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Anyone relocated back?

(166 Posts)
CountessFosco Sun 24-Sep-23 17:28:46

After 44 years' absence, we recently relocated back to England.
We regret the move as it was a terrible shock. Has anyone else been through the same painful process? We cannot return post Brexit and my OH having had a significant "round" birthday.
Be gentle with replies please - feeling miserable and vulnerable.

crazyH Sun 24-Sep-23 17:33:38

CountessFosco - just out of curiosity, where have you been for the past 44 years? And, what has really shocked you ?

Coronation Sun 24-Sep-23 17:43:23

I think it takes a while to settle in.

Also, England has changed a lot over the past few years so lots of British people feel unsettled too. Please give yourself a bit more time.

Dickens Sun 24-Sep-23 18:00:12

I returned from Norway having lived and worked there for 12 years.

I'm still settling back in. Seventeen years later.

Britain - well, England really, is not the same country I left all those years ago. Though it might be partly my own changed circumstances that are affecting the way I feel.

What I noticed most when I came home is something very difficult to put into words. It seemed more dirty, more 'uncared' for... more litter in the streets. But something else and this is the difficult part - people appear more aggressive, loud and 'self-serving'. And also laissez-faire about matters that I thought important. An air of 'individualism' - every man for himself, seemed to permeate.

I think it takes time (well, certainly on my case). We had this romantic notion of retiring to The Cotswolds which we dreamed about for years.

And we did it. But the 'magic' faded quite soon. When my son came to visit he said, "Mum, you're living the dream". But in fact, we never did.

What is shocking you so much?

J52 Sun 24-Sep-23 19:05:54

Not really an answer to your question, but Scotland has many links nd similarities with Norway, have you considered moving there?

CountessFosco Sun 24-Sep-23 19:11:24

Many thanks for replies so far : 6 years Switzerland, 11 years SA, 5 years Oz, 15 years Belgium, 12 years France.
The changes are breath-taking : seemingly little or no respect, no-one calls you by your name, lucky if you get a "Lo", teenagers, school children and young people with their feet up on the bus and train seats with no-one having the courage to ask them to take their feet down, litter everywhere, "everyone should speak English", doctors on strike {whatever happened to the Hippocratic Oath}?, could go on but rather too miserable to do so. Even friends leaving to return after +25 years to SA, and look how that has changed! We have no option but to "give it time" seemingly.

Jaxjacky Sun 24-Sep-23 19:17:10

May I ask why you moved back please? Perhaps your expectation was different, 44 years is a long time.

CountessFosco Sun 24-Sep-23 19:19:58

A valid question : firstly, our son and family, but they lead very busy lives so don't always have time for us, secondly neither wanted to be left alone in a foreign country dealing with illness and then bureaucracy - seemed like two good ideas at the time.

dogsmother Sun 24-Sep-23 19:20:02

Well I don’t know whAt your reasons were for not being in England but didn’t you visit?
A lot of it is actually very nice and it’s a lot of “ do as you would be done by”.
Put yourself in others shoes and try thinking outside of your idealistic view of what things were or should be.

Nanatoone Sun 24-Sep-23 19:26:22

This country, as all countries, has moved on in those years. Many of us hate the changes but the kids are users to it so it’s not a change for them. Standing in a hideous queue in Asda this afternoon waiting to so my own flipping checkout (grrrr). I felt fed up to the back teeth. It’s how it is. We are older and we don’t like the future, we have to adjust sadly. It must be so hard for you if those places you mentioned have not changed in all of those years! Seems unlikely I must say.

M0nica Sun 24-Sep-23 19:28:43

Look at it the other way round. If Dickens had been Norwegian and spent 12 years in the UK and then relocated back to Norway, she would probably have felt the same.

All countries are changing all the time, for better and worse, but our memories of a country are 'frozen' at the time we were last there and moving back we are far more likely to notice the things that have changed for the worse rather than those that have changed for the better.

CountessFosco Having been away for 44 years, quite simply the country you remember no longer exists -and again that will apply to any country, the country it was 44 years ago no longer exists.

You probably should have treated the move back to the UK the way you would treat a decision to move to Egypt, or Singapore or Australia (assuming these are not the countries you were in) - a move to an unfamiliar country with an unfamiliar culture and an unfamiliar way of life. You should have researched it fully, perhaps rented for a year and not irrevocably cut the link withthe other country until you were sure the move was right.

You do not have to change countries to make the mistake you have made. I had a friend who in retirement decided to move from the south east to Yorkshire where she had lived and worked in her 30s and been very happy. It was a disaster. She was no longer in her 30s, she was no longer working, the area had changed beyond recognition and she felt utterly out of her depth. Because she had sold up and bought property, despite everyone suggesting she rent for a while to see what it was like, she could not afford to move again or move back.

One should always be careful what we wish for, sometimes it happens - but not as expected.

MrsKen33 Sun 24-Sep-23 19:39:47

Dickens Although we have moved only from England to Wales, I do so agree with you about the ‘self serving’ and aggressive atmosphere. I think you were spot on with your other observations too.

TerriT Sun 24-Sep-23 19:43:31

After 44 years there is not a country in the world that would be the same as when you left it. My sister has been in America for 60+years and has never stopped complaining about it! Much to my annoyance because the three years I was there, I loved it. Anyway,she has this vision of England being the same country she left. Yes she has visited but for holidays ,not liveing the day to day life us permanent residents live. No matter how many times I tell her how life is here she just refuses to believe it. I tell her no one leaves their doors unlocked and bobbies on the beat are just a distant memory. So if she returned here she would soon find out the reality and so I put her off at every opportunity. And all my American friends say they don’t recognise the modern America to the one they grew up in 60+ years ago. Same as my Australian friends. So don’t bash us, time moves life on and we are left behind wishing it didn’t.

BlueBelle Sun 24-Sep-23 19:45:17

I still love my country warts and all and have lived in worse overseas and talking to friends in other countries there doesn’t seem much difference Everywhere has changed
SA has a very high gun culture in some area so I think a lot depends where you live There’s some beautiful areas in UK and a lot of very kind people I don’t recognise all the things you mention but then I don’t live in a city

secondly neither wanted to be left alone in a foreign country dealing with illness and then bureaucracy

So you wanted to come back because you were getting older so presumable not the utopia for your old age then

Urmstongran Sun 24-Sep-23 19:59:09

CountessFosco I am just sorry you feel so sad and ‘trapped’ here. You made a choice at the time for two very good reasons. You want your old life back - the familiarity, the friends you made, even the weather. Basically you want what you can no longer have - and it hurts.
💐 for you.

Regards your husband’s upcoming birthday though - would a mini holiday to one of the places you used to live be feasible? Raise a glass and a smile perhaps.

GrannyRose15 Sun 24-Sep-23 20:00:40

I have every sympathy. I’ve never lived abroad but have recently moved back to my home town after living in a different part of the country for 40 years. I didn’t like it much when I was young but I hate it now. It’s filthy, the houses are mostly run down and many people, especially children, are disrespectful. Fortunately I have a nice house near to my grandchildren so can build myself a bubble where the problems of the city impinge as little as possible.

Aveline Sun 24-Sep-23 20:01:24

I find life and people nicer during the working day. Probably because youngsters are at school/college and adults at work. The roads are quieter and shops less busy and the atmosphere is gentle pleasanter. I try to smile and chat to people as appropriate and generally receive friendly responses.
You'll get used to it all but it is a two way street.

Aveline Sun 24-Sep-23 20:02:09

Don't know where that odd 'gentle' came from!

Urmstongran Sun 24-Sep-23 20:12:34

I think too there is a sadness around your son and family. Busy lives, yes - but you’ll have to be real in your expectations there. They will have got on with their lives for the 44y you’d ‘disappeared’. An awfully long time.

Siope Sun 24-Sep-23 20:16:10

I think it’s a combination of things. Reverse culture shock is very real, and is more, in my experience, about how living elsewhere changes you, rather than how your ‘home’ country has changed. And then there are the changes to that country, which are unsettling, particularly when they don’t feel
as if they are improvements.

I think that for many of us who emigrate and return/move countries a lot, it ends up being true that nowhere is home any more.

Urmstongran Sun 24-Sep-23 20:26:11

Probably very true Siope.

BlueBelle Sun 24-Sep-23 20:37:04

A very good point Umstrongran

A different thing but one of my grandaughters has recently done a lot of travelling and sent me back some photos of amazing places a few that I lived in 55 years ago One was a paradise island and now looked extremely busy with traffic problems and in places very run down, another which was a wonderful peaceful religious area now looked like Disneyland with big, very big colourful statues
I m afraid you had unrealistic expectations and I m surprised you didn’t gradually see the changes when you visited (presuming you did visit) especially when you were living in Europe
My advice is to try looking for the good things, there are plenty, and don’t knock all the young, there’s a lot of amazing young people doing wonderful things
And I m sure all gransnetters on here will tell you what good and productive young people their grandchildren are mine definitely are

Jaxjacky Sun 24-Sep-23 20:42:19

I think time is the answer CountessFosco, it’s not a bad old country we live in and there are plus points as well as negative, as there are in all countries.
You’ve had a very stimulating past amongst different cultures and you’ve probably lost your support network of friends, so you may also feel a bit lonely.
I hope you can find something locally with pleasant people to ease you back to a more comfortable place.

annsixty Sun 24-Sep-23 20:46:36

My friend had a neighbour move next door to her from Scotland.
She hated every aspect of living in England and was very vocal and disrespectful about it.
Her Children were teenagers and soon settled.
When after after some time had elapsed she got the chance to move back, I think her H took early retirement due to ill health.
By an amazing coincidence her previous house was for sale and she jumped at it.
But guess what, it wasn’t the same at all, sadly her H died very suddenly, two of her children were settled here and grandchildren were born.
She was as miserable as when she moved here.
I believe she has since moved but not far.
The grass is seldom greener.

Callistemon21 Sun 24-Sep-23 20:49:50

CountessFosco Having been away for 44 years, quite simply the country you remember no longer exists -and again that will apply to any country, the country it was 44 years ago no longer exists.

After 44 years there is not a country in the world that would be the same as when you left it.

I think too there is a sadness around your son and family. Busy lives, yes - but you’ll have to be real in your expectations there. They will have got on with their lives for the 44y you’d ‘disappeared’. An awfully long time.

These posts are spot on.

The UK has moved on, we have not stayed in 1979 but those who have stayed here have moved on too, as has your family.

I don't know where you are but not everywhere is so unfriendly, and many countries seem to be having problems at the moment.

Can you have a party for your DH and invite new friends and neighbours so you can get to know them?