Seven Months

Old Mar 19th 2015, 6:14 pm
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Default Seven Months

I waited until the 6-month honeymoon period had passed!

I'm still so grateful to be back home, and feel deeply for all those unable to do the same, especially the victims of war or political strife who have little or no chance of returning to their home country.

My difficulty with being in the US was on an emotional level; as others have also expressed it, 'feeling right'. Making lists of pros and cons, adding up money or whatever were superfluous to that overriding motivation. Therefore my report is very subjective but I hope it will help others who feel as I do.

The criticisms levelled at England appear to be overblown. I am just not seeing the chavs, belligerence, dog poo, poor customer service, expensive food or whatever. I can see a GP just fine and in fact mine seems happy to chat. Most people proving a service appear to be British. There is a slightly higher percentage of 'Asian' people (Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi or whatever) than when I left, but nothing like the screaming headlines, and most are totally integrated native English speakers. I'm stressing this point because it often comes up as a fear for those who have been out of the country for a while.

Social care seems excellent. We happen to have several family members who need a high level of care and I can only say it is amazing. A good friend of the family has an adult son with learning difficulties plus two grandchildren with mental/physical disabilities. The grandchildren are both supported in independent living while the son was excitedly telling us about his job and the huge range of activities he does. Again, I want to counter the doom/gloom/fears I see.

Some practicalities: my husband had a university job to come to, and we managed to secure a rental property through them. I think we would have had a problem renting privately; ID and credit rating have become bigger issues. We began looking for a place to buy, and did run into problems getting a mortgage without 3 years' UK residence. We found Halifax were willing to accommodate us, but only up to age 65 for my husband (11-year term). This made the monthly payments very high. After a lot of 'computer says no' we eventually managed to get through to someone with the authority to extend it to 14 years. So something to be aware of.

The English house-buying system needs reform. With no firm commitment until exchange of contracts it's very perilous. We eventually exchanged and then completed the next day, at the end of January.

We love the house though, a cute end-of-terrace in Harborne (Birmingham).it's great being in a real town, apart from the driving, which is hard because of the parked cars on streets and just having to be more quick- witted than in LA. Fortunately there is plenty of public transport for me (my husband doesn't mind the driving).

The weather has actually been pretty nice. Far rom being dull all the time, it's so often bright and crisp.

I think I already explained about my family. My son is going to graduate from a US university in June. He is intending to stay in the US. My daughter is a student at a British university. She is going back to Calabasas for spring break, we'll see how that goes. She seems to like her university course and has made a lot of friends, but formative years and love interest draw her back.

Old friends have been great about getting back in touch and it's been lovely to reconnect. In fact it's I who have been bad slow taking up offers to socialise.

Extended family on both sides have not been so easy. That is mainly because of their particular personalities and I don't think others should read too much into it.

I will end with a quick gloat/encouragement to those thinking about the move back

Supermarkets are nothing short of amazing, and due to keen competition the prices are really good. Quality far outstrips anything we used to get in LA without a doubt.

Eating out is also excellent. Pubs generally do very good food now with enormous portions.

Cider!

Shopping has moved up several notches. Even my daughter was impressed by what's available.

We sound like total slobs there (guilty as charged). We went to more cultural events while living on campus as there is a great provision of concerts and a decent art gallery. We intend to go back for further events and we are close to the facilities in Birmingham City centre like Symphony Hall, Rep, Art Museum and new library. London is about 1 1/2 hours away on the train so very easy. I am flying to Amsterdam in April to join my husband after a conference, so that will be nice and hopefully easy.

Good luck to all who hope to be posting in this section at some point!

PS I am attaching a picture of my kitchen window, intending to show the sun!

Seven Months-image.jpg
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Old Mar 19th 2015, 9:12 pm
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Default Re: Seven Months

Thanks for the update. It is fair and balanced. I still intend to move back with next 2-3 years (finances) but go back with open eyes. If it does not work out I have option of moving back to US or elsewhere in UK or Ireland.
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Old Mar 19th 2015, 9:21 pm
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Default Re: Seven Months

Originally Posted by fulwood View Post
Thanks for the update. It is fair and balanced. I still intend to move back with next 2-3 years (finances) but go back with open eyes. If it does not work out I have option of moving back to US or elsewhere in UK or Ireland.
Thanks. The process of moving does cost a lot. Good luck with your plans
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Old Mar 19th 2015, 9:40 pm
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Default Re: Seven Months

Thanks, you mentioned a couple things in there I had worries about
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Old Mar 20th 2015, 7:58 am
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Default Re: Seven Months

Great update, Sally

Good to hear things are going well - and that kitchen window looks lovely!
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Old Mar 20th 2015, 8:08 am
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Default Re: Seven Months

Thanks for sharing that, Sally! It was so positive to read and inspiring.
Thinking of making the move myself and yes, have been wondering about all the horror stories of 'run down Britain', and to what extent that is to be the case. It's good to hear a positive opinion :-)
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Old Mar 20th 2015, 9:17 am
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Default Re: Seven Months

Originally Posted by rebs View Post
Great update, Sally

Good to hear things are going well - and that kitchen window looks lovely!
Thanks! A little touch of LA with the palm tree.
Originally Posted by mothra View Post
Thanks for sharing that, Sally! It was so positive to read and inspiring.
Thinking of making the move myself and yes, have been wondering about all the horror stories of 'run down Britain', and to what extent that is to be the case. It's good to hear a positive opinion :-)
The horror stories were even getting to me. I don't know why people have got into this negative habit, but anyway it makes for a pleasant surprise!
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Old Mar 20th 2015, 2:42 pm
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Default Re: Seven Months

Sounds like you are settling in well Sally
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Old Mar 20th 2015, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: Seven Months

Originally Posted by Mummy in the foothills View Post
Sounds like you are settling in well Sally
I am. How are you doing?
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Old Mar 20th 2015, 5:30 pm
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Default Re: Seven Months

Great update Sally...I can't believe you've been back 7 months already!
Doesn't time just fly when you're happy and settled?

I totally agree with you on most points. I do know there are areas which are run down and probably full of chavs, but thankfully we've moved to an area where this is not the case. Also, there is a real mixed bag of people around here who seem to have settled & integrated fairly well.

I have absolutely no regrets about returning. This is the happiest I've been in years. Nearly 2 years back for me

Good luck for the future!
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Old Mar 20th 2015, 6:35 pm
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Default Re: Seven Months

Originally Posted by Lorry1 View Post
Great update Sally...I can't believe you've been back 7 months already!
Doesn't time just fly when you're happy and settled?

I totally agree with you on most points. I do know there are areas which are run down and probably full of chavs, but thankfully we've moved to an area where this is not the case. Also, there is a real mixed bag of people around here who seem to have settled & integrated fairly well.

I have absolutely no regrets about returning. This is the happiest I've been in years. Nearly 2 years back for me

Good luck for the future!
Thanks Lorry! Glad to hear all's well with you too.

There must be run-down areas but even Gateshead seems greatly improved. Maybe Sunderland

Cheers
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Old Mar 20th 2015, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: Seven Months

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
I am. How are you doing?
Really well thank you.
Still working, kids in school and college, Dh the house husband. I love not having to cook and clean daily
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Old Mar 20th 2015, 6:45 pm
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Default Re: Seven Months

Originally Posted by Mummy in the foothills View Post
Really well thank you.
Still working, kids in school and college, Dh the house husband. I love not having to cook and clean daily
Oh that's a big plus! Glad it's going well.
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Old Mar 20th 2015, 11:28 pm
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Default Re: Seven Months

British culture is unfortunately very negative compared to the USA for example. Criticism of the way things are is helpful to a certain extent but the UK takes it too far. I live in London and I am very happy here, wouldn't want to have to live anywhere else, but the way people talk sometimes they make London sound like the worst place on earth!

Glad you are doing well Sally, enjoy the trip to Amsterdam!
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Old Mar 20th 2015, 11:55 pm
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Default Re: Seven Months

Originally Posted by LondonSquirrel View Post
British culture is unfortunately very negative compared to the USA for example. Criticism of the way things are is helpful to a certain extent but the UK takes it too far. I live in London and I am very happy here, wouldn't want to have to live anywhere else, but the way people talk sometimes they make London sound like the worst place on earth!

Glad you are doing well Sally, enjoy the trip to Amsterdam!
It's like nothing is ever enough.

I lived in London for quite a while and always liked it. Cheers LondonSquirrel!
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