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Where is home?

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RobSg
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Postby RobSg » Sat, 28 Jun 2014 10:37 pm

This is a very interesting thread, because I'm relieved that others who have returned to their home country still do not feel at home. That's how I feel.

I was an expat teacher in numerous countries (Vietnam, Korea, Liberia Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Singapore). I taught and called Singapore home from 1988 until October 2013. I gave up my PR, and returned to the US, bought a home in Washington state, near Vancouver, got a dog,and am trying my best to be a retiree and call this "home". My pension is more than enough, and I should be happy. I'm not really.

I felt that being in the US was the right thing to do, because I like the idea of Medicare and never having to worry about my medical coverage. However, I am having difficulty fitting in to the American culture. It's no criticism of my home country. It's just that I don't understand the mindset of most Americans. I should stop reading the newspapers.

I will try my best to like living in my home country, and I guess I don't regret leaving Singapore. The idea of renting an apartment for S$3000/month and the high bills did not really appeal to a single retiree like my self. Do you agree?

I am now looking into a compromise. I'd like feedback on this if at all possible. Perhaps spending as much as 6 months overseas each year as an "escape" might help out. I might even find a place that feels more like "home". I'm actually more interested in countries near the US that I always hear great comments about (Equador, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico). Maybe that might work.

Anyway, I understand how the OP feels, and it's nice to hear that others have the same feelings.

Rob

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Sun, 29 Jun 2014 12:03 am

Liberia !!? I've been to a few 3-4*Bad places, but Liberia. Holy Cow! :o

---You might enjoy, http://www.comebackalive.com/countries/liberia/



p.s. there's more to say about your experiences... just midnight isn't probably the best time for it ....

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Postby Fortan » Sun, 29 Jun 2014 12:21 pm

RobSg wrote:This is a very interesting thread, because I'm relieved that others who have returned to their home country still do not feel at home. That's how I feel.

I was an expat teacher in numerous countries (Vietnam, Korea, Liberia Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Singapore). I taught and called Singapore home from 1988 until October 2013. I gave up my PR, and returned to the US, bought a home in Washington state, near Vancouver, got a dog,and am trying my best to be a retiree and call this "home". My pension is more than enough, and I should be happy. I'm not really.

I felt that being in the US was the right thing to do, because I like the idea of Medicare and never having to worry about my medical coverage. However, I am having difficulty fitting in to the American culture. It's no criticism of my home country. It's just that I don't understand the mindset of most Americans. I should stop reading the newspapers.

I will try my best to like living in my home country, and I guess I don't regret leaving Singapore. The idea of renting an apartment for S$3000/month and the high bills did not really appeal to a single retiree like my self. Do you agree?

I am now looking into a compromise. I'd like feedback on this if at all possible. Perhaps spending as much as 6 months overseas each year as an "escape" might help out. I might even find a place that feels more like "home". I'm actually more interested in countries near the US that I always hear great comments about (Equador, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico). Maybe that might work.

Anyway, I understand how the OP feels, and it's nice to hear that others have the same feelings.

Rob


There are so many benefits for Americans to settle and retire in especially Panama. At least that is what I have heard. property is cheap and everyone speaks English…. read an article about it recently on Linkedin, will see if I can find it…

Edit; here it is: http://internationalliving.com/2014/01/ ... aven-2014/

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Postby maneo » Sun, 29 Jun 2014 6:24 pm

Fortan wrote:
RobSg wrote:This is a very interesting thread, because I'm relieved that others who have returned to their home country still do not feel at home. That's how I feel.

I was an expat teacher in numerous countries (Vietnam, Korea, Liberia Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Singapore). I taught and called Singapore home from 1988 until October 2013. I gave up my PR, and returned to the US, bought a home in Washington state, near Vancouver, got a dog,and am trying my best to be a retiree and call this "home". My pension is more than enough, and I should be happy. I'm not really.

I felt that being in the US was the right thing to do, because I like the idea of Medicare and never having to worry about my medical coverage. However, I am having difficulty fitting in to the American culture. It's no criticism of my home country. It's just that I don't understand the mindset of most Americans. I should stop reading the newspapers.

I will try my best to like living in my home country, and I guess I don't regret leaving Singapore. The idea of renting an apartment for S$3000/month and the high bills did not really appeal to a single retiree like my self. Do you agree?

I am now looking into a compromise. I'd like feedback on this if at all possible. Perhaps spending as much as 6 months overseas each year as an "escape" might help out. I might even find a place that feels more like "home". I'm actually more interested in countries near the US that I always hear great comments about (Equador, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico). Maybe that might work.

Anyway, I understand how the OP feels, and it's nice to hear that others have the same feelings.

Rob


There are so many benefits for Americans to settle and retire in especially Panama. At least that is what I have heard. property is cheap and everyone speaks English…. read an article about it recently on Linkedin, will see if I can find it…

Edit; here it is: http://internationalliving.com/2014/01/ ... aven-2014/

Have an expat friend here that would agree about Panama.
He already has property there.
His wife is from So. America, so Spanish is already a 2nd language in their house, which makes it even easier.

Lot's of good things said about Costa Rica, too.

Have another friend that moved to Uruguay.
Seems to be quite a trend - wonder if its time to dust off the old high school Spanish.

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Postby Wd40 » Sun, 29 Jun 2014 8:36 pm

ginger_bread wrote:I often ask myself the same question too.

I have been an expat for the last 15 years, having lived in three different countries in two continents outside home. I left home in my 20's single and am now in my late 30's married. In the past 2-3 years I have started feeling the need to really settle in one place, probably because I have children now, and I know this place is not Singapore. I do not feel that I can return to my home country and feel happy. The same for my husband's country because I have never lived there and my husband has been an expat too for 15+ years.

When I travel sometimes people ask me where I am from and I usually do not know how to answer this question. Shall I say Singapore or my birth country? I feel both do not best describe who I am. I feel worried about my children as they may not have an identity of who they are. They have a father from country A, a mother from country B, born in country C, growing up in countries C, D, E (and possibly more).

I have been considering the pros and cons of country F, one that seems to stand out among other options. My husband does not necessarily agree but he doesn't dislike it either. My husband could possibly find a job in country F though it will be less easy for me. I think the country could be a good place to raise our children and probably until we retire. After that I don't know. I know probably we will never integrate into their community due to language barrier and possibly other reasons, but I am used to this feeling. The problem is we have never lived in country F despite having visited the country, how can we be sure it would fit us as a family?

I feel we can't risk moving and trying different countries anymore. My children need to settle and so do we.


Nice post! But if you had actually named those countries instead of just saying A,B,C,D.. it would have been better to get the perspective and you might have feedback from others here which might actually help you and that may actually change your life dramatically.

I don't understand why some people are so secretive about everything they share in the forum in which they anyways are anonymous with their IDs. I have always been as open as possible and I have actually benefitted a lot from this forum, by doing that.

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Postby Brah » Sun, 29 Jun 2014 9:47 pm

Wd40 wrote:Nice post! But if you had actually named those countries instead of just saying A,B,C,D.. it would have been better to get the perspective and you might have feedback from others here which might actually help you and that may actually change your life dramatically.

I don't understand why some people are so secretive about everything they share in the forum in which they anyways are anonymous with their IDs. I have always been as open as possible and I have actually benefitted a lot from this forum, by doing that.


+1 & +1 and this part of the thread really has me thinking.

But I disagree with WD here, because I value the little semblance of anonymity we have here.

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Postby Brah » Sun, 29 Jun 2014 9:52 pm

maneo wrote:
Have an expat friend here that would agree about Panama.
He already has property there.
His wife is from So. America, so Spanish is already a 2nd language in their house, which makes it even easier.

Lot's of good things said about Costa Rica, too.

Have another friend that moved to Uruguay.
Seems to be quite a trend - wonder if its time to dust off the old high school Spanish.


Good info, and every few months there is something about this on HuffPo, which I try to avoid but still read that site, about people living out of the States and 9 times out of 10 they are in S. America.

As usual, what's more informing are the comments sections, although less so now than before they strong-armed people into having to use non-anonymous accounts to comment. Which is when I stopped commenting there.....

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maneo
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Postby maneo » Sun, 29 Jun 2014 11:00 pm

"Home" for those nearing retirement may be different from when they were raising children.

International Living's 2014 Top 15 retirement destinations ranking does have almost half in Latin America:

1. Panama
2. Ecuador
4. Costa Rica
6. Colombia
7. Mexico
9. Uruguay
13. Nicaragua

Also making the list from Asia, Australasia and Europe:

Asia/Pacific
3. Malaysia
10. Thailand
12. New Zealand

Europe
5. Spain
8. Malta
11. Ireland
14. Italy
15. Portugal

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2014/01/06/the-15-best-countries-to-retire-to-in-2014/

Have one friend in Thailand and another in Malaysia.
Each country has become home for them even though they haven't retired yet.
Not for everyone, but certainly suitable for those that can adapt.

Once you've broken the continuity by leaving your birth home for an extended period, even going back will require adapting.
Just have to figure out where you really want to be at each phase of your life and make it "home."
May as well plan on traveling a bit wherever you are, but you may also find that friends & family will come to you if it's a nice destination.

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Wd40
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Postby Wd40 » Sun, 29 Jun 2014 11:03 pm

You guys are lucky you come from developed countries and you have the skills to get visas/work permits to so many countries so easily.

For my nationality and skills, I look at Singapore as a "bird in hand" rather than venturing out to other "birds in the bush"
Last edited by Wd40 on Sun, 29 Jun 2014 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby taxico » Sun, 29 Jun 2014 11:04 pm

Wd40 wrote:...I don't understand why some people are so secretive about everything they share in the forum in which they anyways are anonymous with their IDs. I have always been as open as possible and I have actually benefitted a lot from this forum, by doing that.


certain private details can be very telling. many times i want to share but i hold back because i don't really wish to be identified... (i had a long post typed out to this thread that included details of where my parents were from and where we've been over the past many years but i did not post it in the end)

singapore IS pretty small. i've been called out a few times - okay twice - in real life by singaporeans at the most inappropriate moments and it was quite annoying (because it really was not the right time).

i also dislike attention IRL...
Aut viam ad caelum inveniam aut faciam

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Postby ginger_bread » Mon, 30 Jun 2014 1:12 am

Wd40 wrote:Nice post! But if you had actually named those countries instead of just saying A,B,C,D.. it would have been better to get the perspective and you might have feedback from others here which might actually help you and that may actually change your life dramatically.

I don't understand why some people are so secretive about everything they share in the forum in which they anyways are anonymous with their IDs. I have always been as open as possible and I have actually benefitted a lot from this forum, by doing that.


Because that will provide enough information to identify us.

Anyway it's not like we can go anywhere we like to live and raise our children. We need a job first of all. Before that it's just day dreaming...

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Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 30 Jun 2014 6:43 am

RobSg wrote:However, I am having difficulty fitting in to the American culture. It's no criticism of my home country. It's just that I don't understand the mindset of most Americans. I should stop reading the newspapers.


After 8 years in Singapore with lots of travel, I, too, am having a lot of difficulty accepting the American culture as it is. It seems to worship the gods of materialism via the religion of consumption. It places sensationalism and celebrity in front of thought and due deliberation. It is very narcissistic.

Maybe it's always been this way, only now I judge that it is even worse... or maybe it's me... I know I see things differently now that I have lived abroad, and I can only say that I am greatly concerned for the country.

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Postby Steve1960 » Mon, 30 Jun 2014 8:16 am

When I lived in the UK I was less than 30 minutes from my brother and his family by car. We rarely ever saw each other, busy lives. I have a couple of long standing friends but again rarely ever saw them. I confess I am a bit of a loner.

For 2 years before coming to Singapore I was supposedly based in the UK but travelling at least 3 weeks a month. My only regret was missing most of my wife's pregnancy and the birth of our daughter.

Home for me is anywhere my wife and young daughter are and generally speaking I prefer Asia to either Europe or the USA.

Like many of you I don't feel like I have a home but it does not bother me at all. I keep my UK passport not because I feel British it is purely practical as it is one of the best passports to hold when travelling. If it wasn't I would give it up immediately.

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Postby Fortan » Mon, 30 Jun 2014 8:38 am

I would like to share a bit about why I think I am so bloody confused. The many replies to my original post had made me think.

The first 5 years I lived in Asia, I had no kids. I lived 3 years here in Singapore and then moved to Thailand. In Thailand I met my wife and as we were moving from Thailand to Switzerland she got pregnant with our first daughter who was born in there. We lived there for a little more than a year and I was actually the main reason why we moved back here. I couldn't get any traction in my job, it was European winter and I was feeling miserable. What I do think, is that I missed the life I USED to live in Asia. With all the drinking beers every weekend, going out with friends, having fun almost every night. I got the job here in Singapore and I was ecstatic about going back here. A year on, I am now the father of TWO small girls. Seems like every move my wife ends up pregnant :D I dedicate my life to my family these days. I have changed. I don't smoke anymore, I don't go out much. My values have changed over the last few years. My daughters and wife are everything to me....

Looking at our life here, we are living of my salary, which is not bad by any means. However looking ahead and thinking of having both my daughters going through the expensive private schools here.... it scares me, because the way it looks now, there won't be money left for pension saving or any other savings. The cost of living is increasing and I just can't see us staying here if I have to be honest. All of sudden life in Europe with the good public schools seems attractive. Even the high tax seems to make sense having a big family as it will cover schools and health.

That's where I am stuck right now..... trying to get my head around what will be the best option for my family. It is no longer about me....

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Postby Steve1960 » Mon, 30 Jun 2014 9:07 am

OK so there is a little bit of 'missing the single life'. I think that is understandable especially when kids first arrive.

Not sure how old you are but I am going 54 in August and having a second family late in life (wife is also pregnant with our second). I think age helps, I don't miss that single life I did it in my teens and twenty's and again in my forties and just don't 'feel the itch' anymore :-)

I share your views on raising two kids here and I have no intention of doing it but our exit plan is to the Philippines plus I have a decent private pension and have been saving for the kids education.

Europe might be an option but how about somewhere in Asia like Thailand or Phil? Likely you will have a better standard of living? I do want to retire in my wife's native country is there any reason why you don't?


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