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When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

Old Apr 5th 2016, 4:23 am
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Default Re: When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

Originally Posted by elspethUK
Roughly two months ago we relocated from Leeds to suburban Michigan, USA for dh's work. He is happy at his job here, and it is a good position, but me and my daughter are not nearly as happy. P is almost 15. She was open to moving but now that she is here asks daily to go back home.

She is a second year/sophomore in high school here. When she started all the girls in her class thought she was Australian (we get that a lot, must be a northern accent thing). When they found out she is English they all asked her whether or not she knows Cara Delevigne or the Queen. She says she feels like a zoo animal and there is nothing to do for fun here. Most of the teenagers here go to the mall or sport for fun. She spends hours on the phone with her friends in Leeds and I'm worried that this is what's stopping her from opening up to making friends at school. Younger daughter on the other hand made up a bunch of nonsense about being related to Kate Middleton and living in a castle, which I found out later and she has since dropped her story. She has adjusted much better and can now imitate a perfect American accent, although apparently everyone at school is jealous of her accent.

As for me, I miss home much more than expected. I imagine if we were somewhere like San Francisco or New York the transition might be easier but so many of the things we love about home is not available here. It's only a 2-3 year position and if it were just me, I would wait it out but I'm concerned about older daughter, I've never seen her this unhappy. I am considering going home at this point, which dh is open to but really enjoys his job

First of all do people mistake your accents for Australian all the time? (Is it just a northerner thing? because I think Australian accents sound more American than English) How long did it take you to adjust and find friends? How long did it take your teenagers to adjust?
Give it more time, this winter has been pretty mild by comparison but even so it is still cold... Summer's in MI are lovely and there is a lot more going on... Pool party's, beach days, picnics/bbq etc.

As for the Australian thing better get used to that, I have been here over 13 years and still get asked that.

I had a tough time making friends, it is really different in the US... I was very lonely and started working just to get out the house... I now have few people I consider close friends.
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Old Apr 5th 2016, 4:23 am
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Default Re: When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

Where in MI are you?
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Old Apr 5th 2016, 4:28 am
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Default Re: When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

Thank you for your responses, it's very validating and comforting knowing others feel or felt similarly. Certainly nothing wrong with being an Aussie but I find to my surprise that the longer I've been away from UK the more important that identity is to me.

We aren't too far from Ann Arbor, we should make more an effort to spend time in the city.

Interesting, the theory of not going home before 6 months. I can understand that, I imagine if we went home for a visit now, elder daughter would refuse to leave. It would likely be even harder for her. But at this point it's difficult to imagine another 4 months here. My parents and 2 out of 3 brothers (other in liverpool) and all my dcs' cousins are in Leeds. I took family for granted.

In terms of university, at least right now I can't imagine older daughter not going to UK for university. My understanding is that you have to be in UK for at least 3 years before applying or you are considered international? seems a bit silly. But she is in a strong IB program here so hopefully the transition back will be smooth
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Old Apr 5th 2016, 4:33 am
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Default Re: When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

Originally Posted by elspethUK
.... My understanding is that you have to be in UK for at least 3 years before applying or you are considered international? ....
If your husband is on an H-1 or L-1 visa then I have heard that some people have had success in arguing that their permanent home is in the UK and that they are still eligible for domestic university tuition rates. Applying for green cards would wreck that argument though.
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Old Apr 5th 2016, 5:04 am
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Default Re: When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

I speak Received English and still get the Australian etc comments.
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Old Apr 5th 2016, 5:07 am
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Default Re: When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

Originally Posted by Pulaski
If your husband is on an H-1 or L-1 visa then I have heard that some people have had success in arguing that their permanent home is in the UK and that they are still eligible for domestic university tuition rates. Applying for green cards would wreck that argument though.
Funnily enough I was at a conference 2 weeks ago and met a colleague who taught at Edinburgh University, my alma mater. Things have changed in the UK. She told me that UK students are now zombies in Class. The high tuition and living costs have forced students to work night shifts in call centers and other places. Leaving them destroyed for class.

The Universities charge $13,440/ year in the UK and living costs are also high. And the UK does not have anywhere near the number of scholarships available to US students. My kids will be going to community college for 2 years then transferring those credits to a state university.

Anyway, food for thought.
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Old Apr 5th 2016, 6:55 am
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Default Re: When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

Originally Posted by bewildering
Funnily enough I was at a conference 2 weeks ago and met a colleague who taught at Edinburgh University, my alma mater. Things have changed in the UK. She told me that UK students are now zombies in Class. The high tuition and living costs have forced students to work night shifts in call centers and other places. Leaving them destroyed for class.

The Universities charge $13,440/ year in the UK and living costs are also high. And the UK does not have anywhere near the number of scholarships available to US students. My kids will be going to community college for 2 years then transferring those credits to a state university.

Anyway, food for thought.
Scottish universities charge £1800 a year for scottish + EU students. The rest of the UK is £9000. Since most of the students in Scotland are scottish, I can't see why they have an excuse to fall asleep and claim that they are having to work!

The other BIG difference is that UK university fees do not have to be paid until after graduation and the student is earning over about £21k. That makes a massive difference to finances.
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Old Apr 5th 2016, 7:03 am
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Default Re: When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

Interesting to read experiences of being thought of as Australian. I made a point about this on another thread but Pulaski accused me of "bollocks" and that just because his own personal experiences differed, I must be wrong

As for Michigan, while being stuck out in the burbs in the Mid West isn't something I'd wish on anyone, there is a life to be had even there if you make the effort. The summers here get very warm, you'll be pleasantly surprised just how lovely it gets and they'll be things like the state fair to enjoy which are great fun if you've never experienced one. I would also suggest your kids get involved in sports, they'll make friends by playing things like softball and baseball, while watching them you too would make friends with the parents

I don't have kids myself and moved here very young so didn't have this attachment to the UK many Expats experience, I would say, however, it's very easy to land someone that's a millions miles to what you're used and assume you'll never be happy there. The harsh reality is, we may share the same lingo (loosely) but the US and UK are worlds apart culturally so as much as you yearn for tea and scones and BBC TV, wanting these things is just gonna make it harder to assimilate. Entertain American things, you might fight them better than you thought
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Old Apr 5th 2016, 12:15 pm
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Default Re: When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

When I came back to the UK from South Africa at 18 (was there from 6 till 18) it was a massive culture shock, and took me a good 12 months to get into the swing of things, making friends was difficult (was finished school) so enrolled in a college to get some sort of UK qualification (as SA one was next to useless at the time), and it was actually my younger brother (18 months my younger) that helped me out, as he was still at school, he had friends around, and bizarrely as I was a geek, and always had something cool/gamey on the go, they would gravitate around just to play the latest whatever. Brother is a Jock, and his friends at the time changed as he got into different sports, and university, however his original friends actually became close friends to me, and I'm pleased to say they still are.

It's surprising what happens, and what clicks, but I would certainly give it some time, as the culture shock takes some getting used to, and only when you have accepted the change does it become easier to integrate.

Saying that, I still speak to my SA friends on a weekly basis, technology helps there (when SA has a decent internet that is )
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Old Apr 5th 2016, 1:55 pm
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Default Re: When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

I've been in MI for 5 years now, I share your daughter's dislike of it to be honest. Especially when you get to April and think you're done with snow, only for it to chuck another load down The winters here are horrible, I hope it gets better for you in the summer when you can get out a bit more and see how nice the state can be. Make plans to go and visit the lakes or Traverse City so you have something to look forward to maybe? Make sure you take vitamin D supplements so you don't get deficient.


Ackroyd's Scottish bakery in Redford sells English things like Easter eggs and sausage rolls if you want a taste of home...
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Old Apr 5th 2016, 2:33 pm
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Default Re: When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

Originally Posted by themadpooper
.... Entertain American things, you might fight them better than you thought
With that much I agree. I think that focusing on trying to recreate your little corner of England, with British groceries, and British TV, just feeds the homesickness and delays you settling and integrating.
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Old Apr 5th 2016, 2:34 pm
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Default Re: When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

Originally Posted by Pulaski
With that much I agree. I think that focusing on trying to recreate your little corner of England, with British groceries, and British TV, just feeds the homesickness and delays you settling and integrating.
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Old Apr 5th 2016, 2:37 pm
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Default Re: When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

Certainly cut down on the calls.
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Old Apr 5th 2016, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise
What's with the australian thing? Nobody thinks I'm Australian. Queen's english obviously....
I'm from Oxford and I get it a fair bit too, that or they think I'm a Saffer.
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Old Apr 5th 2016, 2:55 pm
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Default Re: When does it get easier? Unhappy in Michigan.

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise
The other BIG difference is that UK university fees do not have to be paid until after graduation and the student is earning over about £21k. That makes a massive difference to finances.
That and ability to keep deferring payments if you are not working or not making enough is quite handy.

In the US, the missus was allowed one deferment on the life of her student loan and having to start paying it back as soon as you started college and over maternity leave etc, is hard work.
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