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Old May 2nd 2016, 12:04 am   #31
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Default Re: One year back in UK after 26 in USA

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Originally Posted by whistlestop01 View Post
Thank you for the update. I am actually going back to Dorset from New England in June after being here for 12 years. My husband and I are divorcing so am taking my two children to live there. (Yes I have permission to bring my children home).

They have been very fortunate to go to England every summer since they were babies so they know the area well. They will be starting year 6 and year 3 so will be very different from the US school system here.

I'm in process of selling our house and starting to pack some of the boxes full of clothes, toys, shoes, and books that I want to take with me. upakweship seems to offer the best deal so probably going to use them.

Where in New England were you? I'm south of Boston.

I just became a citizen in March so now have dual citizenship. Both my girls have dual citizenship since birth.
How did you like Boston? My DH is from there so I have been many times though never actually lived there. I love it but doubt that I could cope with the winters there.
Dorset is beautiful, we are going on holiday there in September with friends. Staying in a caravan, haven't done that since I was 27 (51 now!)
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Old May 3rd 2016, 12:28 am   #32
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Default Re: One year back in UK after 26 in USA

I hate Boston! The winters here are awful. I can't stand shoveling snow it has actually damaged my shoulder. There's not a lot of things to do for kids imo. Dorset there's so much more to offer. Weather is better in the winter for starters lol

Boston is nice for a weekend getaway apart from that I'm just not interested.
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Old May 3rd 2016, 9:52 am   #33
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Default Re: One year back in UK after 26 in USA

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A few mixed emotions but they are looking forward to it. They like the thought if wearing a school uniform. They have vacationed in Dorset every year since they were born for 7-8 weeks at a time so they know the area well.

They keep saying I want to move now!
A good start at least.
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Old May 4th 2016, 3:48 am   #34
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Default Re: One year back in UK after 26 in USA

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We're leaving Dorset in about a week, going into Devon, Honiton.
and why not indeed. Still the South West
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Old Aug 13th 2016, 6:35 am   #35
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Default Re: One year back in UK after 26 in USA

Hi guys. A quick update. It's August already... how did that happen? It's all good here. It's now been 1 year and 7 months back. And we're loving it.

The big missing piece for me was on the job front. I was working part time doing two or three days a week but the pay was rubbish. But right after Christmas that dried up. I had a couple of small freelance projects but got those sorted quickly so in January I started looking harder.

Being a graphic designer I decided to do something a bit different and did my CV/resume as an interactive web presentation based on infographics and using images etc. I did two versions for two different jobs. One job I made it through to the shortlists but didn't get through. The other firm was a better fit for me anyway. I applied and didn't hear anything for a month or so and wrote it off. Then I got an email inviting me in for an interview for a role I hadn't actually applied for yet. In short I only had one interview and was offered the role. Full-time with a great company... actually the 2nd largest employer here in town!

I've now been there for 5 months and I've already been promoted and I have a plan stout with my bosses where my role is expanding further by this 4th quarter and again next year. So it's all been amazing actually. They have great benefits too with salary matching for pensions, stock options, 5 weeks vacation off the bat, flex time and lots more. I couldn't be happier. Plus the pay is great for down here in Cornwall and is getting better so I can't complain. Walking to work if and when I want is a major plus too.

The last piece of the puzzle is a house and we've zeroed in on one and are planning on making an offer today so wish us luck! Anyone who knows the UK housing market and it's possible pitfalls knows that you can't guarantee anything until you've got the keys so that should be interesting!

So keep your chin up everyone especially those that are in the planning-to-plan phase. All comes to those who wait. Nothing happens as quickly as you want it, but in the end it comes together. It's been about 5 or 6 years for me to get to this point. Thanks to all of you on here who have offered advice and support!! I'll do the same when and where I can of course.
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Old Aug 13th 2016, 6:38 am   #36
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Default Re: One year back in UK after 26 in USA

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Originally Posted by whistlestop01 View Post
I hate Boston! The winters here are awful. I can't stand shoveling snow it has actually damaged my shoulder. There's not a lot of things to do for kids imo. Dorset there's so much more to offer. Weather is better in the winter for starters lol

Boston is nice for a weekend getaway apart from that I'm just not interested.
Agreed re: the Boston area. The weather is all extremes. 6 months of ice and snow bookended by a few weeks of nice weather Spring and Fall with a miserably hot summer in the middle. I don't miss it one bit. The first year there with the snow is fun and exciting... then it starts to wear on you and drain you.
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Old Aug 18th 2016, 4:56 pm   #37
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Default Re: One year back in UK after 26 in USA

I love this update an keep going back to read it - not sure what the future holds for us as we have been in the US for 11 years on an E2 so now that we have invested all of our money, time and emotion and sunk it into business and property here our kids are going to be aging out and decisions need to be made.
We still have 5-6 years to make plans but as you know time goes by so quickly and we have to save and prepare for our future.
The thought of moving back is very daunting, I am scared to be honest.
Last time I was in the UK I couldn't even figure out how to put gas in the stupid car and had to get someone to do it for me.
minor stuff I know - but I do look at it from over here with rose tinted glasses.
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Old Aug 18th 2016, 5:29 pm   #38
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Default Re: One year back in UK after 26 in USA

[QUOTE=ohwottodo;12029579]
The thought of moving back is very daunting, I am scared to be honest.
Last time I was in the UK I couldn't even figure out how to put gas in the stupid car and had to get someone to do it for me.
minor stuff I know - but I do look at it from over here with rose tinted glasses.[/QUOT

When I was back in 2013 I had a problem filling the tank of the rental car.

There was no markings saying it was a diesel. It turned out it was. Why wasn't it clearly marked?? You can fry an engine if you put petrol in a diesel engine.

I have to say in the US such a thing would be clearly marked.

It took me about 30 minutes trying to get help from different people at the filling station and no one seemed to be able to help. (What wrong with Hertz?)
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Old Aug 19th 2016, 3:27 am   #39
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Default Re: One year back in UK after 26 in USA

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So keep your chin up everyone especially those that are in the planning-to-plan phase. All comes to those who wait. Nothing happens as quickly as you want it, but in the end it comes together.
Brilliant advice, thanks.

Fantastic news on the job front, well done. Your courage and persistence has paid off. Very inspiring.

I hope one day your story will be my story.
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Old Aug 19th 2016, 10:34 pm   #40
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Default Re: One year back in UK after 26 in USA

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Originally Posted by MrMuffin View Post
Hi guys. A quick update. It's August already... how did that happen? It's all good here. It's now been 1 year and 7 months back. And we're loving it.

The big missing piece for me was on the job front. I was working part time doing two or three days a week but the pay was rubbish. But right after Christmas that dried up. I had a couple of small freelance projects but got those sorted quickly so in January I started looking harder.

Being a graphic designer I decided to do something a bit different and did my CV/resume as an interactive web presentation based on infographics and using images etc. I did two versions for two different jobs. One job I made it through to the shortlists but didn't get through. The other firm was a better fit for me anyway. I applied and didn't hear anything for a month or so and wrote it off. Then I got an email inviting me in for an interview for a role I hadn't actually applied for yet. In short I only had one interview and was offered the role. Full-time with a great company... actually the 2nd largest employer here in town!

I've now been there for 5 months and I've already been promoted and I have a plan stout with my bosses where my role is expanding further by this 4th quarter and again next year. So it's all been amazing actually. They have great benefits too with salary matching for pensions, stock options, 5 weeks vacation off the bat, flex time and lots more. I couldn't be happier. Plus the pay is great for down here in Cornwall and is getting better so I can't complain. Walking to work if and when I want is a major plus too.

The last piece of the puzzle is a house and we've zeroed in on one and are planning on making an offer today so wish us luck! Anyone who knows the UK housing market and it's possible pitfalls knows that you can't guarantee anything until you've got the keys so that should be interesting!

So keep your chin up everyone especially those that are in the planning-to-plan phase. All comes to those who wait. Nothing happens as quickly as you want it, but in the end it comes together. It's been about 5 or 6 years for me to get to this point. Thanks to all of you on here who have offered advice and support!! I'll do the same when and where I can of course.
Over the moon with your job news MM, well done you!! I've always been a bit of a fan of yours, you sound like a terrific person with a great attitude. So nice to see good things happen for good people, mind you, you've put the effort in. Hope everything's onwards and upwards from here on
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Old Aug 20th 2016, 1:51 am   #41
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Default Re: One year back in UK after 26 in USA

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I love this update an keep going back to read it - not sure what the future holds for us as we have been in the US for 11 years on an E2 so now that we have invested all of our money, time and emotion and sunk it into business and property here our kids are going to be aging out and decisions need to be made.
We still have 5-6 years to make plans but as you know time goes by so quickly and we have to save and prepare for our future.
The thought of moving back is very daunting, I am scared to be honest.
Last time I was in the UK I couldn't even figure out how to put gas in the stupid car and had to get someone to do it for me.
minor stuff I know - but I do look at it from over here with rose tinted glasses.
Much the same situation, though we've been on the E2 a bit longer and the kids have aged out. Oyster card, press the red button, the new car tax procedure, freeview, law changes.............. like emigrating back to a new country.
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Old Aug 20th 2016, 12:25 pm   #42
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Default Re: One year back in UK after 26 in USA

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Much the same situation, though we've been on the E2 a bit longer and the kids have aged out. Oyster card, press the red button, the new car tax procedure, freeview, law changes.............. like emigrating back to a new country.
Certainly is a steep learning curve .... We've lived in the U.S. for 25 years, but never had TV in the U.S., so smart TV - freeview - red button etc was all like landing on Mars in 200 years time for us! Our son was staying with us, and texted a friend: "I see in the Radio Times (blah blah)" Friend texted back; "Radio Times? So you're staying with your parents?"

I do feel that bureaucracy in the UK, NHS, bus pass, tax etc. is all human-centred rather than nightmarish red tape for the sake of red tape, like it is in the U.S.
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Old Aug 22nd 2016, 10:37 am   #43
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Default Re: One year back in UK after 26 in USA

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Originally Posted by MrMuffin View Post
Hi guys. A quick update. It's August already... how did that happen? It's all good here. It's now been 1 year and 7 months back. And we're loving it.

The big missing piece for me was on the job front. I was working part time doing two or three days a week but the pay was rubbish. But right after Christmas that dried up. I had a couple of small freelance projects but got those sorted quickly so in January I started looking harder.

Being a graphic designer I decided to do something a bit different and did my CV/resume as an interactive web presentation based on infographics and using images etc. I did two versions for two different jobs. One job I made it through to the shortlists but didn't get through. The other firm was a better fit for me anyway. I applied and didn't hear anything for a month or so and wrote it off. Then I got an email inviting me in for an interview for a role I hadn't actually applied for yet. In short I only had one interview and was offered the role. Full-time with a great company... actually the 2nd largest employer here in town!

I've now been there for 5 months and I've already been promoted and I have a plan stout with my bosses where my role is expanding further by this 4th quarter and again next year. So it's all been amazing actually. They have great benefits too with salary matching for pensions, stock options, 5 weeks vacation off the bat, flex time and lots more. I couldn't be happier. Plus the pay is great for down here in Cornwall and is getting better so I can't complain. Walking to work if and when I want is a major plus too.

The last piece of the puzzle is a house and we've zeroed in on one and are planning on making an offer today so wish us luck! Anyone who knows the UK housing market and it's possible pitfalls knows that you can't guarantee anything until you've got the keys so that should be interesting!

So keep your chin up everyone especially those that are in the planning-to-plan phase. All comes to those who wait. Nothing happens as quickly as you want it, but in the end it comes together. It's been about 5 or 6 years for me to get to this point. Thanks to all of you on here who have offered advice and support!! I'll do the same when and where I can of course.
WOW Mr muffin congrats and good for you, yes you are an inspiration to many, it just shows you if you put the effort in and never give up and always no matter how depressing it can be sometimes when things don,t come together for what seems like forever ------ what you can achieve
and I bet the 5 weeks paid holidays right off the bat feels darn good too such a difference to the U.S.
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Old Aug 23rd 2016, 4:28 pm   #44
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Default Re: One year back in UK after 26 in USA

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Originally Posted by MrMuffin View Post
Hi guys. A quick update. It's August already... how did that happen? It's all good here. It's now been 1 year and 7 months back. And we're loving it.

The big missing piece for me was on the job front. I was working part time doing two or three days a week but the pay was rubbish. But right after Christmas that dried up. I had a couple of small freelance projects but got those sorted quickly so in January I started looking harder.

Being a graphic designer I decided to do something a bit different and did my CV/resume as an interactive web presentation based on infographics and using images etc. I did two versions for two different jobs. One job I made it through to the shortlists but didn't get through. The other firm was a better fit for me anyway. I applied and didn't hear anything for a month or so and wrote it off. Then I got an email inviting me in for an interview for a role I hadn't actually applied for yet. In short I only had one interview and was offered the role. Full-time with a great company... actually the 2nd largest employer here in town!

I've now been there for 5 months and I've already been promoted and I have a plan stout with my bosses where my role is expanding further by this 4th quarter and again next year. So it's all been amazing actually. They have great benefits too with salary matching for pensions, stock options, 5 weeks vacation off the bat, flex time and lots more. I couldn't be happier. Plus the pay is great for down here in Cornwall and is getting better so I can't complain. Walking to work if and when I want is a major plus too.

The last piece of the puzzle is a house and we've zeroed in on one and are planning on making an offer today so wish us luck! Anyone who knows the UK housing market and it's possible pitfalls knows that you can't guarantee anything until you've got the keys so that should be interesting!

So keep your chin up everyone especially those that are in the planning-to-plan phase. All comes to those who wait. Nothing happens as quickly as you want it, but in the end it comes together. It's been about 5 or 6 years for me to get to this point. Thanks to all of you on here who have offered advice and support!! I'll do the same when and where I can of course.
Congratulations on the job front! Where there's a will, there's way

Speaking of which....I too am in the planning-to-plan phase for heading back - and its great to read an upbeat and encouraging post such as your's. Keeps one's head from dropping! Looking around at accommodation websites for short-term lets (6 months) - my words - its all VERY expensive. So will have to plan carefully.
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Old Aug 24th 2016, 9:51 pm   #45
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Default Re: One year back in UK after 26 in USA

Dear Mr Muffin, your post v. helpful - we are looking at moving back to UK
after 23 years in US. We are both British citizens, and are still not entirely
clear as to whether we should become US citizens before we move. Currently we hold greencards.

Also, not sure if related, wondered what you meant by falling foul of new regulations?

many thanks, DD.




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It’s been a whirlwind year. Here’s a brief background. I moved to California (and got married quickly) on a whim in 1988 and ping-ponged a bit for a year until staying there. I started a successful business that ran for 10 years then went through a divorce of my business partner and wife and therefore the business. I stayed in the USA and after meeting someone else, I moved to the East Coast and was there for 13 years. During that 13 years, I experienced New England’s harsh long winters and sweaty summers with a few weeks of Spring and Autumn in between, year on year. The good bit was that I got married again (the right one this time) and we had two beautiful kids. I was working for myself mostly and doing quite well. My wife worked for a decent firm.

So after having our kids it became tougher for me to be away from my family in the UK so we decided to move back. It took a couple of years of admin, getting the kids’ dual passports sorted (I’m a UKC and my wife is a USC) and also I did my USC as well so we could get back easier to the USA if the worst happened. We fell foul of the new regulations and started to panic and then give up. But then miraculously, my wife was offered a transfer to the UK and everything fell into place. We sold our house (with no real income from it as we had bought just pre-crash) packed up and moved. Now fast forward to January 2015.

We arrived early January and stayed with my Mum until we could get a home renal sorted. My eldest (6 years old at the time) started school two days later as a mid-year transfer into year 1… I had come out the year prior and visited schools and focused on one. Again pure luck was on our side and another child transferred out and we were offered the space. We had all the paperwork filed so it was just an admin situation to get sorted and everything worked out. Then with my youngest due to begin reception September 2015 all we had to do was figure out a nursery school for him. My wife started work immediately. She telecommutes up to London from Cornwall. She travels up as needed.

We found a rental and because I had laid ground work (bank, electoral roll, Ni no etc.) we had no problems with the application and signed a rental agreement. Again we were lucky as we didn’t hit any of the horror stories I had read on here. We didn’t even need a deposit. We moved in Feb. 1st.

Then everything else was easy enough. Doctor. NHS dentist. Adding my wife to my bank account. Registered for council tax. Utilities. We had the (apparently) normal headaches with BT Broadband install which took over two months to get our full fiber install although we did get slower DSL in the meantime. We bought a car outright. Rather than buy new or nearly new we opted for a 6 year old car which has done us proud. Insurance was no problem and we got our no claims transferred OK with a little fuss but nothing too bad.

Things have been rolling along fairly well really. I have some overall positives and negatives to report.

Expenses. We saved an absolute ton from our prior living costs. In the USA our mortgage was high. We had very expensive daycare. We had to pay health insurance. Our local taxes were three times higher in New England. Food costs were higher. Our council tax here in the UK is about £130 a month. We have no daycare now as both kids are in schools. We have no healthcare costs (apart from minor prescriptions here and there… the kids are free though which is amazing). Our dental fees are way lower. Schools are ‘free’ (and standards are way higher overall) where before we had to go private due to the local state schools being very poor quality.

Food. While overall we find food to be less expensive, you still have to shop smart. You can’t just go to Sainsbury’s each week or two and do a big shop… you need to mix it up. You can save a lot generally at Lidl. But you can’t get everything you need. So for the most economic shop you have to go to Lidls and get the majority and then fill in with a few bits eleswhere.

Car Insurance. Our first year was a lot cheaper than we were paying for similar coverage in the USA. We got our no claims record transferred no trouble. But this year the renewal is almost double (we have had no changes, claims, tickets… anything). After asking around it’s pretty standard for people to look around and buy insurance from different suppliers each year… this is new as we were with the same firm before for 13 years.

Utilities. In the UK you pay monthly direct debit and costs are based on usage on meter readings every few months. So if you’re not careful costs can jump and you have to pay more. Our water fees just jumped up £25/month for instance after a yearly review. We’re being more careful with our water use but if we kept a better watch of it earlier then we could have taken action sooner.

Eating Out. When you go out to eat it’s generally a lot more here. If you sit and think about the conversion rates then it’s scary sometimes how much more expensive it is. So eating out is much more of a special thing here to us anyway. Whereas in the USA we’d take the kids out to eat once a week or so.

Travel. Trains are quite expensive and it’s often cheaper to fly down here from London to Newquay. Fuel costs are high too but it balances out because the cars are in general much more fuel efficient. Diesel and petrol prices are down right now which makes things even better here. We don’t do a lot of miles here compared to the USA. For instance our daycare was about a 10 mile drive away and work for my wife was a 40 mile commute each way. So we’d fill up at least once a week over there, and we had two cars. Here we only have one car and we only need to fill up once a month. My Dad lives up in Shropshire and we recently made it there and back on one tank of diesel and that’s for our Skoda Octavia vRS which is still pretty powerful and large and comfy. Local bus services are plentiful and fairly cheap. Plus we have a local shopper bus that we can shuttle around town in if we need to due to bad weather. Later we’re looking forward to being able to drive down to France and beyond for inexpensive self-drive holidays.

The work scene. This is a negative for me, although we were prepared for it. I’ve been working for myself as a freelance marketing consultant, designer and photographer for many years. I’ve taken on full time roles here and there too, all back in the USA. I’ve always done quite well and have averaged a decent six-figure income most years. I tried to make myself virtual and worked from my home base for the last few years thinking that I might be able to bring some clients along for the ride. But I’m in another country now and that’s quite a chunk for clients to swallow. With my wife stepping straight into her new role with her transfer, I was able to not worry too much and take some time to get the kids sorted, our housing setup and deal with other details regarding the move. I kept my ear to the ground and hoped that I’d be able to identify a part-time or full-time role that I could step into. But I haven’t been too lucky. For starters, we’re down in Cornwall. Pay scales are very low. Decent jobs, and larger firms are scarce. A quite large percentage of people are self employed making ends meet doing this and that. Secondly, I am seen as an unknown quantity. I have been outside the UK for 26 years. I have large holes in my general knowledge about things. Sure I have a basic understanding of most things concerning the country, but there’s a lot I have simply missed out on. As a generalization, when I ‘left’ in 1988, computers and cell phones were still very new and mostly unusual. Office environments were much different that they are today in the UK. So it’s definitely ‘who you know’ here rather than all being about what you know. Also, everyone knows EVERYONE it seems. It’s crazy! You have to be soooo careful. Also keep in mind that I’m 51. This is a crap age to be searching for work. So I’ve been doing a bit of volunteering. I have also been working part time on a freelance basis for six months for the same firm. And I’ve made up my mind that I’m going to have to work for myself again if I have any thoughts about making a decent income. It is what it is.

Credit cards etc. We were able to easily open up American Express here based on our USA based account and that seems to have brought some credit history with it although we haven’t had the need to use it. I haven’t applied for any loans or credit cards at all.

Money in general. It seems so very old school that firms still pay people once a month here. After being paid either weekly or every two weeks in the USA, it’s hard to get used to that again. Given that we’re currently living off one main income right now (my wife’s with a small cash injection here from my part time work) we’ve been able to keep our heads about water but we’re certainly not in a position to save or anything. Given that we reduced our expenses by a lot (as mentioned earlier) it would be great if I could find steady work as we’d be able to save quickly. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I can find a decent job or some steady freelance clients. Wish me luck! I am just about to apply for a job at one place I’ve been freelancing at. But even then, the salary for full time will likely only be in the high £20K range and I was making more than that before I left in 1988 in the London area so that’s a bit depressing. So my own business will likely be the way to go long term.

Environment. It has to be said that we live in a pretty amazing place in the world, Cornwall. So I can’t sniff at that. We can walk to three beaches in 10 minutes, and we have castles, beautiful parks and gardens and many other attractions all within a short walk. Then we’ve got the rest of Cornwall to enjoy too. But amazingly I can’t believe how many people around here drop litter. We live close to a convenience store, which doesn’t help. But on the walk to the school with the kids, I see litter dumped daily along pavements, in bushes, along paths… it blows my mind. I understand there’s a new anti-littering initiative being started but I just am stumped why people do it. Thankfully poo trees aren’t a reality around here.

Shops and shopping. I still don’t know where to go to get certain things. The shops have changed a lot since I was here in the late eighties. There are a myriad of new clothing shops both on the high street and online. Thankfully there are still some local shops here and there but most of the local butchers and green grocers have died off. There are plenty of small convenience stores where you can pickup nearly everything you might need at a push. There are a LOT of charity shops and a surprising amount of people buy from them regularly. In fact I have got used to checking around a few of them for school clothes, toys, books and knick knacks that we might need. Why not?

Schools. The quality of schools down here is pretty amazing. The schools are small and the kids get a lot of one-on-one attention. Both my kids are doing amazingly well across the board. My eldest was definitely behind in reading and maths when we got here compared to the other kids that started school here.

Social Scene. We have already met some amazing new friends and people have been really accepting. I was really worried about my wife being seen as the ‘ugly american’ but honestly she’s not suffered from anyone being strange or critical. In general people have questions about my time over there and are genuinely interested, and of course everyone wants to know about the presidential race for this year. But I’m really happy that everyone has been so nice to us. Also in general people are lovely and are always saying hello. We’ve both met some lovely neighbours and have been able to establish ourselves here easily. Cornwall is very close knit, so we’ll always be outsiders. But we always would have been even if we were from Devon

Visas and immigration. With me and the kids a no-problem scenario it still leaves us to switch my wife’s visa from her current tier 2 ICT visa to a spousal one. We need to make that application quickly. I understand the costs are going up. Have they already or is it happening soon? Argh!

Anyway I’ll stop waffling now. If anyone has any questions feel free to PM me or answer the thread. I hope you’re all doing well and I wish others making the big leap home all the luck in the world!! xox
DDurham is offline  
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