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Is living abroad all it is cracked up to be ?

(105 Posts)
NanKate Sun 11-Aug-19 14:54:15

My sister went to live in Italy in her late 20s she loved it at first but now would do anything to come back but can’t afford it.

Friends moved to southern Spain about 11 years ago and seem very happy but what happens when one of them dies I wonder ? They visit their family in the U.K. regularly. Does being with an ex-pat community lose it’s attraction when on your own?

I would never consider living abroad as I am a real home bird.

Evie64 Mon 12-Aug-19 22:48:36

We lived on the Greek island of Naxos for about half the year for about 6 years. Used to go there in March and return in July, go back in September and stay until November. It was perfect and our little lock up and leave 200 year old house in a small mountain village was perfect. We learnt as much of the language as we could and got by with communication quite well. We then decided that we would like to live there full time. Sold the little house and bought a much bigger one on the coast. Biggest mistake of our lives sad. Come the winter the place was like a ghost town with all the shops, bars and tavernas' closed. The Greek property taxes also became ridiculous and we eventually sold up, at a huge loss, and returned home to our house in the UK which we had only rented out thank God. Due to the current Capital Controls in Greece we are still, after 4 years, unable to transfer the proceeds of the sale here to the UK except for "dribs and drabs". Such a shame, but hey, it was great while it lasted and we have some very good memories. If I knew then what I know now, I think I would have rented and not bought, far far safer and far far cheaper.

BradfordLass72 Tue 13-Aug-19 03:04:20

New Zealand has three official languages: English, Maori and NZ Sign Language.

I am fluent in one and have a good working knowledge of the other two. Unfortunately due to sight problems, I can't communicate in signing as well I was used to.

Cannot imagine anything worse that living in an 'expat community
I agree Jura.

When I first came here there was a Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England (WISE) Society and I was invited to join but didn't want to be surrounded by people whose minds were still back at home.

At the same time, I loved taking part in any of the festivals, particularly as there was, and still is, a strong Scottish presence in the South Island where I was first based.

And St Patrick's Day is also a big thing here - only the Welsh are quiet but I don't know why.

WISE no longer exists.

I have never regretted coming here, even though it wasn't my choice.
I fell deeply and unexpectedly in love with New Zealand and it is, quite definitely, where I want to end my days.

As I stated in another thread some time ago, that by no means compromises my pride in being English, or my roots in Yorkshire.

In a recent and scandalously expensive referendum the right wing government sought to change our flag.

I'm happy it was defeated.
The Union flag is still in the corner, proclaiming the origins of British settlers. The Southern Cross guided many others to Aotearoa.

Grannyjay Tue 13-Aug-19 06:34:05

I used to read a popular magazine for the over fifties regularly and on the back page they did a spread of British seniors who decided to sell up and move abroad to spend their retirement wealth that they acclimated in the UK. When asked if they would ever return to the UK about 98% said they would if they or their partners became ill and needed nhs care. So they can take their wealth abroad for them to benefit but when they want nursing care they would come back and have the nhs pay. It just doesn’t sit right to praise living abroad and some talked about hating the UK but it’s alright when they want something. I do know some who chose to live abroad and never wanted to come back and good luck to them.

Framilode Tue 13-Aug-19 06:51:19

Grannyjay We paid into the system all our working lives. Apart from pensions we received no benefits from Britain during the time we lived abroad but continued to pay British income tax as well as Spanish. Why shouldn't we be entitled to the NHS. That was part of being in the EU.

Saggi Tue 13-Aug-19 07:13:03

No NanKate.... I dont think living abroad is all it’s cracked up to be. Strangely my brother and his wife went to live in southern Spain after retirement, despite the fact that the sun didn’t agree with her! I know... go figure eh! Then she got seriously ill and they couldn’t get back to ‘old blighty’ soon enough. Lost shed loads of money because of the downfall of Spanish economy at the time , when they tried to sell their house over there. All in all, lost about £ 200.000 and consequences were they had no home in England to come back to and he had to return to work to pay for a rented place. She then had to go into a residential home which cost him a £1000 per week. She died after about six months home... and he broke what was left of his health...... on another point NanKate.... why is it do you think that Bits abroad call themselves ex-pats....and When people from abroad come to live here we call them immigrants ( usually with nasty connotations)... shouldn’t we call ourselves emigrants when living abroad... or do we really consider ourselves as better than the rest of the world!?!? Also there is NOTHING patriotic about leaving your country and living abroad, is there?

sodapop Tue 13-Aug-19 07:23:16

For goodness sake, the world is our lobster now. Times have changed and people can live in other parts of the world from where they were born.
Framilode is right, we emigrants paid our dues for all our working lives and continue to pay income tax in the UK as well as our country of residence. I don't recall anyone on this thread saying they hated UK.

Urmstongran Tue 13-Aug-19 08:17:38

I love living in Malaga but only because we share our time between here and Manchester. A small place in each country.

The sun, warmth, time for just ourselves out here to do what we want - the beach, swim in our garden pools, tapas, get a bus to Mijas for the day etc and then back home for family - certainly not for the weather!

The best of both worlds really.
😎🇬🇧 🇪🇸

Grannyjay Tue 13-Aug-19 08:30:55

If every retiree returned purely through ill health after spending their pensioned earned in the UK we would not have a health service! I know nursing staff who say their services are stretched to the limit through care needed as we age. A good economy helps pay for things like jobs due to those having money to spend. Our pensions far outweigh what contributions you paid during your working years. It’s all part of a package. My comment is bound to upset some but to say I paid my taxes in which you get paid your pension and think that when we are old there is loads of money in the nhs to spend on us because we don’t want to pay for it abroad is selfish.

Willow500 Tue 13-Aug-19 10:43:47

My 44 year old son and his NZ wife emigrated out there 6 years ago. She had lived in the UK since she was 18 and wanted to go home when she got pregnant. Although he has built up a good business and she gets regular filming work I don't think either of them are truly settled especially my son who is very homesick. Their young children born out there have a great life though and I don't think they will move back and disrupt that plus her mum has dementia so she won't want to leave her. They are coming back to the UK for Christmas and are talking about buying a small place over here to rent out - we're not so sure but time will tell.

My husband lived in Switzerland for 2 years due to work but didn't speak a word of the language when he went - he had to learn pretty fast as he couldn't even buy a loaf of bread. He was very homesick and glad to come home in the end even though it was a beautiful country.

Mamie Tue 13-Aug-19 11:49:41

Goodness, there is a bit of confusion about health cover, isn't there? People of retirement age who receive the UK state pension and live in Europe, (currently) have their health cover paid by the UK under the S1 scheme. They are also fully entitled to return to the UK for treatment.
In France we also pay a top-up insurance, as do the French. The health system here is excellent and I personally don't know anyone who goes back to the UK for treatment.
It is possible that the S1 scheme will end after Brexit in which case residents would pay an additional tax for health cover here, over a certain income platform.

EllanVannin Tue 13-Aug-19 13:41:59

I would advise any youngster to spend a gap year or a 2 year work visa in Australia. They can then make up their minds for their futures. It's a wonderful continent and has far more to offer for the future than the UK.
I'll tell my GGC to work hard and get themselves out there.

If my family hadn't been greater here I'd have made the effort to have emigrated. I still have days of being " unsettled " here because of so much that I miss in Oz. I couldn't think of a nicer place to retire to. It felt like a second home.

Witzend Tue 13-Aug-19 14:51:02

Well, EllanVannin both my graduate dds did a long working stint in Oz - elder was,there for 2 years working all over - and they enjoyed it, but showed no great desire to stay or return. Both now happily settled here.

General consensus was, too far away from too many places, esp. the relatively cheap and accessible sheer diversity of Europe.

We've been twice on holiday there and much as I've enjoyed it, there was serious drought both times, and raging wildfires. I do find severe drought scary - what can you do when it just doesn't rain? We lived in Middle Eastern deserts for many years - you expect drought there, but it's a different matter in the likes of Melbourne.

MissAdventure Tue 13-Aug-19 15:24:48

I don't think anything is all it's cracked up to be, usually.

Floradora9 Tue 13-Aug-19 15:25:04

My BIL and wife moved to Australia 40 odd years ago tried coming back to the UK but hated it so returned to Oz. Because their children are settled there they have no hope of coming back here to live though BIL would like to spend his last years here. Family will keep them abroad for good now and they no longer come here for a long visit because of the jhourney and the trouble renting a car at their age. We will never see them again .

EllanVannin Tue 13-Aug-19 16:07:03

My eldest D and SiL and 3 GC live in the Northern beaches area of Sydney which is beautiful. GC are Australian as are their parents when they attended the citizenship ceremony in the 80's.
Just D and SiL were here for a visit in June and did a lot of travelling while they were here. When they went back at the beginning of July I've felt unsettled on and off since. I just fear that it's the last time I'll see them.

NanKate Tue 13-Aug-19 16:31:05

Some really inserting comments on here to my original question.

Saggi my sister always used the word ex-pats and I have simply followed suit. I don’t even know what the ‘pat’ bit means. Maybe some else will enlighten me.

sodapop Tue 13-Aug-19 17:01:42

Patriot NanKate at least that's what I always assumed.

Mamie Tue 13-Aug-19 17:08:41

I think ex patria - outside one's native land in Latin.

Witzend Tue 13-Aug-19 17:09:18

Speaking as one who was one for many years, it's expatriate, no hyphen.
Different meaning from patriot, which means someone who's patriotic. A much misused word IMO since all the B-word balls-up.

Mamie Tue 13-Aug-19 17:36:57

I don't understand how people can think it is unpatriotic (whatever that means) to be an expatriate. Were the founders of Empire unpatriotic?

Fennel Tue 13-Aug-19 17:46:46

ex -pat or immigrant, we were always les Anglais to the locals.
Same for les Belges, les Allemands, les Hollandais etc

Nandalot Tue 13-Aug-19 17:49:16

I think Mamie is right and it s from the Latin, ex patria.

Magrithea Tue 13-Aug-19 18:45:39

We moved to live in Hong Kong when we were just married and lived there for 20 years. It was a great place and we raised our family there. Having lived back here for 18 years I'm just as happy here. It depends on you, where you're living and your attitude. I know people who've hated living overseas and others who have stayed on after retirement.

I missed 'home' i.e. UK and was happy to return but others can't imagine being here and are very down about the UK. Everywhere has its faults and failings and the grass is often greener until you jump the fence!!

blossom14 Tue 13-Aug-19 19:05:32

Miss Adventure I do agree with you. You do make me chuckle.

Deedaa Tue 13-Aug-19 22:17:38

One of our friends has lived in the South of France for 30odd years now. He's had a great time working as a builder and part time journalist. He's had two knee replacements and had a badly smashed ankle fixed and is happy with everything.