Heading back to UK

(24 Posts)

I was just a junior by expat levels - I was away for two years. But I have been a trailing spouse around the Uk for the previous 12 years so we had done lots of moving - roughly every 6 months for 9 of those, so I haven't had a chance to get 'familiar' anywhere really.

My family are 2 hours away, DH's family are in Northern Ireland so no family support at all (but again, I am very used to this and although I have spasms of sadness about it nothing is going to change) and a few friends although not particularly close - no one I could call for a glass of wine iyswim - although I hope that will change as we settle.

But still, for me at least, being in the UK is like having a comfortable blanket around me. I know how things work and I have loved watching the seasons change. Popping into Marks and Spencer food hall. Strolling around antique shops. Taking the dc to castles and museums and the beach. Walking barefoot around the garden knowing I won't get hurt by anything nasty. Radio 4. Welsh cakes. Being able to buy the dc's clothes at Sainsbury's and know that it will wash well.

But my children identify themselves as British. They don't want to go back to Australia even when they are asked by other people when I'm not there (!) and I have been told quite sternly that they never want to move again.

What do you like to do? What are your passions and hobbies? Do you have your husband's agreement about what to do if you really don't like it and don't settle?

Lozzamack Mon 20-May-13 11:30:34

Going to that area as it will be close for my husband to drive to work. We really thought the only chance of him finding work would be in London which we really didn't want - the long commute and getting back late. So, when this opportunity came up he jumped at it. It just so happens to be very close to his family too which he is seeing as a big plus as there will be support from granny and grandad. I feel as though it is all very new and exciting for him but just not much in it for me right now. We have 2 DC aged 6 and 7.

What was it you wanted to return to? How long had you been away? Are you in an area you are familiar with and do you have lots of friends and family around?

Whereabouts are you moving to? Northants/Leicestershire is not that far from me (Warwickshire) and there are quite a few ex-expats around. Does it have to be that location or could you be closer to somewhere that is familiar while you adjust?

It must be hard if you don't want to come back, I was desperate to return so our situations are quite different. Do you have DC?

Lozzamack Mon 20-May-13 08:51:16

SconeInSixtySeconds - thank you so much for that. I am really struggling today and do not want to leave. I am being a complete and utter cow to my husband for "making us leave"sad

I am finding it all quite overwhelming, the thought of leaving good friends here and moving to a place I don't know. Yes, I know the UK but where we are moving to is miles from where I lived previously. I did send him back with a huge case of stuff last week that contained the bigger bulkier stuff like coats and boots - which it looks like we may need for summer;) I am still trying to work out what stuff to keep and what to dump.
Again, thanks

We came back from Australia just before Christmas, and I still have days with the euphoria of being home smile Well, I say we, DC and I. DH is still in Oz.

It's definitely worth bringing back lots of clothes in the suitcases, we used our full luggage allowance coming home as well (3 x 30kg) and that made a big dent in our clothes.

I did sell a lot before we returned as most of the furniture would not have suited this little cottage. Which is about 3 times smaller than our house there, but feels more like home than that one ever did.

exexpat Fri 10-May-13 17:09:04

I'd say clothes, too - the shipment will take weeks, so one suitcase-worth each may not be enough.

I shipped one full container back from Japan (Allied Pickfords, they were fine), then also airfreighted some boxes of clothes, toys & kitchen basics as I was initially moving into a small rented place and wasn't sure how soon I'd be able to buy a house and get the rest out of storage. I got rid of all electricals and quite a bit of furniture before leaving Japan, but with hindsight I would have got rid of even more furniture - the low, modern furniture I had in Tokyo just did not work in the high-ceilinged Victorian house I have ended up in, and I got bookshelves built in rather than using the freestanding ones I had to have in rented places overseas.

Ikea and the supermarkets back in the UK are good and very cheap for household stuff (crockery, kitchenware, bed linen, towels etc as well as furniture) so if anything you're thinking of shipping back is old, scruffy or low quality, it's probably not worth paying the shipping costs. I also bought a lot of good quality antique/vintage furniture on EBay which fits much better into the Victorian house.

Things I am glad I shipped back are some bits and pieces of antique Japanese and Chinese furniture, artworks and a huge collection of blue & white and celadon china (some for everyday use, some for display), which make the house feel more like our old home.

Winter coats? Or clothes that aren't appropriate for where you are, but will need as soon as you get back?

Lozzamack Fri 10-May-13 06:52:20

As my husband is going back to the UK next week I thought I would pack him an extra case of stuff that he can leave at his parents house for us. I'm thinking stuff that we won't want to ship as we will need it. Also, so we won't end up paying excess baggage on our flight back. Does anyone have any suggestions of what I should send over with him?

Lozzamack Thu 09-May-13 16:03:18

sorry things didn't work out for you pupsiecola, sounds as though the school thing was tough. What was horrid about it? Hope your boys haven't been too upset.
You're certainly not missing much here. I have never understood people that say they love the weather here. It is either hot and sunny or hot and raining. I've been here 14 years and I swear it has rained every day for the last 2 years - certainly feels like it anyway;) Good luck with the family

Mosman Thu 09-May-13 13:22:09

I think I'm heading back too, so will mark my place for hand holding and practicalities if that's ok ?

papooshka Thu 09-May-13 05:29:25

Will be watching this thread with interest, we are talking about going back to the UK next year after 11 years in Singapore.....eeeeeeekkk !!

Pupsie really sorry to hear things didn't work out like you planned, but sounds like you are sorting things out back there. Sorry I never got to come to your book club, life always got in the way smile

SavoyCabbage Wed 08-May-13 23:30:14

Hello, I'm just having a quick read but I have to go and do the school run now. I'm hoping to come back from Australia soon and stay with my parent so I'm interested to hear your experiences.

I won't miss the summer heat it's starting already.
I will probably miss the few friends I have and the community at large, it's a rural community and very protective of it's residents and especially of the children.
I feel very safe here. I think it was a good place for the boys to grow up and with one Dd left at home, she'll get the best of both countries.
We have a lovely school but it's is way too big, and now has over 600 kids in just age 5-12 Standards are dropping so it's a good time to go.

How are you finding the cost to ship your belongings home? I had heard it is very expensive to ship from anywhere in Asia to UK. Not too bad from here we'll spend about 5000 pounds to get all our things home.

pupsiecola Wed 08-May-13 18:19:15

Have you enjoyed California Squinkies?

Lozzamack - Bit early to say. I miss the friends I made. You certainly bond quickly over shared experiences. I guess the proximity of everything could be missed but at the moment I am enjoying driving around (we didn't have a car there) and the variety of the environment. I can't say I miss the weather. It's grey and drab here today but cool and I'm enjoying it! But the boys are cold. We miss my husband as he is still there. But to be honest I am wracking my brains a bit here!! I am so glad we had that experience, and the novelty of the UK will I am sure wear off. But right now we are all happier. Things far from ideal as we are staying with my folks and we don't get on that well - not stayed here for over 10 years. But we're all trying to keep the peace! Then we're moving to a hotel for 5 days to be near school.

Yes, we left early. We were meant to be there for two years. But the school my sons went to was horrid and didn't work out. We'd have at least liked to have stayed until this August but I got places for the boys at a great state school and the law says they need to start within 4 week so accepting the places. We didn't want to risk losing them. I applied for 26 schools and we could offered very very few. Plus this feeds into an excellent comp that we need to apply for in October this year. So actually it's all worked out very well.

We are in California, so far had quotes from Crown, Rainier, and United, Rainier is winning.
My table already has that lived in look. a few marks I can tell you who did it grin It looks like, mto.lauraashley.com/furniture/cabinet/3561608/confirmation/dorset-dining-table only never cost anywhere near this and has a butchers block top.

Lozzamack Wed 08-May-13 08:42:18

I will give Allied a call, thanks pupsiecola. We still haven't got a final leaving date so difficult to really plan properly.
Did you leave early? Whereabouts were you? Apart from friends what is the thing you will miss most about Singapore?
It can be a pretty transient place. I have made good friends here and seen some of them move on to other places but have kept in touch with them for over 5 years now.

pupsiecola Wed 08-May-13 05:34:27

I used Allied Lozzamack. We were in Singapore for 11 months! Have to say I like being back more than I thought I would :-) Obviously miss some things from Singapore you know who you are but I kind of feel free again. A lot of this is because the school situation was causing soooo much stress and angst for us all but this landscape/climate just suits us better. We are just outside Guildford with my folks until Sunday, then moving to a hotel in Winchester. The boys start school next Tuesday. We get the keys to our house next Friday. My friend checked out the house so we've not seen it but we drove by last night and it looks lovely and is in a good area.

Worst bit about coming back so far is jetlag. We're up again at 4.30am!

Squinkies where are you? I love the sound of your table. We're going to have an oak one made - a proper refectory type that already looks a bit bashed up and lived in. Really reasonable price wise as well, with a couple of long benches so we can all squish up and gets loads round it.

We are selling, chucking and donating tons of stuff after 20 years in this house and getting set for our move home. I can't flippin wait. I'm ready to go now.
Dh sold two cars and a boat in the last 3 months, one boat, one house and some furniture to go. We'll have one or two life vans filled to ship home once we are done (so 200 to 400 cubic feet). I only say two as I really like my dining table, I can get more chairs for it, but it's is Oak, white and wood country kitchen one and has held up to my boys and now Dd, I can put hot stuff on it and it wipes clean, no needing babying like my Mums fancy table that she wants us to have.

Lozzamack Wed 08-May-13 02:45:23

Hi pupsiecola! Glad to hear everything is going well for you.

We will be living Northamptonshire/Leicestershire border, not quite finalised yet, DH going back next week to check out 2 houses and make the final call.

Who did you use for shipping in the end? I don't mind selling some stuff was just worried it may be cheaper to ship.

How long were you in Singapore? Whereabouts are you now?

pupsiecola Tue 07-May-13 20:05:55

Yes, I arrived back today :-) Have to say, it feels great to be back smile I am really appreciating everything I missed whilst in Singapore.

Yes shipping was crazy coming back. I sold lots of stuff on FB, Craigslist or eBay. We are just shipping a few items that are special to us. Going to buy new stuff and it's really quite fun!!

Good luck. I hope things here are a pleasant surprise for you.

Where are you returning to?

Lozzamack Tue 07-May-13 16:56:38

Thanks for the link Salted. Yes, it will be a huge change and not one I am looking forward to if I'm honestsad

Saltedcaramellavacake Tue 07-May-13 12:51:01

Here it is - http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/living_overseas/1733694-Shipping-Costs-From-UK-To-UK

Saltedcaramellavacake Tue 07-May-13 12:49:12

Pupsiecola (who posts on here) has just literally (this week) moved back to the UK from SG. The quotes for getting her stuff back to the UK were extremely high - double/triple what it cost to bring it over! She posted about it maybe two weeks ago so you might find details if you scrolled back/searched her name.
Speaking personally and without knowing the cost, I'd be tempted to take back special pieces that you've bought here and you love but think about replacing the basics/older stuff if the freight cost is really high. Prices are so much more reasonable in the UK and you can buy a lot with the $10k you save in shipping.
Good luck with your move - after 14 years here it will be a huge change.

Lozzamack Tue 07-May-13 12:35:36

We are preparing to move back to the UK after 14 years in Singapore. During our time here we have collected alot of stuff. I really don't know whether to sell here and buy new there or ship our existing stuff over. We no longer have any stuff in the UK and will be paying for the move ourselves. Any advice very much appreciated

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