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Yaya: My Dreamality

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in the UK makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

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

I’m Yaya, a Mexican-American expat from the US, namely the wonderful (and huge) state of Texas. Howdy! I’ve been living in Great Britain for almost 2 ½ very interesting years. I live in England with my other half, who is also an expat, in a multi-cultural household.

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

I was a blogger even before I was an expat. I decided blogging about my expat experience was the best way to document my journey, as well as serve as a coping mechanism to deal with the bouts of homesickness and isolation that come about. Blogging was the best way to connect with like-minded individuals that are expats themselves, or those curious about the lifestyle.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

A few of my favourite blog posts:

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?

As a resilient being, I took to my new life like a duck to water. That being said, there was definitely culture shock. Come to think of it, there are still moments of culture shock! My biggest struggle is blending in with the very understated English. I’m still working on saying, “how are you” and not waiting for a reply.

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?

Had I had the opportunity to go about my move differently, I wouldn’t change a thing. I tend to overthink things, and spontaneity works best for me and keeps me from raining on my own parade. While there are some kinks that I would have preferred to have had worked out in hindsight, I truly think that things have happened exactly as they have been meant to for me.

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

Gosh there are so many hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences that have happened to me whilst living in the UK. We once had a Mexican family follow us out of the tube at 2AM all to make the point that “they knew I was Mexican” and had to make sure. It was nice to have a chat with them, but it was a bit awkward to be followed around by a family of 6 into a shop! It was after a Volleyball game during the Olympics and we were knackered! Honestly, the last thing I wanted was to be asked 21 questions, but I do know the excitement that is accompanied by spotting someone that you feel you have something in common with. All that aside, we did pay for our bottle of water and bolted out of there. It was definitely an awkward moment!

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

  • First things first, set up a support system. No matter how exciting it all might be, the novelty does wear off and you end up living a “normal” life. You will get homesick, so make sure that you have access to video chat, online instant messaging services, email, and all the wonderful technological advances you can think of. You will need them.
  • Hand in hand with that, be mindful of the time difference, and talk to your family and friends about it. My Navy wife best friend was stationed in Japan, while I was in England, and her afternoons and my morning coincided as the best time to communicate. Now that she’s back in the States and I’m in the “future” we rarely get to communicate real time. Be realistic about when you can communicate real time, it won’t always happen as you think it will. Becoming an expat is a very personal matter, but you must include those closest to you in what you can as they too will be tremendously affected by your move.
  • Share. Take everything in, and share it with whoever is willing to listen. Open an Instagram account to share with like minds. Email your photos to your family. Start a blog. Share your experiences, even the mundane. Being an expat is a fantastic experience, but one that might also make you feel as though you have so much to experience, and not many to share it with. I’ve found that sharing helps increase your appetite for adventure.

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

I have encountered fellow expats in places where you would expect to – university, online, diverse cities like Cambridge and London, but quite frankly, it’s been difficult to find like-minded individuals that are native to the land. I must be honest, though, one of the appeals of expat life is getting to know the locals, even by observing them. I feel as though for me personally, having American, or even Latin expats would taint my view a bit. I kinda like being the outsider looking in, it’s working for me.

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

Living amongst the extraordinary in an ordinary world.

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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