Monday, 12 November 2012

This week on the Glad Blog: Reflections of an expat

Time to reflect!
It's been (shock!) five months since I packed up my five boxes and two suitcases, laptop, camera and hat. Five months since I stepped on US soil to start life anew.

Here are a few things I've done for the first time since moving to the USA:

1. Driven on the right hand side of the road.
2. Driven an automatic.
3. Crashed said automatic (I allude to this frequently, but it really wasn't bad. The garage jumped out at me, and the car came off worse).
4. Eaten: Black and White Cookies, Square burgers, Pumpkin pie, Pumpkin beer, S'mores, Okra (yes really!).
5. Smashed a pumpkin and decorated the house with corn.

There have been loads more new experiences. As I say when I do something mundane for the first time, every day is a new adventure. It really is.

However, what I'm noticing now is that I am starting to find it harder to distinguish between things that are 'American' and things that are are 'British' or universal. Just the subtle things, such as the way the drivers here take corners faster than in the UK, or the way some smalltown Main St stores look like little houses, and more I can't think of now because they are the new normal for me.

Next week is Thanksgiving, and that's going to be a whole new event for me as well. I'm very excited! But more than that, my mum is coming to celebrate with us, and it's going to be interesting to see just how Americanized I am now in comparison!

So this week I'm going to reflect on my expat life:

From doing the long-distance, to packing up, moving over, and trying to settling in.

What we did, what we didn't do, things we would've done differently… and, of course, things I still want to do! And there's a lot of things I want to do.


  1. Happy first five months in America to you, then! :-) I have lived here for so long it is becoming difficult to remember what it was like at first after we moved to Seattle... Granted I had already spent a lot of time in the US during and after my college years... At least I did not have to get used to driving on a different side of the road coming from France... but I did fall in love with automatic cars (even though I could never do the same with Okra or Pumpkin pie :-) Happy first American Thanksgiving. I am happy for you your mom will be joining you. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle) PS: Nice self-portrait series by the way!

    1. Thanks for your comment! To be fair to myself I only drove on the wrong side of the road once, and it was on a quiet country road, so I got away with it. Automatic driving is much easier though I do sometimes miss the control a manual offers.

      I have to admit I quite like pumpkin pie, and I recently saw a recipe for okra tempura that tempts me. I think it's something about coming from Scotland that makes me want to deep-fry everything ;)

  2. Happy 5 months, it goes so fast doesn't it! American drivers are insane, or at least they are around Metro Detroit, one of the freeways the i-696 is like a race track and yeah rules of the road are anyone's guess there! I need to start learning to drive!

    1. It has gone by SO fast!

      There's a road near Philly called the Schuykill Expressway that I've heard is nicknamed the 'Surekill Expressway' - I won't drive it.

      I'm still not hugely confident on the road, but I'm getting there. I'm not scared of my driving, it's everybody else's ;)

  3. YAY. I'm so glad to have the chance to read all of this! And also glad that you're taking the opportunity to reflect :)
    Happy almost Thanksgiving!

  4. I think I would miss candy and food the most (I remember really loving the candy - m sister lived in England in Manchester for 2 years while getting her masters) and certain other things. But there are some great things here. You should try an Amish country soft pretzel soon!

    <3 katherine
    of corgis and cocktails

    1. I have to agree, when I was in England I was candy obsessed! I used to love crispy M&Ms and I thought they were gone forever until I saw them there. England does candy right :)

  5. Congrats on surviving so far! It will be so fun to have your Mom visit and reflect on all the changes.

    (I think I am most impressed by how much- or how little- stuff you brought. Five boxes and two suitcases isn't bad for such a big move!)

    Also, your sense of humor cracks me up- you do such a good job of infusing it into your writing style.