Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Expat Q & A August: The Basics

I've been an expat for over a year now, and when I think back to my arrival I realize how hard on myself I was. I thought a month would be more than enough time to adjust to life in the New World. In reality, it took almost that whole year for me to feel settled, and well, at home.

But now I know my way around (more or less) so here's my rundown of day-to-day life somewhere on the outskirts of Philadelphia. Be sure to check out the other expat Q & A's over at Belinda's blog too, to see how expat life compares across the world.

1. What is your favorite food store in your city and why? 
Okay, first things first - I don't live in the city.
Shock! If you thought I lived in Philly, I'm sorry. I live very close to Philly, but not quite.
So my favorite food store is hard to choose, because there's an excellent variety of family owned markets and supermarkets. One of the most fun to visit is Wegmans, which I talked about before here.

2. For your answer to number 1 is it ok to buy the store brand items or do you pay extra for a name brand?
Wegmans is a high brand store - a bit like Waitrose or M & S in the UK - and there's so much to choose. You can try their food in their restaurants or their take-out counters, get fresh deli counter produce, name brand goods and imported products (including Jaffa Cakes, Irn Bru, and Ribena for likes of me). They also sell beer which, for a supermarket in PA, is a pretty big deal.

3. What do you think is the best way to get about your city? i.e. bus, bike, car, etc
If you live on the train line, then the rail system isn't too bad. Otherwise, out here, you need to drive. No question about it. One funny observation is that the closer to the city people live, even if they have a car, the less far they're willing to drive. My husband and I are very used to driving all over our county and the neighboring counties to get to where we want. What we save by living away from the city we spend right back in gas, but thems the brakes, and we get to see some great scenery to boot.

4. Which store do you turn to for basics like toilet paper or cleaning supplies?
I'm not going to lie, it's Walmart. We prefer to go to other stores for most things, but I'd challenge any American resident to truthfully say they don't make several trips to Walmart a year.

5. Where do you think is the best place in your city to get a cup of coffee (or beverage you prefer) and catch up with friends? 
Like I said, we're happy to travel across the counties to see our friends, and there's no one place that we go to on a regular basis. A lot of the small towns and cities have cute independent coffee shops, and Philly has brilliant bars, but the numbers of times we just end up in chain restaurants out in the suburbs… I still haven't visited this place yet. Can you believe it?!

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