UK is where the heart is – currently ;)

As per popular request, just another blog… This time from the piece of the world called
‘home’.

It’s been less than a week back in the old UK and am fighting new battles and facing new
challenges already. Although, knowing the lingo makes life’s issues so much easier and quicker to deal with. I am finding my voice again and my ‘state of independence’ is returning, albeit slowly after the aftermath of the Netherlands. I know, I never listen (for those of you who warned me against hopping over to another country, not knowing the Dutchies quite well enough and surrounding myself with similar setbacks and conditions – after trying desperately hard in Denmark…). “I tried” and “I am insanely stubborn” should be etched on my gravestone!

Anyway, I am going to counter my opinion of myself as stupid, headstrong, crazy and a little on the reckless side with the notion that at least I experienced more, learnt more, am slightly brave, willing to take a big challenge (or risk) and have lived a little more adventurously. I guess I have more/stronger opinions about additional parts of Europe now too – so not all bad…

Returning to the UK after 3 years & 7 months is not a task to take lightly. The trials and
tribulations start all over again, but at least I can handle them (on my own), in my mother
tongue. The biggest hurdle so far has been obtaining a current bank account. So much identity needed now, and without the proof of address (in the shape of documents that are not quick to get hold of, unless you drive and have updated your license) you are screwed! There is possibly one bank, willing to accept my passport only as proof enough, so my choices and preferences have been severly affected, in the short term. If I can offer any advice for others travelling for a year or more – keep a UK account open!

Applying for work is soooo much easier now! The restrictions of 2nd and 3rd or 4th languages is no longer a hindrance, and has opened up many more opportunities. It is so good to be able to apply for a few jobs (on a lazy day), rather than maybe 1 a week. Of course, it’s too early to predict how positive and successful this is going to be, but I am more optimistic.

Finding a place of your own is very tough. Income and savings don’t appear overnight and living like a student is not ideal, at my age… I guess most sensible people would have made a few investments before jetting off for the forseeable! Also, now realise that it is important to make sure you stay in touch with friends/family while globe trotting – saves having to re-build lots of broken bridges again if you need their help in future. It is easy to leave it all
behind and not look back too much but it will bite you in the bum if you lose track of those you carelessly leave behind. Social networking helps but still needs a bit more of an effort than I put in. In my shabby defense, the plan was potentially never to return to the UK, and I did need to spend time meeting and trying to maintain new friends abroad.

Being interviewed at the Jobcentre here takes twice as long as it should – extra questions and forms have to be completed because you had the cheek to leave and stay away for a while. Though, I was lucky(ish) – they seemed partly interested in my travel experience, which is nice to talk about. I’m just not sure what the whole Jobcentre thing was like before I left, they seem keen on monitoring your activities via an online government web portal tool. Hopefully they won’t need to track my progress for too long, it has an element of Big Brother about it… 😉

I have already picked up on a big difference in the healthcare system, maybe I’m a little harsh and quick to judge here but… I can’t help but notice the difference from a general public funded one (here), to both a private/compulsory one (Netherlands) and a highly taxed public system (Denmark). I was a little depressed at the sight of the local medical practice, when registering. It may just be that I picked the wrong one here and was lucky abroad – but it was shockingly poor in comparison.

There are lots of little changes here to take in and am quickly digesting them all. The one
thing I am soooo happy about is being able to talk without thinking about a 2nd language. I
feel much better about approaching people again and not feeling guilty about my lack of foreign language skills is a huge, lifted weight off my shoulders. At times I broke out in cold sweats and anxiety attacks when I knew I had to converse with non UK citizens. I am also feeling as though I am back in a more polite atmosphere, so far. I guess you have to allow for different parts of the UK, not sure we’re all friendly. But, the bluntness and directness I experienced in both parts of Denmark and the Netherlands is not on display as much here. Don’t get me wrong, I do like people to say what they mean – but think there is no harm dressing it up a bit, sometimes.

On a personal level, it’s so nice to be a single girl again. I finally feel as though I am happy to be alone and don’t feel the need to fill any gaps/holes in that department. Whilst being with a man is good for many reasons, being alone feels like pure freedom and I intend to
enjoy it, for a while at least! I haven’t quite ruled a relationship out forever, but am going
to be very fussy about any future, potential partner. My specification list just doubled, and
am ok if I don’t meet the requirements of the guys (and end up on the proverbial ‘scrapheap’).

I do think I’d like to retain a basic understanding of the Danish language. It would be a shame to forget what I did learn. Not sure if it’s going to be possible or useful but would be fun to use it as a tourist in future. At least I won’t feel bullied or pressured into it out of
necessity and it would seem more about having fun with it now. It will never sound as sassy as French though, or as classy as good old English 😛

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10 Responses to UK is where the heart is – currently ;)

  1. Welcome back! Your advice is very good, and I’m with you about liking the being single part.

    Best of luck getting back on your feet. With Denmark as unfathomably popular in the UK right now, you can definitely use it to your advantage when applying for jobs, I imagine.

  2. loobylou2 says:

    Knew you’d be with me on the single girl thing Heidi 😉

    Not so sure DK is as popular in this part of England – my new doctor wasn’t thrilled about the advice I was given over there either :O He (like me) thinks I am….. get this…. FAR TOO YOUNG! to be on permanent blood pressure medication and has an approach more like that of a lifestyle coach / fitness instructor… So, is going to try and get me off pill popping 🙂 I guess the premises where he works are not very impressive but his advice and explanations were exceptional.

  3. Thomas Aylward-Greenway says:

    One of the few things i have picked up along this rocky road of life is, within the realms of relationships at least, that other people/partners/lovers will never be happy fully with you until you are happy with yourself. You have to have to get your own “ducks in a row” to a certain point, before others can get seriously involved in your life. So good luck with that and i’m really pleased things are coming along so positively.

  4. loobylou2 says:

    Thanks Thomas, though starting to wonder if many have their own ‘ducks in a row’, and how many think they have that but actually don’t really… or if I somehow get caught up with too many duckless people 😉

  5. Greg Ogden says:

    Well put, Thomas, agree 100% … and yes I really do read your blogs, Lucy 😉 the bureaucracy here is getting worse … even for UK citizens. Trying to open a bank account for my 19 year old son is nigh on impossible without all sorts of ID and utility bills (may have to get the electricity bill addressed to him so he can qualify!!). A couple of years ago I opened a bank account for my then 15 year old, no problems, just signed a form

    • loobylou2 says:

      Thank you for reading my blogs, I know it must be tricky to grab 5 mins away from your work 😉
      I should really acknowledge that it is far easier to get a bank account in both DK and NL than it is here, well for me it was… :O

  6. Pygmalion says:

    I am happy for you landing with two feet on the ground, even if the road around and back was bumpy. I know exactly what you mean about being able to speak naturally without the foreign-language editor, nay, alarm, going off in your head and the judging eyes all around wondering what on earth you are doing in THEIR country. Was it really equally bad in Holland? I’ve been there, although a few years back, and people seemed mostly nice. At least, there were fewer stares at me when speaking English. Dear Denmark, Tourism 101: the “Hospitality” business means just that: you must be, or at least appear to be, hospitable. 8)
    Look forward to your ongoing adventures!

    • loobylou2 says:

      Thanks for the comment above. Speaking naturally without the mental foreign language editor is definitely a blessing. In my experience the Dutch expected me to pick up their language unreasonably soon after landing, whilst still having the English/Danish mental dictionary (and speaking Danish on auto pilot as soon as I heard anything non English). Also, in hindsight, I think I was much luckier with my circle of friends in DK, despite the fact that there were more stares in general, outside the ‘hyggelig’ cocoon. Living in Rotterdam may also have been a factor in my negative experience. The impression I got was that anything outside Rotterdam (nationally) was inferior. It seemed much more friendlier and vibrant in Den Haag, though they are more internationally aware there.

    • God, ain’t it the truth?

      Freaks, I tell you.

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