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MARYROSE02 posted a topic in Chewing the fatFor unhappy expats life abroad can be hell By annanicholas The great conundrum about unhappy expats is whether they were always miserable or became so when they set foot in a new country. Aye there’s the rub. Why are some expats so unhappy? I was pondering this question when a long established expat in my valley pounced on me as I shopped in the market. Rolling her eyes and puffing like a distressed hippo she recounted events of her disastrous summer. The catalogue of horrors included interminable sunshine, pollen in the pool, visitors, lazy workmen and gardeners and the icing on the cake, plagues of insects. Ah, how those invasions of wasps, flies, frogs, mosquitoes and ants had all but driven her to the vodka bottle. It’s of course true. After more than a decade living in rural Majorca, we’ve experienced many of Egypt’s ten plagues, but thank our lucky stars that we’ve so far avoided boils, locusts and bloodied water. As for tardy builders and gardeners, everyone knows here that as soon as the first day of August arrives they melt away like butter on a hot pan. But of course, there was more to come. The traumatised expat told me how awful the local builders were in her village. Oh! Now that September had arrived they were back at the crack of dawn with their drills and hammers, chisels and saws and why, for crying out loud, did they have to sing and shout and whistle so much? And she was being driven to distraction by the constant clanging of the village church bell, the cockerels, the damned dogs barking, the donkeys braying, and the late night music from the local fiestas. The tourists had been so annoying taking the parking spaces and snaffling all the baguettes in the local bakery early morning, and she was furious that lack of rain meant her garden hose was gasping like a dying man in a desert. I asked her if she had any good news to impart. That required some thought. After a a few moments she told me that, thank heavens, she was back in the UK for a week and would have a chance to recharge her batteries and enjoy a little cool weather and some real culture. Perhaps, I mooted, life abroad just wasn’t for her and she really should contemplate upping sticks and hot footing it back to her beloved Blighty. Return to the UK? Had I not read about the riots, the pollution, disastrous economy, appalling state of the NHS, crooked banks, rising costs, and lack of sun? No, she was staying put. Nothing would induce her to return home. And so it would appear that certain expats really are unhappy wherever they are because, quite simply, they are unhappy people. Let’s hope in their dotage they won’t feel it necessary to quote the writer Colette when she said: “What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realised it sooner.”
MARYROSE02 posted a topic in Aussie ChatWhy Britain's brightest and best are emigrating 12:01AM GMT 21 Feb 2008 112 Comments We already knew, courtesy of the Office for National Statistics, that emigration from this country is running at higher levels than at any time since before the First World War, with 200,000 British citizens a year departing these shores. <LI sizcache="34" sizset="31">Biggest brain drain from UK in 50 years Your view: How can we halt the brain drain? We now learn from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that we lead the world in exporting talent, with a higher proportion of highly skilled professionals emigrating from this country than from any other (except Mexico). The OECD estimates that 1.1 million highly skilled Britons - more than one in ten of the total - are now living overseas. That 1960s phenomenon, the Brain Drain, is back. Should we worry? The urge to wander the globe has been in the DNA of the British for centuries; it produced an empire and gave the world a universal language. Pushed by poverty or oppression at home and pulled by the lure of fortunes to be made overseas, we have proved a footloose nation. But the current burst of wanderlust is motivated by something rather different. We are the world's sixth biggest economy - few places offer better financial prospects for the talented and industrious. So why the exodus? Scratch an expat in any of the 100-plus countries that have sizeable British communities and you will rapidly find out. They will cite the coarsening of British society, the rudeness and the aggression on our unsafe streets, the dead hand of welfarism, hospitals that make you sick, not better - the list is long. One thing will be mentioned more than any other: that unchecked immigration over the past decade is creating a country many Britons no longer feel comfortable in. The Government, stung by the backlash against this in its own electoral backyard, yesterday published a Green Paper on citizenship. It is no more than window dressing, an attempt to show it is "doing something" about immigration when it has proved incapable of delivering the one thing that would actually have an impact - a strict curb on the inflow of immigrants. While economic immigration is healthy, what the OECD figures reveal, when set alongside the half a million foreigners coming here each year (nearly four million new arrivals since 1997) is a "churn" effect that is fundamentally transforming the make-up of our society. The highly skilled are being replaced by incomers who may be hard-working, may have trades - but are not as qualified. This has serious long-term implications, social as well as economic. Regrettably, the Government has so far shown it has not even started to grasp the significance of all this, let alone framed a serious response