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Old 05-25-2012, 02:44 PM
 
248 posts, read 250,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossy View Post
I was born in Canada and moved to the U.S. when I was five. I am scared of establishing again and my six year old daughter. Healthcare concerns me especially if we moved to a non speaking English country. I know, I am a scaredy cat. I am 37 years old. Not being near family.....education, what schools do I pick....

But going somewhere sounds exciting and I only live one life, right? The other thing is a career for me.


Did any of you move back from Europe?
I am moving back to Italy this august, and I don't have plans on moving back to the states after that. I do, however have plans to live other places in Europe outside of Italy. I would love to move back to the Netherlands, but I have had my mind set on Sweden for some time, so I have been looking heavily into that. Of course the wind can take you on a course completely off your original, and that is half the fun in life, but even having grown up in California, and no matter where I go to live in the near future, I consider Italy more my base, the place I would go back to.
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:03 PM
 
4,879 posts, read 3,184,696 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossy View Post
I have to say that I really admire poeple who have lived in the U.S. for all their lives or part of their lives or others who have moved to the U.S. to move back to another country. I wished I wasn't so scared to do so. I am a Irish and US citizen and my husband is from Ireland and we would like to move to another country but get scared for silly reasons to be honest. Part of me just sasy go for it and the other part says the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

Can anyone comment about their feelings with just getting up and moving and loving or regretting it? I would love to hear from you.

Jenn

is ireland where you are thinking of relocating to ?
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Old 05-25-2012, 06:00 PM
Status: "notary sojac" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: then: U.S.A., now: Europe
6,313 posts, read 5,599,879 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossy View Post
I have to say that I really admire poeple who have lived in the U.S. for all their lives or part of their lives or others who have moved to the U.S. to move back to another country. I wished I wasn't so scared to do so. I am a Irish and US citizen and my husband is from Ireland and we would like to move to another country but get scared for silly reasons to be honest. Part of me just sasy go for it and the other part says the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

Can anyone comment about their feelings with just getting up and moving and loving or regretting it? I would love to hear from you.

Jenn
I was born and raised in the U.S. . 18 years in western NY state, forty-two in Manhattan. I mulled over places in the U.S.to move to upon retirement, and after two years was ready for the move.....and found myself with absolutely zero interest in locating to either of the final two places I had decided upon. So, at age sixty-two I said, "Why not!?"... gave my furniture to friends and charity thrift shops, gave up my rent-stabilized closet-size apartment, bought a one-way ticket to Portugal and made Europe my home. I had spent exactly ten days here six months before I made the move.

I am far, far happier here than I was my last twenty years in the U.S., and would never dream of going back to live.

Though I live in Portugal (and have also lived in Cyprus) most of my friends are English-speaking Germans and a smaller number of Brits and Portugese. There are no American residents where I live, or if there are they are unknown to me and not numerous at all. In the past two years I have met one American woman at the dentist's office, she is married to a Brit, as I recall, and lives in another town.

My town is small - 17,000, a mixture of old an new parts. A small international airport is fifty minutes away, though most flights are connecting ones - I have travelled to Ireland, Spain, Turkey, Greece, etc. for holidays. I live in a condo in a Portuguese working class neighborhood, within sight of the sea and with a view of the inland mountains. Medical care is as good as in the U.S. in the private hospitals, I have had had two angioplasties here and a very complicated spine surgery in Barcelona, Spain. In Spain the hospital was better than anything I had ever been in in the U.S., and the surgeon was one with a top reputation.

I don't miss anything at all about the U.S., so neither homesickness nor nostalgia interfered with my settling in. After living here for nine years I took a five-week trip back to the U.S., I couldn't wait to leave, and I cannot imagine anything that would ever get me to return again.

My impression is that my experience as an American is not the norm. From the expat forums I read occasionally, and comments in C-D forums I think most Americans are wretchedly unhappy over here in Europe about almost everything, and live in a constant state of negativity, resentment and personal deprivation. I don't share those feelings - and do not sympathize with them - so I am quite happy that there are zero Americans where I live.

I'm not very thing-oriented, most of what I buy is books and music, and clothes to replace what has worn out. I spend only part of my SS and pension; so I can give several thou a year to a local day care center and home for severely physically & mentally disabled children and adults. I eat out at cheap cafes, my favorite overlooks one of the best views on the coast of Iberia. I worked for a large bureaucratic organization in the U.S.: twenty years of waiting for a constipated elephant to poop - tremendous stress, but excellent training. I am very patient as a result...nothing over here is any worse, any more stupid than that place was. And none of it matters anyway.

My grandmother emigrated to Canada, cousins to Brazil and Cuba, me to Portugal...most likely we are a family of genetic malcontents and traitors. We probably did the U.S. a favor.
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Old 05-25-2012, 07:46 PM
 
461 posts, read 934,964 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irish_bob View Post
is ireland where you are thinking of relocating to ?
No, not necessarily. I think a move to Europe somewhere. My husband had many chances in the last 11 years to go to Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, France and we just didn't take advantage because of me. We have it pretty nice in the US and looking back I wished we did take a chance.
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Old 05-25-2012, 07:51 PM
 
461 posts, read 934,964 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevxu View Post
I was born and raised in the U.S. . 18 years in western NY state, forty-two in Manhattan. I mulled over places in the U.S.to move to upon retirement, and after two years was ready for the move.....and found myself with absolutely zero interest in locating to either of the final two places I had decided upon. So, at age sixty-two I said, "Why not!?"... gave my furniture to friends and charity thrift shops, gave up my rent-stabilized closet-size apartment, bought a one-way ticket to Portugal and made Europe my home. I had spent exactly ten days here six months before I made the move.

I am far, far happier here than I was my last twenty years in the U.S., and would never dream of going back to live.

Though I live in Portugal (and have also lived in Cyprus) most of my friends are English-speaking Germans and a smaller number of Brits and Portugese. There are no American residents where I live, or if there are they are unknown to me and not numerous at all. In the past two years I have met one American woman at the dentist's office, she is married to a Brit, as I recall, and lives in another town.

My town is small - 17,000, a mixture of old an new parts. A small international airport is fifty minutes away, though most flights are connecting ones - I have travelled to Ireland, Spain, Turkey, Greece, etc. for holidays. I live in a condo in a Portuguese working class neighborhood, within sight of the sea and with a view of the inland mountains. Medical care is as good as in the U.S. in the private hospitals, I have had had two angioplasties here and a very complicated spine surgery in Barcelona, Spain. In Spain the hospital was better than anything I had ever been in in the U.S., and the surgeon was one with a top reputation.

I don't miss anything at all about the U.S., so neither homesickness nor nostalgia interfered with my settling in. After living here for nine years I took a five-week trip back to the U.S., I couldn't wait to leave, and I cannot imagine anything that would ever get me to return again.

My impression is that my experience as an American is not the norm. From the expat forums I read occasionally, and comments in C-D forums I think most Americans are wretchedly unhappy over here in Europe about almost everything, and live in a constant state of negativity, resentment and personal deprivation. I don't share those feelings - and do not sympathize with them - so I am quite happy that there are zero Americans where I live.

I'm not very thing-oriented, most of what I buy is books and music, and clothes to replace what has worn out. I spend only part of my SS and pension; so I can give several thou a year to a local day care center and home for severely physically & mentally disabled children and adults. I eat out at cheap cafes, my favorite overlooks one of the best views on the coast of Iberia. I worked for a large bureaucratic organization in the U.S.: twenty years of waiting for a constipated elephant to poop - tremendous stress, but excellent training. I am very patient as a result...nothing over here is any worse, any more stupid than that place was. And none of it matters anyway.

My grandmother emigrated to Canada, cousins to Brazil and Cuba, me to Portugal...most likely we are a family of genetic malcontents and traitors. We probably did the U.S. a favor.


Love your story!!! You are the person I am talking about. Just gives into the dream and lives it and loves it! There is just something missing living in the US for my husband and I and other poster hit the nail on the head when they said culture. Out in California, there isn't much, in my opinion. I have to say we live a nice life but a safe life if that makes sense.

How did you pick Portugal? Also, how do you go to another country for a surgery? What about health insurance? I don't understand how that works and how you would find the docs. I am from Canada so I understand a bit about socialized healthcare.

Has there been anything negative in your move you would like to share?

I want my daughter to experience different cultures and life instead of growing up thinking these reality shows on TV are life. It is scary to me and my husband.

Thanks so much for sharing.
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Old 05-25-2012, 10:32 PM
 
14,755 posts, read 15,355,980 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevxu View Post
bought a one-way ticket to Portugal and made Europe my home. I had spent exactly ten days here six months before I made the move.

I am far, far happier here than I was my last twenty years in the U.S., and would never dream of going back to live.

I don't miss anything at all about the U.S., so neither homesickness nor nostalgia interfered with my settling in. After living here for nine years I took a five-week trip back to the U.S., I couldn't wait to leave, and I cannot imagine anything that would ever get me to return again.
I lived at the same latitude as your location, plus or minus a hairline, in Italy as a child. I go back every other year, +/-. I have also been to Portugal 7 times. At any rate, I know I have to go home because I have things to do, but getting on the plane for the homeward flight is NOT easy for me. Do you know of people from other southern European countries who made Portugal their home? I know of the Brits and Germans that do the "packaged" tourist thing in the Algarve, but how about other Europeans from other sun-drenched places that have chosen to make it home? (I have met Portuguese people in both Lisbon and Porto who repatriated from Italy, for example).
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Old 05-26-2012, 02:41 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
5,347 posts, read 6,674,257 times
Reputation: 6276
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossy View Post
Love your story!!! You are the person I am talking about. Just gives into the dream and lives it and loves it! There is just something missing living in the US for my husband and I and other poster hit the nail on the head when they said culture. Out in California, there isn't much, in my opinion. I have to say we live a nice life but a safe life if that makes sense.

How did you pick Portugal? Also, how do you go to another country for a surgery? What about health insurance? I don't understand how that works and how you would find the docs. I am from Canada so I understand a bit about socialized healthcare.

Has there been anything negative in your move you would like to share?

I want my daughter to experience different cultures and life instead of growing up thinking these reality shows on TV are life. It is scary to me and my husband.

Thanks so much for sharing.
Reality TV shows are everywhere. One of the first reality shows that sparked the explosion of this phenomenon, Big Brother, was started in the Netherlands. America may have taken the idea and run with it but the concept did not really originate in the US. All different countries have their own "Big Brother" and other reality shows - plus, US TV shows are often aired in other countries too.

Here are all the international versions of just Big Brother: Big Brother (TV series) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I can understand wanting your daughter to be cultured and I'm sure reality shows are not the sole reason you want to leave the US - but if reality shows are a big concern, you'd be better off just regulating her TV exposure.

I also think kevxu is probably in the minority when he says there is nothing about the US he misses at all. The average person should expect there to be at least SOME things about their home country that they will miss - especially someone like you who says that you have a good life where you are now. That doesn't mean you can't have a good life somewhere else too, but it does mean there will probably be aspects about where you live now that you might miss. I'm not trying to discourage you, just giving you a realistic idea of what to expect.

Personally, given your reservations, I wouldn't recommend moving some place where there would be a language barrier. Moving to and adjusting to a foreign country is difficult enough to begin with, never mind having to learn an entirely different language. If you have the chance to move to an English speaking country, I would encourage you. You say your husband is Irish, that you also have Irish citizenship, and that you've had the opportunity to move to Ireland so I would recommend this. It would be the easiest route, being that your husband would already be familiar with it and that might make your adjustment a bit easier by having someone there who can act as a guide. It would also mean less stress for him and therefore less stress on your relationship. Plus, with both of you already having Irish citizenship, the legal barriers would probably go a lot smoother.
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Old 05-26-2012, 05:28 AM
Status: "notary sojac" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: then: U.S.A., now: Europe
6,313 posts, read 5,599,879 times
Reputation: 10812
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossy View Post
....How did you pick Portugal
I already spoke some Portuguese. I would have moved to Brazil, where I had a cousin in Rio, but he died very unexpectedly. Brazil in my estimation was probably not the best place for an older person to just jump into, so Portugal seemed like a logical alternative for me.

Quote:
Also, how do you go to another country for a surgery? What about health insurance? I don't understand how that works and how you would find the docs. I am from Canada so I understand a bit about socialized healthcare.
I have a private health and hospital policy from an English company. I usually use one of two private hospitals where I live, but sometimes the state hospitals. In either case, my policy has paid. It is easier to use one of the local private hospitals because they can get pre-approval for various procedures and surgery, and then they are just paid directly. If I use a state hospital, I pay the hospital and then I have to collect from the insurance company.

The surgery I had in Spain was not covered by my policy as it was a pre-existing condition. Therefore, in order to be covered by insurance I would have had to go back to the U.S. for the surgery.

That would have meant finding a doctor, a surgeon who did the procedure and whom I would trust, a place to stay while there, re-establish contact with Medicare, and I have no Medigap insurance, re-doing all the tests, etc. This surgery is very expensive in the U.S. After I did the math, the surgery in Spain (which included the surgery, a week of physio, a week in a private hospital room with a livingroom, plus a week of recovery time in a nice hotel while doing the physio - all included in one fee) was no more than the cost of going to the U.S. and getting it done there.

Mine was a complicated spine surgery, which made it easy to shop surgeons around the world in the internet. It was easy to check credentials, read the articles they had published, conferences they had addressed, feedback from patients. I could have had it done in Germany, but the cost was greater, and there did not seem to be any pluses about going there.

Quote:
Has there been anything negative in your move you would like to share?
Well, I suppose the bureaucracy in both Portugal and Cyprus. I started out in Madeira (just for a six month vacation) and getting myself legalized once I arrived there seemed like a comedy of errors to me. But it was a comedy.

At one point when it turned out I had been sent to the wrong government department by another govt dept yet again, the old guard on that floor was furious that I had been given the runaround. So he literally took me by the hand pulled me out of the building, marched me down the main street to another building where I had actually started out first thing in the day (I looked like a prisoner because he was in a fancy uniform), pushed his way into the private office of the head honcho and demanded - not asked but demanded, that she immediately help me. She was on the phone at the time, and had a suppliant sitting before her as well. She was very insulted to have been intruded upon, but he was adamant and voluble and refused to leave and finally she told him to shut up and leave, and yes she would solve my problem. And she did, and with good grace. I felt like a total jackass through all of this, but in the end this little, angry old man had been an angel of the first order.

I lived in Cyprus for three years, and trying to get all of my documents together, and approved by the honorary consul for Portugal (a Cypriot) was a hell beyond belief. I have dealt with honorary counsuls twice, they were pompous and totally ignorant of the procedures of the country they represented. After an unbelievable struggle to get my documents together and forwarded to the Portuguese embassy in Athens, I thought I had finally put Cyprus behind me.

But my problems were not over. When I went to get my visa to Portugal put into my passport, the idiot Greek clerk in the Portuguese embassy laminated the wrong visa into my passport. When I arrived in Portugal and went to my solicitor to begin the process for getting a residencia, she took one look at the visa and said, "I have no idea what this visa is, I have never seen one like it."

However, she sent me to someone with some connexions to the local immigration office, and through this woman's connexions it got approved. My visa application was for a retirement residency, but the visa put into my passport was not for a retirement visa....so it was complicated.

However, as I said previously, I spent twenty years working for a huge organization where nothing ever got done, and ego-inflation was the principal work activity. Thus, all this sh*t while totally maddening, was not unfamiliar and I never doubted but that it would somehow, magically, all turn out okay. It did in these cases, and there have been others as well.

The only other thing I can think of is what I would call "fitting in."

I was surprised to find that I was rarely comfortable with English people, whether middle class or working class. I simply do not mesh with them comfortably. This surprised me.

On the other hand, both in Portugal and Cyprus, I found that I fit in with Germans very easily. I would say that my personlity is simply too direct even for English working class folks, whereas with the Germans I simply seem straightforward, which how they see themselves. I find the Germans direct and supremely easy to deal with, which I have not found with the English.

My Portuguese was learned from a cousin in Brazil, and a Brazilian lady friend and teacher. Thus, I had a very heavy Carioca accent. This was not well received in the south of Portugal, where some people resented an American speaking to them in Brazilian Portuguese. This has led to most of my Portuguese friends actually being Brazilian immigrants, who are wonderfully easy-going, friendly people. On the other hand, younger Portuguese people simply find my accent amusing rather than annoying. And in my building and neighborhood I am on good terms with my Portuguese neighbors.

My stellar moment of negative adjustment was my one and only case of "road rage." I was driving down a street in Paphos, Cyprus, and it was an extremely narrow street barely accomodating normal two way traffic. For some reason the traffic had become blocked at some point, and we were crawling literally bumper to bumper with only inches separating the lanes.
From behind me a large black Land Rover began trying to inch past me on the left, forcing me ever closer to the cars creeping in the other lane. Finally, I lost it completely - first time, I swear, and I stuck head out the window, waved my fist and screamed, "What the hell to you think you're doing you fool!!!" The driver looked at me with icy reserve and waved airly to the men sitting in the back. I went ballistic and screamed, "F*ck you!"

Sitting in the back - with the windows down - was His Grace the Bishop of Paphos with his entourage.

Actually when I realized who he was, I was extremely pleased with myself. I hated the way the Cypriot Orthodox Church had its hand inthe politics of the country all the time This creep was a political meddler of the first order, and was at that time the focus of a religious scandal because he was trying to get the Archbishop (head of the autocephalous church) declared a loony and have him unseated, and Paphos clearly expected to be the new Archbishop when this coup was accomplished. He was a snake.

When the whole sordid mess got straightened out, he did not get elected Archbishop, and, in fact, had lost a good deal of his stature for his shenanigans. I was quite pleased to have effed him.

Other than these few things, all of which were ultimately rather funny, I haven't had any negative experiences. There are day-to-day irritations, but I guess I adust easily and I live with them like everyone else.[/quote]
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Old 05-26-2012, 05:35 AM
Status: "notary sojac" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: then: U.S.A., now: Europe
6,313 posts, read 5,599,879 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA2UK View Post
...I also think kevxu is probably in the minority when he says there is nothing about the US he misses at all. The average person should expect there to be at least SOME things about their home country that they will miss ....
As I said, I do think I am a minority in this respect. Most Americans seem to have and endless list of I misses, judging from the ex-pat forums I have read.

I do not think that Americans transplant well, and I would not advise most Americans to try it.
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Old 05-26-2012, 05:39 AM
Status: "notary sojac" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: then: U.S.A., now: Europe
6,313 posts, read 5,599,879 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertpolyglot View Post
... I know of the Brits and Germans that do the "packaged" tourist thing in the Algarve, but how about other Europeans from other sun-drenched places that have chosen to make it home? (I have met Portuguese people in both Lisbon and Porto who repatriated from Italy, for example).
There are quite a few resident Germans and English in my area, and Dutch. The only southern Europeans I have ever met who are living here were Spanish nurses.

We have in the last two or three years gotten more Spanish, Italian and French tourists than formerly, but that's tourists not residents.
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