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Claire: Desperate Housewife USA

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

I’m from the Cotswolds in the UK, a pretty part of the world. I’ve been here 16 months and we moved over in the Summer of 2012, and holy moly, the time has whizzed by!

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

I started blogging just before I came to the USA; I wanted to journal my thoughts, feelings, amusement and confusion at the moving process, being an expat and all that America has to offer. Americans and Brits are so similar, and yet so, so different.

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

I asked a few of my readers this the other day….

They chose Stink Bugs, Residents’ Associations and the Mail Box.

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

We try to integrate with Brits and Americans. We are lucky that there is a British community here already and we’ve got to know a lot of them. The Brits do all sorts of social events and keep a flavor of Britishness, but the real experience has been hanging out with Americans, whom we’ve met through the gym, work, school etc. They willingly share their lives with us, which is a wonderful, intriguing and entertaining thing.

But yes, the cultures are divided by many things – even mundane things that you take for granted, and it never ceases to make me smile (and sometimes frown – like asking for tea…)

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

We did a lot of research before we came about the place and what makes it a great place to live (the internet is a Godsend). We also did a visit to look at houses and schools, which means that you get a sense of the place. Always find out what you can – it does help you prepare, but then some things smack you in the face, and you think: I never expected that!

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

So, before I begin the tale of our road trip, let me begin by telling you a story about once upon a time when I visited a tarot card reader in Glastonbury. This tarot card reader told me a great many things, some of which strangely have come true and one of those true things was about cars and how they would always be a problem in my life. An odd observation to make, you might think, but one that has been held in my sub-conscious since that reading.

I’ve had cars towed, clamped, broken in to, stolen, reversed into (twice), and they’ve cost me money and time. My current vehicle, Lady Miss Tilly, has already had two outings in this blog. Last week my husband reversed into my parked car on the drive. This large, and expensive, dent was fixed in time for our road trip (though not so sure his pride was).

And so off we set to Virginia for a bit of civil war history and to see another couple of cities, a bit farther south from our present location.

The conversation between me and my other half went a little like this:

Me: Now, don’t speed, this should be a leisurely road trip.

Him: I’m not speeding. (He is in the outside lane). It’s not like the UK, and I’m only going as fast as the other cars.

Me: (a few minutes later) I think you’re speeding.

Him: It’s fine, I’m not.

Me: There’s a state trooper there….

Him: Oh crap…

Me: (smugly) He’s going to pull you over….

Lights flash….we pull over.

Harry is getting very excited in the back. Is that the police? Yes. Is this exciting to get pulled over by the police? Sort of….

Trooper: Sir, did you know you were doing 80 in a 55?

Him: Um, yes, sorry, I did, I’m very sorry, I didn’t mean to etc.

Trooper: Please take your time sir and go more slowly.

Him: Yes, yes, I will.

Window goes up.

Me: Will you speed now?

Him: No. You enjoyed that, didn’t you?

Me: Yes, very much.

So, off we go towards Virginia, at 55 miles per hour :-)

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

  • Don’t judge.
  • Prepare to be bemused.
  • Make the most of it.

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

There is an expat community here – some newbies and some who have been here for yonks. I integrate and meet them and we share stories – I love hearing their anecdotes. But part of the expat experience is being part of the host country community too, so I do a lot of that as well as talking about how hard it is to get a good, hot cuppa!

How would you summarize your expat life in the USA in a single, catchy sentence?

It’s a little bit adventure, little bit quirky, little bit Bill Bryson.

 

 

 

Brian Norris

"When first moving to Washington, D.C., I didn't know many people outside of the office. InterNations has changed that with some exciting events."

Caroline Stiles

"In such an international city such as Washington, D.C. InterNations holds great events for everyone to network and enjoy themselves."

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