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I'm going back to Cali, Cali, Cali
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loerzel



Joined: 30 Nov 2007
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:30 pm    Post subject: I'm going back to Cali, Cali, Cali Reply with quote

After over three years in Saigon and almost nine abroad, I'm heading back to California.

Any retired esl crusaders or ex-expats out there with tales from the wheel of horror or stories of the fruits of success? Thoughts? Lamentations?


Last edited by loerzel on Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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loerzel



Joined: 30 Nov 2007
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To clarify after a complaint: I'm curious about the experiences of anyone who has moved back to the United States after living abroad for a long period.

Last edited by loerzel on Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 792

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you are wanting to know about what it is like moving back, but without the foreign fiance/wife as part of the discussion? A valid question, but the partner becomes a very big part of the experience, which would be quite different without her. Maybe better to edit your original question and remove those references, as it seems like a different discussion that way. Going back alone will yield a very different life compared to what you get bringing back a VN wife, but you can edit out the wife for discussion purposes.
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loerzel



Joined: 30 Nov 2007
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark, your attention to the structure of my posts is bordering on obsessive compulsive, but seeing as I have fewer posts than the combined fingers of the ninja turtle clan, and the fact that you seem to be an unofficial rooster of this hen house, I'm going to take that advice to heart.
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kurtz



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 400
Location: off the radar

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're going back to what, exactly? A home paid for by the sweat and toil of concept checking the 3rd conditional to a stunned audience? A meagre pension? A life in your parents' basement?

I often speculate on life back home, wherever that is.To quote Neil Diamond " LA is fine but it ain't home, New York's home but it ain't mine no more".

A return "home" is out of the question. Most of us have to suck it up and say, well, that's a fine mess you've got yourself into. Returning home means cruching out EFL for at least two and a half decades.

In answer to your questions, no, I haven't headed back and nor do I aim to. Being Joe Average, fighting tooth and nail for a rental property and watching all my hard earned savings go down the toilet isn't an option.

Regardless, good luck with your Asian bride, and I must say; it's a pity you didn't post more often, as I like your style.
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loerzel



Joined: 30 Nov 2007
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kurtz, my cohorts share your sentiments and have questioned my sanity. Vietnam does feel like just as good a home as any, and leaving the land of iced Saigon Reds and perpetual summer is not a choice I take lightly.

I suppose we just want to give it a shot. I’m young (compared to the average life expectancy) and I think it will be a great experience. We can always find comfort in the hot bosom of Saigon should all else fail. Some time with family, old friends, enormous taco truck burritos, craft beer, and motorcycling through Klamath Mountain air couldn’t do too much harm…I hope.

It’s true that most of my time on Dave’s has been strictly utilitarian. I once spent a whole day fuming over an argument I had on these forums over the merits of eBooks compared to iPads. I then realized that perhaps I’m not ready for virtual debate.
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GreatApe



Joined: 11 Apr 2012
Posts: 424
Location: South of Heaven and East of Nowhere

PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good Luck, and keep us posted!

Hope you do well, and Happy Returns to The Golden State!

I'm from Cali., and man, I just can't go back! The states are so messed up and depressing for me now. I get sad just thinking about returning! It's a giant Wal-Mart!

--GA
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the risk of stating the obvious, I think your experience will vary depending on a number circumstances. I'd worked overseas doing ESL for approximately 6 years (did some country jumping) and I'm what some would consider an "older" worker.

I felt like coming back to the US was the "responsible" or "mature" decision. On the whole, I'd have to say I think it's been a big mistake after about 7 months and I'm prepping some paperwork for a possible return.

Some issues that will come up will be dependent on your resources here - do you have family, friends or a place where you can stay long term? Transportation is a huge issue. I've been happily without a car for 6+ years. This either means slugging it through here in one of the worst public transportation systems I've seen or going into debt for a vehicle.

Employment prospects will vary obviously but if you're going back to any of the post industrial rustbelts in the US - think Cleveland, western Mass. etc.. then you may be in for a very rough haul. I'd think other cities that are loaded with young, degreed hipsters could also be very tough in terms of competition (Seattle, Portland etc..)

I came back to do some light vocational training for 6 months and it has not worked out well due to local economic issues. I was trying to prepare for something different here but without longer term help, I think I may have made a mistake.

Also, employers in less enlightened places might consider being overseas hard to decipher to put it mildly.

I got tired of the bar/social scene in places like VTN and thought I'd get away from some of the elements of it which had really worn on me. First dating experience back here I found out the woman was an ex-stripper. Very nice woman but I had to say I had the thought that I may have done as well staying on Vui Bien. Laughing

I thought I'd missed some of the media and culture here in the States but to tell the truth a lot of that wore thin very quickly.....

I'd be interested in hearing what others think on this though.
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 792

PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Certainly it depends on each individual's situation. In my case, I would be okay financially in the states, have adequate passive incomes, cars, places I could live (but would then get less rental income). For me, it is not mostly about the money, but it is a big factor regardless, as I figure that the things I do in my life are like 1/3rd the cost here, and the most important part of my life is not expensive here and more or less unobtainable there. So to me, it is what you can have here that you cannot have there. But for sure, things like a clean environment and a normal life outside where you can walk are things you cannot really have here. It really depends on what is most important to each of us. I have added it all up many times. It would be nice to be able to go back for a week here and a month there, but it is not that easy or cheap either. I'm staying as long as it keeps working.

Yeah, on the employment scene, you can be a star here and maybe not able to get a job sacking groceries over there, especially if you are a bit older. For some of us, the financial aspect is really favorable. If you have a positive cash flow, your excess cash is worth A LOT more here. If you are just getting by here or there, the equation is totally different. I think it might be better to just scrape by there than here. I would hate to depend on the goodwill of the local population for my survival.
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mark_in_saigon wrote:

Yeah, on the employment scene, you can be a star here and maybe not able to get a job sacking groceries over there, especially if you are a bit older. For some of us, the financial aspect is really favorable. If you have a positive cash flow, your excess cash is worth A LOT more here. If you are just getting by here or there, the equation is totally different. I think it might be better to just scrape by there than here. I would hate to depend on the goodwill of the local population for my survival.


Agreed. If you're going to scrape bottom it's better to do it in the States than in SE Asia. The noise and cleanliness factor was something that I needed a break from. The air quality definitely got to me in different parts of asia. I have to say though that some of the decaying NE of the USA makes much of HCM look damn near glamorous.

I've calculated the SSI benefits down the road for retirement and it seems that at this point, delaying as long as possible going into retirement is more important than what I contribute in a job in the States. Given the fact that I turn into an unhealthy, remote toting, coach potato overnight here I might live longer and happier just playing it out as long as possible overseas......always hard to predict the future though.
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 792

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I might live longer and happier just playing it out as long as possible overseas......always hard to predict the future though.


Yes, though some of these larger issues may lead us to some good guesses, like the way things are going here with their systems and their culture.

On the longevity issue, I think it is rather clear that one would likely live longer in the west. I doubt that we are getting the full truth on how bad it is here, most news we see here is way off target, almost meaningless. But we can easily see what the water is like, the air, how anything and everything is dumped into the environment. We can easily see "standards" which impact everything from what we eat to health care to road safety.

But I also believe that a year of life here can give you far greater rewards than a year back home. I think this is especially true for older folks. And perhaps some of this may impact the way we take care of ourselves as well, like your note about sitting around watching TV. Of course, it can also have the opposite effect, the way so many of our guys smoke and drink.
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tideout



Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mark_in_saigon wrote:
Quote:
I might live longer and happier just playing it out as long as possible overseas......always hard to predict the future though.


Yes, though some of these larger issues may lead us to some good guesses, like the way things are going here with their systems and their culture.

On the longevity issue, I think it is rather clear that one would likely live longer in the west. I doubt that we are getting the full truth on how bad it is here, most news we see here is way off target, almost meaningless. But we can easily see what the water is like, the air, how anything and everything is dumped into the environment. We can easily see "standards" which impact everything from what we eat to health care to road safety.

But I also believe that a year of life here can give you far greater rewards than a year back home. I think this is especially true for older folks. And perhaps some of this may impact the way we take care of ourselves as well, like your note about sitting around watching TV. Of course, it can also have the opposite effect, the way so many of our guys smoke and drink.


Excellent points really. I found the air quality so poor in China (outside of HK) that I left. Not to mention the cluster**** medical services there. Pretty scary.
Agree with you also on the "burnout" issues. There's a fairly high percentage of folks who are running through a variety of addictions in SE Asia. I knew people who were smoking a pack a day who were normally a one or two cigarette a day smoker. The reason was the low cost.

Nothing's more dangerous than standing near a bus stop or near traffic in many Mexican cities.

I suppose there's no clear resolution to this in some ways. There's always the issue of what makes you feel more alive vs. what actually makes you live longer.......

Stay home or buy a good helmut for those motorbike accidents!!
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mark_in_saigon



Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 792

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I suppose there's no clear resolution to this in some ways. There's always the issue of what makes you feel more alive vs. what actually makes you live longer.......


Yes, absolutely. The equation is different for every one of us based on many factors: age, western income, western assets, local income, marital status, desire for relationships, employability, how you do on motorbikes, general health, willingness to sacrifice later years of your life that may be low excitement for fewer years with more excitement, how much fun you can drum up back home, your ability to enjoy life in an environment that has no environment, your housing situation if you move back. I'm sure there are more.

You can never really do a formula on this either, we all give various weightings to these factors, sometimes not even admitting to ourselves what really matters, what keeps us here or moves us back home. This is really at the heart of why our advice to new posters is not of much value. They never give enough detail about what they are all about. They want to know all about life in VN, but what matters is what is life going to be like for that one individual, which is so dependent on so many factors, and the most important ones they seem to often keep hidden. Then if you do touch on what appears to be the one issue that will be most important to the individual's outcome, he often gets all bowed up about it. Oh, you are over analyzing my situation. I did discuss it in my post, but I did not want others to give their opinions on that. Or, so what if I do not know the difference between a spelling error and a wrong word choice, do not mention that, or that I am from Libya or somewhere, trying to teach English in VN.

I am very sympathetic to these guys coming over, but for many of them, they just want to hear the good parts, to discuss the negatives makes them think that it is a personal attack. It is not. I will never know you and you will never know me, nothing personal about it at all.

This may be the high point of the deal, depending on what matters to you and what your situation is like. A great place to sit on a pile of money and get a lot out of it without having to blow it (of course, most will blow it). If you are just scraping by, I do not suggest even getting started. Rather, get started by getting your financial security back home, then come on over, you will have a much greater shot at happiness.
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JoeKing



Joined: 30 Apr 2008
Posts: 444

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kurtz wrote:
You're going back to what, exactly? A home paid for by the sweat and toil of concept checking the 3rd conditional to a stunned audience? A meagre pension? A life in your parents' basement?

I often speculate on life back home, wherever that is.To quote Neil Diamond " LA is fine but it ain't home, New York's home but it ain't mine no more".

Or, to quote Thomas Wolfe, "You Can't Go Home Again"

Actually, I am "home", but already plotting my next escape.
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LPKSA



Joined: 02 Mar 2014
Posts: 149

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, if you want to continue teaching ESL,

... get used to working split shifts part time here and there.

... get used to not having enough to get by.

... get a job in LA if you want to actually make a living ESL but again, part time split shifts here and there....

Good luck.

-Fellow returnee who left again.
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