Hello Everybody... (aimed at Americans living abroad)Certainly I'll start combing thru threads as this is my 1st time on this board. But was hoping someone would speak to the following:*Did you decide to leave America by choice, or was their a job that made you do it?*Overall, how do you like it?*Are there things you miss, or major things you don't like in your new home country? *Anything you'd do differently, ie research or something else?*Kids involved? How did they adjust, and how were they and you accepted socially?I'd appreciate ANY thoughts or observations at all. Thanks, Jedi
Was dragged kicking and screaming! Parents (dad American, mom English) decided to move to England, I was 11 and did not get to vote on this decision.Am content and settled here now (almost 40 years later).Miss baseball mostly :-). Thank goodness for the internet!I've had my chance to undo what happened. I enlisted and served for 7 years in the USAF but chose to stay in the UK upon separation.I was that kid! The mental scars will last a lifetime ;-) I quickly chose to conform with the norm at school so I changed from all-American boy to just another kid within 6 weeks of commencing school in England. All the other guys just wanted to poke and prod the 'weird' kid with the funny accent. Was too young for it to have worked as a plus point for me .......... with the girls. Shame! My parents slotted in well in English life - mom came back to family so there was an existing network of contacts to slot into. Dad quickly found work on the economy and has never looked back.
Thanks for sharing.Thats what I'm looking to avoid.Last month, I came REALLY CLOSE to purchasing a flat in Singapore and transforming my relocation fantasy into reality, quicker than expected. Certainly I slowed down as this will require more thought. Lots of things to do before I get to that point.If I did this, it would be with kids no older than "4". I was an "American kid" and always was horrified when my parents talked about leaving the country for good. I would do this move before a child became institutionalized in America.I think there's some years left. Need to do it slowly, but purposefully.I'm not 100% ready to say 'go'....but I"m 80% there. The goal is now to decide where the new home is, and to be "turn-key" so when I do decide, it's not too complicated. Important factor:*Culture (not as in the arts, but as in the cultural stuff we're not allowed to discuss anymore.)*Education *Safety*Health CareOn this short Singapore stay I met many Americans. Met their young kids. They are all loving life. Education is superior as their young kids were extremely articulate and respectful. I had a minor issue and the service I got was as good as a 4 star hotel in America. Wonderful nurse from South Africa, doc from India. The reception staff was super also. Also I love that to live in Singapore, you must truly demonstrate that you'll not be a drain on society. Imagine that, they won't let millions of new residents clog up their social services and prisons.Two things stick in my craw:1.)Weather. It's friggin hot there, and it always is hot. 2.)Fear. In my heart, I was always an "american". I dreamed about raising my kids as Americans. I'm utterly heartbroken to be even thinking about this. Borderline depressed to be honest. Also, fear of the unknown. My next step is to spend a few quality months there, LIVING in a real home, living like a real person. No hotels, restaurants, etc. I'd like to wake up, cook breakfast, go to a library, tour some schools, etc. Just immerse myself in it, and feel it.As it stands now, I'd need to wait a few years for some American investments to reach a positive cash flow. There's a small business I have which is a joy, and I'd probably just pass it on to the folks who helped me manage it all these years, give them a stake in it and let them run it. I'm kind of rambling, sorry.All at once I feel confused....but there's also a sense of inevitability here.Jedi
In my heart, I was always an "american". I dreamed about raising my kids as Americans. I'm utterly heartbroken to be even thinking about this. Borderline depressed to be honest. forgive the intrusion.as awful as some things seem to be becoming here, do you think you could ever get this place out of your heart? As someone who knows a little about you, I don't think you'd ever get over the very real feeling of homesickness and a feeling of longing for something lost.don't be hypnotized by the bright shiny jewel that is just over the horizon. the grass always looks greener when one is disappointed ... and I have a feeling that after the intial excitement of the move, that it would only be a matter of time before disappointment with the new set in as well.America is a rough and tumble place. we've screwed ourselves over a dozen different ways .... but there is something unique and special about this place that no other place has, it gets under your skin and doesn't let go. think hard my friend ...
Dear Jedi,Don't get caught up in a bunch of false nostalgia from Hollywood movies.You were born American, as were your kids; unless you intentionally give up your citizenship you will always be American. Look up the word "perspective" on Wikipedia; it is a choice and it is a wonderful thing.Regardless of how long you are gone, it will make you appreciate America, for its grandeur and its warts; but from a different perspective. I read a recent WSJ article saying there are now 6.3 million expats (and that's not counting active military) so there must be something to it; admittedly it's not for everyone.In answer to your questions:Left with my partner by choice; no kids; I'm sure that made it easier, though I know lots of people that have very well adjusted kids here; we are in Western Europe;our IT jobs offer more flexibility than other careers; there is a period of cultural shock; No Walmart at midnight and that crazy idea that people should have a life work balance! Been here 10 years; there is a frustration almost every day;there is a joyous moment almost every day; it's our attitude about it that makes it work ! We treat it as an adventure.You are on the right course; research, research, research!The more you learn beforehand, the less surprises.Your idea about a long term visit is perfect. Learn the city, the neighborhoods; visit with other expats, and also locals if you can to start to develop a support network.Sites like www.expatica.com are fantastic resources, though it does not cover Singapore I think; you should be able to find plenty of sites though.If you are moving to "get away" from something, then yeah it will follow you. If you are moving because you have a love for exploration and learning new things, even if they are very hard to learn, and to experience life in another culture, then teach those values to your kids and do it !What do I miss? Not a lot to tell you the truth; I can find everything I need here, including a tight knit group of expat and local friends.While the idea of going to a local taco shop at 1:00 AM in Austin Texas is something I occasionally crave, it just makes it all the more special when I do get to go home.And the truth is always, if I really miss it too much, a one way airfare takes me right back.
I'm still an American although I have been away since 1969. I just looked at this Expatica site and I took the survey but like many other surveys, it was way too behind. Plus, the site will not accept if I couldn't put the amounts they wanted to need. Expatica, like many others, they become too large to become flexible. I do find many small local forums give some decent information.I don't think that I'll ever return to the US. I don't have anything there but I'm quite happy here in France. I always says that France is not better than the US and it's not worse than the US. It's just different.http://www.pyreneesmediterraneanliving.com/This photo album shows my heaven.Blackduff
Beautiful photos! Where exactly were they taken? Have been to the South of France but never "off the beaten track" so I would appreciate specifics. Thanks,Steve
Hi SteveAll of the photos are made within the Mediterranean Sea. The Pyrenees meet the sea and this is where the photos are taken. Collioure is one city which is shown the most but others are just along the sea.The Spanish border is very close to all of the photos. The nearest airport/larger city is Perpignan. Girona, across the border in Spain has a good airport connection. Ryan Air flies into both airports, for cheap flights.There's a cold wind around that area though. This brings this cold winter days but this blows away the clouds, so the sun shines most days.This area is part of the Catalonia region. Catalonia covers across the Spanish and French border area. Lots of people still speak Catalan but mostly it's mixed French and Spanish. There's not much industry but the place is full of fruits. Peaches, Nectarines, Almonds, Kiwi, grapes, cherries, and others are growned here. There's a large mountain is some of the photos. This is called "Canigou" and it's about 10,000 feet high. This is sacred for the Catalonias. In most of the photos had my Labs swimming, etc.. The beaches from the Spanish border are made with "Galets", which is small stones. Where Argeles is shown, the galet changes and it's a beautiful sand for a long section across the French coast.There's a lot of mussels and oysters farmed along the coast too. Yummm! It's cheap and fresh.Like I said, it's my heaven.Blackduff
Jedi,I can offer a reverse perspective for you. I moved to the States as a young boy (11 years) and have lived in the US and Canada for the last 30 years--Northern California now. We moved from Northern Ireland during a very turbulent time, yet it was still home. I had just lost a cousin in the troubles and my Dad was a time finding work (not to get religious, but it was always tough for Catholics in Nor Iron to find work that wouldn't get you killed and paid a decent wage). We had family in the States and a brilliant opportunity for my dad to go into business with a cousin who was well established.For me, it was difficult. We moved to a rural part of Northern California and you were either White or Hispanic, but I was more accepted by the Hispanics as we shared common sport and religion. The white kids, particularly the boys, made it very difficult at first, but I tried to assimilate as quickly as I could and by the time I got to High School I had become a pretty good American Football player, as much as I hate to watch the sport, so that was really what turned it around for me. I also got into the other local 'white' kid sport of choice--rodeo. Imagine that, an overgrown leperchuan riding rough stock... At any rate, I learned to cover up most of my accent pretty quick, but it did come in handy with the ladies as I got older. ;-)All in all, I had a tough first few years, but there were absolutely no other Irish kids about. Eventually I found a Glaswegian family that took me under their wing a bit as we had a common ground in being supporters of Glasgow Celtic FC, so at least I had a partner in crime in their son who was about 5 years older than me, but by then I had become generally accepted by the rest of the kids as well, not for the lack of a few dust-ups and bloody noses though.As young as I was, I can't really speak for the experience of my parents, and we had family here already, so they had an immediate network and as I said my dad walked into a partnership on a business and immediately was doing better than I had ever recalled.Sorry this is a bit scattered, but it has been so bloody long ago now. :-)Antu
"but there's also a sense of inevitability here."JEDI, have you made progress in your undertaking? Are you still working on your plans?
*Did you decide to leave America by choice, or was their a job that made you do it?By Choice, I searched for a job and found one overseas.*Overall, how do you like it?It has been 11 years now, don't really have any plan or thought to move back at this time*Are there things you miss, or major things you don't like in your new home country? Outside of not seeing my immediate family all that often, there really isn't anything I miss. *Kids involved? How did they adjust, and how were they and you accepted socially?No kids, it was just myself at the time and a very spur of the moment decision.
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