4 Years and Still Struggling

Old Jan 22nd 2019, 11:57 am
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Default 4 Years and Still Struggling

We've been back in Scotland just over 4 years, and I am still really struggling to settle in. We've bought a dream house where you can scare deer out in the field just by going into the kitchen to put the kettle on, it's cheap to run, the kids are at a great school, the husband is involved in an amazing dive club and goes wreck diving all the time (yes in Scotland!!). He also brings home hand picked scallops and other treasures in his dive bag. Hubster is now just 1 year from starting his citizenship process.

And yet... I still feel unhappy every single day that I wake up here. My mental health is trashed, I've made no friends and don't know what to try to do to meet people any more. I am still trying and looking for ideas though. There's not much on around here that I could go join in with unfortunately. However, I joined the PTA at the back end of last year to see if that at least helps with social contact. I've also started volunteering at a village charity shop, it's open irregularly so this suits me with my young kids as the shifts are always "who can do a week on Saturday then???" type thing. I enjoy a good charity shop! The other thing I'm doing this year to try and help is to book us a cracking 3.5 week break in Spain in the school holidays to get the benefit of our proximity to Europe. We'll also be trying to see more of the UK. Saving for the house previously has been a bit of a dampener on such activites. Oh, and I've booked a mini break to Rotterdam with a dutch friend I met backpacking 15 years ago.

In spite of feeling fine about being here, my husband (who is a Kiwi) can see that I'm not really the person I was in Australia. We are therefore still keeping an open mind, but the aim for us in 2019 is to be ready in terms of finances and business skills to make a move to NZ. In 2020 we plan to take the kids to the motherland to meet their family over there. Whilst there we'll look and see if we feel NZ has more to offer us as a family. Hubster is happier here than me, but there's some things not sitting well with him to do with lifestyle and sporting opportunities. He has issues with the winter weather too as you can imagine.

Positives though: Schooling (totally free - no stationary bills or "voluntary" contributions), god bless the NHS, love the food prices, decent quality house obtained with views to die for, good tax rates for business, HOLIDAY-TASTIC. The UK has so much in it's favour.

I truly wish I loved it. I am still going to keep trying though. Maybe I just need some friends.
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Old Jan 22nd 2019, 4:43 pm
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Default Re: 4 Years and Still Struggling

elonii - I’ve just sent you a private message.
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Old Jan 22nd 2019, 5:03 pm
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Default Re: 4 Years and Still Struggling

Originally Posted by elonii View Post
We've been back in Scotland just over 4 years, and I am still really struggling to settle in. We've bought a dream house where you can scare deer out in the field just by going into the kitchen to put the kettle on, it's cheap to run, the kids are at a great school, the husband is involved in an amazing dive club and goes wreck diving all the time (yes in Scotland!!). He also brings home hand picked scallops and other treasures in his dive bag. Hubster is now just 1 year from starting his citizenship process.

And yet... I still feel unhappy every single day that I wake up here. My mental health is trashed, I've made no friends and don't know what to try to do to meet people any more. I am still trying and looking for ideas though. There's not much on around here that I could go join in with unfortunately. However, I joined the PTA at the back end of last year to see if that at least helps with social contact. I've also started volunteering at a village charity shop, it's open irregularly so this suits me with my young kids as the shifts are always "who can do a week on Saturday then???" type thing. I enjoy a good charity shop! The other thing I'm doing this year to try and help is to book us a cracking 3.5 week break in Spain in the school holidays to get the benefit of our proximity to Europe. We'll also be trying to see more of the UK. Saving for the house previously has been a bit of a dampener on such activites. Oh, and I've booked a mini break to Rotterdam with a dutch friend I met backpacking 15 years ago.

In spite of feeling fine about being here, my husband (who is a Kiwi) can see that I'm not really the person I was in Australia. We are therefore still keeping an open mind, but the aim for us in 2019 is to be ready in terms of finances and business skills to make a move to NZ. In 2020 we plan to take the kids to the motherland to meet their family over there. Whilst there we'll look and see if we feel NZ has more to offer us as a family. Hubster is happier here than me, but there's some things not sitting well with him to do with lifestyle and sporting opportunities. He has issues with the winter weather too as you can imagine.

Positives though: Schooling (totally free - no stationary bills or "voluntary" contributions), god bless the NHS, love the food prices, decent quality house obtained with views to die for, good tax rates for business, HOLIDAY-TASTIC. The UK has so much in it's favour.

I truly wish I loved it. I am still going to keep trying though. Maybe I just need some friends.


Sorry to read this, it does sound as if you're going through a rough time, though trying hard to get involved and make friends....maybe it's harder in your rural area than it would be in a larger town? I imagine it can be isolating being in a rural area with young kids, especially if the other parents met through PTA, school gate waiting, etc aren't as friendly as you hoped....usually they're the best opportunity for making friends when one is at home with young children.

You're spot on with the idea of taking advantage of the proximity to Europe, it's so great to be able to get to wonderful places in a short plane ride after one has been living far away. So that's a great idea, as is the volunteering in the village charity shop....certainly sounds as if you're trying everything.

But I wonder if one obstacle to settling might be that you know it's temporary and you're thinking of leaving and going to NZ next year....?

Anyway, best of luck and fingers crossed that you'll feel better as Spring approaches....

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Old Jan 22nd 2019, 6:58 pm
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Default Re: 4 Years and Still Struggling

Originally Posted by between two worlds View Post
Sorry to read this, it does sound as if you're going through a rough time, though trying hard to get involved and make friends....maybe it's harder in your rural area than it would be in a larger town? I imagine it can be isolating being in a rural area with young kids, especially if the other parents met through PTA, school gate waiting, etc aren't as friendly as you hoped....usually they're the best opportunity for making friends when one is at home with young children.

You're spot on with the idea of taking advantage of the proximity to Europe, it's so great to be able to get to wonderful places in a short plane ride after one has been living far away. So that's a great idea, as is the volunteering in the village charity shop....certainly sounds as if you're trying everything.

But I wonder if one obstacle to settling might be that you know it's temporary and you're thinking of leaving and going to NZ next year....?

Anyway, best of luck and fingers crossed that you'll feel better as Spring approaches....

Thanks for your kind words! Re: the NZ move, our thinking there is as a solution to how I've been coping. It's quite a recent "decision" and we are going for a holiday next year with open minds, trying not to get too caught in the headlights of that thought!

It's a rural area as you say, I wouldn't say it's been outright unfriendly but whilst I've met some lovely fellow mums, it's not come to anything. As with everywhere, there are some unfriendly people lol. I think my overtures towards friendship haven't really panned out, and of course the more rebuffals you take the less confidence you have. For example, a new couple bought the house over the road. Old Aussie me would have gone and invited them over for a drink. New improved Scotland me is too scared of rejection. I'll dig a trench or something and see if I can trap them in spring and invite them for coffee in the garden.

I will keep trying, and meanwhile we're just carrying on like we are here forever. Opening a pension plan on Friday
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Old Jan 23rd 2019, 11:51 pm
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Default Re: 4 Years and Still Struggling

Originally Posted by elonii View Post
We've been back in Scotland just over 4 years, and I am still really struggling to settle in. We've bought a dream house where you can scare deer out in the field just by going into the kitchen to put the kettle on, it's cheap to run, the kids are at a great school, the husband is involved in an amazing dive club and goes wreck diving all the time (yes in Scotland!!). He also brings home hand picked scallops and other treasures in his dive bag. Hubster is now just 1 year from starting his citizenship process.

And yet... I still feel unhappy every single day that I wake up here. My mental health is trashed, I've made no friends and don't know what to try to do to meet people any more. I am still trying and looking for ideas though. There's not much on around here that I could go join in with unfortunately. However, I joined the PTA at the back end of last year to see if that at least helps with social contact. I've also started volunteering at a village charity shop, it's open irregularly so this suits me with my young kids as the shifts are always "who can do a week on Saturday then???" type thing. I enjoy a good charity shop! The other thing I'm doing this year to try and help is to book us a cracking 3.5 week break in Spain in the school holidays to get the benefit of our proximity to Europe. We'll also be trying to see more of the UK. Saving for the house previously has been a bit of a dampener on such activites. Oh, and I've booked a mini break to Rotterdam with a dutch friend I met backpacking 15 years ago.

In spite of feeling fine about being here, my husband (who is a Kiwi) can see that I'm not really the person I was in Australia. We are therefore still keeping an open mind, but the aim for us in 2019 is to be ready in terms of finances and business skills to make a move to NZ. In 2020 we plan to take the kids to the motherland to meet their family over there. Whilst there we'll look and see if we feel NZ has more to offer us as a family. Hubster is happier here than me, but there's some things not sitting well with him to do with lifestyle and sporting opportunities. He has issues with the winter weather too as you can imagine.

Positives though: Schooling (totally free - no stationary bills or "voluntary" contributions), god bless the NHS, love the food prices, decent quality house obtained with views to die for, good tax rates for business, HOLIDAY-TASTIC. The UK has so much in it's favour.

I truly wish I loved it. I am still going to keep trying though. Maybe I just need some friends.
Reading your post I got the impression that much of the difficulty in settling has a lot to do with the area you live in and your own reluctance to be more extroverted. Being a little shy around people can be fixed but living somewhere with few people per square mile is a bit more problematic in this situation. Village life is fine if enough comforts are in place. Places to shop, great scenery, and all the basic necessities for the kids such as schools and after school activities.

But what seem to be left out is fun activities for the adults in your home.
Have you considered trying relocating to the outskirts of a decent size city and that way you could have the best of both worlds?

The slower lifestyle in or near the burbs but within short distance to activities might make you feel more at home instead of the isolation found in very rural areas. It sounds like you need interaction with people but for the most part where you live the deers might out number the people by a pretty big margin. What do you think about putting yourself out there but in a city or town that has more fun things to do? Living 20 miles of Glasgow could be quite interesting. Btw, do you drive and are you able to venture out far from home?
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Old Jan 24th 2019, 8:57 am
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Situational depression is a bugger but it sounds like you're doing so the right things - next solution is to move! I have heard that some parts of Scotland may be less friendly to incomers than others so it might be luck of the draw that you've picked somewhere rather more insular. Be way of the curse of the Expat through, once you've moved you tend to focus on the bad of the now and compare it with the good of the then! If you'd lived where I did in Australia you'd be saying exactly the same about friends (32 years in Aus and barely one I could call at 3am and the one I can think of is a long term expat like myself who would kill to escape). When I moved to UK I found that focusing on one of my interests (knitting, go figure!) had led to a huge circle of friends - can you venture out a bit further to source an interest group?
In the meantime, I don't know how easy it is in Scotland but is there a mental health service near you that offers CBT? It was the only thing that got me through a decade of exogenous depression in Australia. Some people prefer ACT (Acceptance and commitment therapy) so it's a matter of finding strategies that work with you. Good luck - I can sympathise with not being yourself when you're in the wrong place!
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Old Jan 24th 2019, 9:18 am
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Default Re: 4 Years and Still Struggling

Originally Posted by UkWinds5353 View Post
Reading your post I got the impression that much of the difficulty in settling has a lot to do with the area you live in and your own reluctance to be more extroverted. Being a little shy around people can be fixed but living somewhere with few people per square mile is a bit more problematic in this situation. Village life is fine if enough comforts are in place. Places to shop, great scenery, and all the basic necessities for the kids such as schools and after school activities.

But what seem to be left out is fun activities for the adults in your home.
Have you considered trying relocating to the outskirts of a decent size city and that way you could have the best of both worlds?

The slower lifestyle in or near the burbs but within short distance to activities might make you feel more at home instead of the isolation found in very rural areas. It sounds like you need interaction with people but for the most part where you live the deers might out number the people by a pretty big margin. What do you think about putting yourself out there but in a city or town that has more fun things to do? Living 20 miles of Glasgow could be quite interesting. Btw, do you drive and are you able to venture out far from home?
Originally Posted by quoll View Post
Situational depression is a bugger but it sounds like you're doing so the right things - next solution is to move! I have heard that some parts of Scotland may be less friendly to incomers than others so it might be luck of the draw that you've picked somewhere rather more insular. Be way of the curse of the Expat through, once you've moved you tend to focus on the bad of the now and compare it with the good of the then! If you'd lived where I did in Australia you'd be saying exactly the same about friends (32 years in Aus and barely one I could call at 3am and the one I can think of is a long term expat like myself who would kill to escape). When I moved to UK I found that focusing on one of my interests (knitting, go figure!) had led to a huge circle of friends - can you venture out a bit further to source an interest group?
In the meantime, I don't know how easy it is in Scotland but is there a mental health service near you that offers CBT? It was the only thing that got me through a decade of exogenous depression in Australia. Some people prefer ACT (Acceptance and commitment therapy) so it's a matter of finding strategies that work with you. Good luck - I can sympathise with not being yourself when you're in the wrong place!
Thanks for the response UK Winds. You're partly right. Totally wrong about the introverted bit, my background in marketing / business networking experience means I've no problem striking up a conversation. I think the issue has been that there's not been much I've been able to find to get involved in like special interest groups. So you are definitely right in that respect. This is also where my family live. I could have been forgiven for thinking they might involve us in some social activities. But no. Not even my mother, who exerted considerable emotional pressure upon me when she heard we were thinking of returning.

Relocation - I used to live in the central belt and still own two properties there. At one point we were going to relocate back to one of them, but in the end we decided to come closer to family. We do go up to Glasgow a fair bit, and whilst it's good to visit, I don't think a move up there would solve the core issue. However, my mind is open and I won’t rule anything out. Thanks for the thoughts, they do help me get some perspective! Oh, and yes I've a car and can easily get out and about.

Quoll - it is tough, and we didn't really leave Australia because we didn't like it. Actually we loved our life there and it was an utter wrench to leave. I never expected to return home and struggle the way that I have. Local counselling - there is someone locally, and perhaps it'd be worth paying someone (NHS referrals here are laughable) to help me identify the core issues. The real ones, rather than what I think is going on lol. This area is really friendly as it happens, so I don't think the issue is that. The first little place we lived wasn't terribly friendly and has a reputation for that locally.

I've looked as far as 30 miles away for interest groups. Nothing yet. But fingers crossed. I've got my sewing machine out again recently as it happens (another attempt to fill the old brain) so maybe I'll find a sewing group. I did meet some really nice sewing ladies at various craft events.

Thanks so much for the thoughts, everything is taken on board. I'm closed to nothing, and will think about everything said here!
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Old Jan 26th 2019, 12:04 am
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Default Re: 4 Years and Still Struggling

Ah man, it's hard. Big hug and well done for getting that all down off your chest. It's a very difficult thing to feel not at home where you live (despite the 'good things' list). It just comes down to where you feel suits you best. There's no magic formula, it just is what it is. I am an Aussie who lived in Scotland for over 15 years. I now live in Brisbane and there are so many positive things about living here (and Australia) however my heart pines for Scotland! I'm going to be really candid here and admit I spent over a year in pretty deep depression here and only now feel better because there is possible change on the horizon. I too struggled to make new friends (haven't been able to find a job which has also been very difficult) and so despite looking after a four year old, I felt lonely, lost and unfocused and I know the situation would have improved if I made some lovely friendships. I too have been someone in the past who would happily extend invitations and be the 'bubbly happy chatty one' but as you have described that side of me seems to have disappeared - for the time being anyway. I have full faith this side of me will reappear at some stage and you should hold onto that too! It's still you inside.

Just because you don't feel happy just now doesn't dictate you won't be happy again.

It is something many people go through and can be super difficult but you're doing the right things. Joining groups, getting "out there". It's all about the expectations. Why not try a few more hellos, chat to people about the charity shop you work in, offer yourself up for more PTA things. Chat to customers in the charity shop - ask them what they get up to/what fun things there are about the town. What are your interests? Is there a group you could offer skills up to? What about your husband's hobbies - is there a group of people through that you could approach to host a lunch/play dates/walk & hearty soup afterwards/morning tea? Any local festivals you could offer to get involved with - there are lots of outdoor organisations and groups in Scotland (albeit it maybe not near where you live).

Remember the person inside - the one you say would go out and extend invitations to others - that person still exists! Sure you are feeling a bit bruised and dented but why not try a few invitations with no expectations and just let your personality shine through. Keep on smiling, do things that makes you happy - be brave! You never know where it may lead. There are most likely others feeling like you right now out there. At the worst if nothing comes of anything at least you can say you've really tried.

I wished I lived there - would happily meet up with you for a chat. There are many lovely people on BE who are living in Scotland - perhaps someone might be up for meeting up for a good chat in person.

Families can be funny things - the reality once you're 'back' can be a challenging and feel a bit of a let down once the excitement of the return has settled. If they're not up for involving you and your family in social then probably time to let go of those expectations I'm afraid. I know it's hard x

Regarding moving - I would say if your husband isn't that settled and shares your views, what really have you to lose? Yes it takes a lot of courage, paperwork (and money x 10!) but really what price is family happiness. I too echo opinions above, once you're an expat it can be very difficult to resettle somewhere. Where really is "home" anymore!

Winter months in Scotland can be challenging for may people, but there are lovely long light nights to come! Spain in the summer time will be lovely.

I think it's great you've planned a trip to NZ. Beware the 'holiday feeling' (been there a million times!) however at the very least it will be lovely to see family and reconnect with the land. Great time to also carry out a wee bit of research.

Keep on chatting, keep on writing down your feelings and try to find a few little things here and there to make you smile inside each day.

The future will be what it will be but as today stands you're in Scotland. There's nothing you can do about it today so find the positives where you are just now. I have to remind myself this every day and it has helped. We only have the 'here and now' after all.

All the very best!

Last edited by Still Game; Jan 26th 2019 at 12:08 am.
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Old Jan 28th 2019, 9:43 am
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Default Re: 4 Years and Still Struggling

Originally Posted by Still Game View Post
Ah man, it's hard. Big hug and well done for getting that all down off your chest. It's a very difficult thing to feel not at home where you live (despite the 'good things' list). It just comes down to where you feel suits you best. There's no magic formula, it just is what it is. I am an Aussie who lived in Scotland for over 15 years. I now live in Brisbane and there are so many positive things about living here (and Australia) however my heart pines for Scotland! I'm going to be really candid here and admit I spent over a year in pretty deep depression here and only now feel better because there is possible change on the horizon. I too struggled to make new friends (haven't been able to find a job which has also been very difficult) and so despite looking after a four year old, I felt lonely, lost and unfocused and I know the situation would have improved if I made some lovely friendships. I too have been someone in the past who would happily extend invitations and be the 'bubbly happy chatty one' but as you have described that side of me seems to have disappeared - for the time being anyway. I have full faith this side of me will reappear at some stage and you should hold onto that too! It's still you inside.

Just because you don't feel happy just now doesn't dictate you won't be happy again.

It is something many people go through and can be super difficult but you're doing the right things. Joining groups, getting "out there". It's all about the expectations. Why not try a few more hellos, chat to people about the charity shop you work in, offer yourself up for more PTA things. Chat to customers in the charity shop - ask them what they get up to/what fun things there are about the town. What are your interests? Is there a group you could offer skills up to? What about your husband's hobbies - is there a group of people through that you could approach to host a lunch/play dates/walk & hearty soup afterwards/morning tea? Any local festivals you could offer to get involved with - there are lots of outdoor organisations and groups in Scotland (albeit it maybe not near where you live).

Remember the person inside - the one you say would go out and extend invitations to others - that person still exists! Sure you are feeling a bit bruised and dented but why not try a few invitations with no expectations and just let your personality shine through. Keep on smiling, do things that makes you happy - be brave! You never know where it may lead. There are most likely others feeling like you right now out there. At the worst if nothing comes of anything at least you can say you've really tried.

I wished I lived there - would happily meet up with you for a chat. There are many lovely people on BE who are living in Scotland - perhaps someone might be up for meeting up for a good chat in person.

Families can be funny things - the reality once you're 'back' can be a challenging and feel a bit of a let down once the excitement of the return has settled. If they're not up for involving you and your family in social then probably time to let go of those expectations I'm afraid. I know it's hard x

Regarding moving - I would say if your husband isn't that settled and shares your views, what really have you to lose? Yes it takes a lot of courage, paperwork (and money x 10!) but really what price is family happiness. I too echo opinions above, once you're an expat it can be very difficult to resettle somewhere. Where really is "home" anymore!

Winter months in Scotland can be challenging for may people, but there are lovely long light nights to come! Spain in the summer time will be lovely.

I think it's great you've planned a trip to NZ. Beware the 'holiday feeling' (been there a million times!) however at the very least it will be lovely to see family and reconnect with the land. Great time to also carry out a wee bit of research.

Keep on chatting, keep on writing down your feelings and try to find a few little things here and there to make you smile inside each day.

The future will be what it will be but as today stands you're in Scotland. There's nothing you can do about it today so find the positives where you are just now. I have to remind myself this every day and it has helped. We only have the 'here and now' after all.

All the very best!
Ahhh this is such a beautiful reply Still Game, it really gave me a huge huge lift! We had an old friend visit over the weekend, so I'm feeling a lot more like myself again today. It'll wear off though, but for today I am all good.

Your local festivals idea struck a chord actually, I just remembered there's a chap in our street is involved with a traditional music festival. That could be a possibility. Mind you, one issue locally is that we are an area that attracts what dyed in the wool locals refer to as "the great white settlers". A lot of our family sized homes are bought by retirees from England. Nothing wrong with that IMHO but it does mean these organisations are usually run by people in the generation above ours.

I'm so interested you are in Brissie. Man I love that city. I used to live on Quay St right in the centre. Dated a guy who lived on Petrie terrace, and was out about 5 nights a week on Caxton street. Those were the days! I wish we could meet up as you say, I think we've probably got a lot of experiences that would resonate. I think arriving somewhere at just the wrong time in life is social death. I was so lucky on the Sunshine Coast. I had a bub there and landed in with the most BEAUTIFUL group of women anyone could ever meet. Those people who would come and hammer your front door down if they thought something was up and you were being socially avoidant.

Regarding moving. My eldest daughter saw some old pics from a trip to Wintersun on the Gold Coast before she was born last night. She immediately asked to move back to Australia, (don't provoke me kid hahaha). I think she is sad she can't remember it. Honestly, if they change the Kiwi visa rules our feet would not touch the ground to come back. I think a family trip to NZ with an open mind will help - and hopefully I will not fall into the holiday trap. I think as someone who has done two international moves I will be able to strip away some of the common traps. I know on the Sunny Coast we didn't go to the beach half as much as we thought we would - it was so stressful trying to get a park and battling the tourists. What I will be looking for is that mix of funky markets, good second hand shopping (hopefully a tip shop I can rummage in), and at least two good cafes with cracking organic food and coffee to die for. If there are a few arty types and alternative lifestylers around then I'll be happy. Artisan bakery and a good greengrocers and I'll buy a house on the spot. I did find the heat in QLD totally overpowering at times, so who knows? I might actually find NZ has a perfect balance. Plus an easy flight back to see my old mates.

I can't work out why I can't just enjoy where I am for now. I annoy myself quite often in that regard, lol.

I'm sorry to hear how much you struggled with your own move. I wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone. It's horrendous, isn't it? I'm really interested that you are now only feeling better with a change on the horizon. The only times I feel positive are when we talk of leaving. This expat lark is a proper can of worms isn't it? The amount of times I wish I had never left Scotland. I'd still be happy because I wouldn't know anything else. As you say, I wonder if I'll ever truly feel at home again in my life.

Thanks again for your lovely words, they came at just the right time x
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Old Jan 28th 2019, 10:20 am
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Default Re: 4 Years and Still Struggling

Originally Posted by Still Game View Post
Ah man, it's hard. Big hug and well done for getting that all down off your chest. It's a very difficult thing to feel not at home where you live (despite the 'good things' list). It just comes down to where you feel suits you best. There's no magic formula, it just is what it is. I am an Aussie who lived in Scotland for over 15 years. I now live in Brisbane and there are so many positive things about living here (and Australia) however my heart pines for Scotland! I'm going to be really candid here and admit I spent over a year in pretty deep depression here and only now feel better because there is possible change on the horizon. I too struggled to make new friends (haven't been able to find a job which has also been very difficult) and so despite looking after a four year old, I felt lonely, lost and unfocused and I know the situation would have improved if I made some lovely friendships. I too have been someone in the past who would happily extend invitations and be the 'bubbly happy chatty one' but as you have described that side of me seems to have disappeared - for the time being anyway. I have full faith this side of me will reappear at some stage and you should hold onto that too! It's still you inside.

Just because you don't feel happy just now doesn't dictate you won't be happy again.

It is something many people go through and can be super difficult but you're doing the right things. Joining groups, getting "out there". It's all about the expectations. Why not try a few more hellos, chat to people about the charity shop you work in, offer yourself up for more PTA things. Chat to customers in the charity shop - ask them what they get up to/what fun things there are about the town. What are your interests? Is there a group you could offer skills up to? What about your husband's hobbies - is there a group of people through that you could approach to host a lunch/play dates/walk & hearty soup afterwards/morning tea? Any local festivals you could offer to get involved with - there are lots of outdoor organisations and groups in Scotland (albeit it maybe not near where you live).

Remember the person inside - the one you say would go out and extend invitations to others - that person still exists! Sure you are feeling a bit bruised and dented but why not try a few invitations with no expectations and just let your personality shine through. Keep on smiling, do things that makes you happy - be brave! You never know where it may lead. There are most likely others feeling like you right now out there. At the worst if nothing comes of anything at least you can say you've really tried.

I wished I lived there - would happily meet up with you for a chat. There are many lovely people on BE who are living in Scotland - perhaps someone might be up for meeting up for a good chat in person.

Families can be funny things - the reality once you're 'back' can be a challenging and feel a bit of a let down once the excitement of the return has settled. If they're not up for involving you and your family in social then probably time to let go of those expectations I'm afraid. I know it's hard x

Regarding moving - I would say if your husband isn't that settled and shares your views, what really have you to lose? Yes it takes a lot of courage, paperwork (and money x 10!) but really what price is family happiness. I too echo opinions above, once you're an expat it can be very difficult to resettle somewhere. Where really is "home" anymore!

Winter months in Scotland can be challenging for may people, but there are lovely long light nights to come! Spain in the summer time will be lovely.

I think it's great you've planned a trip to NZ. Beware the 'holiday feeling' (been there a million times!) however at the very least it will be lovely to see family and reconnect with the land. Great time to also carry out a wee bit of research.

Keep on chatting, keep on writing down your feelings and try to find a few little things here and there to make you smile inside each day.

The future will be what it will be but as today stands you're in Scotland. There's nothing you can do about it today so find the positives where you are just now. I have to remind myself this every day and it has helped. We only have the 'here and now' after all.

All the very best!
That's a great post.
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Old Jan 30th 2019, 9:38 am
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Default Re: 4 Years and Still Struggling

Originally Posted by elonii View Post
Ahhh this is such a beautiful reply Still Game, it really gave me a huge huge lift! We had an old friend visit over the weekend, so I'm feeling a lot more like myself again today. It'll wear off though, but for today I am all good.

Your local festivals idea struck a chord actually, I just remembered there's a chap in our street is involved with a traditional music festival. That could be a possibility. Mind you, one issue locally is that we are an area that attracts what dyed in the wool locals refer to as "the great white settlers". A lot of our family sized homes are bought by retirees from England. Nothing wrong with that IMHO but it does mean these organisations are usually run by people in the generation above ours.

I'm so interested you are in Brissie. Man I love that city. I used to live on Quay St right in the centre. Dated a guy who lived on Petrie terrace, and was out about 5 nights a week on Caxton street. Those were the days! I wish we could meet up as you say, I think we've probably got a lot of experiences that would resonate. I think arriving somewhere at just the wrong time in life is social death. I was so lucky on the Sunshine Coast. I had a bub there and landed in with the most BEAUTIFUL group of women anyone could ever meet. Those people who would come and hammer your front door down if they thought something was up and you were being socially avoidant.

Regarding moving. My eldest daughter saw some old pics from a trip to Wintersun on the Gold Coast before she was born last night. She immediately asked to move back to Australia, (don't provoke me kid hahaha). I think she is sad she can't remember it. Honestly, if they change the Kiwi visa rules our feet would not touch the ground to come back. I think a family trip to NZ with an open mind will help - and hopefully I will not fall into the holiday trap. I think as someone who has done two international moves I will be able to strip away some of the common traps. I know on the Sunny Coast we didn't go to the beach half as much as we thought we would - it was so stressful trying to get a park and battling the tourists. What I will be looking for is that mix of funky markets, good second hand shopping (hopefully a tip shop I can rummage in), and at least two good cafes with cracking organic food and coffee to die for. If there are a few arty types and alternative lifestylers around then I'll be happy. Artisan bakery and a good greengrocers and I'll buy a house on the spot. I did find the heat in QLD totally overpowering at times, so who knows? I might actually find NZ has a perfect balance. Plus an easy flight back to see my old mates.

I can't work out why I can't just enjoy where I am for now. I annoy myself quite often in that regard, lol.

I'm sorry to hear how much you struggled with your own move. I wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone. It's horrendous, isn't it? I'm really interested that you are now only feeling better with a change on the horizon. The only times I feel positive are when we talk of leaving. This expat lark is a proper can of worms isn't it? The amount of times I wish I had never left Scotland. I'd still be happy because I wouldn't know anything else. As you say, I wonder if I'll ever truly feel at home again in my life.

Thanks again for your lovely words, they came at just the right time x
Ah m'dear you are more than welcome I just saw so many echos of my experience I hoped sharing my coping techniques may have helped in some way. Isn't it lovely when you connect with an old friend. No having to make introductions, learn all about me/you and see if the magic x works to become friends. You can just relax and chat and share stories from past experiences. See, the old you is still in there! Just in hibernation for a bit...

Re the festivals - you could just ask if anyone needed help if you felt up to it. You might find some up for it / fun upper generation people - good to have friends of all ages! Maybe it won't lead anywhere but again, you can say you tried.

Brisbane has definitely grown on me. This time last year I just could not see the beauty. Could not find one single thing that I liked about it. But I can now see how great this city is (minus the humidity and summer UV of 15). I really really struggle in the heat. Although it's lovely (and I'm so grateful!) to have aircon who wants to be in it all day every day. I must stay, Brisbane has the best 'winter' I've ever experienced. Sunny clear days and still warm but no humidity (that I could feel anyway) and cool nights. So lovely. The coastal areas of Brisbane are so lovely late on a sunny day, so many amenities for families and South Bank is such a success story. I've found really friendly people also (the few that I've met) and my husband's colleagues are really sweet and fun and kind which is a real bonus. There is a lot to do and see out of Brisbane too and we're enjoying visiting more parts of the Sunshine Coast and rural west regions. Islands are next on the agenda (when I finally get a job to fund all of this!).

Great to go into the NZ trip with open critical eyes (if you understand). Obviously I hope you manage to relax with the family have a great holiday!

Stop beating yourself up about 'not enjoying where you are just now' stop it! You don't feel at home and that is that! The more you try to 'get the feeling' the more elusive it will become. Just keep getting yourself out there as much as you feel comfortable with and see where it goes. You never know, you could find that one day down the track it clicks - maybes aye but maybes naw! Also know that you're not chained to Scotland - you have the ability to move one day if that is what you choose. As I said before, the past does not dictate the future. I feel blessed that we also (once we have the savings up) have the ability to move freely between both the UK and Australia. It is really something millions would love but will never have the chance.

The change on my horizon that I mentioned is that my husband now understands my depths of depression I experienced last year and will consider a move. I know, I understand and can easily see this is a great country, it's just not where I can live out my entire life. He couldn't bring himself to chat about it last year - for many reasons, which just sent me back down the bottom of the well. I'm open about wanting to move onwards to Scotland again (if all is "right" (BREXIT bugger off!!)) however just having the option rather than feeling trapped here feels amazing.

You know what, despite me saying 'will I ever feel at home again' once you become an expat - I'm going to say yes! I'm saying yes for me and my family, so why not yes for you and yours.

Keep talking, keep smiling, keep communicating!
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Old Jan 30th 2019, 9:44 am
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Default Re: 4 Years and Still Struggling

Originally Posted by Dorothy View Post
That's a great post.
Thanks Dorothy - hope you're keeping well?
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Old Jan 30th 2019, 11:13 am
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Default Re: 4 Years and Still Struggling

Originally Posted by Still Game View Post
Thanks Dorothy - hope you're keeping well?
I am, thanks. We have just had a chance to move to Canada including a fantastic job offer for my partner, but in the end we decided that at our age it's just too much of a risk to move to another country. As much as I had always wanted to go home I'm actually quite happy with our decision to stay here in Perth. Funny how things turn out, isn't it?
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Old Jan 31st 2019, 1:53 am
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Default Re: 4 Years and Still Struggling

Originally Posted by Dorothy View Post
I am, thanks. We have just had a chance to move to Canada including a fantastic job offer for my partner, but in the end we decided that at our age it's just too much of a risk to move to another country. As much as I had always wanted to go home I'm actually quite happy with our decision to stay here in Perth. Funny how things turn out, isn't it?
All well and good thinking of change however, nothing quite focusses the mind quite like actually having to make a decision on a real ‘live’ option!

It’s great to have been given the choice to change and well done for looking at all angles and deciding it wasn’t right rather than jumping in and possibly finding things unravel later down the track. The fact you’re happy to stay in Perth shows you made the right choice. All the best :-)
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Old Jan 31st 2019, 3:08 pm
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Default Re: 4 Years and Still Struggling

Wonderful messages here...this is a great thread—not that I mean to minimize your sadness, elonii....
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