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Topic: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?  (Read 896 times)

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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2020, 09:03:18 AM »
  Don't forget that it rains all the time in Scotland and gets dark at 4pm right now as well. 

I am in the west of Scotland, and first read this message at 16:04 yesterday, and it was still light. 
Also, bright blue skies today and not a cloud to be seen.  :)

It would be a stretch to say I'm 'living the dream', unlike Phatbeetle & Elee!  But I have been here 35 years (as of tomorrow!) and my quality of life is so much better here than what I left (Southern Calif) back in '85.  I've never once entertained the idea of going back to the US, but I'm not really emotionally close with my family and I am a child-free zone.  Those 2 factors probably make a big difference.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2020, 09:10:31 AM by Albatross »


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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2020, 06:26:08 PM »
  If you have kids over here, It will be pretty difficult to come back.  You'll be too busy living to plan an international move and healthcare might make it impossible.  If America continues it's downward political trend you won't want to.

So much this.  We said we'd be permanent with where we are when our eldest finishes secondary school (Year 6).  She's already Year 2.  The days are long but the years are SHORT.  Considering we are currently planning a big extension to our house (don't get me started that we've been working with an architect since November 2019 and we are still awaiting planning permission.... it's the house project that may never happen!!!).  That decision day will come QUICK.

But I really worry that I've been away from the USA for too long (over 10 years) to be able to make a move again.  And I've already "made" my parents miss out on 6 years with my daughter and 3 years with my son.  They are getting older all the time and less able.  UGH.  Adulting SUCKS! 

Travel is easier to the continent from here.  And cheaper compared with travelling from the USA.  But don't let anyone make you think it's cheap.  ;)  Especially with kids as it gets much more expensive to get a room for 4 than for 2.  As you know, hotel rooms aren't big enough to hold 2 beds for the most part here. 


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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2020, 12:04:57 AM »
I am getting into this conversation late, sorry, been under the weather and unable to be at the desk very long at a stretch lately. But my two cents' worth is:

I used to get 15 vacation days plus all the national and state holidays just before I left the USA, so about 23 days in all. I considered that to be pretty darned good.  I was floored when I got to Scotland to see the amount of time that people there took very much for granted as "annual leave" time. It's a lot - A Whoooole Lot! 

BUT, the pay scales were abysmal. I had about 25 years progressively more responsible experience/positions in my field, and was earning in the upper 60s when I retired early. I did look for work in Scotland pretty seriously, and the best I could get as an offer in Glasgow was a job that paid about £12 an hour, and even then I was told they weren't sure I'd "fit in" with the other employees as I was a "foreign worker" and "older," but they were willing to give me a trial period.  Needless to say, I did not accept the position.  8)

Job-related Benefits were minimal as well. In the USA I had life insurance, private pension, and several other perks paid by my employer (and that were not considered excessive, more the basic stuff)  that simply didn't exist in the Glasgow offer - including comprehensive health, dental, and vision care. I assume that there are fields in the UK for which my situation would not have been the norm, but I never personally met anyone there with advanced degrees and a lengthy positive career history who wasn't pretty much in the same boat I was in.   epending on your field, your opportunities and benefits situation could be wildly different.

Yes, there is the NHS in Scotland, but our experience was that the level of care received was nowhere near as good as we got (with insurance) in the USA. Drugs were free, but the formulary was heavily restricted and my daughter was treated as if she was exhibited "drug seeking behavior" when she asked for an antibiotic to deal with a condition she's managed one-and-off for years and knows how to treat. Also, they (logically, given they are badly underfunded) do restrict what treatments they will offer. You'll not necessarily get the more advanced/groundbreaking stuff. Unless you crowd-fund and pay to have it privately done overseas.  So hopefully penicillin will cure your ills!  ;)  And they seem to, not unusually, overrule parental wishes in complicated cases- they decide what happens to your child in their care, not you. That's just chilling.

Now, on the other hand, if you have public health insurance in the USA (Medicaid or similar) the NHS would be a big step up, for sure.  And it is "free" in a way - it's paid by taxes rather than in addition to them. You will never have to worry about going bankrupt in the UK from bills for medical care. But it's a post-code lottery as to the quality of the care you will get, and how long it will take to get it. Or how long it'd take the ambulance to come get you if you really needed it. (Hopefully in time!) It's not that the NHS isn't trying. It's just badly underfunded, understaffed, and overloaded. Before Covid ever showed up. Everyone I encountered at the NHS was friendly and pleasant, and seemed to be competent. Their hearts were definitely "in" what they did.

I did not work professionally there - I just stayed retired. The daughter worked in retail for a while for pin money after her Master's program, though, and said there was a serious bias against foreign workers - more from the customers  than co-workers. Apparently how one is treated depends on one's "station", and apparently shop-girls are fair game for any sort of harassment and abuse. (It was a wildly different experience when she was in a professional position related to her graduate program.) She also encountered a ridiculous amount of sexual harassment, both overt and subtle, in addition to the xenophobia. If challenged, they'd try to weasel out saying it was "just banter" - when it definitely was not.  The stories she'd tell me at the end of her work day were just astounding.  She also said that her management was "half-arsed" and did not want to deal with anything that involved "making a fuss".  Like refusing to permit employees to phone for police when a lady beggar who used to sit outside their shop came in and asked them to do so because she was being threatened by a rather large, mean-looking bloke with a knife. Management thought having police at the store would "look bad" to customers! They also didn't prosecute shoplifters unless they stole something really expensive, for the same reason. So the same people came in every week and stole from them. And then there was the guy they confronted as he was stuffing a bottle of expensive hooch down his trousers who in retaliation pissed all over the shelves full of medications, which subsequently had to be thrown away. Hundreds of pounds of wasted product. They just banned him from the store. No police involved. Just as employees were unofficially advised to not phone police if customers stalked them as they left for the day.... Everything was about "image". That was a recurrent theme in the culture, really. (And a disturbing one!)

But, really, there was so much I really liked about Scotland. The land was beautiful. I actually liked the climate, even when it stayed too dark for too long. The food was excellent, and relatively inexpensive for the quality. Housing was dirt cheap, comparatively speaking. And they've definitely got the right direction going with renewable energy and conserving the land. The air where we lived in came in off the North Atlantic across a lot of open land and was clean and crisp, or at least "fresh", a lot of the time.  If I could have, I really would have liked to have bought a small place out in Argyll & Bute, maybe near a loch, away from the city. It was just so lovely out there!  Didn't happen though - and there is the issue of age discrimination in mortgages. But that won't impact the OP, I don't think!

And then there was the culture. Aside from the "Belligerent Scot" that I encountered occasionally, people were almost uniformly friendly. (Although there did seem to be a sort of seething anger just generally floating around which was a bit disconcerting.)  In some ways the "hive mind" that they had been indoctrinated into since childhood was reassuring, while in others it was infuriating. There was way too much passive acceptance of situations/things with a  "well, that's just how it is" or "that's how it's always been", and waiting for someone "in authority" to tell them what to do and whinging about it, etc., and that just drove me right up a wall!  I actually had someone tell me I needed to get a certified electrician to rewire a desk lamp that needed a new plug, when I tried to buy a plug to replace the defective one myself! OY!  ::)  Everyone had their place.  A land of pigeonholes (professional, social, economic) and everyone goes into one, with minimal chance of moving out of it once in place! It can be done, but there's strong, but subtle, pressure to "know your place and act appropriate for that place." It's got a vaguely medieval feel to it, that does. Fortunately, as a "foreigner" you might be outside that. We seem to get a pass on a lot of stuff.  ;)

And then there's the alcohol thing. The Daughter told me once that me she'd seen stats that 1 in 5 people there have some sort of intellectual fallout from their parents' excessive alcohol consumption. Sadly, I can believe that. She says the amount of booze her academic and also her work colleagues would knock back on a weeknight at the pub was just staggering, but it was considered "normal." So much of life seemed to involve being buzzed, it was kind of sad. Put them all in a room with no booze and they hadn't a clue how to have a fun time.

But, seriously, given a choice between the two countries, if I was young and had young children - I'd plop the family down in Scotland - as long as the kids could go to an American school or International baccalaureate school. They'd need extra tutoring, but then sending them to university overseas - in Europe or the USA - would be my ultimate goal. Living there is definitely an adventure for a foreigner. I had a good time, but I'd think twice if I was a young person and there was any chance of getting locked into staying there with no "safety net" of going home again if things hit the skids there.

Not sure how much any of the above will help you, and it's written with the caveat that everyone's experiences are different. Best of luck making the decision!
« Last Edit: November 05, 2020, 12:21:52 AM by Nan D. »


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Re: Stuck at a crossroads - to move or not to move?
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2020, 10:02:52 PM »
I can help out on the work/life balance question. I lived in Edinburgh for several years and naturalized as a citizen there. In that time, I worked in various jobs/industries. In my final position, I flew down to London each week for my job. I therefore have worked in London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. I can attest that the work/life balance way of life is definitely better in Scotland. They definitely work to live rather than live to work.
Yes, the pay is way lower and some things are more expensive than the USA - some are cheaper. Don't forget to factor in holidays - something you will want to take to get some real warmth and sun.

Would I leave without a job? Probably not. Especially now. You could however ask your husband to go ahead of you and find a job and then you come over once he does.


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