Expat Update: January 2016

Expat UpdateAnother month gone already!  Here I’ll be looking back on what I’ve been up to this month, the places I’ve been, the highs and lows, how the endless visa process is going and other random things I’m finding interesting this month!  *Little Side Note* I’m still not quite an Expat yet…preparing myself for when I am!

Visa Update

Days since the first visa correspondence = 130

Ouch, that’s been 4 months, 1 week and 1 day of NOTHING.  The waiting and the unknown is awful.  I’m hoping by the time my February update comes around, we’ll have heard if we have at least been successful in part 1!  All this time me and the Husband have been stuck apart in our separate countries!

Where I’ve Been

England.  Yep, I haven’t even left Essex!

Being a Part-Time Traveller is exactly that.  I can’t psychically be away all the time!  I’ve been working damn hard at my full time job.  I may not be travelling, but I’ve clocked up over 4000 MILES this month, driving round the country lanes of Essex, delivering to places in the middle of nowhere!  Ironically 4000 is the distance between England and Iowa…I could have driven to Iowa!!!  (If the Atlantic Ocean wasn’t in the way of course!)

When I’m not travelling, I’m usually planning my next adventure, this month I have booked up THREE future trips (may have gone a bit crazy!).

In March, I’m heading off to MEXICO to spend some time with the Husband on neutral ground.

May will be a busy month, I’m kinda looking at it as my ‘Final Farewell to Europe’ tour.  I have a week based in Dubrovnik, CROATIA where I’ll also be visiting MONTENEGRO and BOSNIA which I’m really excited about.

End of May, I’m off to POLAND for the weekend with my Mum!  It was originally supposed to be a ‘secret trip’.  She wanted a holiday to somewhere, where she didn’t find out where until we were at the airport, that way she wouldn’t be able to obsessively research to the point where she knew exactly what the whole place looks like thanks to Google.  I had it all planned, exactly how I was going to reveal it, I had blog posts planned and then I let slip the first syllable of the country so now she knows that much!  Whoops!  I have some fun ideas planned for her though!  I think it’s a place where she’d never visit without me, so it’s something I’m excited to do for her before I emigrate 4000 miles away!

January Highs

I actually had a night out with my friends!  If you’re in the UK, you MUST check out the comedy improv group “The Noise Next Door”.   They are currently on a tour of the country and they really are brilliant.  It was the third time I’ve seen them now!

January Lows

You alway see on the internet advice on, ‘how not to get mugged here’, ‘how to be more safe here’ etc.  But at the start of the month, someone STOLE a wheel off my work vehicle while it was parked OUTSIDE MY HOUSE.  Now I didn’t think I lived in a bad area, I’ve been in the same house for 27 years.  There are definitely worse places in England.  It does make me sad though that my home town has come to this.

Life lesson learnt: I changed the wheel all by myself without someone watching to make sure I done it right!  It took me nearly an hour but I was proud of myself for doing it!

Blog Progress

I’m a dot com!  Yay!  From January the 1st, I am now the owner of the betweenenglandandiowa.com domain!

I really don’t give this blog enough attention to really get it out there at the moment.  I work long hours and only really have the energy to stick a couple of posts up each week and then not do much else with it.  I’ll be leaving work soon to sort out visa bits so it’ll get some more love put into it.  I plan to really kick it off once I reach the States, thats the path I hope to eventually go down.  My next ‘blogging goal’ is to get 100 followers 🙂

Blogs I’ve Contributed to This Month

Sharing some love for other blogs I’ve contributed too!  Go check them out! 🙂

How a Solo Traveler Found Love on The Road – Cheers to Traveling (a Q&A I done all about how I met my other half while I was on holiday and my future life in America!)

Travel Bloggers Reveal the 20 Best Cafes Around The World – The World Pursuit (I submitted Gelarto Rosa in Budapest!  There are a great mix of countries and cafes on this list!)

Songs For The Playlist

Peanut Butter Jelly by Galantis – Don’t knock it until you give it a listen!

Bamboleo by The Gypsy Kings – This gets played on the main UK radio station every Wednesday afternoon as a celebration to being half way through the week.  Every time it comes on it just really makes me want to be in Spain or Latin America!

Apps I’m Enjoying

Mondly – It’s a free language app my Mum stumbled upon!  I’ve got it set to Spanish as that’s a language I’d really like to learn properly.  The free version only gives 2 topics with around 8 lessons in each.  It works by teaching you words, sentences you have to arrange and rates your pronunciation by speaking into the mic.  Then each day you get a free lesson that could be about anything.  It makes learning fun!  I’m not sure if I’ll actually remember the full phrases but it’ll definitely help me to pick up and learn individual words.

2016 Reading Challenge

So far I’m on target for my 2 books a month challenge!  I have 14% left of my book to read before Sunday!  This month I have also completed TWO on my category challenge!

  • A book about somewhere I’m planning to go in the future

Under a Croatian Sun by Anthony Stancomb – So it wasn’t IN Dubrovnik, it’s about a couple that emigrated from the UK to live on the Island of Vis and how they settle into island life!  I found it interesting how they tried to fit in with the locals, hopefully I’ll be accepted ok when I move to Iowa, the couple in this book had a fairly tough time at first, even though Anthony’s wife is Croatian!  Their house sounds amazing, I’d love to live near the sea!  Only downfall was a chapter completely about a cricket match they organised on the island.  Even though I’m English, I have no idea about cricket and I struggled!

  • A book based in England

The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson – I was so excited to start reading this!  I love Bill Bryson’s books and this is his latest!  Just like Note’s From a Small Island, he travels around the UK stopping at random towns and cities.  Even though it’s pretty heavy on history facts and what not, it’s written in a way that still keeps you interested.  His observations are hilarious and it just shows that England is really slowly turning into a dump…and I have to agree.  I recommend reading this one 🙂

Other Things That Have No Category!

Each Sunday I showcase my most liked Instagram photo of the week in SNAPSHOT SUNDAY.  This photo didn’t actually come top during the 7 days but have since continued to tick over…more so than the others and is now one of my most liked!

It’s of Casa Batllo designed by Antoni Gaudi.  I fell in love with his work while on my trip to Barcelona last month!  The colours he used are so pretty!

Casa Batllo

I’m also LOVING the TV show “90 Day Fiancé”.  It’s set in America and is about long distances couples.  The overseas partner enters the States on the K1 Fiancé Visa and they have 90 days to get married, if not they must return home!  A lot is about if they are doing it for love or a Green Card but I like seeing how they cope leaving their home and relying on the person they love, as it’s them they are moving to be with.  It’s interesting to see how the American supports them too.  I went about this in a slightly different way, we went for the Spouse Visa so we are pretty much kept apart until I get granted entry, but I’m sure once I actually move I will probably feel similar emotions.  At least I know I won’t be alone in feeling that way!

Don’t forget to follow me on my Social Media Channels!


Phew! Have a great February everyone!

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