Do you see your family less than when you first moved away?

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How often do you visit family overseas or do they come to see you? When I first moved to Europe from the US, everyone seemed excited to come visit.  That phase lasted about 3 years/2 visits and now my family hasn't been here in a long time (friends, yes, but family, no).  They complain quite a bit that we don't get to see each other, but they don't seem to make any effort. 

 

I've flown back 3 times in the last 3 years, which seems like a lot for me.  I've also suggested meeting up somewhere on the east coast (they live on the west coast) so they wouldn't have to fly all the way here and it would be shorter for me too.  I've suggested joining them on a vacation somewhere if they want to see more of Europe.  No response on any of these.

 

I know I chose to live far away, so it's up to me to make more effort.  I don't expect they will come every year.  However, am I being unreasonable to ask them to visit every few years?  I feel very guilty when they complain that we don't see each other, but feel like all the pressure is on me.  How do you deal with it?

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You  made the relevant point- we chose to move and live far away!   We have made annual trips home from various countries, and always combined the trips  with  visits to  cities, countries we choose.  Always close to family, but   all understand that travel  does not always mean family weeks!

 The cost to others may be prohibitive, or holiday time is short. Ageing parents, family, may find the long trips too long.

I think it is normal for many that trips  and contacts  become less frequent. 

You should have no guilt-  make clear that they are welcome, but you have other travel plans and cannot  get over every year. Keep up with Skype/Face time to have contacts.

I admit that , as I get older, I prefer to stay in a hotel rather than friend's house when we visit!

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The displacement is substantial, a less obvious cost of migration. .   Family vacation time is other vacation time forgone, in a world where lust for global travel has exploded in recent times, and of course, in your example, in a nation where we hear workers often get relatively few vacation days anyway

 

Rather than suggesting they arrange a trip to somewhere they do not seem greatly keen to go and you then join them, perhaps you could try beefing that up to some sort of active itinerary, with some of the familiar classics (Paris, Venice etc)?      When people want to come with me is when I say "I am planning a trip to...".     Is there anything memorable in particular they might go for -  famous setting, location of a famous film or TV show, music / sport etc?    

 

It is a big gap possibly for anyone not actively interested.  For my British family, Germany and Austria (and France and the rest) are relatively familiar.   My family can speak at least one of the languages, coming here takes a few hours and perhaps 150 Euro and no visa.   But, had I moved to e.g. Mexico, I doubt they'd be as interested in regularly hauling themselves there to sit in my  home for a couple of weeks and almost none speak Spanish.   Not sure many of us do have that going on really.

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Based on what you said, they wouldn't have visited if you moved to New York much less germany.

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29 minutes ago, Kalifornierin said:

How often do you visit family overseas

 

Usually 2-3 times a year

 

30 minutes ago, Kalifornierin said:

or do they come to see you?

 once a year usually

 

31 minutes ago, Kalifornierin said:

However, am I being unreasonable to ask them to visit every few years? 

 

I wouldn`say so.

31 minutes ago, Kalifornierin said:

I feel very guilty when they complain that we don't see each other, but feel like all the pressure is on me.  How do you deal with it?

 

 

Is it your guilt or family imposed guilt? If I`m feeling guilty, I hop on a plane - if it`s family induced guilt, I tell them I`ll send them tickets- if they dont come then tough cheese ;)

 

They make it twice a year to our place in Sicily, (usually when we are not there )  So they don`really have a lot to complain about

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I just go home when I want to see my family which now is once per year. When my parents were old and ailing, I went 2 - 3 times each year to help look after them. Now I go once over the Xmas holidays to see my son and family. My son and his wife can't afford to come here. I can remember a few times when I was going to the U.S. to visit friends or my late son in Seattle and Austin, TX, my mom never understood why I couldn't just stop by SC on my way over or back. It never occurred to her that it would cost me another $ 1000+.

 

My parents came over here once when they were able, my brother and his family came by once and my sister just doesn't do long haul travel. I don't mind going to them because I want to see my son and friends also. Both of my siblings do a lot of other travel to other places that suit them.

 

If your family members stay with you when they come, meeting you on the east coast and needing hotels, etc. would cost them and you a lot more. I don't find the traveling any more difficult going to the east or west coast. I do, however, stay 4 wks. when I go and always have free accommodation. I don't even rent a car when I go visit friends so going home costs more.

 

I chose to come here so, if I want to be with my family, I simply go over there. 

 

I talk or email with my son about every day.

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Thanks for all the feedback.  I probably need to be a bit better about the phone calls & emails too. 

 

I like what was said about family time not being the same as vacation time.  I always feel this way... visiting them and sitting around the house for a week is not that fun (especially when I'm spending the time off from work and money to do it).  Last time I tried to plan my some activities for myself nearby so that I at least felt like I had a little vacation too.  I guess I also need to be more clear about how often I really want to/can visit, but I don't want to hurt any feelings.

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My mom used to get upset when I would take off for a few days to visit friends. On the other hand, she wouldn't allow me to invite them there and I had my own 2 bedroom apartment downstairs. Hurt feelings is a choice and victim mentality in most cases. At least for me.

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For the seven years I lived in Canada I went to visit one time and my parents visited me one time. Then again it was fairly far and expensive. 

 

For the almost 10 years I've lived in Germany my parents came to visit once and my nephew once and a few times I've been to some other city to meet up with relatives who were there. I've been going home 1-2 times per year as well.

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I need 5 minutes to get to Hauptbahnhof and then I take an ICE to the Netherlands via Düsseldorf. Usually go 3 times per year incl. 2 weeks for X-Mas. My friends come once per year. My parents far less, but my dad can't walk that much, so that's OK.

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Yes I definitely see them much less now than before. I have not been back in over 6 years, but used to go back every year.

 

Maybe I will regret it one day but money is a huge factor, my family are on the other side of the world and the phone seems to do the trick...or perhaps I am just a bad son, brother. 

 

 

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I will add that we and the kids ( or one of us at least ) usually skype/video chat with the family every few days and vice versa. 

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I have not seen my family at all since I moved here about 9 years ago. My parents tried Skype about four times and then we mutually decided to go back to emails. I saw my parents just before I came here and my sisters about 14 years ago. No one in my family really has the means to make a journey from America to Germany and back. I do enjoy the emails though. 

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When my Dad moved to SA, I went over each year for 5 or 6 years, but after that there were too many of us and it was too expensive. He came over each year/2 years until he was too sick to travel, and then we all went one last time and I went once again on my own just before he died. My sister has been in Oz for 21 years and she came back once. We have never been there.

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@OP. Perhaps prepare yourself for disappointment. I have been abroad 30 years. My parents and sis came over I think at most 5 times including my wedding and birth of my only child. Now they are too infirm to travel so that's that.

 

I used to go back a couple of times a year, which decreased to once a year and now even less as relationships deteriorate. Always had a fast exchange of letters and emails with my mother but not with other family members. If I had stayed in my home town I don't doubt I would have had a different sort of a relationship with those I left behind. It is sad but the silent price of expatriating.

 

On the other hand,  I know someone whose parents were out every couple of months, especially when they became grandparents. Obviously that requires financing. Maybe depends on the family.

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Considering South America is pretty far and the average family over there make much less money than we do here I can totally understand why it is complicated.  At the beginning I visited the family every year for Christmas and New Year.   But I've got married and my wife is Asian, so we started to alternate.  Now we have 2 kids so 4 flight tickets is a considerable amount of money, so we rotate South America, Asia, and Europe according to our budget and what makes sense that year.   In the mean time my mother has been very close to the kids and she comes and stay here for a couple of months at least once a year, sometimes twice a year.   After 18 years here my sisters visited me for the fist time with their families last summer, one with a family of 4 and the other one with a family of 6, so I understand they had to save money for long time to visit Europe and I am very pleased they came.

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Due to Skype I probably see my parents more since I left. As for the travel it's still happening back and forth for the 4 years I've been here, but I expect that will dry up a bit.

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Seems like my situation is "normal" for someone living abroad.  All of these stories still make me a little sad that we don't see our families much.  However, I was thinking about how skype/what'sapp/email makes it so much better than it must have been in the past.  I'm not sure I could have done with just writing letters and waiting weeks to arrive! 

 

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2 minutes ago, Kalifornierin said:

I'm not sure I could have done with just writing letters

 

That's what I had to do until my mom got a fax machine. She sent us reams and reams of blank paper in the beginning. Phone calls were dead expensive back then.

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