The Expat Tag

Now I’m living in America, I read a lot of expat blogs!  I find it really interesting reading other people’s experiences and it’s great connecting with other people that are going through a similar thing to what I am (it really is a very weird feeling being an expat!).  I was recently tagged in a post by Sandra at Going American, a fellow European now living in Boston, USA and thought it’d be fun to answer her questions about my expat life experience!

  • Where were you born, where did you grow up and where do you currently live?

I was born in Essex, England.

I grew up in Essex,

and now I live in Iowa, USA

Braintree, Essex

  • What made you leave your home country?

In all honestly, I didn’t really want to leave it.  I met an American while on holiday in Jamaica and if we were going to be together, one of us had to give.  We didn’t have much choice when it came to what country was easier to get into.  The UK had recently upped the requirement for how much the visa sponsor had to earn, which meant my wage was no longer enough.

  • What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from?

I constantly get:

“I LOVE your accent”

…at least once a week by random people.  The lady in Dairy Queen said it just today!  For the most part everyone has been nice to me.

I wrote a post called Cursed as Soon as I Open My Mouth, because my voice literally gives me away as soon as I speak which then usually leads to a whole bunch of questions that I’m forever having to answer!

  • What was the easiest/hardest part in adjusting to your new country?

Easiest – I first moved here in the summer when the temperature was in the high 20s (celsius).  I wore shorts every day right up until November and that made me happy.  I love being warm.  I also accepted a job offer the day after I landed in the country so I was able to jump straight into work.

Hardest – Being away from my family, nasty monthly health insurance premiums, lack of travelling and being 3 hours from the nearest international airport.

Here are 2 posts I wrote about some of the stuff I find weird living in the USA!:

15 Crazy Differences Living in Iowa/USA

Crazy Differences Living in Iowa/USA PART 2!

  • Images, words or sounds that sum up the expat experience you’ve had so far.

Mississippi River October

Winter in Iowa

River Tubing Iowa

(That would be me trying not to get swept away by the craziness that is expat life…!)

As for sounds…TRAIN HORN.  I live near a train line and that thing goes off regardless of the time of day.

  • Your favorite food or drink item in your new country?

whiteys-ice-cream

ICE CREAM!! I am slowing going round and trying out all the different ice cream establishments.  I have a list of my favourites in the following order:

  1. Cold Stone
  2. Culver’s Frozen Custard
  3. Whitey’s
  4. Dairy Queen

Don’t even get me started on where the best milkshakes are!  (Red Robin, BP Petrol Station, Chick-Fil-A 😉 )  Move out of the way cookie dough flavour, cake batter is where it’s at!!!

Shameless plea – if you are a restaurant with yummy ice cream and want me to come and review it for you, get it touch!  All ice cream is good ice cream!

  • What’s the one thing you said “yes” to in your new city that you wouldn’t say “yes” to, back home?

Driving 3 hours to go to an airport.  In the UK, that’d be like me driving to Manchester to get on a flight.  Why would I do that when I have Stansted, Southend, Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, London City, all less than 90 minutes away and all flying internationally?!  Now, my nearest major international airport is Chicago O’hare (that’s the nearest airport that flies direct to the UK) and it’s 3 hours away.  Those 3 hours of driving are a killer before and after a long haul flight.

  • Are there any cultural norms/phrases in your new country which you cannot stand?

Bleugh, I HATE the phrase ‘Bangs’…it’s a fringe, a bang is a loud noise.

Funny story – When I first got here, I thought someone was swearing at me/angry with my driving on the wrong side of the road, because they stuck their 2 fingers up at me…turns out that’s a friendly hello here…at home it means something veryyyy different!  It was more of a shock as a newbie than something that I can’t stand.

  • What do you enjoy most doing in your new country?

Blogging is something I LOVE doing here.  As mentioned above, I’ve connected with fellow expats, other Iowa & Midwestern bloggers and next month I’m going to the Women In Travel Summit (WITS) in Wisconsin.  I love blogging about the places I visit and the things I’ve experienced and I hope they are inspiring my readers to get out and explore their surroundings too!

I have a whole bucket list full of places and tours I want to do once the weather starts getting nicer, so I guess you could say I’m playing tourist here!

  • Do you think you will ever move home for good?

I’d like to (although if the health insurance payments change it’ll make living here a bit easier…at the moment I literally work to pay that one bill…silly hey, money I’ll never see and have nothing to show for).  But who knows what the future holds.  I’d like my blog to take off so I’ll have the time and money to go home/travel whenever I want to.

I’m happy to answer any other questions people may have about living in a country as a permanent resident in the USA!  Just leave them in the comments below!

If you’d like to join in, here are the questions!

  1. Where were you born, where did you grow up and where do you currently live?
  2. What made you leave your home country?
  3. What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from?
  4. What was the easiest/hardest part in adjusting to your new country?
  5. Images, words or sounds that sum up the expat experience you’ve had so far.
  6. Your favorite food or drink item in your new country?
  7. What’s the one thing you said “yes” to in your new city that you wouldn’t say “yes” to, back home?
  8. Are there any cultural norms/phrases in your new country which you cannot stand?
  9. What do you enjoy most doing in your new country?
  10. Do you think you will ever move home for good?

Here are some of my favourite expat blogs/buddies:

Sarah @ Trumbley, Madly, Deeply (UK > USA)

Katie @ Stories My Suitcase Could Tell (UK > USA)

Sarah @ The Wanderlanders (USA > Costa Rica)

Roma & Russell @ Roaming Required (Australia > UK)

The Expat Tag

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21 thoughts on “The Expat Tag

  1. Everyday I learn new things about you. S
    Btw, are you sure you don’t miss Primark? 😉

    Oh.. and Luton is SOOOO FAR outside London does it really count? 3 hrs drive to the airport blows. I feel for you!

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    1. Oh I do miss Primark! When I go back in the summer I’ve already organised a trip there, I love Primark jeans! I lived in Essex so Luton is an option but I never used it, Stansted usually done the job ok! (20mins from me)

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  2. Aw thank you for mentioning my blog! I am of course going to follow all the others mentioned and I will post the answers to my questions later. (You’ve inspired me to try an blog more regularly!)

    I was smiling about the winters as it is the same here, and a train horn went off just as I was reading that part of your post. Your insurance sounds crazy! Maybe we should compare notes in a PM.

    Have a great day! (I’m assimilating) 🙂

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    1. No problem! You were a huge help during the visa process! Awh, I tend to spend one day bulk writing and then just always post things on a sunday and wednesday! Works quite well for me!
      Hope you have a great day too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I’m getting in to the habit of bulk writing, I’m also finally getting through some of the abandoned drafts from the last year! I have a schedule one for this Thursday already done! Woo me! 😉

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  3. Ah, Whitey’s Ice Cream – grew up with it (my first job in high school was there) and we don’t have it in Chicago. But we do have international flights 😉 PS – who has cake batter milkshakes, I must know!

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    1. How cool!! Yeah they seem to only be around the Quad Cities! I think I could sacrifice the ice cream for the flights *shock horror coming from me!*! The BP petrol stations have cake batter milkshakes in a machine where you pick your flavour and then how thick you want it! Also Cold Stone will turn the cake batter soft scoop into a milkshake!

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    1. Thank you! As an English person we don’t tend to comment on accents so I find it strange being told it all the time! It does make me feel welcomed though!
      How cool! How are you liking Nigeria?

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  4. I LOVE your post. Often think what it would have been like to live as an expat in USA rather than Spain and guess it must be pretty cool, literally those winters look freezing. Didn’t u want to be near a beach? Anyway, great post.

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    1. Thanks! Haha if I had my way it would have been near the beach! I’m obsessed with the ocean! Ironically Iowa is probably as far away from the sea as you can get! Unfortunately it was where my husband is from and lives so it was kinda decided for me!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess that’s the way. I came to Seville planning to stay for a bit and in the end stayed for love. Funny cos the beach is only an hour away but we hardly go; need to get a car sorted. Best of luck.

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