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Living in another country

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
For those of you that have moved from your native country to live in another, how did you do it? I can't imagine living anywhere other than here, but I guess it's because it's my home. Was the culture much different than your home? Were they pros and cons you found from moving? Just curious.......
post #2 of 27
Well I lived in Germany for 6 years because my dad was military. It was so much fun. The culture was different from ours but not so much so that we didn't fit in. It was neat to learn about celebrations that have like Fashing(spelling) and having holidays there. I would love to do it again!!
post #3 of 27
We moved from Australia to the US in November last year, and it was very easy in some ways, and tough in some ways.

It was easy in that DH's work relocated us, so looked after the legal side of the visas, paid for packers and removalists to move us, gave us temporary accommodation when we first got here, car hire for 2 months, gave us a rental tour where someone drove us around to rental properties and so forth. They paid for most things associated with the move, but we were still out of pocket a fair bit.

Settling in has been fine - people are really friendly, California is a nice place, and we're in the heart of Silicon Valley, in the Bay Area, so it's nice and clean, there's bike paths everywhere, people are pretty laidback, there's heaps of great restaurants, and there's a heap of other Aussies at DH's work, which is nice. So the transition in changing countries was fine in that there wasn't a big cultural difference.

My work permit took FOREVER to come through (7 months I think it was), but I kept myself busy by volunteering at the animal shelter, and hanging out with two other Aussie wives in the same situation as me. DH's drivers license still hasn't come through, and our type of visa for here is very new (we were among the first to get them), so Immigrations's processes haven't been updated to reflect this, and everything that involves verifying that we're allowed in the country is being delayed because nobody recognises our visa.

It's been hard making friends over here. I have acquaintances, and people who are nice to hang out with. Everyone at DH's work are really nice people, and they're sociable, so we have people to do things with, but I don't have any close girlfriends, which is something I really miss about home. I've also just started studying part time as well as working time, so don't have time to make friends!

My theory for making friends was to join a club/group that involves something you enjoy. So I had planned to join a triathlon club over here because I was doing triathlons back home, but the cardiologists confirmed my heart condition and said the small amount exercise I was still doing was too much, so that blew plans of joining a tri club out of the water. I made awesome lifelong friends through my old tri cub, so I found it hard not to be able to do that over here. I haven't found anything else that I want to do to meet people, and my DH is my best friend, and I have nice acquaintances, so am getting by with just that.

I'm very close to all of my family, so really miss my mum, brother, nephews, grandparents, and a few aunts who I'm also close to. I hate not seeing my nephews grow up - they're 3, and I guess 2 1/2 weeks old, so am missing lots!

It's a great experience though, and my hubby's company is awesome, and he's learning so much, and having that on his resume will ensure he'll get headhunted when we go back to Australia. His company also has offices throughout the world, so we're hoping they can relocate us to Switzerland next, then eventually back to Australia.

I think we're very fortunate!
post #4 of 27
I moved here and like Sarah the main problem is the visas and drivers licenses... they can be so slow about these things.

The only real culture shock to me was one I would have got from moving out of the city anyway even if I moved to the suburbs back home - but the weather kills me.

The real problem for me is missing my family - I have been here over 3 years and still get very homesick... and it seems so much harder to make friends as an adult than a teenager too.
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
Did you guys bring any animals with you?
post #6 of 27
Nope, my BF already had the three cats and I came straight out of university where I didn't have any pets
post #7 of 27
I have never really had a proper home. I grew up in the Persian Gulf to Lebanese-Palestinian parents. Living in Saudi Arabia was fine for me as a child because none of the cultural things (women not being allowed to drive, the veil, dressing modestly) applied to children. When I was about ten I moved to another country in the Gulf and that was hard. There was never much to do and even if you live there all your life you never are from there. You are either born a local (local parents) or you are never one.

Even when I go back to Lebanon its not home either. I speak Arabic in a different accent I act like them or even have the same mannerisms. I mean they are nice to me and I have Lebanese friends but I am foreign to them. So I guess am from nowhere.
post #8 of 27
I always say my home is Australia.

I was born and lived in London England untill i was 6, then i moved to Rome Italy, then I moved to Melbourne Australia when i was 9 and a bit, then i moved to Frankfurt Germany when i was 15.
The only move that was great was to Australia, we settled in very well, they had normal food like in the UK, they spoke english, people are welcoming ect.

It is always hard to leave a country, friends, family, pets.

Im not close with my blood family, my best friend in australia and her family pretty much adopted me! Life was great there.

Germany was really hard to move to, i was in my early adolescence, i was very hard on my parents. My mother hated germany she never even liked to hear the country, she also had depression and made situations at home worse. I refused to go to a german school because in my honest opinion European schools suck. I will only go to a school where they have uniforms, and actual discipline. Girls who were my age werent friendly and didnt want to socialise. Sometimes i feel like i live a double life, because here in Germany i dont feel like i am the real person who i am!
I literally get along with every australian i meet here, or british or even italians, the germans are hard to get along with, they think its weird how i am welcoming and it doesnt matter who they are they can always bring a friend to the bbq even if ive never met them!

When people ask me what i am i always hesitate, i dont like to give people a long life story of me, so i just say im Australian, but when they look at my passport they look at me as if im a liar. But in my heart i am Australian, and i dont care what my passport or any human can say to that.

It is hard Susie, i never had the choice to stay in one country for ever, i always wished i belonged somewhere
post #9 of 27
I moved from Sweden to Belgium three years ago to marry my Belgian boyfriend. It has been a lot tougher than I thought it would be but I am finally landing here. Especially since we bought a house and took care of the feral cats in the garden. I have lived on the countryside for my intire life, with horses, cats and kilometers to the nearest neighbour. In the Flemmish part of Belgium it doesn't really excist any country side. What they call a forrest I call a park. The people here are wonderfull but so insufficient. What I can do via internet a Sunday evening in Sweden takes a day off from work and queuing to get some stamps, here. The living standard is also lower and the social security is 10 years behind Sweden. The hardest part has been the language. I work with customer support for Scandinavian countries and my collegues comes from all over Europe so the main language is English. I understand Dutch today and I can read it but talking is still difficult. People here are very helpfull and speak English instead but that doesn't really help me to learn Dutch. It has left me with a feeling that I never am really my self with people.
The biggest difference in culture is the attitude to alcohol. Here the pub-culture is a daily part of peoples life. In Sweden you cannot have even one beer and drive a car and the nearest pub i normally far away so people don't drink weekdays. I would say that I have a good every day life though and it gets easier and easier but I miss Sweden a lot sometimes. Especially Snow, silence, darkness and deep deep forrests and maybee that special Swedish need to do something about things. Here people don't believe that they can change and develop their country. It is really a wide gap between people and politicians. I am constantly busy with reorganizing everything from community service to the puls of the traficlights, in my mind, but I don't seem to share that need with anyone here. They buy another beer instead.
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
You guys with no home.......you belong here! Don't forget that!
post #11 of 27
Home is where the heart is - and Fwan - that makes you as Aussie as me

We left our kitty back in Australia - we only took her in maybe 6 months before we moved, and we knew it was probably going to be temorary, but it was better than for her to be put down, which is what would have happened otherwise. She found a lovely home, with a really nice man, and from the photos he sent, she's being well taken care of!

Being able to adopt over here has been great, and I love the company and the laughs my kitties provide - they really help fill that void. When we go back, we'll definitely take them with us!
post #12 of 27
I grew up in Canada and moved to Ireland (Belfast)for a couple years for school. It was quite different. Now in can swear in English, French and Gaelic. A lot of new terminology, costs were higher and there are certain things you take for granted in canada that you just don't do in Belfast. Like leave a package unattended. In Canada it would still be there when you went back, in Belfast the bomb squad would have been called. And a few misconceptions like St Patricks day isn't a huge deal in Ireland, nether is there a drinking party at an Irish Wake. It was different but I would definately go back.
post #13 of 27
I moved from the U.S. (Austin, Boston, and San Francisco) to Canada. I've found it's difficult to orient yourself (finding a new doctor and vet, what store carries *whatever* that you need, and where the heck is that store?) But that happens when you just move to a new city... in a new country the shopping is different, too, and you can't find products you are used to.

Canada is not "just like America" and I moved here just as Pres. Bush was starting the war in Iraq. I didn't advertise that I was American, for sure! There was quite a bit of anti-American sentiment; it was aimed mostly at the government, but did spill over to Americans, too.

I agree that the older you get, the harder it is to meet people and make friends. I was lucky to have a young child, so I met other moms that way. Doing volunteer work has helped, too.

I also agree that at times you can feel like you don't have a country. My life is in Canada, so I'm not 100% American any more. But I'm not Canadian yet, either. When people ask, "Where are you from?" I have to think!

Cheers, from
SwampWitch

p.s. We moved our two cats to all of the above places. It took some adjusting for them, too. From San Francisco to Victoria, B.C, door-to-door, the kitties were in their carriers for TWELVE HOURS.
post #14 of 27
I was born and raised in the northeastern U.S., which will always be "home". However, I had many foreign-born relatives, friends, teachers, classmates, and neighbors, and had German and Spanish throughout high school and college. I came to Germany, a country which I had visited a couple of times, on a Fulbright scholarship at the age of 22, and met my husband (German) less than a month after getting here. We married in Germany, but went (back) to the U.S. for about two years for job reasons. When I was 25, and he was 30, we returned to Germany (my German has always been better than his English, and he had an excellent job offer from a former employer), and have been here ever since. We brought a 13-year-old Siamese cat (my childhood pet) and a 3-year-old Boxer back with us. Transporting pets overseas is nervewracking! Neither one ever learned German, but come to think of it, Jamie, who was born here, ignores German, too. He was fostered by a French family, and then came to live with us. I'm 49, and since I spent that year here as an exchange student, I've now been living abroad for literally half my life.

Since I understand the language and culture, and can make myself understood, I've never experienced the "culture shock" so many people talk about. Sure, there are differences, but I find just as many differences between Philadelphia, my "hometown", and Omaha, where what is left of my family is now living. Going from living in a large city to living in a small semi-rural town was more of a "shock".
I miss seeing my family members and old friends on a daily basis, but it's so easy (and cheap) to keep in touch nowadays. As a teacher, I get a 6-week summer vacation, and have the luxury of being able to spend 1 month a year with my family, as my husband is willing to "hold down the fort" here.
I agree with Eithne that it's harder to make friends as an adult than as a teenager. I have a few close friends here, but they can't replace the friends I've had since I was in middle school. However, I'm not lonely - it's hard to be when you're surrounded by people (teaching colleagues, students, in-laws, neighbors, etc.). Many of my colleagues are also foreign-born, and married to Germans, so we have very special bonds, regardless of whether we're from the U.S., Canada, Britain, Ireland, France, Spain, Argentina, Peru, Russia, and so on.
post #15 of 27
well from what i can tell it seems much more easy for men to pack up and leave.
i have lived in ohio(born there)moved to vancover, hong kong ,thailand, indonesia.
i dont think i ever really had a home. When we moved to hong kong we had 2 pets and a dog. and it was alot of money moving them. I have spent most of my adult life out of the US

yea, those places are very very different then what we are used to. For the most part i have always had a easy time of moving, I never really cared if i made friends or not.
lol maybe that is why i made them. Hong kong was kinda like new york just with shorter people and better chinese food. The major shock came once i moved to bangkok.
For anyone that has ever been in south east asia. It can be a hugh body shock just getting off the plane. i swear my knees all most dropped, the heat, humdity, and it stinks.
If you have breathing problem stay out of there.

The people however are very nice for the most part. Once you come to see that just cause they are smiling at you and acting like a friend does not make them that way. That is just there way of dealing with things. The thai people are still very big into saving face, Yelling and screaming wont help you at all, lol i used to get a kick out of watching western people yelling and screaming about something, with the thai person who may or may not fully undrestand what was going on , would just stand there and smile and nob there head. Yelling and screaming is there is not the way to get what you want. also unlike hk most of the people do not speak english.

Indo was very much in some ways like thailand, unlike thailand indo mostley muslim, with some very radical one there. They also do the call to pray over loud speakers( i admit i used to cut the wires on the one on my street). During Ramadan there is fasting for the muslims during the day no eating or drinking unless they are sick. alot of places are closed druing this time. at the end of the month comes Eid al fitr, which is a time that people go to spend with there family and everything shuts down, hmm kinda like we do for xmas.
i had to leave the city during this time, i could not stand the reading of there holy book over loud speakers for 24 hours(i would not cut the wires during this time). lol for the most part the indo people are very nice.
how they are not as into the face thing as the thai people are. It was much more easy to make friends there, and it be a real friend. Oh yea the only bars outside of bali are all in western hotels. SO if you can not have fun without drinking indo is not the place to be.

lol i guess i could write a book, but the one thing is the triple price system,
1 price for indo people,another price for western even higher price for japanese people
same thing works in thailand also.

Also never never in indo touch someone or give them something with your left hand,
dont touch someone on there head and in some cases shoulder. and never kick something and expect someone to pick it up, or show the bottom of your feet etc.

lol as to the reason i moved, hmm take guess aha, all the moves i have made was due to being dumb and in love with someone :P


i was in indo during some times where radical muslims where running the streets and hotels looking for western people to beat up and worse. So i really cant relate to dont want people to know i am an american thing. you have to be who or what you are.
If people dont like you for being american, then fine, but i feel sorry for anyone that
that is scared of where they are from.

lol ok that was way to m uch typing.
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
So i really cant relate to dont want people to know i am an american thing. you have to be who or what you are.
If people dont like you for being american, then fine, but i feel sorry for anyone that
that is scared of where they are from they wont admit it.
Actually, what I wrote was that "I didn't advertise that I was American, for sure!" I did not invite hostility, yet I was honest. I've never hesitated to say I'm American (I said it in my posting). I apologize for giving you the wrong impression.

Cheers, from
SwampWitch
post #17 of 27
i did not mean that to come out the way it did. I am sorry.
heheh i was in a rush to get out the door before work..

Vancouver Island? i thought it was victoria island?
or something like that , its been years since i was there.
post #18 of 27
Vancouver the city is on the mainland, and Victoria is on Vancouver Island. Unless you are there, it can be confusing, just like New Mexico isn't in Mexico...

Cheers, from
SwampWitch
post #19 of 27
My family and I left South Africa almost 5 years ago now and as some have said, in some ways it was easy, but in others it was the hardest most emotional decision I ever had to make.

We moved for reasons of safety... our lives were plagued by crime but unfortunatly that is how south africa is... while there you learn to live amoungst the crime going on around you ,you are always fearful something will happen to you or your family without a moments notice! When we were directly targeted (5 times in a year) and when my mother was hijacked in broad daylight at gunpoint, we realised our "home" was not as it once was... it was hostile, dangerous and unforgiving! The straw that broke the camels back after so many different crimes happening to one family was the day my sister rang me from home to ask why I'd decided to remove the louvre windows to my bedroom window... I sat confused for a few moments and when the realisation hit me that we'd been burgled and they could still be in the house I ordered my sister to get out and take the dogs with her for security( both german shepherds and police trained)! I've never driven so quickly to get to my sister in my life! There were so many "what if's" going through my mind! There was no-one in my house but they'd cleaned us out! Everything was gone! The decision was simple... we were getting out of there NOW! Within 4 months, our home was sold, we'd put in our resignations at our work places and found homes for our two beautiful German Shepherds and my little baby Teil Toffee (who pinned away for me and passed away within weeks of us leaving) and moved our entire lives a million miles away from all we've never known...

Africa will never leave my heart (although my accent is a bit dodgy at times) and I will always miss my home! But I am African through and through and I'm proud of it!!!!
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pippy-pops View Post
My family and I left South Africa almost 5 years ago now and as some have said, in some ways it was easy, but in others it was the hardest most emotional decision I ever had to make.

We moved for reasons of safety... our lives were plagued by crime but unfortunatly that is how south africa is... while there you learn to live amoungst the crime going on around you ,you are always fearful something will happen to you or your family without a moments notice! When we were directly targeted (5 times in a year) and when my mother was hijacked in broad daylight at gunpoint, we realised our "home" was not as it once was... it was hostile, dangerous and unforgiving! The straw that broke the camels back after so many different crimes happening to one family was the day my sister rang me from home to ask why I'd decided to remove the louvre windows to my bedroom window... I sat confused for a few moments and when the realisation hit me that we'd been burgled and they could still be in the house I ordered my sister to get out and take the dogs with her for security( both german shepherds and police trained)! I've never driven so quickly to get to my sister in my life! There were so many "what if's" going through my mind! There was no-one in my house but they'd cleaned us out! Everything was gone! The decision was simple... we were getting out of there NOW! Within 4 months, our home was sold, we'd put in our resignations at our work places and found homes for our two beautiful German Shepherds and my little baby Teil Toffee (who pinned away for me and passed away within weeks of us leaving) and moved our entire lives a million miles away from all we've never known...

Africa will never leave my heart (although my accent is a bit dodgy at times) and I will always miss my home! But I am African through and through and I'm proud of it!!!!
My dad had the choice to move to South africa or Germany, some collegues said it would have been better to move to south africa because they spoke english but my dad said that its too dangerous to live and it was better to go to Germany!
I always believed though that the south africans owned lions in their back yards!
I am so sorry to hear that you had to move to the UK, because of bad people in your country
post #21 of 27
Living in England is fine for me. I went to college in the US and I loved it there I still have a American friends (including my best friend in the whole world) although I would love to visit but flying into the states would be too difficult.

I like England, not a huge fan of London but we are moving (tomorrow!) to Richmond which is in Surrey. I like that I don't get harrassed when I walk down the street but I am forever scared (irrationally) some new immgration rule will come in and I will be kicked out. I always seem to be in fear of this happening despite the fact that I am here legally (would never dream of doing it any other way) and have never done anything wrong or illegal. I still feel a lot safer than I have my whole life. I guess its because I fear everything will be taken away from me again.

Sorry for being depressing.
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sims2fan View Post
Living in England is fine for me. I went to college in the US and I loved it there I still have a American friends (including my best friend in the whole world) although I would love to visit but flying into the states would be too difficult.

I . I like that I don't get harrassed when I walk down the street but I am forever scared (irrationally) some new immgration rule will come in and I will be kicked out. I always seem to be in fear of this happening despite the fact that I am here legally (would never dream of doing it any other way) and have never done anything wrong or illegal. I still feel a lot safer than I have my whole life. I guess its because I fear everything will be taken away from me again.

Sorry for being depressing.
i can understand,i was kicked out of Indo thanks to paper work screw up, after putting in a business,and getting a house. now i cant even see them. i do keep hopping that one day that people grow up and stop this stuff.
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
i can understand,i was kicked out of Indo thanks to paper work screw up, after putting in a business,and getting a house. now i cant even see them. i do keep hopping that one day that people grow up and stop this stuff.
I am so sorry about that! I really hope you can go back one day!
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sims2fan View Post
Living in England is fine for me. I went to college in the US and I loved it there I still have a American friends (including my best friend in the whole world) although I would love to visit but flying into the states would be too difficult.

I like England, not a huge fan of London but we are moving (tomorrow!) to Richmond which is in Surrey. I like that I don't get harrassed when I walk down the street but I am forever scared (irrationally) some new immigration rule will come in and I will be kicked out. I always seem to be in fear of this happening despite the fact that I am here legally (would never dream of doing it any other way) and have never done anything wrong or illegal. I still feel a lot safer than I have my whole life. I guess its because I fear everything will be taken away from me again.

Sorry for being depressing.
Has your marriage changed your immigration status? Are you planning on becoming a British citizen? I hope you don't mind my asking - I'm simply curious about how it works in the U.K., and how other immigrants feel about naturalization.
I still have my U.S. citizenship; I used to think it would be easier here in the E.U. if I took German citizenship, but I want to retain my "identity" (and who knows, maybe we'll want to move back to the U.S. after retirement). Dual citizenship isn't permitted in my case (American married to a German/Western European).
Your being scared isn't irrational. I remember the tremendous amount of red tape I had to go through my first decade here, with work permits and temporary residence permits. I've been here so long now that all I have to worry about is getting my permanent residence permit stamp put in my latest passport. I can't vote here (but can vote in U.S. elections now), and my husband and I have to go through separate lines at airports etc., but otherwise I'm not disadvantaged in any way.
post #25 of 27
I came in on a marriage visa which allowed me to get married in the UK. I now have to apply for the leave to remain visa which allows me to stay here for two years and work. I had to wait for our move to apply because you need proof that you live together and my flat's lease was in my name. Once I have moved I will get an agency to apply for me and I have to provide them with all the paperwork.

The fear also comes from my Mother always telling me to be careful and not stand out in your points of view as this would lead to bad things. She grew up in the civil war of Lebanon (she almost got killed a bunch of times) in boarding school. I think she was always waiting for some big disaster and she passed this fear onto me as a child.
post #26 of 27
My dad was in the diplomatic corps. so I traveled a lot since I was 4 years old. Then I married a trader and again I lived in different parts of the world. Now I am back in my native Philippines. I still can't understand much of the Filipino psyche and they can't seem to get me either. But still, home is so much better.
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Wow, such interesting stories...........thanks guys for sharing them!
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