If you have been following along for the last few weeks; I’ve given countless reasons of why Brad and I wanted to immigrate. Beyond simply enjoying living in the United Kingdom, we made a list back when we were struggling to make this move work to make sure we were serious with our decision. This discussion happened during a particularly good year for us – 2014.
In case you all forget; I’m a project manager. I’m neurotic as fuck and make sure that everything is signed off before we commit to it. So when Brad and I were on the verge of a full breakdown regarding this move; we made a Pros and Cons list. This is my favourite tool to make sure we are thinking through issues correctly which is why I have at least 10 Pro/Con list in my Google Drive.
Pros of moving to England:
- Universal Healthcare
- Guaranteed Holiday Time
- Guaranteed Maternity Leave
- Job in Demand (No longer true)
- Best country for Education (Still true for Archaeology)
- Lower Tuition
- Career Diversity
- Ease of travel to rest of the world
- Currency worth more – Easier to pay off US Student Loans
Cons of moving to England:
- Loss of Lifestyle
- At the time, I was making a quite reasonable amount of money and we were living debt-free. We were able to travel, have weekly drinks at our favourite pub, go to Sporting KC matches whenever we wanted and have a substantial savings. At the time, we thought the loss of lifestyle would be simply because of moving to another country – We later realised it was because I made significantly less money.
- Reinventing ourselves
- We were becoming comfortable with who we were. Now that I’m 3 years from this initial list, I was even more so. It makes it difficult to accept the changing my life again. Luckily, I’m a trooper and I’ve done it – but it’s so fucking hard to tell yourself you can’t be what you thought you were and could do again.
- Rebuilding adult luxuries
- We had to sell the cars and a lot of our other things we had from being born in the States. We have to rebuild adulthood quickly and more costly, now with less money and more debt. This is a hard concept to deal with; which at the time we did not understand as much as we do now.
- Leaving everything we know
- This one is a general hard point that hits more and more when homesick moments hit. Whenever I struggle with a job and feelings of security, I feel this con harder than I ever expected. Lack of familiarity can be crippling when things are going downhill – especially making the former life look perfect in comparison. Think back to immigrants who came to the States willingly – They probably felt like they made the right choice; but when shops started hanging signs saying “Not hiring Irish” they probably wondered if being back home – even in dire situations would have been better.
So, obviously, we saw more pros than cons. Not to mention, when we made this list, immigration to the United Kingdom was much more different when we thought of this idea (2010/2011) through to the list (2014) to when we actually moved (2016). Over those 6 years of talking, planning and deciding – The laws changed every single year. Causing more and more Cons and Pros to drop on and off the list. In 2017, I feel like the “Leaving what we know” Con is so much more critical to me than the Pro for “Career Diversity.” I feel like that’s a lie I tell myself to avoid drinking a bottle of wine while finger painting.
Regardless, I still feel mostly the same now as I did in 2014 – There are more positives involved in this move, especially around the NHS. With my kidney and United States’ political drives to want to punish people like me for having a previously janky kidney; Universal Healthcare alone, prevents me from thinking of US as a viable option.
Not to mention – If we get past this rough patch and we stay for 5 years; we can apply for permanent residency. Yes, it’s another £10k (as of right now) we’d have to pay, but it gives us a chance for a long-term lifestyle. This is the big reason why we made this move.
I cannot pretend though, like I haven’t questioned moving to another country with an easier immigration path. However, most of the other countries we would consider, have additional Cons that I’m not sure we could live around – Like lower currency rate to the US rate (Canada), higher cost/censorship with video games (Australia) or religious laws (Ireland).
At the end of the day, I feel like the United Kingdom, even with the new anti-immigration laws, emotions – still is the best idea for our lives. It’s the closest to the United States in business practices and environments, while still being independent from US idiosyncrasies. However, it does make me wonder if our immigration might end after 5 years with a “Good try, kid” wink and nudge – with us back on an 14 hour international flight.
At least if it does, that goddamn “Career Diversity,” better mean something.
The featured image is of Brad admiring the North Sea for our weekend trip to Scarborough for our anniversary, last February.