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Melanie: Sunny in London

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Great Britain, etc.

I lived in Daytona Beach, Florida most of my life. I completed my Florida State University internship at NBC News London Bureau and at that time met a British cameraman who is now my husband. Together, we enjoy travelling, eating great food, going on pub crawls, and of course taking pictures!

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

Since I always receive a crumpled facial expression from British people when I say I moved to London from Florida, I started a lifestyle blog titled Sunny in London. It’s a “Florida girl’s guide to finding sun and fun in London.” I truly believe London is full of sunshine, even though sometimes it is in the form of liquid sunshine or activities that make you feel inner sunshine.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

My favourite entry is the comparison I did between the Harry Potter studio tour in London and the attraction in Orlando. Although, it’s tough to beat the day I spent dipping and eating chocolate for lunch at Choccywoccydoodah, or the full day course I took learning how to make floral arrangements at the Covent Garden Flower Academy.

Tell us about the ways your new life in Great Britain differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

Since I have lived in London several times during my life, I haven’t felt too much culture shock. The biggest obstacle I’ve had is job searching for a position in media or public relations. Blogging and being an InterNations member has provided a network of people that have made the transition much easier.

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Great Britain? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

Since my husband is a lifelong Londoner, the transition was smooth. Receiving immediate acceptance and support from his parents, friends and colleagues helps with my British cultural and life integration.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

My British husband is a fabulous cook. He often makes me “mangled” eggs and salmon for breakfast. At a hotel restaurant recently, I innocently replied to a waiter that I wanted my eggs “mangled.” The waiter was dumfounded. I learned in that moment that “mangled” was not the British term for “scrambled.” It was, in fact, a term that my husband had created in his childhood. I now insist that he make my eggs “Sunny side up” in honor of my blog!

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Great Britain?

  • Start building your network before you arrive. Join groups like InterNations and begin blogging so you can establish contacts and possible friends prior to being here.
  • Research living accommodations and expenses. Have a strong idea of what your budget will be and how you will spend your money.
  • Understand the visa process and be sure to keep informed of rules that are amended.

How is the expat community in Great Britain? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

The expat community accepts their own with open arms. They’re always eager to help and share their experiences.

How would you summarize your expat life in Great Britain in a single, catchy sentence?

“There’s plenty of sun in London, if you know where to look for it.”

Jan-Peter van Tijk

"I wish I'd found InterNations sooner: It would have made my first few month as an expat in London much less overwhelming."

Therese Yeboah

"For me, the InterNations events are the best part. I attend almost every get-together and always get to know lots of friendly fellow expats."

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