Return to the UK? No Chance

Published on 09/11/2009 in Relocating to Spain

I read Justin's article on Spain Bashing by the British press and found it very interesting. We too see some of these derogatory reports and wonder where they get their facts. They do seem to pluck many of them out of the air.

What struck me most however, was Justin's surprise that many ex-pats do not want to return to UK nor would they consider doing so.

Living in SpainWell I can tell you Justin, it is not only Spanish ex-pats that feel this way. There is a large British community here in the Netherlands and very few we know of would gladly return to our home soil.

We visit regularly to see family and friends, weddings, funerals etc. but the feeling of relief when we actually depart the Sceptred Isle is a strong and tangible feeling that we are escaping.

Back to civilisation is our overwhelming thought.

It might seem a little exaggerated but it is nevertheless how we feel. Perhaps the most disheartening aspect of U.K. is the attitude of our family, friends and aquantances. They still seem to believe that everything in Britain is Best, whereas, sad to say, looking at Britain from the mainland we wonder why so many believe they have got it right. They are quite the laughing stock of the rest of Europe.

The much coveted Health Service is a disaster compared to the Spanish system or the French, German or Dutch. Read the Majorcan Blog Lady in the Telegraph on line if you need any proof.

The Train Service is lamentable, but the Brits will tell us how wonderful it is. I could go on for pages highlighting stories of disaster and despair about our home land.

It is true that Britain is a beautiful country, breathtaking landscapes and fabulous architecture. No we see nothing wrong with the land. The problem as we see it is the culture.

We cannot brand everyone the same, but it does depress us to see Britain going down the chute.

Even the hallowed BBC1 News announcers cannot speak correct English anymore: Listen to them daily saying things like " Wiv gorra lorra stories for ye t'day"  and many more. It seems this is necessary because the present system of education is incapable of teaching pupils to speak correctly. Therefore the media panders to this lowering of standards. There was a time when foreign pupils would watch BBC TV to improve their English, but few do now because they pick up slang and bad habits, not to mention swear words. My daughter is a teacher and tries to direct her students away from the BBC1 News. Better to listen to the world service that still has some admirable standards.

So as not to labour too many points, we would never consider going home to live permanently.

If it was necessary to move, any country within the European community would suffice, but definitely NOT Britain. The problems are immense and we don't want to share our lives with these problems.

It is true that every country has problems and none are perfect, but we have become accustomed to mainland Europe and it's gentler more caring and more civilised way of behaving and solving problems. We definitely do NOT want to return to UK. 1 week occasionally is more than enough.

Even after 20 plus years in Holland we still have language difficulties, there are many nuances and colloquialisms that are beyond our abilities. Nevertheless we have many wonderful Dutch friends and we thoroughly enjoy living here in a very beautiful, clean, well ordered and well organised and exciting land.

My apologies to those that would strongly disagree with my brief assessment, but it is how we feel.

And we are not alone, there are ex-pats in all lands that have no desire to return, though some do of course, but I suspect that they are in the minority and other forces may be persuading them.

We feel European and we wish to remain here amongst Europeans. In one currency.

There I've said my piece.

Written by: Roy Leon

About the author:

I am now retired from working at the European Space Agency for the past 25 Years.
I have lived in Germany and Holland for those years.I now own a modest apartment in Spain which I love. Alas circumstances will not permit me to move there permanently.
I have a wife, 2 daughters and 2 grandchildren which help considerably to keep me in Holland.




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Comments:

stephen said:
22 June 2013 @ 18:20

Hi Jane,

Like you we came back to the Uk, big mistake we have a lovely son, we both work life is dull, the weather is crap. Good news we are going back to live in Spain at the end of August. ""Happy days"



Jane said:
05 July 2011 @ 15:29

I moved back to England after 10 years in Spain. Biggest mistake of my life!! The first 2 years were lovely because of the novelty of being back with friends and family, now I regret it! It's absolutely true, the problem with England is the English (and yes I am English). They do think they are superior to the rest of the world. So many people said to me "what do you want to live over there for?", "It would be better for you if you came home" etc etc. Why I ever listened to them I'll never know. Most of the people who made those comments have never lived abroad!
Now I am stuck here as I have a small child, and can't see me ever being able to return :(



abandonship said:
09 May 2011 @ 11:16

I THINK THE SPANISH ARE GREAT BUT THEN I SPEAK FLUENT SPANISH SO AM JUST A LOCAL.
YES THE UK IS RUBBISH GET OUT WHIST YOU CAN



Gary said:
14 November 2009 @ 18:58

Ah, rose coloured glasses...how nice.
I have lived here in Spain for 3 years now. It has good points, the sun and the seaside. It also has bad points, where to start? OK, the Spanish are usually unfriendly and very often rude. To them, we are guiris, a derogatory term I believe for foreigners. If you get a smile in the street, you can bet your bottom dollar the smiler is a Brit (or maybe Irish). Customer service standards are non-existant. Bureaucracy is terrible, paper heavy, confusing and weighted severely against non-Spanish speakers. Corruption at all levels of government and within the various police orgasnisations is frightening. Day-to-day living costs have gone through the roof, whilst wages are ridiculously low. How this can be, I have no idea. Even securing a low-paid job contract is virtually impossible unless you are Spanish unless you work for a foreign-run organisation. The level of robberies around the area where I live is very high. House burglaries, handbag snatches, pickpocketing and even carjackings are daily occurences and I live only in a small village. Drug use and even dealing is quite visible, despite the usually high Police presence. The Police tend to concentrate on directing traffic with whistles.
All in all, certainly not paradise and in many ways worse than UK.



Gary said:
14 November 2009 @ 18:44

Ah, rose coloured glasses...how nice.
I have lived here in Spain for 3 years now. It has good points, the sun and the seaside. It also has bad points, where to start? OK, the Spanish are usually unfriendly and very often rude. To them, we are guiris, a derogatory term I believe for foreigners. If you get a smile in the street, you can bet your bottom dollar the smiler is a Brit (or maybe Irish). Customer service standards are non-existant. Bureaucracy is terrible, paper heavy, confusing and weighted severely against non-Spanish speakers. Corruption at all levels of government and within the various police orgasnisations is frightening. Day-to-day living costs have gone through the roof, whilst wages are ridiculously low. How this can be, I have no idea. Even securing a low-paid job contract is virtually impossible unless you are Spanish unless you work for a foreign-run organisation. The level of robberies around the area where I live is very high. House burglaries, handbag snatches, pickpocketing and even carjackings are daily occurences and I live only in a small village. Drug use and even dealing is quite visible, despite the usually high Police presence. The Police tend to concentrate on directing traffic with whistles.
All in all, certainly not paradise and in many ways worse than UK.



Juliette Kando said:
10 November 2009 @ 13:14

I couldn't agree more. Iā€™m a European with five languages under my belt and really feel that the English suffer from an outdated superiority complex. It is always with great reluctance that I "have to go back" for family commitments and like you, Roy I count the days until I can return to my "back to normal" life. Britain has become a nanny state full of scared, unhappy people. So OK Spain has its bureaucratic problems but apart from that life is so much easier over here.

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