Living in England: The good, the bad and the the fugly
Our regular blogger Yankeebean, writes some useful answers to a few questions from an American high school student about moving to England.
One of our readers is planning to move to England when she graduates from high school and has some really good, specific questions that I think are worth answering – so here goes!
What is the best thing about living/moving to England?
A lot of things come to mind with this one, but I think the number one 'corker' has got to be how walkable everything is. Driving or public transport is still important, but walking is a built-in part of the culture and I love it! Oh, and free health care is freakin’ cool…
What is the worst?
Distance from family -- hands down. This is an obvious one, but being far away from family is pretty tough sometimes. The thing about homesickness is that I never get any warning -- it doesn’t creep in slowly so I can ready myself. It’s more like getting hit by a car (not that I’d know exactly). One minute you’re fine, on your way to Tesco, then Bam! Homesick… ugh!
What was the hardest thing about moving?
Emotionally -- the goodbyes. A seemingly endless list of goodbyes -- and BIG goodbyes, y’know? For me they started about 3-months before I moved and just kept coming… and then my dog died the day before I moved. Worst… worst ever. But I did it and it didn’t kill me, so I guess it made me stronger -- that’s how it’s supposed to work, right?
Physically -- carrying my life in suitcases through airports, train stations and car journeys with arms built like tooth picks.
Besides family, what do you miss most about America?
I could be weak and predictable and say Chipotle, but I think we all know that the most ‘miss-able’ thing is American Enthusiasm. I capitalise this to emphasise its importance :)
Americans have the wonderful and precious gift of enthusiasm -- it’s built in -- right off the shelf. It’s not like everyone in the States is chirpy and happy and smiley and ‘can do’, but they’ve got a clear advantage. It something that permeates the whole of the country in a way that’s just not present here. I miss it so much… I wish I could order it online…
How long was it before you started using the word “home” again?
Somewhere between years 3 and 4 -- but I still call America home, too.
What is the least pleasant difference between England and the U.S.?
Hmmm… I’m not sure. It would probably have to be something related to my difficulty making english-women-friends. I just can’t seem to get English women to warm to me (for the most part), hence the blog about being treated like an alien from outer space.
The most pleasant difference?
Man, so many things come to mind. You’re so close to Europe, English men are awesome (well, mine is anyway! :) ), the humour is second-to-none…
If you were to Google 'British culture', how many of the results would you say are true/realistic?
I don’t know about Google, but if you want a good idea of what you’re in for, read Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour. I’ve read quite a few books about being in England or visiting England, but this one really explained a lot. And it’s funny, too… I especially found the chapter on the English art of The Understatement incredibly enlightening.
What are some of your reasons for moving to England?
Just the one -- my English dude…
On a scale of 1-10, how happy would you say you are in England?
I’d say 9 -- I would move it up to 10 if I could realise my dream of living in the US for 3 months out of every year…
Is living in England what you thought it would be?
I wrote a journal entry about what I thought living in England would be like before I’d actually moved here. I can honestly say that I didn’t have a single clue what I was in for. But that doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying what I’ve found.
Do you plan on moving back to the U.S.?
100 percent yes and 100 percent no. I would love to live half-and-half, but I know that I’ve somewhat sealed my fate. If I moved back to the States I would miss England so much, and vice versa…
Me and my Mom can’t even talk about the idea without bawling because I think we both hate the idea of never living in the same country again. Visiting will never be the same and that’s just something you have to live with.
And finally, would you say England is worth all the drama and pain and tears that it takes to get there?
Yup. Absolutely. I wouldn’t take back a single day -- if someone hit rewind, I’d just do it all again.
Republished from She's Not From Yorkshire, a blog about life in England by three sassy, tell-it-like-it-is-American women 'discovering things about the UK and the US that would have never occurred to us if we’d never lived here'. Yankeebean married an Englishman and lives in Yorkshire. She is a web designer and professional voice-over artist.
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