lonelymum Fri 11-Feb-05 19:55:59

My brother is very cosmospolitan and speaks loads of languages and travels widely and in his youth hankered to a live in a foreign country. He did so for two years and then got fed up with it!

He said the thing that irritated him was always standing out as the foreigner. Even though he spoke the languages, he found he was always stared at on trains and in public places because he would be reading a book in a "foreign" language ie English. He missed baked beans and marmite too!

Chandra Fri 11-Feb-05 19:58:43

I use to miss the food, my friends, being able to speak with the freedom my own language allows me, and being able to live with the label of my origin (once a foreigner always a foreigner, even if you go back to your own country). Having said that I have found some other lovely friends and enjoy the historic background of my current setting.

Chandra Fri 11-Feb-05 20:00:10

Crossposted Lonelymum but I was thinking exactly the same, I'm tired of being the "mexican" rather than just myself

kama Fri 11-Feb-05 20:02:34

Message withdrawn

SenoraPostrophe Fri 11-Feb-05 20:06:12

It's not just a question of speaking the language - becoming really fluent takes years. I still can't hold a 3 way conversation very well in Spanish (am fine one to one).

I miss:

my friends/family
newspapers that have all the pages /supplements and don't cost 3E
shops being open on Sundays
sausages
shreddies
cornish pasties
in fact anything involving pastry
real ale
being able to make small talk (there is a delay in understanding when I speak to a new person - I'm never quick enough)
knowing the "system"


..on the other hand, this thread is getting a bit depressing. I don't regret moving abroad - it has been an experience that has done us all good - not least ds and dd since they will be bilingual.

SenoraPostrophe Fri 11-Feb-05 20:08:56

Oh yes, advice: I second Kama's point about being flexible. Also travel as much as you can before deciding on a town to settle in - don't be put off if the first town is a bit parochial. And don't take anybody's word for anything unless they are a) a proper natively qualified professional or b) a government official.

Chandra Fri 11-Feb-05 20:10:02

I think that as long as you know is temporary you would be fine, what is difficult is to deal with the idea of not going back. But I agree, the best advice is "Be flexible"

oxocube Fri 11-Feb-05 20:10:35

Moved from England to Switzerland 8 yrs ago and from Switz to Holland 4 yrs ago. Will probably move again (where?) within next year of so with Dh's job. Miss shops, esp food shopping, not speaking Dutch very well and always being a foreigner. Love loads - meeting lots of interesting people, seeing new places, learning about new cultures, being forced to become much more independent and self-confident, learning French and not to be embarrassed to speak it, the Euro, feeling European,I could go on and on. Our kids are very 'rounded' and are constantly exposed to lots of different languages, religions and traditions. At risk of being boring, go for it if you have the chance. Apart from having my children and learning to drive, its the best thing I ever did

Hausfrau Fri 11-Feb-05 20:32:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

turquoise Fri 11-Feb-05 20:41:59

I think it makes such a difference what sort of character you are, how easilly you make friends, how close you are to your own family and support network. That's certainly what I miss, everything else is just minor.
I disagree that knowing it's temporary helps, I think it is far better to assume you're there for good. We always knew we were fairly short -term, and I don't think I forced myself to get into it as much as I would have had it been permanent. My personal experience has not been hugely happy (sorry to add to the depressing tone) but that's circumstances rather than the place, and I do not regret having come out here, hugely appreciate the experience. It has also been very good for the children.

expatinscotland Fri 11-Feb-05 20:47:50

A good friend put it best, approach it all as 'It's different, not wrong.'

I'm an expat for life. After the first couple of years, I started to forget a lot of things I missed about my home nation. This IS home. I've always seen it like that, and it made e/thing better.

lucy5 Fri 11-Feb-05 21:05:39

I miss
Donner Kebabs
Toasted teacakes
My friends
Knowing how everything works
Feeling I belong
Popping to cinema on the off chance


I dont like
Constantly feeling frustrated that I can only just get by in a language
that I have to put up with poor working conditions because of high level unemployment
not always being able to afford to go to uk

I love
The sea, space and countryside
I love being able to take dd everywhere
Bolonia beach
camping
tinto verano
the sunshine

Overall I love where I am but often it depends on the day, I dont regret the move and most importantly dd loves the outside lifestyle.

kando Fri 11-Feb-05 21:16:47

This is a really interesting thread! We are possibly going to live in Holland because of DH's job. We have lived abroad (Greece) before dds so of course it was different and you don't have them to "worry" about.

Oxocube - where about in Holland do you live? We are possibly going to live in The Hague. I'd be interested to know how widely spoken English is in Holland - everyone tells me I won't need to learn the language (although I'd learn the basics like hello, goodbye, please, thanks, etc!) Is the expat (English-speaking) community as big as they say it is? Sorry to ask all these questions, but I've never been to Holland, was initially reluctant to even think about living there, but now it's growing on me. We'd be there for a maximum of 4 years.

I agree about the language thing - I was SO lucky when we went to Greece as I didn't actually need to speak Greek for my job (which I landed whilst out there!) but I really wish I'd at least done a beginners course. I learned the alphabet and a bit of the language but not nearly enough. I think they appreciated it when I tried to speak Greek but the conversation always finished in English! Still, we had a great time out there, wouldn't change it for the world. I hope I can say the same about the next (possible) "posting". I shall be following this thread with great interest!

franke Fri 11-Feb-05 21:37:53

We moved to Germany a year ago. It's been a really tough year. I agree with everyone who says learn the language. I went from a fully functioning, independent adult to little wifey totally dependent on dh for everything - I can't even take my kids to the doctor on my own, which is a real killer.

German retail is like going back to the 1970s. If you think British tv is crap, try German tv for a year, you'll be on your knees begging for Trisha, This Morning, Richard and Judy (but probably not Big Brother).

On the plus side, standard of living is excellent - rip-off Britain is not a myth IMO. Things are much more affodable here. I feel much safer than I did in London and I am relieved to be bringing up the kids here rather than London. If we return to the UK sometime in the future, it will not be to the capital.

Oh and tea. Whenever we visit the UK now we bring and extra suitcase to fill up with Tesco own brand builder's teabags. Anybody who visits us from the UK has to bring a jar of Branston as well.

KatieinSpain Fri 11-Feb-05 21:42:37

Advice: take your computer, MN is everywhere !

Miss: friends of long-standing and being able to get into the car and visit them and family. "Green and Blacks" , quorn and "ER" - a series behind here.

Great: just about everything. The weather is better. We live in a very welcoming and friendly place. I feel my boys are safer - they certainly have more freedom. They will be bilingual and recent research suggests that has lots of benefits. The wine is good and reasonable.

Honestly, you can always give it a go - but give it a fair one and then, you can change your mind. We sold our last but one house to a couple who had emigraged to Australia and had come back to the UK.

lunarx Fri 11-Feb-05 21:55:34

as a transplant in england from america:

i miss:
-not being able to see my friends and family whenever i want
-24 hour places to eat (i dont live near any, nor am i close enough to a big city that may have one)
-my car & apartment (sound silly, but i do!) i also miss driving. (will hopefully get UK license this year.)
-baltimore, maryland
-the nurtrition labeling on food (i find it easier to relate to than the UK labels)
-some wild birds that are not in the UK (blue jays, mockingbirds, cardinals)
-wal-mart!! (Asda, even the big ones, don't even compare IMO!)

(sure there are more things just can't think of them!)

what i love:
-the castles, cathedrals, seaside & piers (brighton!)
-tea with milk (never drank it that way before living here!)
-Boots (the store) ;)
-being close to other great travel destinations (i.e.- Ireland, Europe)
-roundabouts (although i dont drive, i think they are very useful!)

(again sure there are more things, just can't think of them now!!)

MaryP0p1 Fri 11-Feb-05 22:00:46

I never thought I hear anybody say what they love about England are the roundabouts!!!! Great conversation though. Lots of useful thoughts and interesting stories

lunarx Fri 11-Feb-05 22:13:15

:laughs:
maybe because i dont like stop signs!! ;o) (i know they are in England too, but not as much as they are in the US!) plus roundabouts (usually!) keep traffic moving...

MaryP0p1 Fri 11-Feb-05 22:15:32

Oh I forgot to say, my family and I aremoving to Italy in July, I hope. We have been holidaying there fore many years and have decided now is a good time to move. I speak enough Italian to get by and have some friends there already (Italian and English) I know where most things are. Its been interesting and will be interesting to see if what I think living and opposed to holidaying there will be like

lucy5 Fri 11-Feb-05 22:16:36

You want to be in spain, some spanish stop and give way on roundabouts, i mean half way round. Others carry on regardless, its best to close your eyes and hope for the best hahaha

Smurfgirl Fri 11-Feb-05 22:24:03

I missed -
Cadburys chocolate, used to binge on it when I went home
The shops, shopping in Europe is crap it might well be cheaper but there is not much to buy
Channel 4
Being able to pop out and just buy a magazine
Nice Chinese take-aways
Boots

I loved -
The lifestyle, I was a true ex-pat and it was amazing, I was out dancing on tables in Brussels at 16 and my mates in England were faking IDs to get into grotty clubs
The weather!
Being in Europe, Paris was only 2 hours by train

I think mostly I miss my lifestyle from when we lived in Brussels, it was just so laid back and fun. I had a fantastic time and it was much easier than I expected tbh. I would certainly consider living abroad again.

kando - I believe The Hague has a huge ex-apt population, we used to play hockey against BSN and they seemed to have a very similar community to us in Brx

turquoise Fri 11-Feb-05 22:54:59

Lunarx that's so funny as being the opposite transplant to you my list is almost the exact opposite too - I love the jays and cardinals, am driven nuts by the lack of roundabouts, love my big fat american car and miss the english seaside and heritage tremendously.
Also miss english chocolate and bangers, but love the american positive outlook.
Is Baltimore worth a visit? (We're in NJ) I know there's some good museums and I love crab
MaryPop1 - sounds like your move will be brilliant. What part of Italy? I think having one or two friends wherever you go to is the key, especially if you know the area.

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