Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Stick a pin in the globe.....

The British media has hit upon a newsworthy topic...Why are 5.5m Brits living abroad?, that amounts to almost 1 in 10 Brits who have decided to escape the British Isles for pastures new or more exciting.

The BBC has come up with an interactive map so you can see where they are all living (and avoid as necessary!!).

In my little corner of the world I see there are 14,000 Brits living in the Philippines. As I have only met about 10 of them...there are still a fair few to meet - if I so wish! On the other side of the coin I see that 120,000 people from 'Other Far East' (which includes the Philippines) are living in Britain.

The Daily Telegraph is asking What would it take for British expats to return home?. It's an interesting question and one that (so far) 253 people have commented on. Answers vary from changing the government to reducing taxes/giving better value for taxes to improving the weather.

Why do I not go back and settle in the UK or more to the point why do I not want to? It's a very tough question to answer and there are so many facets of the answer which vary from day to day that I could never answer the question completely. One thing I do know is that it's not the weather...I am partial to British weather; particularly the weather in Scotland - I love winter!! I will however, attempt a few vague thoughts as to why I continue to globe trot and see myself settling anywhere but the UK.

I was brought up overseas, at the age of 6 months I was taken to Guyana, and from there was packed up every 18 months or so and moved onto pastures new and definitely exciting...covering territory from Algeria to Dubai to Indonesia with quite a few stop offs in between and after! I was at one point educated at boarding school in the UK, the strange thing is that as a boarder in the UK I didn't see too much of the country...arriving from the holidays overseas one is 'locked in'...until the end of term at which point one is unceremoniously dumped at the airport for the flight home! After boarding school I spent three years in Switzerland studying (well more like perfecting the art of skiing and drinking vast quantities and combining the two!!) and then.....three years living in the UK.

Three years in the UK ended in me returning my engagement ring and heading for Hong Kong leaving nothing but dust....not my proudest moment but definitely one of my better decisions. It suddenly came to me one Sunday afternoon sitting in the garden of my house in England that I couldn't face the rest of my life being cooped up in Hertfordshire and spending Sunday lunches with my in-laws and and discussing the price of groceries with my work was all far to scary to even consider! I was correct in my fears, my ex-fiance is still living in Hertfordshire (now with his wife), Sunday's are spent playing golf and lunch with his parents, holidays are to tame parts of Europe where English is spoken and the food 'not too foreign'..., he was lovely...but the life...yikes!

I find Britain too confining. I feel claustraphobic whenever there and breathe a sigh of relief as I walk airside as I leave the country. I find the whole atmosphere of political correctness ridiculous, I find the curtailment of Britain's own culture and heritage too much to deal with.

There's too much of the world to experience and see to live in Britain for ever, my mother tries to convince me that holidays are just as good (this from a woman who grew up as a 'Shell' baby and trotted the globe with her parents and then her husband and is finding it hard to settle in England at the age of 58!!!), but we all know holidays are just a glimpse into a country or a city, to experience the country properly you need to live there.

In my mind's eye I see the British Isles as a big cattle pen...and the rest of the world as the unfenced prairies....I don't like being penned! The other major thing for me is that although my family are there, I have so few real friends in Britain and so many real friends around the world that it just makes sense to be somewhere a little more central.

On a lighter note, the other day whilst commenting on the looks of a guy in a picture (I wasn't being too complimentary!) a friend commented that the reason I didn't like the look of this guy was that he was too ordinary and my taste was a little more 'exotic'...maybe that's what it all comes down to...sub-consciously I am on the hunt for an exotic man!!! Seriously, I'm not that shallow!!!!

Life in Hong Kong, followed by Jordan and now the Philippines has convinced me that for the rest of my life...globe trotting is in order. At some point, no doubt, I shall settle...but I seriously doubt it will be the UK....I am however, open to suggestions!!

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Blogger treespotter said...


9:15 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure the part of the slack in the UK was taken up by Filipinos ;-)


6:25 pm  
Blogger Madame Chiang said...

treespotter: is that here - Jakarta, here - Manila or here that particular spot on my blog... Wouldn't ever rule out either of the first two...however living in my blog might be a little dull!

Dom: No doubt!

12:14 pm  
Blogger fumier said...

A fine analysis, MC, especially the point about avoiding other Brits.

12:37 pm  
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11:29 pm  

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