Global Dwelling Decision

It’s a marvel in this day and age, and an example of pluralism of the time, that I can be faced with a decision about where on this globe to live. It’s a luxury, for sure, but that in itself doesn’t mean that it come without difficulty. As a parent, this is an important point for me to remember.

The educational options that my children are going to grow up with are incredibly amazing. Even now, as their ages are 4 and half years and 9 months, I’m preparing myself for the type of advice that I’m going to give them regarding education. I expect that at minimum they’ll need someone to bounce ideas off off much earlier that I needed to, and I want to make sure I’m prepared to talk to them about their possible courses of action. This is especially true if we decide to stay in Japan, where there are entrance exams for Junior and High school, and rankings for prefectural schools are well known. (I won’t even get into the whole elementary school thing that can be tied into university acceptance) What I don’t want to end up saying to my kids is something like You’re lucky to have so many educational options, in my day we didn’t. While true, it’s not very helpful. Even frustrating.

Not to digress so much, but this brings me back to my point. Being able to choose from numerous places around the globe where to live is a luxury, but that in itself doesn’t make it easy. In fact, it’s probably going to be the biggest decision of my life up until now…because it’s so varied, so many factors; because there’s so many options, so many good options. Japan and Canada both pose many interesting, often directly opposing benefits and in the next year or two we’ve decided to make a decision – which is one step better than deciding to make a decision about making a decision. But it’s something, and in this day and age when I can start to prepare for such a decision with a 2 year window looking forward, I think that combats the pluralism a bit.

A lot of this comes from reflecting on the three sisters disaster that happened in Japan one year minus three days ago. Much of it comes from finishing my MA later this year, and thinking about beyond. So, it’s going to be a common theme in the months ahead.

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3 thoughts on “Global Dwelling Decision

  1. Hi Glen – your post has resonated with my experience. My three children were born in Brazil, where we lived for a number of years – but then came the difficult questions. There comes a point when living in another country is no longer a temporary arrangement. In our case we needed to decide whether to build on land we had bought in Brazil. That would have meant selling our house in the UK to raise the money. Investing in Brazil, would also have meant that we wouldn’t have had disposable income to visit the UK very frequently, particularly as the children grew older and travel with them became more expensive. It was an either/or situation. At that time we could not have both.

    Ultimately we decided that we wanted our children to grow up in a UK culture – not so much for the education as for the wider family. We also decided that at that time our own educational opportunities were limited by Living in Brazil (this is of course dependent on context) and we needed to get back to the UK to keep up to date. It’s ironic that today on the radio I heard a programme that reported that Brazil’s economic growth is at this time greater than the UK’s, but we still think we made the right decision.

    So we returned to the UK (and spent at least 2 years being homesick for Brazil – we had such a fantastic time there). And when we returned to the UK we made sure we bought a house in the catchment area of the school that we wanted the children to attend.

    My children are now all in their 30s – and what is interesting is that they have all gone their own ways despite us and our ‘planning’.

    So I can recognise what you are describing, but it happened for me 30 years ago!

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    • Thanks so much for the comment, Jenny. I really think this type of story can help with my decision in numerous ways. As I mentioned, I’m kind of in information gathering mode for now and, being such a situational decision, hearing how others considered their decisions points kind of gives me something to relate to. I often try to think about having that disposable income to visit the unchosen country frequently, but not sure if it’s realistic to factor into the decision. The homesickness is something I’m trying to avoid I guess.

      Do you think much has changed in 30 years to make this type of situation easier? Or, geographic distance is geographic distance?

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  2. Hi Glen – they say the world is a smaller place – and I suppose in one sense it is. When we lived in Brazil we didn’t even have a telephone in our house never mind a computer. We wrote letters to keep in touch with family and friends in the UK – but six years ago we went back to Brazil for 6 months and were able to Skype the family without any problems. So it’s easy to keep in touch now and I know from my online experience that it’s possible to develop strong relationships with people I have never met through online communication. So that has definitely changed.

    But although there has been some blending of cultures – particularly in big cities – I don’t think there’s anywhere in Brazil (I have travelled extensively in Brazil), for example, that is remotely like the village I live in here in the UK – and that is to do with much more than geographical environment. The Brazilian culture is unique as are all cultures.

    I loved Brazil and felt integrated. I spoke the language and had Brazilian friends who are still friends, but I think I would always have felt that I was living in a foreign country rather than my own – although had we stayed I’m sure our children would have felt Brazil was their country.

    No easy answers, I don’t think. Hope it all works out for you.

    Jenny

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