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Meet the expat: Jenny Baker

Amy Baker

How did you feel on the day that you emigrated?
The worst part for me was selling the house and sorting out all of our things. After living there for 20 years it was heart-wrenching to leave it, and all the memories, behind. On the day we finally had everything packed into the container, it actually didn't feel that bad. Instead, I started to feel excited about going. I knew that if I didn't settle, I could always come home. Try and think like that if you can – it will make you feel much more confident.

What did you miss about the UK if anything? 
The thing I missed most about the UK was friends and family. We found that we didn't really miss places but we did miss people.

What did you do to help yourselves settle in?
Because we had been on visits many times we already felt quite familiar with the way of life. For this reason, if you can, I’d recommend visiting before you move so that you don’t turn up not knowing what to expect.

To start with we didn't work but just being retired can be quite boring. Playing golf and lots of lovely walks along the beach is fine but as active people, we found ourselves missing the workplace. We decided to buy a franchise and start our own little business, which turned out to be a great way of meeting people and enjoying the way of life. 

What were the best things about moving to a new country? 
The weather would have to be number one! Not necessarily when it was extremely hot, because that could be very debilitating, but we loved being able to plan a picnic or bbq or go to an outdoor concert without having to worry about the weather – that was wonderful.

And the worst?
When we first went over, our children (even though grown-up) decided to give it a go too. Our daughter tried lots of different things but after a while decided she couldn't settle and returned to the UK. Then our son, after visiting the UK for a wedding, got offered a contract and he also decided to return. So after missing them for a year we decided to return too.

Despite returning I would definitely do it all over again in a heartbeat. We had a fantastic few years, got to experience a different culture and lifestyle and we still own property over there so who’s to say that we won’t go back!
 
However, given our experience, I would recommend anyone thinking of doing it, to do it while your children are young. I am sure the best way of settling in a foreign country would be to meet people at the school gates. You can make friends that way that last a lifetime.

Biggest challenges?
Getting to know new people! It’s just not as easy as you think. This means that you really have to make a special effort to make new friends.


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Meet the expat: Jenny Baker

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