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Decisions, decisions...

$50,000 Cure?

Have I made the right choice? Homesickness etc.

$50,000 Cure?

Postby marky74 » Thu 24 Apr 2008 01:08 GMT

Hi all, well I am close to going back to the UK. With my poor Canadian wife in tow. For what many expats call the $50,000 cure.

I can honestly say that I left the UK for all usual the reasons, social decline etc etc. To work in the Niagara region for 6 months. After about 3 months I met the lady who is now my wife, and I am still here 3 years later.

The problem is I am very homesick, and think that many things are actually better in the UK. Canadians are very nice people (but cannot drive for s**t) and generally don't whinge. But they don't like hearing that some things are better, even if they actually are.

It depends where you come from in the UK and what your lifestyle there was like, Of course Canada is better if you come from a poor area. But I come from London and miss the big city.

Summer here is too hot, winter too cold. I actually miss the rain!! You dont have to shovel it!

My wife has been to the UK a couple of times and loves all things British (well she married me!!) But I think in time the novelty will wear off for her. After a while she will be just as homesick and fed up of the UK as I am of Canada.

So do we sink all our savings for a house to go and live in a rented apartment back home? I am willing to do anything to go home, but I feel guilty thinking what I will put her through.

If I was still on my own I would go back tomorrow. I just wonder how many times I will get to see my parents before the worst happens?
I miss my group of friends that I knew for 18 years! I cannot make new friends easily and my hobbies and interests dont really exist here, or are too expensive.

I don't think things are that cheap here. If you earn more tham $12ph in Niagara you are on good money. You have a good job if you work all year round and don't get laid off in the winter.

We have thought about moving closer to the GTA for more to do and better opportunities.

So GTA or Back to the UK?
Its hard to make that decision with the heart or head! :(

I don't things are as bad in the UK as the media hype and whingers suggest. Although there are no 'chavs' here parts of some cities are just as bad as in the UK.

Sorry if I upset anyone, just saying how I feel.
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Postby Alex Ram » Thu 24 Apr 2008 04:14 GMT

Hi - (London to Niagara hmmm!!!) I do feel for you having to make such a decision. I was in your shoes many years ago - living in a small town in ontario which was a bit slow and depressed, making minimum wage and just wanting to go home. We moved to Toronto and I never looked back. A completely different feel, pace, buzz as well as a much larger pot of people to fit in with. My advice would be to give GTA a try before making the move back. I'm sure you know that most people who go back end up returning here - but there must also be loads who have found that Canada is simply not for them. - no crime in that. Anyway think hard then think again. Good luck - Alex
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Postby deppfan64 » Thu 24 Apr 2008 18:46 GMT

Hi Marky

I just replied to another thread of yours!
I know what you mean about homesickness.....we have lived in Barrie for nearly 2 years and I still have days where I just miss home....especially M&S but hubby thinks that is just a women thing! When we first moved here, I just pined until I couldn't pine anymore.

This emigrating thing is not easy....you don't just pack up, get on a plane and that is it. Like you I have left many friends and family behind and miss them lots. Hubby and I both have elderly parents who are not good healthwise......but we have two kids and we feel we need to stick it out to give them a better life.

I note you come from Eltham, we came from Bexley and I used to commute up to London.....I was actaully born in Bermondsey, so moving to Canada was a huge shock for me. But at the end of the day, I don't think I would go back now......I think in ten years time the UK will be done and you may find that you have made a wrong move.
Plus you have your wife to think about.....it's not easy and I know how hard it is.
Think long and hard....I know what you mean about Canadians thinking nothing is better than Canada......in the UK now, I don't think anybody cares less what anybody else thinks....about anything.

I wish you lots of luck

Mal
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Postby marky74 » Mon 28 Apr 2008 22:15 GMT

Hi guys, thanks for your support.

Alex, I would like to give the GTA area a try. But having had an accident driving a bus. I wont get another driving job without a clean record.

Its my fault, I was rushing trying to keep to time. I was new to the job and missjudged the width of my 8'6" bus by a couple of inches. The widest buses in the UK are 8'4" wide. I took a cars mirror off. In London a minor everyday occurence.

True the roads are wider here, but so are the vehicles!

Here that collision was considered a major accident. Police called and I was charged with careless driving. Which I had to plea bargain in court. So after having a clean licence for 16 years, its clean no more!! The police would not even attend a damage only collision in London!

Anyway. Mal, its not a woman thing. As a grown man I have had quite a few breakdowns about what I have done and how much I miss home. Luckily I have been on my own, I try and hide it from my wife.

I do feel out of place here in general because I have not embraced everything Canadian. Because I can't let go of where I have come from, and don't agree with everything that goes on here. I am not into sports or drinking and miss my family and group of friends who I have known most of them for over 18 years.

Its not easy just to become friends with any old stangers I meet, and my wife has criticised me for this.

Thanks for you time replying.
Marky
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Postby Kay » Tue 29 Apr 2008 09:46 GMT

Sorry to hear you're not happy Mark. Hope things improve soon.

You mentioned that your hobbies would be expensive to pursue in Canada. Out of interest I wonder what hobbies you mean. (Tell me to mind my own business if you like.)

Are any of your old mates on Skype or even email? Would you feel happier if you could have more contact with them?

I think the driving accident has also depressed you. Are you out of a job now? What else could you do? More to the point, what else would you like to do? Maybe you could afford to retrain? You can do a lot online these days. Instead of spending your savings going back, you could maybe spend some on retraining and get yourself your dream job? It's just an idea. Whatever, don't give up and let everything get on top of you. (Much easier said than done. I know!) Try to think what you could do to improve your situation. If you've hit rock bottom, the only way is up. Go for it!

Good luck, mate. And don't forget you have friends here on BE.
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Postby marky74 » Tue 29 Apr 2008 22:52 GMT

Hi Kay,
Thanks for your reply.

I keep in regular touch with my friends and family by email and phone.
I don't know how people did it coming here years ago by post!

But there is no substitute for physically seeing someone. I was never really one for phone calls and would rather go and meet my mates at their house.

Yes the driving accident did depress me! As what happened is so different to back home! What happened to a good old swearing match or even a fight. Then exchange details and off you go. Oh they don't do that here!

My hobbies in the UK were many. But mainly into classic cars, especially the old Austin Mini. I had 9 of them over 13 years. Owning 3 at a time for a while. Just running 2 ordinary cars here is so expensive. Let alone any classics or imports from the UK. A beat up old Mini that needs restoration costs $5-10,000 here. Then you have to restore and keep it somewhere.
All for that same car that in the UK would be worth $2-4,000.

See what I mean by expensive. You cannot justify that kind of money on a car that only comes out on sunny days for 6 months of the year!

I have been to a few car shows here. But they are nothing compared to the quality and quantity of the UK.

I am not into sports, from anywhere. I like going for days out, weekends away.

We had a great time in Collingwood, K-W Mennonite Country, Toronto, North Bay. But you can't really pop there for a day or half day.

In Southern Ontario there is not much to do. Sometimes on our day off we just look at each other bored, can't think of anything to do. Within a reasonable driving distance or cost.

Yes Niagara Falls is nice, but not if you have to work or try and find a job there. As for a dream job. I don't know, I thought I found it when I first came here driving tour buses around the falls. But then winter comes. Very poor research on my part I know. Just about making do financially, could not afford to go back to school easily. Scared of taking more risks now!

Compare that to London and the South East where you are just a couple of hours away from Uptown/Downtown London, The Coast, the countryside, country homes, steam railways, all sorts of shows, etc, etc.
Hop on the Eurostar to France.

I think I am fighting a loosing battle here! Getting homesick again.
I am sure I can take all the chavs on, and put up with the litter, graffiti and traffic jams.

Now where did I put that $50,000 :?: :wink:

See, told you I have got it bad :!: :shock:
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Postby Lorry » Wed 30 Apr 2008 12:31 GMT

Hi Marky74,

It seems as though you are so down you are just looking for all the negatives and are no longer even trying to make a go of it in Canada?

Can you remember all of the reasons you left the UK 3 years ago?
They must have been good, valid reasons to make you want to leave and live in a different Country?

I don't know if you've been back to the Uk to visit at all, but things have not improved in 3 years, and are infact probably getting worse?

We left the UK last July because we didn't want to bring our children up in a Country where the kids no longer have respect for people or property. It is becoming Americanised with kids carrying knifes and sometimes guns.
Too much traffic, going way to fast. Too many people, too many houses being built - no room to breathe.
You could walk down the road and see 100 people, and not 1 would look at you or say hello. No community, no time to talk.
There was just so many other reasons we left and wouldn't go back to.

Sure, I miss friends that I've known as far back as junior school and secondary school, and my family, but it's great with MSN, Skype and other communications.
I am going back for a week in August, and apart from seeing my friends, I'm actually dreading it!

Is there anywhere else in Canada you could live where you could pursue your interests and make new ones?
Canada is a huge Country which is different in every province, there must be somewhere you could settle and enjoy?

Think positive and good luck :D
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Postby jessica » Wed 30 Apr 2008 12:39 GMT

Ok, why not start doing some serious thinking about it and some research: perhaps start off by planning on going back.

So:

Would it be on a temporary basis to see how your wife gets on with it?

How would going back affect your status here? Can you keep the privelege of living here in case going back doesn't work out?

Do you own a house here - so would you rent it out or sell it?

Can you start jobhunting now to find a job over there? Didn't you say you were a driving instructer? Woudl you need to do a refresher course? How much would that cost?

Where woudl you live once back there? Rent or buy? Stay with friends and family until you get a place?


Start planning. Then you'll feel less helpless. Feeling helpless is just depressing and gets nowhere. Sell the idea to your wife as an adventure. A chance to spread her wings and experience another life. Do the research, sort out your affairs and go back - maybe for a year or so, maybe forever. At least then you'll both have had the chance to experience both countries and can make an informed choice. There's no shame in returning - at least you've had a go. How many peopel in the UK just moan about their situations and do nothing?

And finallly, why is it called the $50000 cure?


Good luck mate.
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Postby Lorry » Wed 30 Apr 2008 13:15 GMT

Good advice Jessica.

Marky 74, I hope you have more than $50.000 to buy a house in the UK!
Another reason we left - a small 3 bedroom semi with a tiny garden.. £250.000!

:D
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Postby Kay » Wed 30 Apr 2008 13:48 GMT

Yep, I agree - Jessica's advice is very good.

I particularly agree that feeling helpless about one's situation is really terribly soul-destroying. Do something! :)

Are there any classic car fans in your area? Could you put an advert in the local paper, or newsagent's window, or wherever, to find out? Could you start a club? Yes, it's an expensive hobby but if you had, say five or six, people chipping in to buy a car, and working together on the project, that would help your social life and wouldn't be so expensive.

It sounds as though you don't have much of a social life - what else could you do to improve that? Voluntary work? Join clubs or groups?

How about building a website or writing a blog about classic cars? That's how British Expat got started. I was miserable in London and missed the expat lifestyle so I started this website to meet new friends and amuse myself - now it's our main source of income. 8)

Try to take positive action to improve your situation. It's easy to say, I know. I get depressed from time to time and it's like a kind of paralysis. Take it in small steps if you have to. Promise yourself that tomorrow you'll do at least one little thing to make things better. :)
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Postby marky74 » Wed 30 Apr 2008 22:45 GMT

Thanks again for your tips and support. Some wise words there!
I will try and answer most of them - positively!!

The $50,000 cure. Well the amount was $5,000 in the 60's to possibly $100,000 today. I met an expat who used this expression. Its where you have been here a while and are homesick etc, and take the plunge and go back to the UK. Only to find after a while that you have made a big mistake!! Then you spend whats left of your savings etc coming back to Canada and really struggle for a while regreting what you have done. Hence the word 'cure'.

We have seriously looked into going back. My wife should get a working visa OK. She should have no trouble finding work in retail, banking or aesthetics / beautician. I would have no trouble finding work as a PCV bus driver. But I may not get back in at the best paying firm or depot.

My wife really wants to go for a year, and should be able to get a leave of absence from work. So if there was a major problem she would have a job to come back to. I would not be able to get my old job back or anything similar due to having 2 points on my licence.

Luckily we have no children, only a cat to consider. (Anyone want a 9 year old male Maine Coone??). We rent an 1 bed apartment which we should be able to sublet to a family member along with the cat!

So what have we got to lose, except our savings? Which would be a good down payment on a house in Canada. The problem is that my wife would want to return to Canada to buy a house and have kids. Something going to the UK for 1-2 years would set back in time and money as we are in our mid 30's.

My fears, she will hate it after a while in the UK, like me here!
That I will not want to come back to Canada with her.
Should I just be a 'man', bite the bullet and stay here and save several thousand $ in the process??

My wife would not like the rude and impersonal service in the UK, and strangers not talking to each other. Something which does not bother me being a Londoner, but I am sure it will really get to her after a while.

I worry that once we get there, we only have enough money to live on an cannot afford the days out, weekends away, eurotrips etc. Although you get more time off in the UK. We many not have the cash to do things.

Intially we would live with my parents. It would be a squeeze. 4 adults in a 2 bed flat. But would hopefully only be for a month. Although my wife is not too keen on this. We would then get our own rented apartment. Two bedrooms hopefully, so people could visit us in the UK.

While recently trying to find a good secondhand car for $3,000 (Ha, Ha).
My wife said she would rather spend the money going to the UK and if she does not it will always be something she will regret not doing before settling down.

So I am more than happy to go back home for a bit. Its the coming back here I am not so sure about and starting all over again. Its taken 3 hard years just to get what little we have. I could not go through that again.

I would be OK to go as I have a PR card. I understand that you can live outside of Canada for 3 of the 5 years the card is valid. But must be resident in Canada at the time of renewal. Time spent living in the UK with your spouse is counted as living in Canada.

I always find something to do. I know it sounds like all I do is sit around and whinge (on this forum previously!). Its just there are more interesting things I would be doing back home. I would still have my 'network'.

I have owned cars and buses with other people but it does not really work out as there is always a difference of opinion and arguments. Better to be on your own. I don't recommend owning your own bus though, as the cheapest part is buying the thing!! Let alone storage and restoration.

Nothing wrong in doing things on the net. But I get moaned at when I spend too much time on the computer....... oh better go now.

Only joking!
I can assure you all I am doing something, just don't want to get into even worse trouble! Things are more complicated than they seem.

:D

Thanks again.
Marky74
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Postby marky74 » Wed 30 Apr 2008 23:10 GMT

PS. Meant to add that I have been back to the UK 3 times in the last 3 years.

It was always a shock intially how small and crowded everything seems.
The parking spaces in car parks are so tight! Regular Canadian spaces are UK disabled only spaces!!

The second time I was back was after a 14 month gap.
Very emotional due to missing some important family anniversaries and birthdays. I was unable to go back for that length of time because I was waiting for my PR card.

Last time back was in Dec07 & Jan08 for 18 days. I did feel like a foreigner in my own country at first, and found it hard driving again. But towards the end of the trip I had really settled back in again, and it felt like I had never been away - Honest!

The funniest thing was when my wife tried to ask another customer in a shop where she got her earrings from. The lady practically ran off without answering my wife. I had a job explaining that one!
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Postby Kay » Thu 1 May 2008 08:25 GMT

Hmm. I was going to suggest going back for a holiday, but that's obviously not the right answer since you've already been doing that.

You know, nothing has to be for ever. You don't have to decide now what you're going to do for the rest of your life. Just make sure you don't burn any bridges. Maybe it would be a good idea to go back for a year or so.

Alternatively, as someone else suggested earlier, look at different areas in Canada. Forgive me if I'm wrong but I think you're not happily employed and this is having a knock-on effect in other aspects of your life. I think if you could find gainful employment which you enjoyed it might turn things around for you. And your mates might enjoy the chance to come out and visit you.

I don't know anything about it - and I've never even been to Canada - but my gut feeling is that you shouldn't risk all your savings. Be very sure about what you're doing before you put them at risk.

Good luck. :)
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Postby deppfan64 » Thu 1 May 2008 14:21 GMT

Hi Marky

I'm sorry that things are still not getting any better for you. Like I said earlier, I too was very very homesick and still have odd days where I could go home.
My daughter was 16 when we came over here and she was very sad to leave the Uk and her friends. When we moved in this house, she would spend all day on the computer to her friends whilst waiting to go to high school. In her room , she would have out all her photos and it began to scare me a bit. It was like a shrine to her London life.
As well as having to try and pick myself up, I could see that it was making her ill. So I had a frank talk with her and told her that they will always be her friends, but that this was a new chapter and that she should put the photos away......it was a very tough night that night!!
Anyway she took my advice and is 18 now and going to uni this year.

Don't get me wrong, if we offered her a plane ticket back to London for a vacation, she would grab it, but she doesn't want to go back. Her friends talk about the violence, the rudeness of people and just the bad way of life there.......so I think she can see the benefits of living here.
I feel for you, I really do. I personally think that you should try and go back for a year with your wife.........get it out of your system in a way. But you must be prepared for another difficult choice if your wife doesn't like it there.
I think it will be more of a cultural shock for her than it was for you coming here. She isn't going to get the "how are you" people aren't going to hold doors open for her......the place is dirty.....

Please let us know what you decide......as a lot of people seem to be rooting for you!!!

Take care

Mal
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Postby marky74 » Sat 3 May 2008 19:50 GMT

Thanks Kay and Mal.

It is a very tough decision to make.
I know that there are many things my wife will dislike, as well as the homesickness I know she will suffer, and I would not wish that on anyone!

There are some things she wants to do here before we go back to the UK.
So it looks like a return date of Aug 08. So we cannot send off for a visa too early. As I will be out of a job when my firm knows I want to go.

Like I say even taking in everyones comments and personal stories, I would still go back tomorrow. But I have to consider my wife!

So many things to consider. But thanks again to the forum and everyone on it!

At least you feel you are not alone! :D
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