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Decisions, decisions...

$50,000 Cure?

Have I made the right choice? Homesickness etc.

Postby Buddyboy » Tue 27 May 2008 02:06 GMT

Marky: I'm a bit late into this one but I offer one point that no-one seems to have mentioned. You have three years invested in Canada. As you know there are literally hordes of people in the U.K. who would give their left arm to be allowed to live here. If you go back, find that things didn't work out and want to return to Canada, some legalities may get in the way. I urge you to stay here just a bit longer, long enough to get Canadian citizenship. That would mean you could return here anytime you wish at any stage in your life. In your case I recognize that you are married to a Canadian, which likely would make it easier to return at any time. However, you can't predict the future. With full citizenship before you left your right to live here, at your choice, would be gold dust.

The required residency for Canadian citizenship is three years of actually being in this country. The process, start to finish, would likely take about a year. You are almost there. Set that as a goal before leaving and, who knows, by the end of the year you may have got over this difficult period and decide to stay after all. By the way, unless things have changed and I don't think they have, you are only allowed to be out of Canada for a maxi mum of six months, after which you need to apply to immigrate from scratch, all over again. Don't make assumptions about that point. Be very sure you can return to Canada when you think you can. Canadian citizenship protects you from all that nonsense.

I myself moved from the east end of London to just west of Toronto where I spent most of my adult life. The GTA is vibrant, full of interesting places, people and things to see and do. Maybe that's where your future lies.

Good luck.
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Postby CanadianMom » Tue 27 May 2008 16:05 GMT

Excellent advice in that post. When you feel so strong in your emotions it is easy to set aside those valid points that may unexpectedly catch up with you later.
Even being Canadian I know what you are talking about. Canadians know on the world stage we are rather provincial(can't compare to London), and can seem rather homespun or backwater in many places/attitudes(Oh yes, and it isn't always quaint!). But we really value our good points. Quality of life for us. Quiet kind of freedom to be and breathe. Caring about others as if they were ourselves(that can be lost with some like anywhere, and is less in the city until you get to know people).However quality of life means having a social network and feeling like you belong. It is very difficult if you go a length of time without that or gaining new friends-even one special friend. You get the feeling you are just putting in time and long for connections. I feel for you there. No wonder homesickness is so intense. And it is very different here. Just visually, let alone language and verbal and cultural cues/knowledge. Its perfectly alright if it does not suit you. Sometimes we find that some aspects of life that we took for granted mean much more then we realized.
I know the attitudes you are describing. I find this is more prevalent outside the cities and I urge you to try a new locale if there is any room in your heart to try. I grew up in the country and lived in many various sized towns and cities here and they each have their own flavour. Some suburbs are empty feeling , others have life. Often it really came down to what was going on in my life that really dictated how I perceived a place. The less connected I was the more empty a place was. I wasn't linked in.
It can seem very country bumpkin in places! We just moved back 45 minutes north of Waterloo to our hometown and I wanted to move back within the first year! I even broke down several times missing my friends/more worldly ways. I even cursed the move, the house, the idiocy of our judgement! I had changed and I did not feel I was fitting in at all. I had absolutely no patience with country drivers, small town gossip/ways, or neighbours talking to each other while ringing up the groceries. I am sure I looked like an uptight, city-went-to-her-head fool! LOL I remember having the city attitude that I should express my dissatisfaction with these small town hold ups and am so glad now I kept my mouth shut. I have now become part of them and can spot the city folks 50 feet off! I am adjusting slowly and am appreciating more of the positives while acknowleding some of the things that are different here(and not superior). It is interesting because now I am not sure I want to go back to the city. I have swung more to staying here or even going farther to the country! So my perception has swung. I still don't have a best friend here but keep in touch with my friends elsewhere easily.I am on good terms with folks here though and slowly building... There is good and bad on both sides. The quality of life issues here are better even though personally I miss aspects of city living. We have really calmed down and even drive slower. What crime rate? Don't lock doors. Cleaner air. People know us by name everywhere(which was disconcerting at first) and instead of getting all defensive I can see where they want to help. Feeling connected is starting to feel less invasive and healthy instead. They remember me in the hospital by name even though I was there a year ago for a very minor thing. The vet wants to know how my hubby's new job is going. The nurse wants info for her grown son to change careers. Can I do someone a favour? Sure. People find out my 6 year old has a dance recital and SHOW UP uninvited to watch in the theatre with their families to offer support and encouragement-even though its a work/school night and none of their kids belong to the dance school. 8) And I never mentioned it! Hm, no not very worldly but there is value here I have been reaquainted with. the restaurants are good and cheap and needed renos 20 years ago, but again they remember us, what we like, and its not so consumer driven. So it has been a learning curve with emotional pulls and lows along the way.
Each place has its own feel. You do not sound suited to your area at all. There are so many places here, I know there probably would be a place that would suit you in time. However if your heart is set on home and life back there nothing will really compare. But I would certainly not say you have had the difinitive Canadian experience as it is so varied. You have had one experience and it is a mismatch. Had you started in another better suited location you may have made some nice connections by now and felt differently. The cities and depending which ones, offer a wide, wide arrange of people, atmospheres, things to do, clubs, etc. It is out there. You have to connect! You do have an expensive hobby though. You see most cars don't last long with salt and winters here, so parts for particular cars can be hard to find and pricey. Many buy through the States(the South). They have a larger inventory because the bodies hold up in their climate for years.
I acknowledge your feelings and your wife's too. Novelty may indeed where off with London in time. You know it is a shock to Canadians how brisk or even how snobby/indifferent some societies can be. We are often called naive. Sometimes I have even been shocked at a civil conversation turning icy cold on here and I am at a loss. Even a dressing down where it seems it comes from nowhere. Such differences in how we relate or are perceived. Cultures are different and the social aspect is so important in our lives.
My hubby took out an Italian to the most country bumpkin gun club last week. He has been here for years. But often visits Italy. He said he absolutely loved the invitation from my hubby who he just met. He said its typical about what he likes best about Canadians and living here. That is we are friendly, quick to be generous with invitations and sharing our stuff(like come on over, I'll take you to a club and you can use my guns even though I don't really know you). He said we are trusting. He says in Europe it simply isn't like that. So we are out there! However I concede that depending where we are, we may not have the facilites of London. Only you can decide if the drawbacks are worth it.
It sounds like you have made up your mind and I sincerely hope it all works out for you both. I don't like thinking you are so desperately unhappy. But if you do stay or come back-chose a more dynamic place and start getting out and assertively looking for like minded individuals, groups. Try new things. There are many who don't like drinking, sports here too and definitely think $12 per hour is poverty! In another place it could come together as long as you don't retreat with tunnel vision of home. Forgive yourself for your accident and discovering the realities of some laws here. It happened, you learned from it. Honest mistake. May be the ironic chance to try something new. It can feel hard to break into a new social scene but it takes effort and also finding the right people. I have discovered that just moving around Ontario so much. People are busy, people can be slow to accept you, I find it takes a few years and common occurences. For instance my daughter starting school. Or developing workmates and friendships with their families. Even being in a town long enough the folks get use to you and decide you are ok(smaller towns). Other places I was accepted immediately and felt they wanted to know all my business! So its also just moving to a new place-immigrant or not. If you don't have reasons to get out and meet others you must make them. Or else you sit in your box and in winter it can seem especially lonely. Anything else looks better.
Good luck. I wish you success wherever you end up. :D
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Postby Buddyboy » Tue 27 May 2008 21:19 GMT

What a great post, CanadianMom. How you go about "getting connected" with the locals is so important to the success of your transplant. Even though we immigrated to Canada many years ago, just seven years ago we retired (at a young age), left the hustle and bustle of the Golden Horseshoe in southern Ontario and moved to a tiny little backwater in the middle of nowhere here in Nova Scotia. It was like immigrating all over again.

In order to meet people we took a few, simple steps. Like in most places here, the local food store has a great community room that holds non-profit events. My wife and I enrolled in weekly cooking classes. Not that we would normally have done that, just that we love eating food and needed to meet people. It turned out that the chef was a recent British immigrant, from Banbury Cross of all places. We had a great time every week learning great dishes, eating great food; we ended up making a few good friends, in particular the chef who now manages a local hotel and is a very close friend.

We also made sure we went to the village monthly breakfast, a fund raiser run by and in support of the local volunteer firefighters. It was there we met the most people. More importantly, it was there they got to know us. From that outreach we now have many good friends in and around our village. One couple ended up inviting us to a party they were having at the time; from there we met all kinds of people including the mayor, store owners, I could go on.

On the other side of the coin many of the locals put themselves out to make us welcome. A journalist wrote an article about us in the local paper, just introducing us to the community and welcoming us. Quite a few of the locals dropped off little welcoming gifts at our door. I took to taking photographs of local people and places which I sent in to a local internet newspaper who used them in the publication. The publisher had already gpne out of her way to give us as much information as she could to help us settle; now she and her husband are very good friends.

Bottom line, you have to put a little effort in getting involved, getting out there, getting to know your neighbours. After a while you can back off the effort because you have enough to do keeping up with all the things you have ended up involved in. Also, after a little time you become old news, people just accept you for who you are with their focus moving on to the next newcomer.

Oddly enough, as much as we are in the middle of nowhere, in the last couple of years we have met two other brand new British immigrant couples at the village breakfast. We approached them (hearing their accents) and got them involved with the things and people we knew they would enjoy.

One thing I do know about being accepted anywhere. You absolutely have to respect and appreciate the local people for their strengths, which they must have. The last thing they want to hear is that they are doing it wrong, that wherever you are from does it better, that you know better than they do about whatever. And I'm talking about Canadians moving into a new community. If you are from another country entirely, you have to be particularly careful not to be critical, certainly at the outset before you have earned the right to be critical. Brits are not always the best at that.

Marky, have you gone that extra mile to get to know people, to let them get to know you? It may be that where you are is not for you with a move to somewhere else being the best thing for you, but it would be a great pity if you left before really giving it your all. In my experience here, the effort is very much worth it. :D
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Postby Kay » Tue 27 May 2008 23:15 GMT

Buddyboy - I completely agree. If you don't like a country then bu99er off "home". If you do like it, be sure to tell the locals how much you like it. 8) It doesn't do any harm to be appreciative, and it's nice when you can feel they're happy that you're there. I love where I live and I say so quite often. 8) :lol:
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Postby Buddyboy » Wed 28 May 2008 00:31 GMT

You probably don't tell them as much as I do, Kay, but from what you say perhaps you do. I am often asked why I came to this quiet little area that I live in. I always tell them because I have been coast to coast all across Canada and this is the only spot my wife and I loved enough to retire to. That it's true cannot be argued with because here we are.

You have to be visibly enthused about your own community and the people there to be truly appreciated by them. Optimism breeds optimism and hope. Pessimism breeds discontent and despair. We all crave acceptance, but we all make different levels of effort to achieve it. You get back what you put in, and then some.

We are perhaps wandering a bit off Marky's original topic, but an interesting thread nonetheless. He's unhappy with where he is (hopefully it will pass) but getting settled in a new community and feeling at home is what it's all about for all immigrants, wherever they go to.
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Postby Kay » Wed 28 May 2008 08:49 GMT

Buddyboy - thanks for reminding me about the original topic. I guess I opened my mouth before thinking. (Not unusual for me :oops: ) I didn't in any way mean that all people who are unhappy should bu99er off. That's often not feasible for financial or family reasons. I just meant that the people who are always complaining and comparing should examine their reasons for staying.

We have some people here who are always complaining about the local people, about corruption, about this, that and the next thing. I feel like asking them, "If it's so bad, then why are you still here?"

As you say, and the main point of what I was trying to say (but put it badly), is that if you want people to accept you then you have to accept them and like them. You have to say good things about their country and its people. And it has to be sincere. I tell my Thai friends and acquaintances how much I like it here. I think they appreciate it. They don't want to hear how much better my country is than theirs.
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Postby Buddyboy » Wed 28 May 2008 16:09 GMT

Right on, Kay.
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Postby marky74 » Mon 30 Jun 2008 23:07 GMT

Sorry I have not been here for a while.
Thanks once again for your help. Kay, Buddyboy and Canadian Mom, and all the other previous.

I appreciate all your time and effort in replying. Because we have all felt these emotions at some time or other.

I was fed up with life in the UK and thought the grass was greener in Canada, Australia or NZ. But really I had nothing to complain about! The benefit of hindsight eh!!

I came to Ontario to work for 6 months, and was not homesick at all. Never thought I would be. Then I met my wife and ended up staying. Three years down the line I am still terribly homesick.

I think I have tried. I am well known in the village. I have met and worked with some lovely people. Most important of all I met my wife!
But I miss my family and friends back home. The feeling is a little bit like they have all passed away.

What worries me the most is how many times will I get to see my parents again before something terrible happens. Once a year, twice if I am lucky.
With unpaid vacation and only two weeks when I get it. Holidays back home are not easy. It would be better to live in the UK and get 4-5 weeks paid vacation and visit family and friends in Canada. The Pound Sterling would go a lot further than the CDN $.

I missed getting in the union at work because we went back to the UK for three weeks at xmas. I was told that this was 'excessive'!! I used to have to tell my old firm I did not want 3 of my five weeks all at once in the summer!!

You are right I have not picked a good area and I did not research well. But I did only come for 6 months. Then love took over!!!

Buddyboy thanks for your advice. I am sure that you can be out of Canada 3 out of the 5 years with your spouse on a PR card. As that is counted as time in Canada. But I will double check.

Yes I should apply for citizenship. I would be mad not to. How many expats have left and had to start all over again?

Thanks Canadian Mom for your posts, especially after my initial 'rant' elsewhere. The sad thing is we could try and move to the GTA. I would love to work for a big transit system. But my resume wont even get looked at now I have points on my licence.
Thats a fact, its an employers market here.

There are a lot of things I like here, and a lot of things I miss. But I think I have given it a fair try and only the dream of going back home keeps me going!

But we have to make a decision, as we cannot keep our lives on hold forever, as this is driving us mad.

We have to decide before next winter, as our car won't last another!!
(Joking) :lol: :lol:

Thanks again guys!
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