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Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

Old Sep 22nd 2014, 7:11 pm
  #256  
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Default Re: Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

I don't know if my case would fit here since I haven't returned to the UK and I am not British either.

I am from Southern Europe, and went to college in the US (New York Metro Area). After graduation I headed straight back to work to London, worked there for 2 years. 2009, with the crisis and I moved to work in Abu Dhabi for 2 years. In 2011 I returned back to continental Europe (to a different country). And that it is.

In the US I felt I never fit there. At the beginning and for 2 years at least it was OK, but then it became almost sick and I had this almost mental thing about returning to Europe. I would even wake up in the morning after dreaming I was back in my country. And then I would look out of the window I would see those squared car plates... and I knew I didn't want to be there another single day. Interestingly, I don't think it was "home sick" about my city or country. Everytime I went to Europe (and it is not like I am an Europeist or anything), I felt there was something underlying that made me felt better. I remember one of my last flights from the US in college with Air France, changing planes at Charles de Gaulle in Paris, how I felt suddenly relaxed just to be there just waiting for my next plane back home. Maybe the food, the people, the tone of voice, the way they moved. It was very strong. Or how in my senior year in college, we went to Central Asia for a field trip for a course, changing planes at Frankfurt airport. We had a long layover and headed to the city (I had never been there before and I don't speak a word of German!). I remember taking breakfast in a typical German café, and how my all-American classmates complained about the "lack of service". But despite the lack of smiles of the waitress (it was Germany after all) I felt a connection. I have always felt this connection, from Glasgow to Warsaw. Ironically, most of my friends from college are Europeans or even Asians, not Americans.

After the US, London was fine, if hard. But I never felt out of place. Despite London being such a harsh city (expensive, competitive), I never ever had those feelings as in the US.

Abu Dhabi was interesting. It felt great at the beginning. but tiring after a while. Exotic and that was it. Nice weather, good pay, but empty. However easier than the US. Of course, it is not the land of freedom or opportunities.

And then it was Europe again. It is OK. I feel "at home".

Yet I miss things about the US. Particularly, I feel job-wise there would be more opportunities (I don't have US passport, so it would be stupid to think about returning back with all the H1B mess... no thanks). My friends there... I feel they have more fulfilling roles and careers. Even here, I noticed Americans (since I studied in a US college with a good number of alumni in Europe, I got to know quite a few people; many of them Americans) here have been way more helpful to me. There is this American generosity that I love.

I am afraid I will get stuck in my work life here. Life is also quite un-happening but pleasant. I received a good option to work again in the Middle East (more interesting than what I am doing now) but I got a gut against not doing it. Yet on the other hand...

I feel mentally way more comfortable living in Europe. Not comfortable in a material sense, but in a sense that I "belong". Way more pleasant. But also it makes me feel "lazier" I guess. In the US at some stage I became really stressed. In Abu Dhabi I felt empty. Here life goes on sweetly. But it doesn't "improves" me. I am not talking career wise, but personal wise. While living in the US, I learnt many things about me and the world... that I wouldn't have learnt if I stayed here.

Have you ever felt like this?

Last edited by NewCaledonia; Sep 22nd 2014 at 7:13 pm.
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Old Sep 23rd 2014, 7:33 pm
  #257  
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Default Re: Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

i totally understand when you say you feel you "belong". I wrote a long post about my reflections and sense of belonging after spending 6 weeks this summer in UK. I think what sealed my decision to move back for good was that I saw different places in UK I had never seen before. My hometown is Preston and all my friends are there but I cannot live there.. Your post was well-written and some of it resonated with me.. All the best..
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Old Sep 23rd 2014, 9:03 pm
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Default Re: Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

I too totally understand. It was only when I was in the US as an expat English person that I realised how European I actually was and how much I had in common with other Europeans....

but, like you, I found much to appreciate in the US and especially that generosity that you mention. Also that sense of a future, of potential, of room to improve one's life on different levels. But there is a lot of competitiveness there too.

It would be interesting to know where in southern Europe your native country is, and where in Europe you are now....

Despite what I said above about having a lot in common with other European countries, I do feel each country in Europe has its own individuality and characteristics...that's what makes it interesting.
I would never want to see those differences diminish or all of us become more the same. If that's where the EU is taking the individual countries of Europe, I'm not so keen on it. But that's a different topic...
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Old Sep 23rd 2014, 9:36 pm
  #259  
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Default Re: Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

Betweentwoworlds... I have not lived in US since 1984 but despair at what I read at times EU tells UK what to do. I have read something silly about hoovers, hair dryers etc. etc. It is like they are trying to make Europe into a United Europe!
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Old Sep 23rd 2014, 9:45 pm
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Default Re: Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

Originally Posted by fulwood View Post
Betweentwoworlds... I have not lived in US since 1984 but despair at what I read at times EU tells UK what to do. I have read something silly about hoovers, hair dryers etc. etc. It is like they are trying to make Europe into a United Europe!
Do you mean you haven't lived in uk since 1984?

You are right, there are many silly rules coming from the EU govt. And that's what I mean each country is different and perhaps shouldn't be subject o the same rules imposed from without.

But still, there's a cultural connection...

And yet there is also something to be said for the "Anglo-Saxon" cultural links between US and UK, which do sometimes mean that (perhaps especially in the work environment?) the UK and US styles have something in common, different from the styles of some european countries....

all a fascinating subject!
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Old Sep 24th 2014, 7:53 pm
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Default Re: Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

Duh.. Yes I meant have not lived in UK since 1984. October 1 of this year is 30 years ago to day I stepped on Pan Am flight and landed in LA.. Slowly preparing for move back. It's funny you can do the should/should not move back routine for years and then suddenly (in my case long vacation) everything falls into place and I'm ready to go back. I feel calm about it just what to be like McMuffin and be patient and be financially comfortable. I'm lucky as I have a super job that doesn't bore me..
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Old Sep 24th 2014, 9:26 pm
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Default Re: Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

I can understand totally about being the right time and in the right frame of mind too! Our house has not sold and I wonder if it did when we listed in April, we would have rushed off to UK without both of us being totally committed! My OH was really doing it for me. Now we are talking about possibly staying in this house if does not sell (or in area if does in another house) for a few more years but closing down my business which is giving me such grief and travelling back to UK and further afield annually to see family. I can see us eventually moving back but in meantime I can also see us enjoying our home here too! Earlier I was so adamant that I wanted to move back as I saw it as the holy grail to my happiness! I did not think of anything else for 2 years until I saw when we listed the house how agitated my OH became to the point of being ill! Now he has to be in the right frame of mind and I will follow on what he wants. He is more important to me than any place I live! I feel at ease with this now although it has taken most of the summer to feel this. He has not ruled it out altogether either, he just wants to have everything fall into place rather than force the issue!
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Old Sep 25th 2014, 1:14 pm
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Default Re: Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

Originally Posted by feelbritish View Post
I can understand totally about being the right time and in the right frame of mind too! Our house has not sold and I wonder if it did when we listed in April, we would have rushed off to UK without both of us being totally committed! My OH was really doing it for me. Now we are talking about possibly staying in this house if does not sell (or in area if does in another house) for a few more years but closing down my business which is giving me such grief and travelling back to UK and further afield annually to see family. I can see us eventually moving back but in meantime I can also see us enjoying our home here too! Earlier I was so adamant that I wanted to move back as I saw it as the holy grail to my happiness! I did not think of anything else for 2 years until I saw when we listed the house how agitated my OH became to the point of being ill! Now he has to be in the right frame of mind and I will follow on what he wants. He is more important to me than any place I live! I feel at ease with this now although it has taken most of the summer to feel this. He has not ruled it out altogether either, he just wants to have everything fall into place rather than force the issue!
You are a lovely person FB, and your partner is a very lucky man.
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Old Sep 25th 2014, 2:24 pm
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Default Re: Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

Originally Posted by spouse of scouse View Post
You are a lovely person FB, and your partner is a very lucky man.
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Old Sep 25th 2014, 2:26 pm
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Default Re: Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

Originally Posted by feelbritish View Post
I can understand totally about being the right time and in the right frame of mind too! Our house has not sold and I wonder if it did when we listed in April, we would have rushed off to UK without both of us being totally committed! My OH was really doing it for me. Now we are talking about possibly staying in this house if does not sell (or in area if does in another house) for a few more years but closing down my business which is giving me such grief and travelling back to UK and further afield annually to see family. I can see us eventually moving back but in meantime I can also see us enjoying our home here too! Earlier I was so adamant that I wanted to move back as I saw it as the holy grail to my happiness! I did not think of anything else for 2 years until I saw when we listed the house how agitated my OH became to the point of being ill! Now he has to be in the right frame of mind and I will follow on what he wants. He is more important to me than any place I live! I feel at ease with this now although it has taken most of the summer to feel this. He has not ruled it out altogether either, he just wants to have everything fall into place rather than force the issue!
Great to hear you have some peace of mind and feel at ease with waiting longer...yes, your spouse is lucky; and maybe with time you will both be ready to make the move and that mutual enthusiasm will make it a much better experience.
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Old Sep 26th 2014, 4:26 pm
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Default Re: Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

i think life is what you make it. my husband is getting older. my daughter hates it here but a big plus she is able to drive at 15 something i tell her she wouldn't be doing if she was in england, everywhere has its good and bad points but when i see my husband struggling with doing work as he is not a young man anymore and then hurt himself and you think yourself lucky he didn't end up breaking his leg you do start to wonder what is it all about.
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Old Sep 27th 2014, 7:44 pm
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Default Re: Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

Originally Posted by between two worlds View Post
I too totally understand. It was only when I was in the US as an expat English person that I realised how European I actually was and how much I had in common with other Europeans....

but, like you, I found much to appreciate in the US and especially that generosity that you mention. Also that sense of a future, of potential, of room to improve one's life on different levels. But there is a lot of competitiveness there too.
That is an interesting topic that I have discussed with friends that have lived in the US and Europe.

I reckon the similar things between the UK and continental Europe are that they are "old" countries... everything has been set long ago and maybe this is the reason that for people who like to be in "control" and don't like uncertainty, Europe seems more comfortable. Which at the end of the day is quite silly if you look objectively, because Europe is becoming more like the US (but only for the bad!): education and health care getting privatized, more inequality, etc. etc., but not for the good things that you have rightly mentioned above and that make the US "The Greatest Nation on Earth"

The US is still a tabula rasa somehow, a young country, the land of dreams where anything (bad or good) can happen. There is this sense of urgency and instability that is so good for some stuff (the most innovative country in the world... and it will always be) but somehow does not allow you time to reflect. I could never get completely relaxed in the US. This is great for some people but I guess some others (and I would include myself) are more reflexive so we get somehow lost there.

I guess this has to do with this "old" that somehow people in the UK or Europe have internalized. I personally have felt the same outside the Western world. For instance, when I visited Japan (despite I actually have never had a particular interest in Japanese culture) I felt incredibly comfortable. Everything felt in place to me from the first minute despite being such a different culture. Yet, when you think about it... Japan is such an old culture. But when I have been to places like Latin America (quite similar to the US in terms of chronology), I felt again this sense of urgency.

I haven't been to a country that mixes the best things of both worlds unfortunately... but probably it can't exist.

P.S.: I am from Spain and work in Belgium.

Last edited by NewCaledonia; Sep 27th 2014 at 7:46 pm.
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Old Sep 29th 2014, 9:38 pm
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Default Re: Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

Originally Posted by NewCaledonia View Post
That is an interesting topic that I have discussed with friends that have lived in the US and Europe.

I reckon the similar things between the UK and continental Europe are that they are "old" countries... everything has been set long ago and maybe this is the reason that for people who like to be in "control" and don't like uncertainty, Europe seems more comfortable. Which at the end of the day is quite silly if you look objectively, because Europe is becoming more like the US (but only for the bad!): education and health care getting privatized, more inequality, etc. etc., but not for the good things that you have rightly mentioned above and that make the US "The Greatest Nation on Earth"

The US is still a tabula rasa somehow, a young country, the land of dreams where anything (bad or good) can happen. There is this sense of urgency and instability that is so good for some stuff (the most innovative country in the world... and it will always be) but somehow does not allow you time to reflect. I could never get completely relaxed in the US. This is great for some people but I guess some others (and I would include myself) are more reflexive so we get somehow lost there.

I guess this has to do with this "old" that somehow people in the UK or Europe have internalized. I personally have felt the same outside the Western world. For instance, when I visited Japan (despite I actually have never had a particular interest in Japanese culture) I felt incredibly comfortable. Everything felt in place to me from the first minute despite being such a different culture. Yet, when you think about it... Japan is such an old culture. But when I have been to places like Latin America (quite similar to the US in terms of chronology), I felt again this sense of urgency.

I haven't been to a country that mixes the best things of both worlds unfortunately... but probably it can't exist.

P.S.: I am from Spain and work in Belgium.
Thanks for this. very thought provoking point of view and I would tend to agree there is something very evocative and peaceful about being somewhere steeped in 'old.' For me, I think about that feeling you get when inside one of the really old churches or cathedrals in England, although not particularly religious they always fill me with a feeling of peace and contentment.

Its true the frenetic culture in certain parts of the US can be very distressing. Then when I visit other parts (generally the midwest) I feel more at ease.
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Old Aug 13th 2015, 9:21 pm
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Default Re: Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

Originally Posted by CalgaryPete View Post
I have been back in the UK for 4 months after 14 years in Canada. I have had days when I regretted leaving Calgary. We were very settled there but I convinced myself I would be happier in the UK, hiking in the Lake District and visiting family in Devon. I enjoyed the first month back in Devon, but since moving to Lancashire the reality of everyday life with a long drive to work, lower disposable income and worries about house prices have overshadowed the things I looked forward to. I have enjoyed days back in the Lake District and visiting family and friends in the south west, but the enjoyment from those days is quickly replaced during the work week when the other concerns re-surface.

The biggest shocks have been seeing my savings disappear so quickly and realising that moving back to the UK has not answered the question of where to live. I don't know whether to stay in Lancashire, move to the south west to be closer to family or move back to Calgary.


I am hoping that time will tell. I had planned to buy a place when my 6 month tenancy ends, but others on this forum have recommended taking more time to get settled before buying.

I apologise for all this whinging! I am generally cheerful and positive, at least outwardly, but your question deserved honest answers and this is my experience so far. It's entirely possible I will feel completely different in another few months. I hope I do.

Would I leave the UK again? If I still feel the same in 6 months time, I would seriously consider moving back to Calgary. But before doing that, I might try the south west first, to see whether being closer to family makes me feel more settled. One problem is that I have discovered I cannot reliably predict how I will feel after moving, although this may be because I am still in transition.
Hiya, hope things are going well for you at this point now you've spent more time back in Blighty and can make more of an informed choice.
Can I ask, any problems storing your Canadian pension? I read you need '20 years' with Pension before your pension can be transferred to another Country. CPP (Canadian Pension Plan) specifically.
Cheers.
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Old Aug 13th 2015, 10:58 pm
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Default Re: Any regrets about moving back to the UK?

Originally Posted by bearfacts View Post
Hiya, hope things are going well for you at this point now you've spent more time back in Blighty and can make more of an informed choice.
Can I ask, any problems storing your Canadian pension? I read you need '20 years' with Pension before your pension can be transferred to another Country. CPP (Canadian Pension Plan) specifically.
Cheers.
Your CPP will be paid to another country on their list of countries which is on Canadian government website. I have not heard that you can transfer you CPP to another country in a lump sum, as far as I know you take it monthly from when you qualify. I am sure someone else will know more than me and come onto here to inform you. If not go to the Canada forum and ask that question. As for OAS you will only get this paid out of the country provided you have lived here for 20 years and if you have, you will only get that and not the "top up".
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