Reverse culture shock

Old Nov 13th 2017, 8:59 am
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Default Re: Reverse culture shock

No culture shock. Just got 'caught out' a couple of times i.e. I had forgotten about the 10am opening time for Supermarkets in Britain on a Sunday. In NZ there's no pettiness about Sunday opening for Supermarkets. Also, it seemed odd for fireworks to be on sale what seem to be so early as there's not the same rules for the sale of them here as there are in NZ. That's about it really.

My husband and I returned from regional New Zealand last November. We have never looked back. My husband's job was going stale. I had struggled to find work.

We had nothing to retire on if we stayed in NZ, basically we were going to run out of money. We would have had to sell the house and downsize to release the equity and been reliant on inherited money (dodgy proposition as any financial advisor would say) to fund our retirement. I wasn't keen on our state pension being subject to fluctuations in the currency markets if we converted it to NZ dollars when it was paid each week. Seems like the UK pension could be a whole other story anyway. The possibility of that happening won't alter just because we are home.

We are nearly 6 years behind with our N.I. contributions as we didn't continue to pay our N.I. contributions when we lived in NZ. We have enough years of our working life left to catch up to whatever the number of pension qualifying years are I think, especially as the retirement age has been raised regarding state pensions. We did get a calculation at our request of how much we would have to pay into our N.I. contributions to catch up should we wish to. That money would be better invested elsewhere i.e. mortgage or savings IMO. Or vintage wine or a pine forest !! (Not going down the 'rabbit hole' of N.I. contributions or what class of N.I. qualifications are worth what or what class of N.I. contributions got abolished. Yes I did see the thread about it.)

Also, people who live overseas don't get the pension rises that UK residents get IIRC. There was a court case and a load of hoo - har about it a couple of years ago.

We had opted out of KiwiSaver as we couldn't really afford it, even if it's considered to be a good value savings scheme. OK we prioritised holidays and home improvements but you only live once apparently and we didn't go to NZ to penny pinch and worry about money. We didn't live like kings either, however, I digress. I just wanted us to make the most of our years in NZ as I knew we would only be there for a few years. I took the view that we would have to sort our pensions and the rest of the, 'steep climb' of our finances on our return. We are now returned ! In fact for just over a year now.

If we had stayed in Britain and not gone to New Zealand our mortgage would have been paid off by 2019 and our National Insurance contributions would be up to date. It's also the year of our silver wedding anniversary. We are currently living in rented accommodation. We have it in mind to buy a house, but we don't know where or when as that will depend on my husband getting a permanent job offer in the future. The more we can save, the more we can reduce our borrowing requirement.

The object of the exercise was to give my kiwi husband a relationship with his nephew and nieces and to update his relationship with his mother and sister. That was done, I got my kiwi citizenship and passport and it was time to come home. Nephew turned 18 on Saturday, nieces are 12 years old. They're bored of their relatives, not surprisingly.

To this day I remember my husband suited and booted at 9pm local time on a Friday in New Zealand, poised and waiting for a Skype call from a potential UK employer ! It turned into a telephone interview conference call due to technical issues but still. They didn't offer him the job but it didn't stop us coming home.

We didn't return to where we used to live. We just wondered what living in another part of Britain would be like.

My husband got a job in Worcestershire, albeit a 6 month contract, so we moved there. I got a temp job there too. We had been back in Britain for a few weeks and looking for work by then.

We're now living in Peterborough as my husband is working off another short-term contract until Spring 2018 whilst looking for a permanent job. He drives to Spalding for work, it's about a 35 minute drive. The rent is better value for money in Peterborough than Surrey where we were living before relocating to New Zealand.

I'm looking for work too. I've had job interviews but I've yet to get a job offer.

If you want the 'barefoot kiwi' lifestyle you might want to move to the west country in Britain, I'm guessing.

I missed the house that was once home in NZ. I missed the cosy familiarity of our old home town but that was just sentiment.

A lot of people remark on how bored they are in NZ. I can totally relate to that. A lot of people seem to really blossom in NZ though. However, even now I ask if New Zealand is the answer, what was the question ? Also, just how bad does where you're living now have to be to make New Zealand look good ?

My old home town in NZ is ok to look at but it's a hell of a 'set piece', i.e. it never changes. That's small town NZ for you though.

Britain is vibrant. Alive. Exciting. Other people have remarked that they find British people friendly, I know I do. Much warmer than kiwis.

I missed feeling that everyone is equal. That it doesn't matter how long we've lived in the area or what our social and family connections are. Looking at YOU New Zealand.

I'm seeing autumn turn into winter, and with Christmas on the horizon it just reminds me that I'm in the right place. What ever the future brings, we'll always be here in Britain.

It's good to be home, forever.

Last edited by Snap Shot; Nov 13th 2017 at 10:29 am. Reason: No culture shock here. Just glad to be home.
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