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struggling to settle

struggling to settle

Old Sep 30th 2020, 9:16 pm
  #1  
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Default struggling to settle

Hi
I have moved to Christchurch a couple of months ago from London and am really struggling with the transition - which I can see is very common and it is reassuring to read other people's experiences on here. My parents and brother have all been in NZ for the last 10yrs (having moved from the UK) and they are very happy and settled here. Although I've been out to visit many times - usually 3/yr - I've never had the desire to join them, I love the scenery and the relaxed pace of life for holidays, but the last time I was here for an extended period (in Nelson) I felt trapped. Anyway, am over here now on a break from work. I'm a GP in the NHS and have been working flat out for last few years. I now have 3 small nieces/nephew whom I love visiting and miss terribly. Likewise my parents who are fit and active but getting older... So thought I would give it another go, see if I could finally make it work. There has never been any pressure from my family for me to stay, though I know that they would love it if I did. I have struggled with the guilt of not being with them during previous health issues and big events, and because I have spent the last decade going back and forth between 2 continents I feel like I haven't really put roots down anywhere myself. I'd like to buy a house and feel settled.
I'm over here on a work visa currently, and aware how lucky I am to be able to be with them especially during COVID... I know it's early days but I just don't feel as though it is right for me. The job is very very quiet, and my social life is non-existent. I feel like I've lost my purpose/identity a little. I have also taken a significant pay cut to work more hours, which although money isn't everything is difficult to accept. I miss London, I miss my close circle of friends, I miss being able to travel around Europe (usually), the variety of things available in shops, even the supermarkets. I feel completely torn, but know I cannot live my life to make other people happy. Most people can't imagine why I would choose to live away from my family and I understand that, am very close to all of them and miss them so much and yet I still struggle with this decision. Basically were it left to me NZ is a country I'd have visited and ticked off, I would never consider living here/visiting multiple times were in not for the fact that they are here.
Just wondering if anyone has been in similar predicament with family/ had any advice or words of wisdom!
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Old Sep 30th 2020, 10:40 pm
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Default Re: struggling to settle

Just take a look down the threads of the NZ forum.... quite a few from people who can't settle/struggling etc and quite a few responses.
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 12:43 am
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Default Re: struggling to settle

gosh you must be very torn but as you say - you can't live life for other people.
Though NZ is paradise for some - it never has been for me, and I've lived here for 15 years.
It's very different to the UK - hard to express to people who've not lived in either country.
I am moving back to the UK next year - I've always missed it but have tried my best and made a lot of friends and had loads of great experiences. But I've found i've really had to try hard, make myself join in with everything. Yes parts of NZ are stunning - but I can't live with just a view.
Sadly my reason for actually making a real effort to move back is because my husband died suddenly so I want to make a new life for myself - but not in nz.
The time goes so quickly - go with your gut and don't regret anything.
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 1:21 am
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Default Re: struggling to settle

Originally Posted by Pim View Post
gosh you must be very torn but as you say - you can't live life for other people.
Though NZ is paradise for some - it never has been for me, and I've lived here for 15 years.
It's very different to the UK - hard to express to people who've not lived in either country.
I am moving back to the UK next year - I've always missed it but have tried my best and made a lot of friends and had loads of great experiences. But I've found i've really had to try hard, make myself join in with everything. Yes parts of NZ are stunning - but I can't live with just a view.
Sadly my reason for actually making a real effort to move back is because my husband died suddenly so I want to make a new life for myself - but not in nz.
The time goes so quickly - go with your gut and don't regret anything.

I'm so sorry to hear that, but hope that the move goes well and you're very happy back in the UK
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 1:32 am
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Default Re: struggling to settle

I know exactly how you feel.
I have been here a year (TODAY!!!) and it's not got better for me, and if I could go home I would.
We also moved from London and I desperately miss it.
Like you I came for many holidays prior to moving, and as a destination I feel I have done North Island, so a South Island trip, and I'm done.
I find it very 'samey' for leisure, but when things are back to normal I will need to travel to UK to see my elderly parents every year, so travel options will be limited.

We are in Auckland (North Shore so quiet suburbia) and I'm in a slightly different situation because I came with my kiwi husband and kids, and my relationship has broken down. I didn't want to move, but he put a lot of pressure on me and we have split because he just cannot see why I am depressed. He has no empathy for me, just anger that I am not ecstatic to be here. I also dared criticize his family who had a big part in pressurising us to move, including lying about his role in and share of, the family business.
Kiwis tend to be much more patriotic than Brits, and can't take criticism of their beloved Aotearoa.

I desperately miss my friends. I'm late 40s but still went 'out out' and I find socialising here incredibly difficult as a newcomer as it is quite cliquey, based around entertaining in the home etc. I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and have made a brilliant group of school mum friends who have all but saved my life at my darkest moments, but contact is pretty much coffees, play dates, the odd gym 'date' etc.

My husband assured me that life would be more chilled (wait up, not sure I wanted 'chilled') but it is anything but. My job skills are not really transferrable, companies do not prefer Brits (as I was told) and with childcare and transport logistics being more complicated, I am not able to work right now. The cost of living is high in comparison to the UK so our disposable income dropped dramatically. I miss the shops (it's impossible to buy so many things here - you think you've found it then realise it's out of stock/ not in NZ), the tube, walking as part of my day, not exercise.... just the nitty gritty of my old life.

Having beaches on every doorstep does not mean life is chilled - I think this is the myth that is perpetuated - that NZ is some sort of utopia.
The move has confirmed that I am a city girl who likes nice holidays, and I feel trapped.
Like 'horror movie' trapped.

I hope I haven't taken over your thread, and I know this doesn't necessarily help, but I find comfort from people who feel similarly to me.
That it's not just me swimming against the tide.

The fact that your family are here, and I'm guessing that you could find work fairly easily, but you are still struggling, I think you know in your heart of hearts what you want to do....



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Old Oct 1st 2020, 2:55 am
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Default Re: struggling to settle

I hope I haven't taken over your thread, and I know this doesn't necessarily help, but I find comfort from people who feel similarly to me.
That it's not just me swimming against the tide.

The fact that your family are here, and I'm guessing that you could find work fairly easily, but you are still struggling, I think you know in your heart of hearts what you want to do....[/QUOTE]


I know what you mean! All I have heard from everyone, right from the time I arrived in quarantine is how lucky I am to be here - which just adds to the feeling of being incredibly spoilt/missing the point in some way. It's incredibly lonely walking around feeling this way.
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 4:26 am
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Default Re: struggling to settle

From Kiwis "I bet you're glad you're here not London right now"
From Londoners "You have Jacinda"

I'm lonely. I do have 'safe' people I can talk/moan to, but I feel I have to 'ration' myself to avoid getting boring.
I'm even cutting myself off from home because it's so damned difficult to hear everyone going about life without me (and of course the godawful time difference).


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Old Oct 1st 2020, 5:04 am
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Default Re: struggling to settle

Originally Posted by Pim View Post
gosh you must be very torn but as you say - you can't live life for other people.
Though NZ is paradise for some - it never has been for me, and I've lived here for 15 years.
It's very different to the UK - hard to express to people who've not lived in either country.
I am moving back to the UK next year - I've always missed it but have tried my best and made a lot of friends and had loads of great experiences. But I've found i've really had to try hard, make myself join in with everything. Yes parts of NZ are stunning - but I can't live with just a view.
Sadly my reason for actually making a real effort to move back is because my husband died suddenly so I want to make a new life for myself - but not in nz.
The time goes so quickly - go with your gut and don't regret anything.
I'm sorry to hear that, I know how that feels as I lost mine as well although it was in Oz and it's been over 9 years now but can understand.

I can't offer any advice to anyone on this subject as I like living in NZ (although I got locked down in Oz in March) but I have had many friends go through similar and you need to do what you feel is right for you personally, not live your lives how others think you should.

if that means going home to the UK, then you should if you can. Life is too short. ❤
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 7:44 am
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Default Re: struggling to settle

Originally Posted by hallie_day View Post
I know exactly how you feel.
I have been here a year (TODAY!!!) and it's not got better for me, and if I could go home I would.
We also moved from London and I desperately miss it.
Like you I came for many holidays prior to moving, and as a destination I feel I have done North Island, so a South Island trip, and I'm done.
I find it very 'samey' for leisure, but when things are back to normal I will need to travel to UK to see my elderly parents every year, so travel options will be limited.

We are in Auckland (North Shore so quiet suburbia) and I'm in a slightly different situation because I came with my kiwi husband and kids, and my relationship has broken down. I didn't want to move, but he put a lot of pressure on me and we have split because he just cannot see why I am depressed. He has no empathy for me, just anger that I am not ecstatic to be here. I also dared criticize his family who had a big part in pressurising us to move, including lying about his role in and share of, the family business.
Kiwis tend to be much more patriotic than Brits, and can't take criticism of their beloved Aotearoa.

I desperately miss my friends. I'm late 40s but still went 'out out' and I find socialising here incredibly difficult as a newcomer as it is quite cliquey, based around entertaining in the home etc. I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and have made a brilliant group of school mum friends who have all but saved my life at my darkest moments, but contact is pretty much coffees, play dates, the odd gym 'date' etc.

My husband assured me that life would be more chilled (wait up, not sure I wanted 'chilled') but it is anything but. My job skills are not really transferrable, companies do not prefer Brits (as I was told) and with childcare and transport logistics being more complicated, I am not able to work right now. The cost of living is high in comparison to the UK so our disposable income dropped dramatically. I miss the shops (it's impossible to buy so many things here - you think you've found it then realise it's out of stock/ not in NZ), the tube, walking as part of my day, not exercise.... just the nitty gritty of my old life.

Having beaches on every doorstep does not mean life is chilled - I think this is the myth that is perpetuated - that NZ is some sort of utopia.
The move has confirmed that I am a city girl who likes nice holidays, and I feel trapped.
Like 'horror movie' trapped.

I hope I haven't taken over your thread, and I know this doesn't necessarily help, but I find comfort from people who feel similarly to me.
That it's not just me swimming against the tide.

The fact that your family are here, and I'm guessing that you could find work fairly easily, but you are still struggling, I think you know in your heart of hearts what you want to do....
I hope some people will take your advice and unfortunately this happens all the time. Your case is a bit different but the most common thing is that people from cities often talk about the outdoor lifestyle they are seeking and pick countries like NZ/Canada but have never actually tried living in a more remote part of their own country. I've seen cases here in Ireland and you get people who come from places like Dublin and decide to move to a remote part of the West. Then they end up complaining that public transport is bad, shops don't have any choice, didn't end up kayaking every day and miss family and friends. They are only a 3 hour drive away in the same country, so imagine if you move to the other side of the world. Apart from costs and all the other challenges, you still have to work and make a living.
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 8:20 am
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Default Re: struggling to settle

Moses2013 So true. I had little choice, but I knew that a quieter life wasn't for me after 30 years in big cities. My brother lives in a small village in the West Midlands and we always took the piss out of each other - he couldn't live in London and you couldn't have paid me to live in his village. Ironically, where I live now is quieter with fewer local amenities and no personality. He at least has a pub, shop, fish and chip shop and Indian restaurant within walking distance.

Pim, apologies, I missed your post but very sorry for what you have been through - I can't imagine going through something so traumatic in a place that doesn't feel entirely comfortable. Good luck going home, I hope you find happiness x

laurenh804 I'm not sure of you feel the same, but part of my loneliness is the feeling that I don't belong and will never belong whereas I feel that you don't need to be any type of person to belong in London. Literally anything goes.
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 3:38 pm
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Default Re: struggling to settle

To Lauren804 why not treat your current situation as a 1 to 2 year working holiday? After spending a good amount of time in NZ working, then make up your mind.

I don't know why you feel guilty because you don't have the inclination to move to NZ to be with your family. As you say, you enjoy Europe, you have a good job in the UK, you miss London etc etc. You are a GP, have been visiting NZ for the past 10 years so are mature enough to know what you want out of life. Your family are not pressurising you to move to NZ.

I've visited NZ twice.... loved it.... but don't want to live there.... too far away from everywhere...... I lived in South Africa many years ago and felt the same way.......
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 8:36 pm
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Default Re: struggling to settle

part of my loneliness is the feeling that I don't belong and will never belong whereas I feel that you don't need to be any type of person to belong in London. Literally anything goes.[/QUOTE]


Couldn't have put it better myself... It feels easy to get absorbed into London

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Old Oct 1st 2020, 9:51 pm
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Couldn't have put it better myself... It feels easy to get absorbed into London
I miss London too. I note though that I have been here for twelve years now and none of the friends from my London days live there any more. The British ones have moved out to the satellite towns and commute in for work while the foreigners have all moved on.

For a dose of comfort I watch Kirsty and Phil's TV show - it is shown here - and I look on with horror at how small the rooms in all the British houses they visit are.(obviously I have to block-out all the convenient services that are available a short distance from their front-doors so it is swings and roundabouts really).
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 10:24 pm
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Default Re: struggling to settle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_To..._Country_Mouse

You have to find a place where you can be yourself.
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Old Oct 1st 2020, 10:51 pm
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Default Re: struggling to settle

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl View Post
To Lauren804 why not treat your current situation as a 1 to 2 year working holiday? After spending a good amount of time in NZ working, then make up your mind.

I don't know why you feel guilty because you don't have the inclination to move to NZ to be with your family. As you say, you enjoy Europe, you have a good job in the UK, you miss London etc etc. You are a GP, have been visiting NZ for the past 10 years so are mature enough to know what you want out of life. Your family are not pressurising you to move to NZ.

I've visited NZ twice.... loved it.... but don't want to live there.... too far away from everywhere...... I lived in South Africa many years ago and felt the same way.......
Great Post SDG. I grew up in NZ, moved to London, married a Brit, back to NZ, then to Oz, then back to NZ, and then to Oz again. I am originally from Christchurch and all of my family is there. I enjoy visiting but I can't live there. Part of that is having been through the earthquakes and all that that entailed. Love living in Melbourne now - is it possible you could give Australia a go? I know its hard to get in to Oz for some, especially at the moment, but you would at least be closer to family but have that bigger city vibe.

There's an oft-quoted saying about New Zealand - "you can't eat the scenery". I find our COL in Melbourne is about the same as New Zealand, but the wages are 150-200% higher so we have more disposable income which in turn means more opportunities for the kids.

It is such a hard decision, especially when your family is in one place but you just can't settle.
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