March 23, 2015

Why (Some) Expats Move Back to North America after Living in Ecuador?

So you moved to Ecuador and after one year or two you’ve decided to go back home. This happens from time to time. There are numerous reasons and circumstances that have people move back to their home country, and it’s perfectly OK and very normal thing to do!  

There’s lots of hub-bub lately about “why” expats move back to the u.s and one article even said that expats lie about the reasons they go back to the u.s.  Not sure why it matters so much why they move back to their home country; it is something that many foreigners do after living in a foreign land for one, two or thirty years! Just look at returning Ecuadorians!
 

We’ve known of sad and lonely expats personally who are going back home because of their children and grand babies and so we still believe it is the number one reason, if we even have to have a reason at all. We also don’t think foreigners as a whole lie about the reasons why they go back because we’ve heard everything from -- because they couldn’t get their ‘apple pie filling’ to it’s ‘too hard to learn Spanish’.

One study done about retirement says many folks when they retire want to be close to or near their family, which we thought was spot on for what we've been saying all along. 

"Relocating for retirement is a popular notion, but it becomes less so the older we get. Sixty percent of Americans surveyed by Bankrate said they were interested in moving, but the interest level dropped off in people over age 65. A quarter of respondents said being close to family was the most important factor in deciding where to retire."   [End Quote]  Source: http://www.csmonitor.com

Just the other day we were sitting in our quaint and cozy hideaway in downtown Cuenca; me having a cup of coffee and Frank his cocoa. And sitting across from us was a foreign duo enjoying lunch and conversation; our hideaway has been discovered, by the way.
 
The lady looked over at us and asked the usual questions that all foreigners ask one another, “Where are you from”? And, “How long have you been living in Cuenca?”
 

We answered her and then proceeded to ask her the same questions. She said they moved from Oregon and had been living in Salinas but they didn’t like the humidity and heat, and they didn’t like the mosquitoes, so they moved to Cuenca, which they love.
 

However, she then went on to tell us that even though they both really love being in Cuenca, she couldn’t stand being away from her grand babies any longer and they are moving back to Oregon.  She said that she has held out from going back, thinking the grandmotherly maternal love thing would wane a bit, but she said it hasn’t. She misses them even more every day.
 

This is not the first time we’ve heard from a mother/grandmother and even the men about being homesick for her/his children and grand babies.  In fact, we hear it more often than any other reason(s).  However, it may be somewhat true that we become homesick much easier and faster if we have not been able to learn Spanish and do not interact with the local community we are in. 

Thinking about this mother’s story, I know that I could not bear to not hold my grand babies on my lap, and babysit for my sons and their wives, and to hear the patter of little footsteps in my home, and being able to give love and spoil our grandchildren someday.  I couldn’t fathom living away from them!
 

Sometimes some of us don’t know how we’re going to feel being away from our close family members until we actually are gone and living somewhere far away.  I think that when we first arrive in a new paradise we do not think we’ll be homesick because we’re so enthralled with the newness of everything that we don’t have time to be homesick.  We actually think that visiting our children and grandchildren once or twice a year will be enough, but for some people it is not enough.
 

One foreign couple in Cuenca told us that their children were supposed to come here and visit but never have in the three years they have lived here. It’s really expensive to travel abroad…and sometimes it is just not in the budget to spend thousands of dollars on airfare for family members.  Some have even told us that the length of travel time necessary to come all the way to South America,  is not a feasible way to spend one’s limited time off from work, and cuts in to the actual 'visiting time' too much.
 

Skype is a wonderful way to visit with family and friends but it is not the real thing, in fact getting on Skype and seeing your grand babies and children can make you miss them even more, said one expat to us.
 

As usual, consistent with what our readers expect from us, we write about on the ground experiences not personal contention.  We even thought to go so far as interviewing these foreigners we mention, and making videos, but we decided it wasn’t necessary.  (See our:  'Ten things Foreigners Do Abroad They Wouldn't Do at Home' in the Cuenca or Quito Landing Guide).
 

So, we just wanted to let all of the foreigners living in Ecuador now, who are away from their grand babies and children that it is okay to miss them, it’s even ok to move back home because you miss them. We only have one mortal life to live on this earth and we should do it happily and contentedly with our children and grandchildren if that is something we choose to do.
 

Whether expats lie as to why they leave Ecuador and move back home is not for us to determine.  Would it be a more appropriate question to ask:  why does it matter ‘why’ foreigners leave, and who and why does anyone want you to believe it’s for ‘this reason’ or ‘that reason’? Reality dictates that not all foreigners leave for the same exact reason, but one thing is certain, the ones that are leaving, are—leaving…

We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy in Cuenca Ecuador! Enjoy the Discover Cuenca Ecuador blog!

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