Author Topic: I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far  (Read 4551 times)

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Offline Lalala75

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I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far
« on: May 01, 2017, 05:46:39 PM »
So some of you may remember my epic rant http://talk.uk-yankee.com/index.php?topic=84946.0 about the UK. Just wanted to post an update now that I've moved back to the states. I've been back about two months (In NYC to be exact) and I just wanted to post about what's it's like to return...is the grass greener?

In my case....so far yes :) Here are the big things I've noticed about life in NYC vs London that made me understand more what was missing and made me so unhappy.

1) Life is so much less stressful. Now that I'm out of London, I realize how ill day to day life made me there.I felt like everything was a battle and everyone seemed so miserable and rushing way too much. It took a heavy toll on me. I was constantly having colds, really upset stomach, extreme fatigue and even my bones becoming brittle. I felt like a shell of a person there. Now NYC isn't exactly slow, but it seems so much more relaxed and weirdly less crowded than London (even though there's supposedly more people.) Some parts of NYC are super packed but in London, EVERYWHERE and everything we tried to do was super packed.

2) NYC is more expensive, however, we get paid more than we ever did in London. I even had one recruiter tell me not to say my salary from London because people would wonder why I was being paid so little. And I used to work for a firm that paid higher than market value! So now, we can afford a bit more things like seemed like luxuries in the UK, like a gym membership. We also are saving a lot more, and in the UK, all of our money wold run out every month. Now buying a house, etc seems more in reach.

3) People are very friendly. NYC isn't exactly known to be a friendly place but I am finding that stereotype to be wrong. People seem happier, smile, make small talk and make us laugh all the time. I used to be annoyed at the overly positive culture of the US but now I get it. A smile goes a long way. And it's made me open up more too. Though to be fair to London, since I had to work so hard to make friends and put myself out there, I feel like the experience helped me come a bit more out of my shell.

4) This one is usual but I don't feel as much pressure to look perfect.I was super depressed in London because all the women look like models and everyone is so polished. Which is nice in it's own way but I never felt worse about my appearance. In NYC women look normal. Not as many fake tans, full makeup, etc. And the style is more comfortable while still stylish. I feel way more at ease and the same pressure isn't there anymore. I found myself doing things like eyelash enhancers when previously I never would have thought to do that.

5) Chains. Both cities are full of them but London has way more. Almost everywhere we went was a chain and while the food, drink, whatever it was was good, it felt a bit empty and soulless. NYC has more mom and pop places making it seem a bit more inspiring and quirky.

6) Safety. A lot more horrifying things happen in NYC according to the news  (but seems to be more centered in the Bronx and parts of Brooklyn) and there's a lot more unstable people but in London there were several times I had tense situations on buses/trains where aggressive people would get on and bully people  and I was genuinely scared. Haven't had that here but I'm not sure which I feel more safe yet.

7) I am healthier. In London, I was the heaviest I've ever been in my life, having gained 15 pounds that took me years and a ridiculously strict diet to lose. I know several people that have gone through the same and even an NHS nurse said she saw it a lot and doesn't know why people gain weight when they move there. But since it's easier to get out and about (so much is at our doorstep) and work out in NYC, I am now at a weight I haven't seen since high school (I'm 35 now.)

8) Transport
Granted I lived a bit further out from the center of London in southeast London (in Greenwich, we couldn't afford to live further in) and now we live in Manhattan so it's of course easier to get around in NYC. The trains seem a lot less clean definitely but it's a much less stressful experience than the tube. I haven't been pitted against someone unable to breathe like in London (and I have been on a train where someone passed out because it was too crowded and hot)

9) Escaping. It's easier to go to a decent beach or go hiking in New York. Although I really miss easy access to Europe.

10) Now that bad. In NYC, you have to worry about horrifying things like infestations and in London, thanks to the weather, we didn't see many bugs at all.

11) Health care cost a mint BUT I trust the doctors and care here more. That doesn't mean though that I think the system works because it doesn't. But the NHS left me feeling hopeless and very stressed out. Ignoring my issues and flat out being hostile to me regarding my mental health issues. If you live in a post code with bad doctors you are out of luck. And many people I know were misdiagnosed. I never got help for anything I needed which is too bad and maybe why I felt so ill all the time.

12) A weird one but I finally got a decent haircut. Don't know why but it seemed impossible to find a competent hairstylist in London. Many of my ex-pat coworkers would lament about the same.

Anyway, obviously it was better for me to leave. It was super lucky that my husband got a job in NYC and he also knew I wasn't happy. Thankfully he seems really happy as well. Although it wasn't for me, I think I needed the experience to grow and know myself better so I'd never take it back. Also I made some good friends who I miss dearly. And my job and coworkers were fantastic so it wasn't all bad. Although I felt like I did all I could to enjoy London; build a life for myself, explore and take in all that it offers...I just wasn't coping very well there and it never seemed to pay off.  America definitely isn't perfect by any means and there's things that make me angry here too (speaking of fake tans) and we may not stay in this city even, but I feel at least there's many more cities we could settle in America if we didn't like NYC.

I think life in the two cities could actually be summed up this way, and this is actually coming from my husband. For Londoners life is just ok, and that's the most they would hope for. In America, things can either be really amazing or really terrible.

Offline phatbeetle

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Re: I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2017, 08:56:10 AM »
In the end, we our the ones living our lives and we have to be happy.  Glad it's working well for you!
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Offline x0Kiss0fDeath

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Re: I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2017, 09:53:52 AM »
Definitely interesting to read your before/after experience. I personally haven't felt what you had in regards to your experiences in England and I've had opposite experiences to yours in NYC, but I think it's great that you've given your experiences because it will help other people "plan for the worst" (if you get what I'm saying) when moving over here. Obviously everybody should take our different opinions with a pinch of salt and I do agree with comments in the original post regarding location being key (I'm not sure you could pay me enough to live/work in London! But I was very happy in Reading - which was a 30 minute direct train ride to Paddington).

I'm glad that you made the move that was right for you and your husband and that your husband was supportive of this and I'm happy that you've both ended up happy :)

Offline jimbocz

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I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2017, 10:12:22 AM »
Thanks for that really interesting post.  I am really surprised that you found NY cheaper and friendlier than London and the other things you found were equally surprising. 

I really agree with you that everything you want to do in London is jam packed crowded.

What did your husband think of both places and the moving back and forth?

Offline KFdancer

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Re: I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2017, 12:48:00 PM »
Aww, Im so happy for you!  Everyone deserves to be happy where they live.   :)

Offline Lalala75

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Re: I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2017, 03:38:35 PM »
@x0Kiss0fDeath definitely it's where you live and a lot of factors. I think right now, I'm aware that my situation is a bit easier than in London, we live in a neighborhood that isn't as crowded and the train line is easy whereas if we lived closer to Time's Square or something, the experience would be very different. And it's also about tastes and everything, London just wasn't for me but some of my friends were very happy there.

And yeah, as for planning for the worst, that's exactly why I wanted to write this. Just so if someone was feeling like I did, they might have some clarity or something to relate to. 

@jimbocz It's not that it's necessarily cheaper, though I haven't done a real comparison, but it seems that NYC skews more expensive. But the big difference is our salary is a lot higher in NYC so therefore we have a bit more to save and can afford more. By the way, we have the same sort of jobs, it's just the market pays more here. And I'm sure that's another huge reason why things seem easier.

Husband has found the move to be smooth. For him it wasn't as much as a culture shock because NYC and London aren't that different whereas I was coming from LA to London. He's also found no one treats him as a foreigner (Though it's a different story when we go visit my family in Texas, people are fascinated.) So far he hasn't had any home sickness and is super excited to be here, I see a bit more energy and light in him too. But it's early and we'll see how he copes in the longer run. He liked London and didn't have the same feelings as me but says he prefers NYC a bit more at the moment, I think only because we are more central.

@KFdancer thanks :)  and yes, I am thanking my lucky stars that we were given an incredible opportunity to try something else.

And thanks to this forum, I have made some friends though here and honestly don't know what I would have done without it.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2017, 03:39:57 PM by Lalala75 »

Offline x0Kiss0fDeath

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Re: I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2017, 03:47:07 PM »
whereas I was coming from LA to London.

Oh man...I can't imagine the weather really helped brighten the mood. I mean, you don't get nearly as much rain as everybody seems to think, but it's definitely more gloom than you'd be getting in LA for sure! And LA, from people I know that have lived there - I've always been on east coast so I ca't say - is more laid back in their attitudes I'm told so London was probably fairly different in that respect. NYC is kind of a happy medium in terms of laid-backness (from my experiences). Although, it's still cold as balls in winter (husband and I visited when we were spending Christmas wth my family and I literally thought I was going to freeze to death.....it was so cold and the massive buildings blocking out sunlight didn't help) but I think you get more nicer temperatures for longer periods of time in NYC/east coast than you do in London.

Offline Karlee

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Re: I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2017, 04:52:55 PM »
Glad that the grass is greener on the other side so far. The UK isn't for everyone and you have to do what makes you happy! I read the previous post and I hear ya on some of the comedy.... my husband thoroughly enjoys watching the old school shows like Monty Python and Dad's Army, while I just don't find them funny. Then again, it's the kind of humor he grew up with.

The UK is a nice place to live and there are definite advantages to living here. I love all the history, beautiful places (there are some lovely villages near us), and the fact that I can just hop on a train a spend a day in London if I wanted to! I also love the home my husband and I have built together. At the end of the day though- and at the risk of sounding super cheesy- it's just not truly where my heart is. I'm very close to my family so it's been difficult. I don't feel uncomfortable here, but I feel more comfortable in the US. I've had some really bad times here, and I've had some really good times.

We may move to the US at some point in the future, no concrete plan or anything yet. A big pull for my husband to stay in the UK for now are his grandparents.  He's very devoted to them and is FAR closer to them than any other members of his family. All 4 are in their 80s and in decent health (which is amazing- both my grandpas died many years before I was born), and live in the same town as us. Plus the fact that he's in the army. But he doesn't want to be in the army forever.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2017, 05:48:44 PM by Karlee »
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Offline Lalala75

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Re: I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2017, 05:07:01 PM »
@x0Kiss0fDeath yup, totally different world.My body literally couldn't cope and yeah its a bummer that NYC is worse! But there seems to be more days of sun. It made me realize how much I really am a southerner at heart. LA and Texas are really laid back and that's me all the way. Warm weather, to me, opens up so much more to do. But my husband hates it. However he's been open to move west or south down the line.

@Karlee Family is a huge thing. It was exciting getting to be across the Atlantic but there was always a big void because I was pretty much completely cut off from my family and friends because of the time difference. Here it's more fair and I can talk to them easier. And I really do feel good having that familiarity and comforts of home here, even though I'm not from NYC. it's nice to have some of the same shops and products, etc that I've missed.

Offline x0Kiss0fDeath

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Re: I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2017, 05:36:31 PM »
@x0Kiss0fDeath yup, totally different world.My body literally couldn't cope and yeah its a bummer that NYC is worse! But there seems to be more days of sun. It made me realize how much I really am a southerner at heart. LA and Texas are really laid back and that's me all the way. Warm weather, to me, opens up so much more to do. But my husband hates it. However he's been open to move west or south down the line.

The east coast is very "when it's hot it's HOT and when it's cold it's COLD" haha

I feel like I have to explain to people back home that it doesn't rain constantly here and we do get some hot and sunny days (I got an amazing tan last year! I was on par with our friend's Turkish girlfriend. she was impressed! haha), it's just not the MONTHS straight of heat like my family and I were used to back home where you know between June and August, most days will be pool days. I can't imagine how weird it must've been for somebody who's used to much warmer weather haha. There was a girl from Texas that worked in my office (she was here for 2 years - went back home after her visa was up I believe just before Christmas) and her first winter here was a rude awakening! lol

Offline sonofasailor

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Re: I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2017, 06:40:10 PM »
I just want to hear about the pizza!
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Offline Lalala75

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Re: I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2017, 07:40:36 PM »
@ sonofasailor soooo good. I tried the best one I had yet down the road, thin crust cheese pizza by the slice is my favorite! There is so many good things on our block; bagels, bakery, deli, crepes. It's hard not to just gorge all the time!

Offline Beatlemania

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Re: I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2017, 08:22:16 PM »
@ sonofasailor soooo good. I tried the best one I had yet down the road, thin crust cheese pizza by the slice is my favorite! There is so many good things on our block; bagels, bakery, deli, crepes. It's hard not to just gorge all the time!

I would literally kill for a New York bagel right now.  My aunt and uncle live in the North Bronx in a Jewish neighborhood (not in a scary part of the Bronx- ARod was their neighbor for awhile) and the everything bagels are amazing.

@Karlee Family is a huge thing. It was exciting getting to be across the Atlantic but there was always a big void because I was pretty much completely cut off from my family and friends because of the time difference. Here it's more fair and I can talk to them easier. And I really do feel good having that familiarity and comforts of home here, even though I'm not from NYC. it's nice to have some of the same shops and products, etc that I've missed.

To me, the biggest hurdle is that it's physically impossible to see my parents without booking a flight across an ocean.  My brother lives in Baltimore, about 7 hours from home, but at least he can get in a car and drive home if he wants.  I don't have that option and I think that is what really makes it hard.

I am really glad that you decided to make the change and seem much happier.  I hope that those good vibes continue for you!
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Offline x0Kiss0fDeath

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Re: I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2017, 08:38:40 PM »
I'd kill for any proper bagel right about now. There's a place called Bagel World 10 minute drive from my mom's house and I would kill for one of their bagels right now - either an everything with their veggie cream cheese, a french toast bagel with some butter (bonus points if cinnamon/sugar is sprinkled on top), or a chocolate chip bagel with peanut butter! To me, bagels and donuts are a market that could be significantly approved upon over here!!

Offline lyonaria

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Re: I escaped the UK...here's my experience so far
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2017, 10:03:49 PM »
I concur! There are no good raised donuts here. Krispy Kremes are a thing into themselves. But I would kill for a lovely raised donut with chocolate icing and rainbow jimmies.

And I would love a turkey and bacon sandwich on a croissant from the bagel place in my hometown. Oh, how I miss it.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2017, 10:07:32 PM by lyonaria »
The usual. American girl meets British guy. They fall into like, then into love. Then there was the big decision. The American traveled across the pond to join the Brit. And life was never the same again.