An Immigration Story

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2008-07-2421

Some of my loved ones are moving to the city of Singapore.

A family member who is very close to me is leaving the United States for good to move to Singapore today. He’s leaving with his wife and two kids in tow to start anew in a foreign land, and the reason? Work opportunities.

Sounds a little strange, don’t you think? That someone who’s lived in the U.S. for over 20 years (that’s how long he’s lived here) has decided to up and go elsewhere to build his career. I find it somewhat odd that things are happening in reverse here, when most people are clamoring to come into this country for a piece of the dream.

He made this decision based on the skills both he and his wife possess: they feel that they can build a stronger clientele in Asia for the type of business they’re interested in developing. It’s a dreadful loss for us here, that’s for sure, as we’ve been very happy to have such a strong, extended family network in the Bay Area whom we see regularly for support, fun and good times. We’re breaking some physical bonds here, and gaining a lot of hand-me-downs in the process (the family has had to give away and sell off most of their belongings to prepare for the relocation and first dibs goes to relations). But really, I find no silver lining in this situation: freebies don’t matter, family does.


It’s interesting how economics and finances shape families. In our case, my kids will be missing out on building relationships and enjoying the companionship of other family members their age, whom we’ll probably scarcely see through the years. I’m guessing we’ll all be much older when we see them next, and that’s what’s sad. Do you ever stop to think about how many more opportunities you’ll have to see a close relation or friend who lives far away? If you see them once a year, could you count in one hand how many more chances you’ll have to be with them?

The stories of immigrants are never easy, but we can only do the best we can.

Copyright © 2008 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Moneymonk July 24, 2008 at 9:29 am

Obviously they must have thought it through. But Im sure once the kids grow older they may come back to the US and attend college and reunite with their other family members.

I know a family that went to Dubai, The dad was a big time lawyer. The lived a nice middle class life, they have all the luxuries that we have here, however, the kids desperately want to go to college in the US and they are counting down the years.

Kids do not have any choice in the matter, they only can wait until 18 to leave.

Kelly from Almost Frugal July 24, 2008 at 1:34 pm

I’m an immigrant myself, well an emigrant from the American perspective. I’ve lived in France for over eight years now (!). I have a hard time believing that I’ll stay here forever, just because I still feel so American, and I don’t think that will ever change. Family and cultural ties are hugely important, more important than a lot of people realize at first.

On the other hand, living overseas has been a fantastic experience and one that I am very happy to have been fortunate to experience.

There’s no perfect answer- but it does give you a new place to visit!

Silicon Valley Blogger July 24, 2008 at 2:09 pm


Yes, usually it’s when college time comes around that members of the next generation decide to go to the U.S. That actually happened to me! Like many others, I’ve got friends and family scattered all over the world and many of them live expat lives. I do miss them all a lot though.


I think of it in that way: that I’ll be having a place to stay and someone to show me around Singapore and the immediate vicinity when I come to visit. It’s an excuse to travel as you say. I love the country (and how safe it is!) and enjoy the bloggers from Singapore as well (they’ve got some interesting blogs from there 😉 ). What a trek though! Isn’t it a 15 hour flight?

dawn @ iowahippiechick July 24, 2008 at 3:16 pm

It seems like opportunities always involve some sort of loss, as well. I’m dealing with the reality, that my 24 year old first born son, will be moving away from our hometown in Iowa. He has an opportunity to chase his dream in Pennsylvania. I’m very excited for him & am trying to be 1000 % supportive – but it is going to be so weird not having him in the same town. It truly will have some sense of loss … no more stopping over for “mom” to make him something to eat, etc… You know – all the stuff that makes family … family! It’s hard … but we owe it to our loved one’s to be supportive of their dreams & goals!!!

fathersez July 24, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Singapore goes out of its way to attract the best and the brightest. Anyway in this global village environment these separations are inevitable.

I have family in India and my late mother’s greatest worry was that the Malaysian side would lose touch with the Indian side and slowly forget them.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget my brothers or sister or the many uncles, aunts and what not. But my children will never feel the same kind of bond with them.

jr July 24, 2008 at 8:54 pm

My parents are 2nd time immigrants.
They immigrated to a different country where they met and got married (and where I was born), and 10 years ago, they immigrated again to the US.

It’s all about pursuing what’s best for your family.

Funny about Money July 24, 2008 at 10:41 pm

I don’t think it’s odd at all. My father took a job in Saudi Arabia, dragging my mother and me with him. Pay was twice what he could have earned in the U.S., and at the time Americans working overseas paid no income tax either to the King or to the U.S. federal government.

If I were young today, I would definitely consider emigrating to a country that had universal access to decent medical care, generous support for retirees, reasonably safe living conditions, and an economy that was not sending its jobs overseas. New Zealand, Australia, and France would be high on the list.

Sam July 25, 2008 at 12:32 am

Well its only natural that people will think of their own family’s future everytime they consider moving out of the country. In your case, I was really surprised your friend is moving from US to Singapore. I have many I.T friends who only worked in Singapore as a stepping stone to go to U.S.

Many Filipinos also live abroad for better opportunities, and also to send some money backhome. There are others who go to country with universal health care (New Zealand, Paris,Canada etc) so that they will feel secure of their future. Kinda makes sense, you dont’ want your savings to be wipeout entirely due to hospital bills.

Anyway, its a sad reality we all have to live in.

Fix My Personal Finance

MoneyBlogga July 25, 2008 at 8:40 am

I was born and grew up in the UK, went to school and college there, the whole bit. As a young adult, I emigrated to the US where I have now lived a longer span of time than I spent in the UK. All of my kids were born here. The hardest part about leaving family and close friends behind is the fact that people change. Initially, I didn’t see the changes so much but now, 20 years later, I find that I have less and less in common even with my own sibling. As for old friends, forget it. We have nothing in common any more. It took a while but we are ALL now different people with far fewer threads to bind us together. Same with extended family living in other countries – we’re family but we’ve gotten through hard times without each other’s support and that’s what we’re used to. Leaving family and friends behind can be a huge sacrifice of sorts but life goes on.

Victor July 25, 2008 at 8:42 am

May I suggest the use of webcams from both sides? I have family in Europe, while I live in the States, and we communicate often with the webcam. You get the plus of being able to interact with them, see them, and have the relationships maintained. My Parents have seen my girls grow up, and when they visit they aren’t seen as strangers. The girls are comfortable with the family they see on the webcam in person.

With the aid of the internet and technology, moving to another country no longer means lost communication. Hope this is a little sliver of silver lining for you! =D

Four Pillars July 27, 2008 at 5:31 pm

Funny – my sister is moving to Singapore very shortly – it is sad that her kids and mine (similar age) won’t get to grow up together but I guess that is life?


Long Distance Moving Companies July 28, 2008 at 9:57 am

That’s really ironic to think that they will choose to build their business outside U.S.
But we know how they thought about it a hundred times before deciding. Now, all you can do is wish them luck and hope they will be successful.

Jay August 30, 2008 at 6:21 am

My grandparents are 2nd time immigrants.
They immigrated to a different country where they met and got married and stayed longer. they lasted 10 years, then they immigrated again to the US.

It’s all about keeping your family happy.

Ed: Thanks for your comment. Note though, that I don’t link out to anything but family-oriented sites. Please respect this policy.

Brian September 28, 2008 at 1:49 am

My wife and I immigrated from the US to New Zealand three years ago and leaving behind family was though at first… But with all the cheap / free communication options available (such as skype) we’ve both found that we’ve become closer than ever to our respective families. In our case building relationships has little to do with your relative location and a lot to do with the time and energy you put into building that relationship.

Michael February 15, 2009 at 1:18 pm

I guess it’s for good. Singapore is a good place to start business. There are lots of foreigners in Singapore and they’re doing well in their business.

Gerald Goulder August 10, 2009 at 7:42 am

There are infinite reasons for immigration to another country – whether it is by necessity, or by choice. Let us not forget that the United States was founded by migrants from Europe.


Roll Off Albany September 26, 2009 at 12:02 am

While it feels like you are “losing” loved ones that leave for a foreign place, it is always reassuring that they know what they are doing and have a plan in mind, and that it’ll be better for them. It’s always good to take the opportunities life throws at you, even if that means moving your family to Singapore out of the blue.

Start Your Own Business Singapore November 16, 2009 at 8:26 am

Truly it is a good example of how circumstances can force people to move from their place and position. I wonder if we can ever be secure that we will not be affected by our economic situation. Looking at it in another way, this event may present a new life, a new beginning and new opportunities in themselves.

Australian Migration Agent February 6, 2011 at 7:39 pm

In this this global economy post GFC, excuse the pun, but it pays to be where the work is. If you look at Australia for example, there is a skill’s shortage due to an aging population coupled with the mining boom derived from China’s economic growth. Blue skilled collar workers such as electricians, diesel mechanics etc are desperately needed and thus get a great salary. Quality of life also plays a part in this equation though — where is the fun if all you do is work?!?!

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