Lost and Confused

Old Feb 13th 2020, 12:00 am
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Unhappy Lost and Confused

Hi all, I am so glad to have stumbled upon this site, wish I had found it much sooner!
I moved to NZ almost 7 years ago, lived with my husband's parents, (also UK expats), for almost 5 years before finally buying a house in the Western Bay of Plenty around 18 months ago. I have struggled for years with homesickness, but hoped that buying our own place and laying down roots would help me to feel like NZ was finally my home. Unfortunately I feel more homesick than ever now, and really don't know what to do. We have 2 children, 9 and 5, who are both doing well in school, have great friends etc, but my 9 year old struggles with missing our UK family too, so much so, that it really affects her mood and behaviour. She has attended the 'Seasons for Growth' programme at school twice to help her deal with her emotions but this has only had very temporary effects.
My hubby has a great job here as an electrician in his family business and I have been a stay at home mum since my youngest was born. We live in a great community, and I have met some lovely people, but not made any deep connections like my friends back in the UK. We are very lucky that we have been able to return to the UK on extended visits every 2 years since our move thanks to my parents, but the prospect of one day not being able to visit terrifies me, as there's absolutely no way we could afford to visit often based on our income alone, even if I did return to work.
I think the harsh reality of being so far away from my ageing parents and my other close family has finally 'set in' and I really have no idea where our future lies. If we were to return to the UK we would initially find ourselves in a very different state financially to here in NZ due to issues since we left, but that is just something we will have to deal with, and our overall well being comes first.
My hubby is very happy here but he says he will support me if I ultimately decide to return, but I think the prospect of moving back terrifies him. He finds it hard to understand how I feel as in his mind we have everything we could ever want, a nice house near the sea, safe street for the kids to play in etc. but still I feel lost and alien.
I love NZ, even though it frustrates me at times but I worry that I will always feel like this and never feel truly settled no matter how long I am here
Is anyone in a similar situation?
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Old Feb 14th 2020, 8:02 am
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Default Re: Lost and Confused

Originally Posted by aerosarah View Post
My hubby is very happy here but he says he will support me if I ultimately decide to return, but I think the prospect of moving back terrifies him. He finds it hard to understand how I feel as in his mind we have everything we could ever want, a nice house near the sea, safe street for the kids to play in etc. but still I feel lost and alien.
I love NZ, even though it frustrates me at times but I worry that I will always feel like this and never feel truly settled no matter how long I am here
Is anyone in a similar situation?
I think we're all in the same boat at times and there is no real answer to the conundrum, the homesickness and missing family comes and goes in waves depending on what's going on in yours and their lives. After so many years we would all like to think that we will finally be 100% settled but it seldom seems to be the way; so many people like yourself still feel the pull back after numerous years of giving it a bloody good go.

It sounds like your hubby has the best of both worlds with his parents being here, so he won't be feeling the same level of loss as you.

It is tough at times - I am so on the fence these days and often think I should leave NZ before too much longer (now 15 years in) but like your OH the very thought of going through all that seems to be in the too hard basket and I'm not sure 'my' version of the UK exists any longer. So much has changed in both us as people and the UK as a place to live in those years. Apart from being closer to family, who no doubt would soon start to get on my nerves, I don't know that I would be any happier in the UK and certainly would have to consider whether a return would make sense financially.
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Old Feb 14th 2020, 1:44 pm
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Think of your children and put their future at the forefront.
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Old Feb 14th 2020, 1:46 pm
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Default Re: Lost and Confused

I fully understand the feeling of wanting to return home. As a Brit living in Australia for 8 years my husband and I returned mainly because I wanted to. Missing family and wanting to start a family in England.
We have now been back for 3 years and unfortunately it isn’t the England I remember. Lots has changed, but I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly.
We are now considering a move with our young daughter to New Zealand. I have some family there which does help the decision. But we crave the nicer weather, the beautiful scenery and laid back way of life.
I don’t really know what I’m trying to say. Just that when we were in Oz waiting to come home, it was all I could think about. Now, I’m dreaming of a life in New Zealand because England hasn’t lived up to my expectations. What I dreamt of in Oz is not the reality we came back to. 🤷🏼‍♀️
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Old Feb 14th 2020, 2:49 pm
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Default Re: Lost and Confused

Originally Posted by HFordy View Post
I fully understand the feeling of wanting to return home. As a Brit living in Australia for 8 years my husband and I returned mainly because I wanted to. Missing family and wanting to start a family in England.
We have now been back for 3 years and unfortunately it isn’t the England I remember. Lots has changed, but I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly.
We are now considering a move with our young daughter to New Zealand. I have some family there which does help the decision. But we crave the nicer weather, the beautiful scenery and laid back way of life.
I don’t really know what I’m trying to say. Just that when we were in Oz waiting to come home, it was all I could think about. Now, I’m dreaming of a life in New Zealand because England hasn’t lived up to my expectations. What I dreamt of in Oz is not the reality we came back to. 🤷🏼‍♀️
Just depends really and NZ doesn't necessarily have better weather either and really depends on your personal outlook, where you go and where you are from. People are people and some will never be happy and some might find happiness. I know some people in Dunedin or Auckland who now crave coming back to Europe too and they say it isn't the laid back way of life they thought it would be. I can understand why you would want to leave England again but for me personally NZ would also be too far away these days, especially with parents getting older and unfortunately not as cheap as it used to be. If we want beautiful scenery we have it on our doorstep in Ireland (never planned to live here) and can at least afford a small holiday home in Spain where the sun shines most of the year. This picture below is actually in Spain, so not really further from you than Auckland from Christchurch. Sometimes you just have to open up a bit and look at the options you have now rather than the past. Of course the same for people wanting to return to UK again.

Last edited by Moses2013; Feb 14th 2020 at 3:08 pm.
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Old Feb 14th 2020, 6:20 pm
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Default Re: Lost and Confused

Originally Posted by Moses2013 View Post
If we want beautiful scenery we have it on our doorstep in Ireland (never planned to live here) and can at least afford a small holiday home in Spain where the sun shines most of the year. This picture below is actually in Spain, so not really further from you than Auckland from Christchurch. Sometimes you just have to open up a bit and look at the options you have now rather than the past.
I think there is way more opportunity in Europe to settle for a happy medium with the best of both worlds type of set up. Notwithstanding changes that my / may not occur because of Brexit there certainly are more opportunities to have a bolt hole or place in the sun somewhere or to travel on whim very cheaply. NZ is so far away from anywhere and it's super expensive and near on impossible to grab just a few days away from the humdrum of being at home. You're looking at spending $1,000 or more for a long weekend away with flights and accommodation and absolutely no options for any impromtu cheapy getaways that we used to enjoy in UK. If there's an event (rugby match, netball, concert or opening of an envelope) on anywhere then flights and accommodation are booked out and costs are prohibitive. Besides which the traffic into and out of Auckland and other popular hotspots around summer holiday times is enough to put me off travelling very far from home.
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Old Feb 14th 2020, 7:37 pm
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Default Re: Lost and Confused

Originally Posted by Bo-Jangles View Post
I think there is way more opportunity in Europe to settle for a happy medium with the best of both worlds type of set up. Notwithstanding changes that my / may not occur because of Brexit there certainly are more opportunities to have a bolt hole or place in the sun somewhere or to travel on whim very cheaply. NZ is so far away from anywhere and it's super expensive and near on impossible to grab just a few days away from the humdrum of being at home. You're looking at spending $1,000 or more for a long weekend away with flights and accommodation and absolutely no options for any impromtu cheapy getaways that we used to enjoy in UK. If there's an event (rugby match, netball, concert or opening of an envelope) on anywhere then flights and accommodation are booked out and costs are prohibitive. Besides which the traffic into and out of Auckland and other popular hotspots around summer holiday times is enough to put me off travelling very far from home.
As you say, it really is far away and for those who already miss family it can be very hard. Unless you really love the country, it will be small things that make the difference and people also change. If it's not the weather, it's tradesmen who don't do things like back home. Then it's the lack of choice or bad driving. At the end of the day life is life and nowhere is perfect. The advantage in Europe is that you moan but at least have choices on your doorstep.
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Old Feb 25th 2020, 11:53 pm
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Default Re: Lost and Confused

Your post resonates so much and we are still early doors at five months in.
We (Kiwi husband, 7 and 10 year olds) moved from London where we had a very nice life - we had paid off our mortgage, lived in a vibrant (but a bit scruffy!) part of SW London with a brilliant community around us, great schools and a lovely house. We had regular holidays both long haul and short haul and I worked a 3 day week in advertising while my husband in a medical sales role was home for the kids breakfast and dinner 99 days out of a hundred - we had the perfect work/life balance.

We moved for my husband to take over the family business in Auckland. Years ago we discussed moving, I agreed and he held me to it. His family were very persuasive.

The homesickness has been building up since the kids started back at school and the realisation that it's forever hit me like a ton of bricks. Before this I was busy sorting out the house and school, then the container, then Christmas..... And it's not just the homesickness. I actually don't like it here. Sure it's beautiful and great for holidays but to live? As people have said in other posts - you don't become outdoorsy because you move here - I'm not suddenly going to take up fishing in my 40s! The kids aren't any more outdoorsy than they were at home either - more opportunity for organised sport but mine did sports most days at home. They are not any less obsessed with Roblox or TikTok! And the education - everyone seems to accept that kids don't learn anything until they are at secondary school. Mine have gone backwards since arriving and this really worries me. My husband told me we have done this for the children but I struggle to see how.

I have met a lot of lovely mums, including expats or Kiwis who have spent many years in the UK, who have taken me under their wings, but the overall advice is that I have to forget who I was, what I worked as, and what I had, back in London and start again. Hardly any of them work, not because they don't want to or didn't have successful careers, but because a lack of suitable childcare, lack of suitable jobs, husbands who travel, unreliable commute into the CBD etc The only mums who work are professionals who are now working on minimum wage as teaching assistants or one mum who has just gone back to accountancy after 8 years off but she can only do this because her husband has gone part time. I have realised that my skills have little value here and being mid 40s and British will stand against me. And my husband travels with work so we would have to get a nanny which I am not prepared and could probably not afford to do. I have worked that we are down about £4000/$8000 per month with me not working, his lower salary and the extortionate cost of living here.

But mainly it's emotional. I miss every little bit of my life at home and now I do not feel like me. I mattered in London, I was important to my family, friends and colleagues, but here I will never be important outside my family. I feel guilt about my dad who has Parkinson's and cannot travel and m mum who is his carer. I also worry about not being able to go back either for financial or time reasons.

But my husband won't go back and he won't let me take the children so I am stuck. It's all such a mess.

(I have posted before and was given some pertinent advice as I have always had massive reservations, so if any of you read this, feel free to say 'I told you so'. And we did buy the bloody Castor Bay house.)

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Old Feb 26th 2020, 4:04 am
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Default Re: Lost and Confused

Originally Posted by hallie_day View Post
(I have posted before and was given some pertinent advice as I have always had massive reservations, so if any of you read this, feel free to say 'I told you so'. And we did buy the bloody Castor Bay house.)
Oh dear, I was one that said don't buy but I'm not going to say told you so. I did the same, bought within 6mths, regretted after another 6 mths, lost money to move out of the area.
I do feel your pain, but I at least do have a part time job that is ok most of the time and I work, majority of the time, school hours.
Please do look after yourself and try and organise things for you to do, I know thats easier said than done. My OH says I should get a hobby but what I have no idea what and then what will it cost?
I have resigned myself that in no time in the near future will we be able to leave and to fret over it constantly doesnt do me any good. but it does rear its ugly head occasionally, OH has asked what he should do when I get a real low and my response was that he needed to apologise. Our agreement to come out was 5 years, get Citizenship and look at it. That hasn't exactly worked out, money, kids stage of education etc, and he likes it here and didn't like the UK, he suffers from SAD.
I have dogs and find a walk down the beach does get rid of some of the pressure in the head so if you are able to get out and walk a couple of times a week may help.
I have been diagnosed with depression and was on tablets for nearly 2 years but they affected my health so I stopped them, still waiting for Dr to follow up on that and its been nearly 2 years. My point is don't let yourself get to that stage, talkto your partner, tell him he needs to take responsibility and do more to help you settle he also needs to be more open about how things are affecting you.

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Old Feb 26th 2020, 4:15 am
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Default Re: Lost and Confused

Originally Posted by MrsFychan View Post
O My OH says I should get a hobby
Oh really.

OH has asked what he should do when I get a real low and my response was that he needed to apologise
.
Agree.
- he suffers from SAD.
Y'know what. I've heard this before like this from many couples over the years. The ones where one is unsettled but the other one is. To be honest, load of old sidestepping , stick it to the partner becaue I don't want to move, bollocks.

They have SAD ? Get a lamp or change work hours. There really isn't a great deal of difference between light and dark hours uk/nz. It's an excuse.

You moved on condition to try and see. That isn't working. Stuff his SAD, he needs to look after you and should have done years ago.

Rant over.

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Old Feb 26th 2020, 6:35 am
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Originally Posted by hallie_day View Post
Your post resonates so much and we are still early doors at five months in.
We (Kiwi husband, 7 and 10 year olds) moved from London where we had a very nice life - we had paid off our mortgage, lived in a vibrant (but a bit scruffy!) part of SW London with a brilliant community around us, great schools and a lovely house. We had regular holidays both long haul and short haul and I worked a 3 day week in advertising while my husband in a medical sales role was home for the kids breakfast and dinner 99 days out of a hundred - we had the perfect work/life balance.

We moved for my husband to take over the family business in Auckland. Years ago we discussed moving, I agreed and he held me to it. His family were very persuasive.

The homesickness has been building up since the kids started back at school and the realisation that it's forever hit me like a ton of bricks. Before this I was busy sorting out the house and school, then the container, then Christmas..... And it's not just the homesickness. I actually don't like it here. Sure it's beautiful and great for holidays but to live? As people have said in other posts - you don't become outdoorsy because you move here - I'm not suddenly going to take up fishing in my 40s! The kids aren't any more outdoorsy than they were at home either - more opportunity for organised sport but mine did sports most days at home. They are not any less obsessed with Roblox or TikTok! And the education - everyone seems to accept that kids don't learn anything until they are at secondary school. Mine have gone backwards since arriving and this really worries me. My husband told me we have done this for the children but I struggle to see how.

I have met a lot of lovely mums, including expats or Kiwis who have spent many years in the UK, who have taken me under their wings, but the overall advice is that I have to forget who I was, what I worked as, and what I had, back in London and start again. Hardly any of them work, not because they don't want to or didn't have successful careers, but because a lack of suitable childcare, lack of suitable jobs, husbands who travel, unreliable commute into the CBD etc The only mums who work are professionals who are now working on minimum wage as teaching assistants or one mum who has just gone back to accountancy after 8 years off but she can only do this because her husband has gone part time. I have realised that my skills have little value here and being mid 40s and British will stand against me. And my husband travels with work so we would have to get a nanny which I am not prepared and could probably not afford to do. I have worked that we are down about £4000/$8000 per month with me not working, his lower salary and the extortionate cost of living here.

But mainly it's emotional. I miss every little bit of my life at home and now I do not feel like me. I mattered in London, I was important to my family, friends and colleagues, but here I will never be important outside my family. I feel guilt about my dad who has Parkinson's and cannot travel and m mum who is his carer. I also worry about not being able to go back either for financial or time reasons.

But my husband won't go back and he won't let me take the children so I am stuck. It's all such a mess.

(I have posted before and was given some pertinent advice as I have always had massive reservations, so if any of you read this, feel free to say 'I told you so'. And we did buy the bloody Castor Bay house.)
I'm never a told you so person, I moved to Qld in 2017 despite people telling me not to and it was a disaster thar took me quite a while to get out of.

I have no advice I'm sorry but definitely feeling for you ..
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Old Feb 26th 2020, 7:08 am
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Thanks MrsF and BEVS for your replies, it feels good to talk to people who 'get it' as I am just locking horns with my husband at the moment. Well, not literally as he has moved out to his parents for a couple of days.

To be honest, the house is the least of my worries and at least we are physically comfortable and have a pool which helps with paly dates - it was a bit of a steal (relatively speaking in Castor Bay terms!) and if it went to auction now we would probably make a profit. We only won at sealed bids because we were unconditional - the vendor had a conditional offer that fell through and they were about to lose their purchase. And I like the area - it's beautiful, good for my husband's work but far enough away from the in-laws, and the kid's school is as good as it gets - as the largest school in NZ, I have found the larger and slightly more transient population a benefit for making friends. I feel that it's not about Castor Bay, it's about NZ.

Although I knew I would be homesick,this is way beyond anything I imagined, and I hadn't expected to dislike it so much. Everything annoys me. Radio presenters, made up words (reggo anyone?), the obsession with boats and baches and fishing, how conservative people are, the lack of casual nights out (we're going to the pub, fancy joining us?), driving, casual racism, lack of diversity (North Shore problem), how quiet/dull it is blah, blah.

I had coffee this morning with a Portuguese school mum who lived in London for 12 years before coming here 8 years ago and her Brazilian friend. Their advice was to forget what you had and start again - as someone said in another post - comparison is the thief of joy. But I had a fulfilling and happy life and invested in friendships and a career over 40 odd years. How can you just forget it? At home I was a an important person to my friends, family and colleagues, I had meaning. Here I never will.
Another mum is Kiwi but lived in London from her 20s, had kids and then came back for her husband's job - she considers herself an honorary Brit. She basically spent the first year in bed crying with suicidal thoughts, eventually having therapy and two years later she has reached an equilibrium. However she was born here and has family and history here. On a side note, how many people here are in therapy - it's like the states? In a group of about 8 mums, 3 have offered me their therapist. That's got to say something.

I am trying to at least be physically healthy and I swim most week days, gym a couple of days and walk when I can. I don't want to go down the anti-depressant route, but I do feel like I am losing my marbles and it's getting worse. I feel like I am trapped in some sort of terrible nightmare from which there is no escape. And of course there isn't - we can't both come out of this unscathed.


On a side note, husband did send me an app that helps you make friends in Auckland using a unique logarithm. I sent him an app for dating in your 40s for when I divorce him. Patronising twat.
He keeps telling me that of course I won't enjoy it if I'm so negative, and refuses to acknowledge that I'm negative because I hate it. It's all me and my attitude.

Wowsers, some rant. Thanks for allowing me this. x




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Old Feb 26th 2020, 7:12 am
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Default Re: Lost and Confused

Originally Posted by Mishclark View Post
I'm never a told you so person, I moved to Qld in 2017 despite people telling me not to and it was a disaster thar took me quite a while to get out of.

I have no advice I'm sorry but definitely feeling for you ..
I knew it was a mistake, I spent 2019 telling him. But he wouldn't listen. I don't really know how I'm here.

Thank you. Knowing it's not just me overreacting really helps. I have one life and I feel I have screwed mine.

Where are you now? x
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Old Feb 26th 2020, 9:37 am
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Default Re: Lost and Confused

Originally Posted by hallie_day View Post
On a side note, husband did send me an app that helps you make friends in Auckland using a unique logarithm. I sent him an app for dating in your 40s for when I divorce him. Patronising twat.
He keeps telling me that of course I won't enjoy it if I'm so negative, and refuses to acknowledge that I'm negative because I hate it. It's all me and my attitude.
x
Your reply to his app suggestion that was funny. I have to confess I have been that patronising twat in the past (not about your situation) which I'm not proud of! But I learnt from my mistakes and I really hope for your sake he wakes up soon! Good luck with what you decide.
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Old Feb 26th 2020, 6:56 pm
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Yes I feel exactly the same way that you have all described above, even though I am in Slovenia, not NZ.

We moved here 7 years ago as my other half (we are unmarried) and I wanted to do some travelling and something different before settling down with kids so we bought a house just outside the capital, Ljubljana. The house was an extreme renovation project and we still haven't even finished the final few little bits, I told him not to buy it as it was too much work for us to do but he didn't listen. I also told him that I would only move here for 2 years and then I wanted to move back to the UK, I guess he hasn't listened to that either!

I have always felt homesick and not myself here, I am not really an outdoorsy person, in to nature etc. totally different culture, food and not speaking the language has made me feel really isolated and every time we argue I remind him about the 2 year condition that I set. We have both agreed that we should have rented first and not jumped straight in to buying a property here.

In 2018 we had a baby and now I feel even more homesick than ever and wondering what is best for her and where is better for her to grow up. He says that she will have a better childhood here, it's safer, cleaner, more outdoorsy and she will benefit from learning another language. I do agree on all of those things but I have so many worries and concerns of my own, we don't speak the language and I feel if she attends a local school/kindergarten it's like a whole part of her life that I am missing out on, how will I be able to help her with her schoolwork etc.

I have quite a large family back home and find it difficult just being on our own all the time, I also feel so guilty about missing out on my niece and nephew growing up, plus our daughters relationship with her cousins and other family members. It's only a 2 hour flight home and I do visit 2 or 3 times a year, but it's even putting me off having another child because I would be too scared of travelling on my own with 2 kids.

Last year we discussed moving back and he was considering it, we even put our house on the market, albeit as a speculative private sale and not with an estate agent but now my partner has said that he doesn't want to go back to the UK, he doesn't have any family there anymore apart from his mum who he doesn't see or speak to anyway. We are also from opposite ends of the country, I am South East and he is North East, so he feels that he wouldn't fit in and also my huge family is pretty crazy, always drama, arguments etc and they don't like my partner as they feel that he has taken me away from them all so he really doesn't want to move back and live near them. Previously we lived in Nottingham, Middlesbrough and Harrogate before we moved here so we've never actually lived near my family in our 14 year relationship.

We have been surviving on savings/inheritance money but both feel that it's time to do something/make a change, so he has taken steps to starting a business here. In one way I am happy because it means we now have a purpose to being here and I can actually work and have something to do, if we put our daughter in kindergarden. But on the other hand I feel like he has ignored all of my feelings and jumped straight in to the next thing without addressing any of my issues. He says that he is doing it for our family and wants to make a success of something so that we can have a nice life. Am I just being selfish and ungrateful? I don't know.

We have set a date, 1st April for me to make my final decision, we are both sick of all of the arguments and need to move forward, however that may be. I can't even imagine how difficult it would be to go through a separation in a foreign country and with a toddler as well, I wouldn't even know how/where to start.

Sorry for the long post, but needed to get it all of my chest as I am also feeling very lost and confused.

Last edited by carz69; Feb 26th 2020 at 7:00 pm.
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