If you had the opprtunity,

Mar 28th, 2004, 04:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 206
If you had the opprtunity,

would you be an ex-pat and live in Europe.

My niece and husband (in their mid-forties) are again going to Europe to live...this time indefinitely, maybe permanently/ She's lived in Londen and Hamburg, both because of her husbands's job.

Now she's going to Milan because he changed jobs and company's headquarters are in Amsterdam. This time may be permanent.

They gave 3 kids, 10, 6, and 4. The 10 year old has to be to boarding school (only good American school they could find) in Switzerland so will only come home weekends.

As much as I love to traavel and I LOVe Italy, I'm happy here in the states and I do not think I would want to live abroad permanently. I would miss the states too much. Along two/three month is imaginable, but for the rest of my life, I don't feel too comfortable about that.

Sure they will visit here and have friends and relatives visit there and the kids are going to be quite worldly and sophisticated, but....

How do you fodorites feel about this?
lucky03 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 04:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 34,738
Since I have never lived out of the US for terribly long periods of time, I am not sure how I would fare. I am sure I would miss a LOT of the small luxuries that we are used to. BUT! I would certainly like to give it a try!
I would never give up citizenship but I would love to live in another country-or more-for a few years. It would be such a wonderful experience, much more fulfilling than a week or two somewhere in a hotel.
And I think, once someone has done something like this-they appreciate their own country so much more.
Scarlett is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 04:38 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,080
There is no such thing as "permanent." Life throws too many curve balls! We had the opportunity to live for a few years in Europe early in our marriage. It was wonderful, and we would jump at the opportunity to do so again. Of course, having children complicates things, and ten does seem so young to live away at school. But I'm sure the parents are making the best decision for their child. It's a great example for children to know "the world's their oyster," and that they can find opportunity anywhere. I know you will miss them, but I doubt this move is for "the rest of their lives." You are Lucky, 03, since Milan is a wonderful place to visit!
Dreamer2 is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 05:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,012
I have done it twice and have no regrets. There were only three things I missed: (1) my parents (having to count the number of times you will see your parents for the rest of your life is scary); (2) the weather (coming from Southern California); and (3) not being able to vote in a country where I lived and paid taxes. I also missed the Pacific Ocean.

What I did not miss: (1) HMO and costly prescription medicine; (2) two week vacations per year; (3)label status (i.e. designer mania); (4) t.v. censorship; (5) isolated living in cubicles in a big city; and (6) lack of public transportation.
Surfergirl is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 05:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,301
Something I would definitely like to do for a few years, and have seriously considered. What holds me back are my children and grandchildren, whom I could not stand to be away from for very long and could not afford to "bring over" often enough to satisfy my need to be with them.

If we could do it over again, my husband and I would have sought work opportunities overseas during our 20's and taken the kids on a great adventure.
MelJ is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 05:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,156
The grass, my dears, is always greener on the other side of the hill
sheila is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 05:44 AM
Posts: n/a
Years ago, I had the opportunity to work in Italy or Germany. I didn't take the opportunity and today I regret that desicion. However, today I look forward to retirement and while I dream with spending long periods of time in one European home base, I do not plan to ever leave the wonderful USA permanently. I do appreciate deeply the amazing opportunity to live and work in the United States; this is a great, incredible country.
Mar 28th, 2004, 05:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 125
I've lived abroad twice for extended period, once knowing that I would return and another time thinking that it would be permanent. I can say for sure that these are very different situations. Living abroad temporarily is still like being a tourist, even if it is for a few years. It gives a misleading impression of what it is like to move for good.

Based on my experiences, I would not do it. The time that I thought it was permanent, it still felt like being a tourist for 5 years, but then the real effects start to seep in. By then you are in so deep that it is hard to get out.

What are the effects? At some point you simply discover that this is not your place and that you will always be n outsider. Despite what the America bashers say, there few places less xenophobic and more accepting of foreigners than America. But isn't just the response of the locals, it's psychology. Once you get to a certain age, you crave the confortable and familiar. You never really feel at home. The later in life you move abroad, the stronger this feeling will become. Someone moving in his early 20's might overcome it. But by the time you are in your 30's, it's probably too late. Of course, there are always thetype of people wore wore berets and read Sartre in high school. It might be OK for them.

Lastly, anybody thinking of becoming an expat, should listen to that old Bob Dylan song, "Pity The Poor Immigrant." It's a good warning.

platzer is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 09:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 833
I have a solid sense of home, meaning I grew up in the area where I live today. Coming home (no matter how much I enjoyed my travels) is always such heartwarming feeling.

For that reason, I probably would not move anywhere permanently. My other friend moved around a lot and doesn't miss her hometown. She doesn't have roots in any one place so she's willing to pick up and move at any time (and in fact did live in Europe for several years).

Surfergirl, I curious as to where you lived. I'm a socal gal myself and probably would feel the same way you did.
crazymina is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 09:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 45,815
I read a lot of Sartre in high school. I guess that's why the idea of moving permanently to my French house is very appealing and something I expect to do.
StCirq is online now  
Mar 28th, 2004, 09:56 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 665
I think it is great! We have done it and are doing it for the past 6 years. We are now in our early 40's and life is good. Our children are growing up multiculturally and are bi-lingual. They are happy, as are we. I am confused why your niece can't find a decent school in Milan. There are so many international schools there and American is NOT the only way to go. (indeed, at the mid-school level, it is probably one of the worst!).

The US will always be there and they can always go home.

Congratulations to them!
SloJan is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 10:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,759
We are also living "away" from home at the moment, teaching in one of those excellent schools here in Italy of which the previous poster was speaking. We are early fifties, kids settled in university, savings from past corporate careers safely invested (sort of...); in fact, footloose and fancy free. Loving every minute of it...well, most minutes...allow me to explain.

Things we love: intra-Europe travel both with and w/o students (Venice, Rome, Florence, Sienna, San G.,Amalfi Coast, Paris, London, Berlin), food,(extraordinary opportunites to learn the techniques and recipes...I don't speak fluent Italian yet but I speak excellent "food"), living in residence with challenging and charming young people from all over the world, the friendship of Italian women who live in our community through the Red Cross (Rosso Croce) which I joined to bridge the gap and get out of the "ex-pat only" loop, our eighth-hand 1982 Fiat which just took us to Sicilia and back, the public transportation systems including trains and buses that go where and when you need to when the Fiat can't...

Things we don't love: our brushes with bureaucracy in all its molto italiano inefficiency: postal, telephones, insurance, polizia...the feeling that however much Italian we ever learn it will never be enough to truly understand the subtleties, not being able to speak with friends and family from home as often or when we'd like, living in community with the students ALL THE TIME...

It is a very freeing expereience to live in another land and we would/will do this again and again but only ever one year at a time. Luckily there are lots of international schools looking for teaching-couples, so look out world!
LJ is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 10:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 475
When I was a university student, I lived (and worked) in Belgium for 3 months. It was a great life changing time with both good and bad experiences. I would love to live a year or two in another country but I don't know whether I would do it permanently - a lot depends on the country I would be living in.
JMM is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 11:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
I've lived for extended periods of time in Germany, Korea, Panama, and Canada. Although I appreciate the positive aspects of each of those places (some have more positive aspects than others), I always end up coming home.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 11:13 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,174
The thing I find hard to imagine in that scenario is boarding school for the first child, and then presumably for all later children. Is the 10-year-old really okay with that option? How do they feel about losing that precious time with their children? What if this boarding school has mean classmates?
WillTravel is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 11:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 41,713
If I were younger I might have considered it but I don't drive and one needs a car if living in a small village.
cigalechanta is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
Hah, surfergirl, you want to see designer mania, go to Korea or Japan.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 04:53 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 776
It has crossed my mind, esp since my sweetie lives overseas. But, I love my home and it would be difficult being so far from my family. And given what I do, it would be hard to find an equivalent job. So now, it is just a passing thought/dream.
nibblette is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 07:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,012
Crazymina, I spent a year in Grenoble and 4 years in London working for an American lawyer. I would have stayed, but on a trip back to visit my parents, my college sweetheart was sitting on their front steps and I ended up moving back (we've been married 18 years!). Had it not been for that, I would still be there today. No regrets, though.

And Rufus, tell me about it! I had an old high school friend who was living in Japan visit me in London -- never saw so many labels, nor such disdain for my lack of them!
Surfergirl is offline  
Mar 28th, 2004, 09:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 426
I'm American and have lived in Geneva and Paris, and have been living in Shanghai for the past 5 years, and I love it!

I am a patriotic American, but I also consider myself a citizen of the world, so (for me) it's not so strange to want to live in many different countries.

I do miss the conveniences, and especially now that I'm expecting a baby, living far from our family is a drawback. But we actually see our nephews more than another aunt and uncle of theirs who live in the US but on the other coast! (We visit at least once a year).

To us, the adventure and the chance to really see how other parts of the world live is well worth what we have to give up in order to do it. Not to mention the ability to travel more and the financial upside . . .

It's not for everyone - there are miserably unhappy expats in every posting - but many people really enjoy the opportunity. We plan on being here at least another 3 - 5 years, and I keep reminding my parents that when we move from here it doesn't necessarily mean that we're moving "home"!

(I do also think it has to do with how attached you are to the concept of "home" - to me, home is where I hang my hat - to my husband, who grew up in the same town he lived in all his life, he still considers his hometown "home", and feels a stronger pull to return someday than I do).
Andrea_expat is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:34 AM.