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Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Old Mar 19th 2019, 7:08 pm
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Default Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Hello All,

We moved to California, Los Angeles three years ago through DH's job ... He had a good offer of $250K per annum salary plus bonuses .... We're on an L1A/L2 visa and have been living in Westlake Village which is a lovely area. Or son started kindergarten here in a private school and is now in 2nd grade. I quit my job in UK when I relocated and haven't been able to find anything suitable that allows me to work from home like I used to in UK. Of late I've been contemplating returning to UK with my son until hubby can rejoin us in 2021. Most people react to our decision in a rather shocked manner and its made us start to rethink if what we're doing is right or completely mad ! I'd appreciate thoughts and advice please

The reasons we are thinking of splitting our family and returning are -
1. The massive cultural differences ... I've never managed to feel 'at home' in LA. The area we live in (Calabasas- Westlake Village) is chock full of superficial people with very little interest in anything but themselves (I generalise here- we've met some great people too). But in general the vibe is very shallow.
2. We aren't overly outdoorsy people as a family and miss our cultural trips in Europe and around blighty ... My son's deeply interested in all things history and historical stories and places. After the first few trips to Mexico and Canada, we find ourselves going for most of our vacations across the pond to Europe or back home.
3. Our son's gifted and was in a private school in England where he had access to one to one tuitions for a part of his school day whilst being able to study in a regular (not gifted) school where he could have a more balanced upbringing. Here we tried gifted schools but they looked decidedly unappealing as most children in these schools were very socially awkward and it felt too extreme a step for us to have to take. In contrast, he is constantly bored in his current school and I spend a significant chunk of time at home in the evenings keeping him challenged at his level.
4. Due to my son's quirky interests (Medieval history, Coding etc), he is unable to relate to most kids in his class and is suffering socially whereas in England he had lots of like minded friends. He was recently bullied by three significantly older boys in his school for being interested in Ancient gallic as a language and the school first turned a blind eye and then refused to take action as the children concerned had rich influential parents we can never compare to !
5. The politics here is unappealing at best.
6. Guns and a feeling of general safety .... we have witnessed a stickup in starbucks in Oakland and there's been a lockdown in our son's school once when a crazy guy with a knife was loose ....
7. My personal complete inability to understand the heavy focus on consumerism and materialistic aspects of the culture in LA ... I'm constantly put off by it ...
8. Although we are grateful that we have a well paying job and are able to afford this place, the high costs and utilities continue to shock me and I feel like we lived a better quality of life for less (case in point being food - better quality and bread doesn't last 5 weeks and milk doesn't last 3 weeks in UK!)
9. Just the general idea of raising our son in America with the materialistic values that seem to be everywhere is off putting ...

We have no family left in UK so that in itself isn't a major pull to return (in fact we have lots of cousins in New York and Chicago!) but in general feel ill at ease here. Our green card arrives in a few months so visa isn't an issue either. We are concerned that with Brexit this may be the stupidest decision ever and we might live to regret this later. America is still the market to be in in terms of growth opportunities for most careers in the western world today and UK's stagnating economy is a bit scary right now.

We'll truly appreciate any thoughts or suggestions.

Thanks for reading


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Old Mar 19th 2019, 7:19 pm
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Would a different part of the USA suit you more? We live in a college town and it is a lot less materialistic than your description and we have an eclectic circle of friends only some of whom are academics. The local schools encourage the oddballs to follow their interests and there is good provision by the school district for more than sports as non-classroom based activities.
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Old Mar 19th 2019, 7:21 pm
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Is another State not an option? There are so many places to live here. Having visited L.A multiple times, and having family there, it doesn't strike me as a place I'd like to live. But, that's just a difference of opinion and I'm sure many people love it.

Maybe explore New York or Chicago where you have relatives? I think one of the appeals of living in the U.S is the fact you can move to another State and it feel so much different. I think personally, in a few years my Wife and I will move a little further South to escape these harsh winters. Somewhere like North Carolina, as there are places with a relatively low cost of living, but Salaries are still relatively high. I'd have a sit down with your family and figure out whether it has to be L.A or the U.K, you literally have so much in between!
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Old Mar 19th 2019, 7:27 pm
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

I can empathise. Sorta the same boat.
Didn't mean to come here for so long and now it's been 20 years.

However with all the shenanigans back home we're going to move to the Laguna Beach area for 3 - 5 years and see how things work out.
We did think about moving to another State but with the Mediterranean climate, cuisine, concerts, beaches..easy access to mountains, desert... we came to the conclusion we should just stay in CA for a while.
Great place to ride my new bike.

First World problems.
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Old Mar 19th 2019, 9:05 pm
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Just some random thoughts.

Going back now means you will be operating 2 households, I presume that is practical.

Getting your GC first and a reentry permit might be good insurance.

I have been here a lot longer and also wonder what to do as I am also getting older. The thing I keep reminding myself is that you are not going back to what you left, things change.

I have never been to LA, but does sound weird and not everywhere is like that. There are definitely some States that seem likely to get weirder and CA would be on my list. I may be prejudiced because I have met a lot of people who have left the area and have told me why.

Guns does not bother me, well I was threatened with a gun once but that was in London. I also read about places I know in the UK which seems to be having major issues, knife crime etc. No doubt a distorted view.

The local highway seems to be managing a fatality a week and it is not that busy, that is worrying.

Health worries me but no doubt you have good cover.

Education, well I have been reading too many bad news articles in the Guardian, so a pass. I am not sure it is much different, obviously major geographical differences in both countries.

Food, well seasonal but that is an issue, but then I read the Brexit horror stories that are no doubt over the top.

If you are talking about where to be longer term and what the world holds I am at a loss to come up with a suggestion, I would expect by 2021 the next recession will have hit and quite what that will do I have no idea and who knows what the good call will be for location, if there is one.

You said you worked from home in the UK, could you not do the same job?
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Old Mar 19th 2019, 9:46 pm
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Normally I would agree with the other posters that you should give somewhere else a go. But, in your case, I think your mind is made up that you want to go back. Many of the things you describe do not seem Los Angeles-specific and I think you will dislike Place B in the US just as much, wherever that potentially ends up.

Nothing wrong with that, you came and gave it a go and want to move on.

2021 isn't that far away, as long as your husband would come very early in 2021.
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Old Mar 19th 2019, 9:52 pm
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

A fair bit of this resonates with me, but my wife loves it here so we're staying. We're in Orange County, which is full of vacuous, entitled types, just like affluent areas of LA. The trick to dealing with them is to avoid them and pick your friends.
We were thinking just the other day how odd it is that we don't have any "proper" American friends. By proper I mean good, dependable, regular contact friends, not just work colleagues.
We've found the vast majority of Americans to be friendly, helpful and courteous, but we never get further than acquaintance.
Most of our friends are Brits but we also have good Polish and South African friends, that oddly enough have more common ground than Americans in many ways. With like-minded people you can take the piss out of the culture here to your hearts content and many of those numbered items in your list just become interesting debates.

With the massive uncertainties around Brexit I'm not sure I'd be in too much of a hurry to go back though. As others say, make sure you get the green card sorted, to give you options.
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Old Mar 19th 2019, 9:58 pm
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

For what it's worth, I would take my time before you came to a decision. IMO, it would be immeasurably more sensible to wait until you have your green card in a few months.

At that point;
  • You'd have better potential to return to the USA if the grass in the UK isn't as green as you remember.
  • You'll have a chance to assess what happens in the aftermath of Brexit. Why trap yourself in a no-deal Brexit UK when you had the chance to avoid it.
  • You'll be able to move freely around the USA and perhaps try a different part of the country. If you have family on the East Coast why not try there? The USA is a big place.

Also FWIW, there's an attitudinal shift that comes with living in another country. From your post history you seem like you've felt homesick since very early on and a little highly strung about groceries in particular.

I think at some point you have to ask yourself whether the different quality in loaves of bread is a big enough issue to dictate a life changing move back to the UK. Is it really the 8th most important issue on your radar right now? Only you can ask that. Maybe it is, but maybe you're nitpicking without realising it. As a word of warning, it's very easy to fall into a trap of trying to live exactly the life you had in the UK and then getting down in the dumps when that isn't possible. Things are just different here, some things are better, some things are worse. Ultimately, you just have to accept it otherwise you'll always feel homesick.
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Old Mar 19th 2019, 10:06 pm
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Originally Posted by Marc_ely View Post
We were thinking just the other day how odd it is that we don't have any "proper" American friends.
20 years now and my only friend is Mrs. H.
I like it that way though...
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Old Mar 20th 2019, 1:24 am
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Thank you lizzyg . Its definitely worth considering. SFO , is definitely more culturally appealing than LA. It'll sound odd but we never considered that possibility. The first instinct is to go back to what you know.
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Old Mar 20th 2019, 1:25 am
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Originally Posted by Jamackabi View Post
Is another State not an option? There are so many places to live here. Having visited L.A multiple times, and having family there, it doesn't strike me as a place I'd like to live. But, that's just a difference of opinion and I'm sure many people love it.

Maybe explore New York or Chicago where you have relatives? I think one of the appeals of living in the U.S is the fact you can move to another State and it feel so much different. I think personally, in a few years my Wife and I will move a little further South to escape these harsh winters. Somewhere like North Carolina, as there are places with a relatively low cost of living, but Salaries are still relatively high. I'd have a sit down with your family and figure out whether it has to be L.A or the U.K, you literally have so much in between!
Thank you ... we hadn't considered that as an option at all.. definitely worth considering.
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Old Mar 20th 2019, 1:26 am
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Originally Posted by Hotscot View Post
I can empathise. Sorta the same boat.
Didn't mean to come here for so long and now it's been 20 years.

However with all the shenanigans back home we're going to move to the Laguna Beach area for 3 - 5 years and see how things work out.
We did think about moving to another State but with the Mediterranean climate, cuisine, concerts, beaches..easy access to mountains, desert... we came to the conclusion we should just stay in CA for a while.
Great place to ride my new bike.

First World problems.
First world problems indeed ... I'm grateful its not anything more serious than that .. to even have the option between England and LA is something to be grateful for. Perspective ....
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Old Mar 20th 2019, 1:29 am
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
Just some random thoughts.

Going back now means you will be operating 2 households, I presume that is practical.

Getting your GC first and a reentry permit might be good insurance.

I have been here a lot longer and also wonder what to do as I am also getting older. The thing I keep reminding myself is that you are not going back to what you left, things change.

I have never been to LA, but does sound weird and not everywhere is like that. There are definitely some States that seem likely to get weirder and CA would be on my list. I may be prejudiced because I have met a lot of people who have left the area and have told me why.

Guns does not bother me, well I was threatened with a gun once but that was in London. I also read about places I know in the UK which seems to be having major issues, knife crime etc. No doubt a distorted view.

The local highway seems to be managing a fatality a week and it is not that busy, that is worrying.

Health worries me but no doubt you have good cover.

Education, well I have been reading too many bad news articles in the Guardian, so a pass. I am not sure it is much different, obviously major geographical differences in both countries.

Food, well seasonal but that is an issue, but then I read the Brexit horror stories that are no doubt over the top.

If you are talking about where to be longer term and what the world holds I am at a loss to come up with a suggestion, I would expect by 2021 the next recession will have hit and quite what that will do I have no idea and who knows what the good call will be for location, if there is one.

You said you worked from home in the UK, could you not do the same job?
Thank you David ... you make very good points. I'm probably half expecting to regret returning and am therefore happy that we'll be straddling two continents for a bit. I've never felt more torn in terms of decision making than I am right now. And Southern California can get very very weird very quickly !
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Old Mar 20th 2019, 1:31 am
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Originally Posted by carcajou View Post
Normally I would agree with the other posters that you should give somewhere else a go. But, in your case, I think your mind is made up that you want to go back. Many of the things you describe do not seem Los Angeles-specific and I think you will dislike Place B in the US just as much, wherever that potentially ends up.

Nothing wrong with that, you came and gave it a go and want to move on.

2021 isn't that far away, as long as your husband would come very early in 2021.
Thank you. Yes DH intends to return March 2021. And you're right, I've been wondering why we ever moved right after the initial honeymoon period ended and reality set in.
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Old Mar 20th 2019, 1:33 am
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Default Re: Stay in LA or return to UK? Will appreciate thoughts

Thank you for your reply. We will get the green card regardless as hubby will continue to be here and we do not leave until August (by which time we are expecting it to arrive anyway).
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