to feel sad that I'll probably not return to the UK to live

(99 Posts)

I left the UK for NZ a decade ago. DW is not from the UK and generally dislikes people who are (me excepted, most of the time). We have two children, born here, who go to a good school and are in zone for good secondaries. They are happy here. We have a house which, although bloody freezing in winter, is big enough for us, has a big garden and a small mortgage. I have a reasonably-paying and very secure job which doesn't require horrible hours and requires a very short commute.

..and yes I would love to leave all that and return to the UK for reasons of missing my family and simple homesickness, plus the usual things the UK offers such as history, culture etc, despite the recession and the manifold problems the UK is said to have.

I have this horrible feeling that I now have been given most of what life has to offer me, and I can see precisely where I will be in twenty years time: the children will have grown up, I will have redecorated the house, replaced the shed, I will still not quite got round to reading x,y,z books or fixed a,b or c, and will still be right here, older and a bit wrinklier - unless there is some disaster in which case things will be worse.

If we were to return to the UK: would my children go to as good a school as they have here? Probably not. Good house big garden? Probably not. Decent job? Late 30s in my profession, no better than possibly. Would DW get a job? Probably not. Would she like it back in the UK DEFINATELY NOT.

Please tell me IABU and why I should get a grip.

WorrySighWorrySigh Fri 19-Apr-13 07:06:19

I wonder if the big problem you are hitting now is that in your late 30s you are coming to the end of the first half of your career. The big leaps forward are probably coming to an end. Now your career will tend to move forward at a slower pace. You may also be starting to get a glimpse of the limits of your career.

At the same time your children are in primary school. This can feel like a long hard grind:- endless fetes, fairs, parents evenings, easter bonnets, cake sales, blah, blah, blah.

Both of these things - career and primary school can make you start to wonder 'is this it?'. 'Am I going to spend the rest of my life doing exactly this?.

The answer at least for me was 'no'. My children moved on to secondary school with a sudden switch of emphasis as parents take a big step back. At the same time I got made redundant so that had an impact on my career. Not the end of the world but it did make me rethink my career.

Dont assume that moving back to Britain could or would change these things. You would still be in your late 30s, still be a parent to primary school children, still be a lawyer. You would just live somewhere different.

Snog Fri 19-Apr-13 07:06:45

Come to the uk for a year and then see how you feel after that.
It would be nice for your family if dw could get over her prejudices.

MilanToMinsk Fri 19-Apr-13 07:14:51

I think some of the feelings you describe here ARE unique to living in NZ. Some of the others are common to this age and stage in life.
NZ is small. It is isolated. It is quiet and can be parochial. I live in NZ. And would rather not. But I do provide my children with an excellent quality of life, which I try to supplement by overseas by travel and other exposure to a bigger world and cultural history. When they in secondary school they will be encouraged to do student exchange overseas, again to supplement the monolingual, is
You say you are

MilanToMinsk Fri 19-Apr-13 07:17:04

Agh - lost post before finishing.
Anyway, you say you are comfortably off here. Can you stretch yourself further and look at more travel, secondment abroad, etc? I tend to think of NZ as a base rather than a life sentence!

WorrySighWorrySigh Fri 19-Apr-13 08:21:26

Outside of cosmopolitan cities I'm afraid that Britain is terribly parochial as well. Most places are I suspect. It is only if you live and work with people from different parts of the country and the world that you get a more worldly outlook.

Trillz Fri 19-Apr-13 08:26:23

Why does your DW dislike most people from the UK?

diddl Fri 19-Apr-13 08:43:28

I'm only in Germany & have just been back to UK for a visit & I loved, loved, loved it!

And wanted to move back, & the thought of never living there again tugs at me.

And then I come back home, settle back in & wonder what on earth I was thinking!!

diddl Fri 19-Apr-13 08:44:32

Oops-so meant to say-is it that you particularly want to be in UK, or you just don't want to be where you are?

BeeWi Fri 19-Apr-13 09:10:29

Toad - where abouts in NZ are you? Could you try somewhere else? We're in Nelson and it's pretty great in terms of arts, music, national parks, sports etc. Also quite kind in winter.

We moved about 5 years ago from the UK. Went back 2 years ago for a visit and was shocked by all the litter and feeling so hemmed in by people- two things we'd not really noticed when we lived there.

Also, we feel we'll be able to give our daughter a lot more freedom as she grows up here, which is pretty priceless as things go.

TanteRose Fri 19-Apr-13 09:19:25

interesting thread

I left the UK 22 years ago, after graduating university - Thatcher had only left office a year before, so her funeral made me realise where the time had gone IYSWIM

I do sometimes think, wow, I will probably never live in the UK again, and its more that I miss my family, now that my siblings are finally having kids! and I won't be part of that...which is sad sad

but I made my life here (Japan) and maybe because its sooo different in many ways, it makes it easier to be away from the UK somehow confused

I think we have to make the best of what we have and where we are smile

Littlehousesomewhere Fri 19-Apr-13 09:22:41

Yanbu I have lived in both and IMO the uk has a lot more energy and life to it. And you also have the added attraction of being closer to family and friends.

There seems to be more diverse personalities in the uk compared with nz. Also I found the nz sarcastic and 'put down' style of humour quite wearing after awhile.

It is interesting that your dw prefers people from nz to those from the uk, especially since she is from sa herself. I would have thought she would have preferred a more diverse society.

Since it does sound like you agreed to stay in the nz it doesn't sound like there is much to do about the situation unless you want to rock the boat.

I would insist in getting central heating installed though and I would also demand that holidays to the uk are prioritised above holidays to sa, considering it is your dw preference to remain in nz.

froggers1 Fri 19-Apr-13 09:29:05

Hi - I am married to a kiwi - lived there for 3 yrs and we have been in the UK for 6 yrs now and had two kids here. I felt like you to be honest. I found NZ to be too quiet and small and felt very removed from the rest of the world not to mention missing family etc. Its not an easy decision because my DH was quite unhappy here to start with and still gets homesick but does like it here and has better work opportunities here and we have help with the kids that we wouldn't have it in NZ. I am not sure what to suggest but think you should really think about coming over for a month to see if you really are missing out and see family etc. Funnily enough, I am pushing for a visit to NZ for a month and my DH isn't that bothered. Things can change. But I think a trip back is the way forward.

sashh Fri 19-Apr-13 09:34:21

It would be nice for your family if dw could get over her prejudices.

I'm letting her off, I can't stand the Kiwi accent, to me it is like fingernails being scraped. It's totally irrational, I know that, but I can't help it.

Lazyjaney Fri 19-Apr-13 09:46:28

Having lived in 3 countries, I'm afraid there will always be somewhere else where some of the grass really is greener, as no country has it all. In my ideal home I want the good points of each and none of any of the bad points. Problem is some are mutually exclusive - high buzz global cities and vistas of empty landscape very rarely occur together (Sea cities are probably the closest)

TBH though sounds to me you're getting into a rut, even in NZ there are probably other paths you could tread rather than the one to the shed smile

echt Fri 19-Apr-13 09:56:31

While it's not entirely the point, just google "that nz mp gay marriage speech" to see why NZ os place with heart. smile

Sorry, I'm crap at links.

Get on to the bit where the Maori song is sung to celebrate the passing of the Bill. grin grin grin

Thanks everyone for the replies.

In answer to questions above:

Nothing bad has happened, in the sense that there has been no specific crisis. I can't say I'm enjoying life very much. My job exhausts me, and there are times when I feel hopelessly out of my depth, and when I don't, I'm bored. DW is scraping around for work, and so I think the responsible thing is to stick with it as it is secure: lots of lawyers are out of work at present. At home, DW and I have bickered and rowed frequently enough over the last six years or so. Currently there is a lull, but I am afraid it will revive.

The feeling that I want to, must return, has been building up over a similar period and while I don't think it is directly associated with the bickering, I expect I'd think about things less if it weren't happening.

diddl, you ask whether it is being here that is the problem. I think that is a very good question. I am not sure DW actually enjoys NZ much: she is more foreign than I am and has found it harder to adapt than I have. Her view is that we can be certain of giving the children a good enough upbringing here in NZ and that we cannot be so sure of doing so in either of our countries of origin.

FWIW I think NZ probably is the best of the three for a safe, basic, but not particularly mind-expanding childhood.

OhLori Fri 19-Apr-13 23:12:07

You sound pretty disillusioned/demoralised about lots of aspects of your life, and maybe you should explore this too? Some personal counselling? Marriage counselling? A career change? A course you are interested in?

Re. moving, I think if you let the issue percolate for a while, I think you will become clearer. However, if the feeling has been growing for some time that you must return then I think this is probably what you should do, even if its just a holiday, and see how you feel after that. But I still think there's some other stuff maybe needs to be addressed...

MrsLion Sat 20-Apr-13 01:00:02

I could have written all of your posts myself- bar a few details such as me not being male or a lawyer.  Dh is a kiwi and I have been here for 8 years, we have 3 dc together. I am also terribly homesick for the uk. It's not bouts, but more of a gradual, increasing need to move back.

Like you, I tussle with the fact we are comfortable financially, have a naice house with large garden, good schools and a happy childhood for the dc full of outdoor activities, friends and space.

Our commute is 10-15 mins and I am lucky enough to be able to work part-time in a senior position in a job I love.

I really do appreciate these things- we are lucky.

BUT and it's a huge but, I'm just not happy here. It's beautiful, there is space and freedom, but it's isolated, parochial, expensive  and somewhat backwards. Hard to explain without sounding like an arse, but truly, you feel like you just don't exist here sometimes, there's so little going on, and so few options. 

The uk? I miss the architecture, the countryside, the choice, the opportunities, the feeling of being in an exciting hub, the history and strangely the supermarkets and tv. Most of all I miss my family and friends.

We have discussed moving back to the uk, but dh has lived there before and didn't like it. He doesn't have a problem with the people, but with the weather, 'tiny houses' overcrowding, litter, etc. He does recognise a lot of those things will be minimised if we weren't in a major city.

I could probably convince dh to move back, but is that fair on the kids? Or him? Like you op, would our life really be any different? Would it actually be worse?! Is my 'homesickness' actually the very normal strain and stresses of having 3 young dc that will manifest in other ways when I get home? Not sure.

Sorry I haven't been much help- but just wanted to say I feel exactly the same. 

I think perhaps the solution is to  get stuck in, and enjoy the good things, and try to get home as often as possible to get a 'fix' of the things you miss. That's what I have put in place anyway! 

aldiwhore Sat 20-Apr-13 01:49:27

My slant on it is this, and I sympathise massively though my homesickness doesn't involve the globe only a 4 hr drive.

I long to be back home in Devon, apart from my family, it's my one true love. I miss it, ache for it, my family are there, and even if they weren't, it's home.

Every so often I become depressed/ill with yearning.

I turned a corner this year. I decided that where I am is WHERE I AM and at present it is better for the family to be here, and it's not so bad, and damn it, as I can't change it right now I will embrace it. I am so much happier. To the extent that actually if you gave me the means to move now, I'd hesitate.

I will always have half my heart and one foot in Devon, but I am concentrating on the other half my heart and my other foot here up North. I may be landlocked and emotionally restricted (anyone who loves the sea will probably understand it!) but y'know, my life is pretty good... and there's many MANY benefits to my current location.

I would swap everything and work 17hr a day in a shitey job just to be able to walk home and see the ocean. however, would my children definitely benefit? I think they'd adjust!! (Just like I HAD to when my parents moved me up north - not something i want to put them through).

If I could take what I had here, and the opportunities for both myself and children back home, that would be my ideal, my own personal 'lottery win'.

Don't get me wrong, if the opportunity arose that all the family could even 'vaguely' accept, I'd be off and damn the consequences! Until that opportunity presents itself (or I find it) then I will put every bit of whistful energy into falling in love with where I am now. Every year, it becomes a tougher decision, because every year I actually do find I have more to give up.

YANBU though, not at all.

maddening Sat 20-Apr-13 02:04:48

If neither of you are happy there why don't you both apply for jobs in the UK and SA and see if you get any offers worth considering?

Littlehousesomewhere Sat 20-Apr-13 02:41:55

Is it really that good a place to raise children?

Maybe get your dw to do some research into rates of domestic violence and teen girl suicides (just 2 issues off the top of my head). Shocking and not things that people think of when they think if nz.

Not a place id be raising daughters (or sons for that matter).

TraceyTrickster Sat 20-Apr-13 03:06:42

I lived in Aus for 10 years and often thought longingly of UK.

Well a couple of years ago we had the opportunity to go and live in UK for 2 years- I thoroughly enjoyed it but because I knew it was not forever. Living overseas makes you see UK through rose coloured glasses. I will always love the country but some things gave me a jolt.
Commuting (I was in London)...what a waste of life and money and time better spent with family.
Traffic queues wherever you go.
Drunken yobs.
Snow- that was a shock! Looks lovely. Horrible after a week of it.

There will always be a part of me which thinks wistfully of UK but sometimes it is too 'Enid Blyton' to be real!

JustinBsMum Sat 20-Apr-13 03:40:11

I think there might be a problem finding work in NZ for your DCs when they grow up, so, after their fun childhood, you will be left alone as they are forced to look elsewhere for work.

Not guaranteed of course but jobs are limited I should think.

It might not matter but if DCs have a special talent it would be harder to fulfill their study needs in a small pop country.

Has your DW been out of the SE of England? I think people are more forthright in the north and she might prefer that, maybe Glasgow (people are friendly), though can't fix the weather, but you could have a holiday home somewhere hot, Italy, France? That's the good thing about Europe, everything's near by.

I am getting on a bit so want to be back in the UK, childcare and commuting irrelevant now, but have to admit that NZ and Oz lifestyle and weather does look good for children.

How expensive is university in NZ. Perhaps you should plan to stay until DCs have their degree then look at a move because it costs a lot now in the UK. Of course jobs are harder to get in the UK now, so your chance of a move could be limited.

There's an awful lot to consider. Perhaps start with trips to places you think you'd like to live and see what they are really like.

MomsNetCurtains Sat 20-Apr-13 05:22:57

I'm from the UK and now live in Brisbane with my DH who is from here. We've been here almost a year. We've worked abroad for all of being a couple together in Europe, Caribbean and North America (10 yrs) and have now settled here to try it out.

I also lived in Auckland (North Shore) for 2.5 years. I hated it. I never settled. I just couldn't get used to the Maori mokos, the gangs - it all felt a bit low rent to me - even the affluent suburbs like Remuera. It felt like a very confused and divided country - as I would imagine SA to be - with the Maori/Pakeha thing. I come from an affluent suburb in the UK similar to Remuera...but the two just didn't compare. Everybody feels a bit on edge in NZ....and the racism is always in the background which I hated as I hadn't grown up to dislike another culture. There was always so much violence on the news between gangs...not for me. But it has some beautiful scenery - south island was gorgeous! And the beaches are great - it has a lovely cafe culture and brilliant restaurants too. There are good aspects of course, but just not enough for me to stay.

I honestly believe that no matter where I live, I will always have one home - Glasgow. And so will you! I miss it desperately at times, but more because that is where my Mum and Dad are. The other reason is the familiarity...well, also the friendliness of everybody and the sense of humour. Nobody takes themselves seriously in the UK and the Aussies tend to think quite highly of themselves! Although getting shafted at the Olympics has brought them down a peg or two! grin I miss the down to earth attitude of Glasgow. I can't stand the put down sense of humour here either - so I watch Kevin Bridges on YouTube! Cheers me right up and I feel as though I have had my fix of being a Glaswegian again. Of being home. It doesn't make me more homesick. My Aussie DH has been out of Australia for the last 10 years so the Aussies annoy him and he now doesn't get their sense of humour so he laughs along with me! grin

Nowhere is going to feel like home as nowhere will have the great memories that you have of growing up. I definitely agree with others who say to go back for holidays - although that can get pricey more than once a year and you need time off work to do that. I go back for Christmas which I think is worse as you can't beat Christmas in the UK. I love it!!! It's just not the same here....Santa hats in the sun with prawns on a BBQ. What's that all about? confused haha!

BUT - I do love living here. It is a great life - though EXPENSIVE! The UK is so cheap compared to here! It's always a massive topic of conversation here. The ONLY thing I wish is that my parents lived here too. But I know they love Glasgow for the reasons you miss the UK - the architecture, the culture, the arts, the scenery and Europe on the doorstep. There is no way they would move here.

I'm still finding my feet - it helps that my MIL is from London and is lovely, so we have a little British rant to ourselves over mundane things such as Eggplant is actually called Aubergine and laugh at the Aussies. That's such a tonic for me.

Do you know anyone else from your area that lives where you are? It may help you.

I don't know if you don't like NZ for the same reasons that I didn't - I couldn't explain it when I was there, but now I know why - but if it is, then try Australia? I definitely agree with someone above who said NZ is like Aus's little brother. Like the poor relation in the hand me downs. Did you know that out of all nations, Kiwis are the ones, by head of population, that travel the most? For such a small population, we met literally hundreds of Kiwis in our travels. In 10 years, I met 7 - seriously 7 - Scots. It speaks volumes.

I hope I've been somewhat helpful although I fear not. Very best of luck to you - as my Mum says, it will all fall into place. xxxxx

SavoyCabbage Sat 20-Apr-13 05:42:21

I think once you have emigrated, then you will always feel as if you might not have made the right decision. I know two people, no actually three, as I know one here in Australia too, who are in their sixties, emigrated in their twenties and despite all having a lovely life, have questioned it constantly.

I don't care that England is 'shit' and cold and I will have to live in a smaller house. That's where I am from and that's where I want to be and that's where I will be soon. My dh doesn't want to live in the UK, he's not English so has no ties to it at all. I find being an immigrant wearing.

I think my dd's will have a 'better life' in the UK, going to weddings and going to visit their Grandma at Easter. Today they have been to the park on their bikes in shorts, which is great but they are not at my niece's birthday party which they should be.

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