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Want to go home!!!

Want to go home!!!

Old Jun 17th 2010, 11:02 pm
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Question Want to go home!!!

I have been living in California since '93 (came on a whim in my reckless 20's). I've been wanting to go home for years, but, for various reasons, never had the wherewithal ($$, health, energy, emotional support). Now I'm in a good relationship with a sweet man who is also an immigrant, but all of his family (mom and brother) are out here with him. Mine are all back home.

My main reasons to return:
1) I miss my country and my family, I'm homesick often.
2) I've been self employed all this time, just making ends meet. I have some savings, but a fraction of what I would need to retire here. My sweet partner has only just enough (maybe) for himself. I'm scared of what will happen when I'm no longer able to work and feel that in the UK I'll at least have some family and state support, and of course the good ol' NHS. I don't intend to live off the state by the way, I've been a bloody hard worker all of my life, just for next to nothing pay.

The issues are:
1) My man, understandably, doesn't want to leave his small family so far behind. His mother is aging and his brother is unmarried with no kids.
2) It's been nearly 20 years, I'm in my 40's, the economy isn't great, and I don't want to leave my lover and best friend behind.
3) My mom thinks it's just fab that I live in Southern California, and fancies herself retiring out here someday, so over the years when I've spoken of coming home, I've gotten very little support or encouragement from her. She thinks I would be barmy to come back home to Blighty, and has my best interests at heart, but of course she doesn't quite realize how hard it is on your own so far away.

I've never made the same quality of close friends out here as I had in the UK. I live in a big city, and apart from some professional acquaintances and work friends, I've never been able to make close connections outside of my intimate relationships. I miss home, I miss being part of a community (I'm from small town/village UK), I miss my family, I miss proper fish and chips. But I love and adore my man and it breaks my heart to think of leaving him!

Any thoughts or words of wisdom from anyone out there would be very, very much appreciated. I feel quite alone.

Last edited by annifree; Jun 17th 2010 at 11:04 pm. Reason: typo
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Old Jun 17th 2010, 11:18 pm
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Default Re: Want to go home!!!

Sorry to hear you are feeling so torn..

It might be worth checking out the 'moving back to the UK' forum as there are loads of people there in similar situations to you - been away from the UK for a long time, partners who are not so keen on a move etc...

http://britishexpats.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=61

Plenty of discussion & support there so that might help with the 'alone' feeling.
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Old Jun 17th 2010, 11:33 pm
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Default Re: Want to go home!!!

If it's going well with the new man maybe give it a bit longer? It doesn't sound like he's going to move with you.

Does your Mum have the financial means to retire here?

Good luck, and as rebs says, take a look at the 'Moving Back' forum.
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Old Jun 18th 2010, 12:01 am
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Default Re: Want to go home!!!

I take it you and your man are both US citizens?

Rene
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Old Jun 18th 2010, 12:57 am
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Smile Re: Want to go home!!!

Thanks you guys, it's heartening to read your caring replies. I will check out the forum you guys mentioned (right now), and FYI I am a dual citizen and he is US only having given up his original passport when he first came here as a political refugee.
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Old Jun 18th 2010, 1:20 am
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Default Re: Want to go home!!!

For those dealing with homesickness I also frequently recommend this site as well:

http://talk.uk-yankee.com/index.php?board=68.0

Homesickness and Hard Times for expats. The only rub is that it is Americans living in the UK. They went over and fell in love with someone or someplace in the UK and (often on a whim) headed over to follow their heart, only to discover later it wasn't exactly what they anticipated.

The reason isn't to let you read a bunch of vents about life in the UK, but to help you understand some of the homesickness things that are essentially universal, regardless of geography or nationality, and perhaps find some solutions for ways to deal with them until you are able to make your final decision and settle in one country or the other. You'll be surprised that many of the things they are having to deal with are probably quite similar to what confronts you right now.

Good luck and feel free to vent on this board. It can help sometime.
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Old Jun 18th 2010, 1:58 am
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Wink Re: Want to go home!!!

Thanks penguinsix. Your thoughtful words are like a Bart Simpson sticky band-aid for the soul.
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Old Jun 18th 2010, 2:19 am
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Default Re: Want to go home!!!

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
For those dealing with homesickness I also frequently recommend this site as well:

http://talk.uk-yankee.com/index.php?board=68.0

Homesickness and Hard Times for expats. The only rub is that it is Americans living in the UK. They went over and fell in love with someone or someplace in the UK and (often on a whim) headed over to follow their heart, only to discover later it wasn't exactly what they anticipated.

The reason isn't to let you read a bunch of vents about life in the UK, but to help you understand some of the homesickness things that are essentially universal, regardless of geography or nationality, and perhaps find some solutions for ways to deal with them until you are able to make your final decision and settle in one country or the other. You'll be surprised that many of the things they are having to deal with are probably quite similar to what confronts you right now.
Sort of, although she is specifically concerned about healthcare and support in old age.
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Old Jun 18th 2010, 7:05 am
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Default Re: Want to go home!!!

Whatever you do, make sure you go back to UK for a visit before you make any decisions. You may have an unrealistic picture of life there. You should be able to get a reasonably priced ticket after the major holiday season is over.

The NHS is a big deal for sure as you weigh the costs of future healthcare. But you never know - Obamacare just may be of some real use (that's what I'm hoping for!). I do think your mom may be unrealistic in thinking she could retire here - the issues of medical coverage just don't seem to make that practical (unless she's got a lot of money). My mom LOVES it here, and I'd love to have her move here - but the cost of insuring her is just too great.

You said you've had a harder time making friends here than back in UK. I'd say my experience is similar - but - I wonder if that is age related too. I made all my good friends back in UK at school/university, when people were perhaps more 'open' to making friends.

If you have a partner you love, and who is unlikely to come with you, that's a tough thing to walk away from. Unless you think you'll have no problem finding a similar situation back in UK, you may want to consider this as something to hang on to.

Do you think you'll be able to find work over there? The economies in both places are not fun right now, but at least here you have a 'network' of contacts.

Perhaps the biggest reason for going home would be the 'retirement' thing ... if you really are only just making ends meet, and not able to save, that IS an issue in the US. Are you sure the two of you (should you hook up long term) could not make it? Have you considered moving to a lower-cost area? your partner may not want to move to UK, but he may be willing to move 50 or 100 miles inland, to find a more affordable environment while still being relatively close to his family. I have had similar thoughts ... I live near SF, which is outrageously expensive. But I could move to places like Davis or Vacaville or Sacramento, where housing is much much cheaper. It's only an hour or two drive from where I live today. I think the same concepts apply to Southern CA, in that there are inland cities that may still be 'acceptable' and yet more affordable.

Good luck ... don't do anything hasty ... and definitely visit UK before making any decisions!
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Old Jun 18th 2010, 11:58 pm
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Smile Re: Want to go home!!!

Hi Steerpike,
I go over to the UK once every year or two, so I pretty much know how it is - though until I actually make the move for a few months it would be hard to really tell.

Obamacare would be great if it actually turns out to be anything more than just hype, it would sure take the pressure off of me and millions of other hardworking low income people and families - but I'm not holding my breath.

As for the friends (or lack thereof) situation - I know what you mean about the age thing, but when you combine that with the culture thing it doesn't help any. It also doesn't help that I live in a fairly big city (San Diego), which can be tough for creating community anywhere in the world. I did just find a Brit meet up group online though, which I hope to check out the next time they have a get together.

Honestly, I do love my partner very much, and don't know how I could leave him behind - why drag a big old broken heart home with me? It's just I'm in a sense of mild but rising panic of late as I contemplate my self at 75 or 80 and unable to work anymore. I suppose there's medicare to fall back on here, but what kind of life is that? If I'm going to be existing on the breadline, I might as well do it in the UK with some family and friends still around.

Perhaps we will go inland - though you'd have to go at least 100 miles and the towns are veritable dust bowels out there in the desert with not much work - again, is that premium living? I think I'd rather go live in Thailand or India! (I know - not practical either).

I'm going to give myself another couple of years to figure out what to do. By then I'll be 45, and it still won't be too late to figure out some kind of pension in the UK, if that's what I choose to do.

It has been really, really helpful reading the forums this site. They answered a few questions I didn't even know I had, and made me realize that at least I wasn't alone in my predicament.

Many best wishes to all who replied to my plaintiff post. May the road rise to meet you...
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Old Jun 19th 2010, 12:30 am
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Default Re: Want to go home!!!

Originally Posted by annifree View Post
...

... It's just I'm in a sense of mild but rising panic of late as I contemplate my self at 75 or 80 and unable to work anymore. I suppose there's medicare to fall back on here, but what kind of life is that? If I'm going to be existing on the breadline, I might as well do it in the UK with some family and friends still around.
The idea of being here, alone, in old age, is quite frightening. I have no children, and not one family member within 5,000 miles. My partner is several years older than me; she has no family in-country either, and already had a few medical scares ... I simply don't like to contemplate this too much as I don't have a solution. I have family in UK, but my mom is already 82 - she's not going to be there in my old age. I have an older brother too, and a few nieces ... that's pretty much it for me in terms of 'family to fall back on' - definitely not something to plan on! However - and I cannot substantiate this with anything - life has been good to me so far and I have a belief that 'something will work out'. But I know exactly what you mean.

Originally Posted by annifree View Post
...
Perhaps we will go inland - though you'd have to go at least 100 miles and the towns are veritable dust bowels out there in the desert with not much work - again, is that premium living? I think I'd rather go live in Thailand or India! (I know - not practical either).
..
I used to feel that way about the towns inland from SF, but just a couple of years ago was forced to spend time in Sacramento, and discovered that there were some decent neighborhoods and it may not be a bad place after all. I'm now having a similar experience in Phoenix - two years ago I thought it was the pits; now I'm spending most of my time here and I'm discovering that there are decent places to hang out, things to do, etc - I am seriously considering moving here to take advantage of the lower cost of living - at least it is a fallback.

If you still have a good network of friends in UK, good for you! My network is pretty dead at this point (away 27 years).

I really wish you luck!
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Old Jun 19th 2010, 3:15 am
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Smile Re: Want to go home!!!

I really wish you luck too - and all the best wishes in the world to your spouse and for her health.
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Old Jun 19th 2010, 3:53 pm
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Default Re: Want to go home!!!

I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area when I first arrived here, (1983).

After about 10 years of that I thought, " screw it , I'm getting out of here."
I was considering moving back to the UK, but like yourself I had very little money.

Eventually I found a job in a tiny town on the Mendocino Coast, ( Northern California ), it is beautiful , the rents are much cheaper, and the people are a lot more laid back. ( It's not boiling hot either ! ).

I do get homesick, but I have been going back about twice a year just lately, and that seems to satisfy me for now, who knows about the future !

Anyway , if it's possible, try to move to a smaller community, there are a lot of little pockets in the US, I personally feel like I live in another country up here, you couldn't pay me enough to move back to a large US city.

I know what you mean about health care, and we are all getting older, fingers crossed for Obamacare ! But unless you have an accident you are somewhat covered by being British, and having the ability to move back to the UK. Not the best scenario but at least it's something.

Best of luck to you both

Mick
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Old Jun 19th 2010, 5:40 pm
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Default Re: Want to go home!!!

Thank you Mick. I've been along the coast up there - and it is very beautiful. I think big city life is one of the issues that I'm chaffing up against as I'm a village girl by upbringing. Unfortunately we have to stay close to San Diego as my partners family are here, and the small towns inland are in the desert where it gets scorching hot. There are a few pockets of humanity further east that are inhabitable, but our professions also keep us close to the city (I'm in the service industry).

Above all I'll repeat how great it's been receiving replies like yours. The goodness in the hearts of the people on this website warms my cockles and lends me hope.
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Old Jun 19th 2010, 6:33 pm
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Default Re: Want to go home!!!

Originally Posted by annifree View Post
I suppose there's medicare to fall back on here, but what kind of life is that? If I'm going to be existing on the breadline, I might as well do it in the UK with some family and friends still around.
I don't pretend to know if you should go home or stay but I wouldn't equate Medicare to living on the breadline. Most of our seniors use Medicare, my parents included. While the problems of our healthcare system are very real ... sometimes I think the doom and gloom expressed on this website are a bit extreme.
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