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Reverse Culture Shock?

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This goes to the root of how people define standards of living and quality of life.

Can it be reduced to having an iPad or a big telly? I think a lot of people in the UK do that, it's a consumerist thing rather than a measure of happiness.

 

I, and most people here are talking standard of living, for me that is a separate discussion to quality of life, to an extent my quality of life is better. But as some examples pertaining to standard of living - when you have to really consider putting your heating on for the cost of gas, or running a bath for the cost of water, or even worse paying four times the rates (Council tax), we paid on oz for the bins to get emptied once a fortnight (a lovely crop of maggots throughout summer), public spaces and roads not to get maintained etc etc. now that could be considered affecting both quality of life and standard of living, but in case your wandering we live in the affluent south. What seems to have happened in my absence is:- obviously the GFC, another massive round of privatisations, public sector job cuts (unfortunately apparently at the expense of the people who actually did the work, not the fat cats and beurocrats) a weakening of employment laws and cuts in almost everything else. You can feel the tension and anger amongst the populace.

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My experience, going to the UK not from Australia but from the USSR in 1991, was interesting. At least, I think it was interesting. My views on the UK then were about how shabby the place looked. And this, after being in the USSR for a year. Probably I was still used to my memories of Germany, where shabbiness was not a feature of the environment. I experienced some degree of culture shock - a feeling of general doom and gloom, low wages, poor standard of living, low expectations. Mind you, I hated my job, and that was probably a large part of it. I left the UK as soon as I could - did not really want to go there in the first place - and settled into Asia before returning to Australia. What do I think influenced my feelings? The colour of non-summer months, a nation struggling as individuals to make a go of life, inner city devastation, train stations of unsurpassed tristesse. Maybe I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.


There is nothing more important than that you be happy.

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train stations of unsurpassed tristesse.

 

That's incredibly poetic.

 

I returned to England after 3 years living in Australia (many years ago). I thought the youth looked malnourished and pale and that people in shops seemed miserable in comparison. The culture shock didn't last for long though and I soon forgot about Australia and embraced the complexities and subtleties of life that are noticeably missing in Australia. I am now living back in Australia again and we went to England for a holiday last year and it honestly felt as if I had never been away - it was as if my life in Australia had never existed it was so insignificent. People in England were cheerful and full of life but it was summer and the weather was good. Everyone says the country is struggling and people are struggling but everyone I know is doing well, living in nice houses and having holidays abroad. However having teenage kids I am glad we are in Australia as their peers in England seem much more wordly-wise and cynical (that's the impression I get from Facebook at least). It's swings and roundabouts.

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So I guess if you are wealthy the UK has a great deal going for it. But if you are poor- forget it- depressing cold and dirty. I suppose it is similar the world over but a bit of sunshine does make a diff.

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We returned from Sydney after 9 years there just under 2 months ago. We had wanted to return here for several years as we have 2 young children and wanted them to grow up with extended family, amongst other things. We were really worried on leaving Sydney about regretting the move and not fitting in here, I have only been back twice in 9 years, to th point where my DH suggested in Dingapore "we could just go for 3 weeks and go back to Newtown" even though all our bits and bobs were sailing the high seas! I worried about constantly thinking about the area we lived in in Sydney which we really liked, and missing it. However, totally unexpectedly as soon as we landed in Heathrow it felt a hole in my heart that I had never been able to fill in any way in Sydney, despite constantly trying, healed up. That was a shock. I haven't had any culture shock, even with the cold weather. I always missed the lay of the year in the UK - Christmas in winter, Easter in spring time, long summer nights and bank holidays, guy Fawkes etc and never really latched onto the Australian seasons very well. I am really enjoying being back in winter!! And central heating!! I haven't ever thought about pasty people in shops etc, it just feels very normal. Maybe I never truly embraced Sydney even though we are citizens.

 

we are in honeymoon period, but it's a relief to actually love it, and I am making the most of it as one day I will want to feel 30 degrees again I'm sure. Catching up with friends and family feels like having not been away, although we are short on time with 2 toddlers. Life is much busier here so far.

 

The only culture shock so far is cost of trains and the fact they are constantly disrupted, I have a half hour journey into London and its 21 quid a day, 27 with a tube pass. Ridiculous. And there is constant signal issues etc. they do however, go faster than a car unlike Sydney. London to Liverpool in 2 hours now. 210 miles, not bad! Overall the UK costs are cheaper, free healthcare, groceries are cheaper, kids clothes very cheap (no VAT) books, etc. however there is such a massive availability of goods you are tempted to spend more! I didn't see any clothes that I "had to have" in Sydney but in London it's a risk looking. Also grocery shopping with lots of tasty treats on offer, and wine in the supermarket! But having clothes, food and wine in one shop is fantastic when you are time poor with young kids.

 

anywa, I'm sure I'll miss Sydney at some point, I'm relieved to not feel it now though.

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Thanks Rinkie66 for your post, it was so encouraging to read as the emotions you describe are exactly how I'm feeling as we make preparations to leave Oz. It's good to know that it's normal to feel worried about leaving an area you like but also that by staying you feel you are missing something important in your life. I'm so happy for you that you followed your heart and it has all worked out so far and don't regret your decision.

 

My excitement at our new chapter is now winning over the anxieties, thank you!

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Good luck with the move! Of course I'm only, as everyone, speaking of my experience. I have read people on here that have moved back and felt a bit disconnected but I think I have read more positive posts about people fitting back in. I ran into a woman with a toddler year old in my playground up the road on Monday, she had lived in Sydney 8 years and moved back just over 2 years ago and was very happy with her decision, no regrets at all. Plenty of us move back home in the end!

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Was in Australia for 12 years when I went back to Leeds. No reverse culture shock for 3 months then it kicked in when I realised we weren't going back and were stuck in the UK. I gradually started to appreciate all the things we'd had in Sydney. I also started to realise how we'd been left behind by all the developments (good and bad) in the UK. After 6 months I was feeling very alien and homesick for Aussie things. Fortunately we had one year return tickets and we couldn't wait to get back on that flight.

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We were only in oz for 16months we had some ups and downs but I felt so home sick the whole time only for friends and family though, we were very fortunate in oz in some ways such as we were financially stable for the 1st time in our married life! my husbands job was an 8 on 8 off shift so although him being away was very hard it did mean every other week he was home, could take our boy to and from school lots of family time, standard of living was lovely beautiful place. then a chance to come back to UK came up and we were so torn as to what to do! we loved our life in oz but were struggling to make friends and missed people so much so after doing a pros and cons list for uk and oz we decided to come back which I was so excited about was so lonely in oz. anyway been back 6 months now and although things are EXACTLY the same in every way I have really struggled to settle back home, we are even living back in same house as we rented it out so things are exactly how they used to be but this hasn't helped the feelings of confusion and missing oz! I read on here many of times not to move back just for family and friends and athough I felt this wasn't true and that family and friends make your life (as we had the life in oz but struggled to enjoy it as we had no one to share it with) well I can now see what they meant.....I love having those special people back in my life spending time together having support and and htaving them in my kids life but have only just came to the conclusion that actually that's no enough :( our life here sucks compared to what we had in oz my hubby now works 12hr days 5 days a week I cant even find work! my kids arnt as lively and outgoing as they were and we have no money to do anything so we have left a lovely outdoor lifestyle with amazing schools for my boy to a life of being stuck in and not being able to afford to do anything, schools are no comparison I dislike them so much now that I have experienced oz ones!. so reality is we made the wrong choice coming back but for now it is our life and will just have to try and make the most of it.

 

Obviously everyone is different this is just my personal feelings and experiences. and actually we met a family fro devon I oz and they were adamant the whole time they were there that they would never retyrn to uk then all of a sudden they decided to go back and they have been back 8 months now and couldn't be happier! so just decided your reasons for coming back thoroughly and then go from there. it may be the best thing you do or you may regret it truth is you wont really know until you get back and start living life.

 

Good luck with your decisions and the move

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