Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Aloha, Hey Y'all, and Ainngai

That's 'hello' in Hawaii, the South, and Alaska (Inuit).

I often forget how diverse this country is-which is really sad, when I consider that I drove from North Carolina to Washington State not even 18 months ago.  But...I do.

Simon and I have done a fair amount of travel in the US this year-and explicitly tried to tick off a few states he hasn't been to-Alaska and Hawaii-both of which are fairly convenient to reach from Seattle.  Throw in a trip to the South to go visit family...and we've covered a fair amount of geographic and cultural diversity in this country this year.

I've been to Alaska numerous times, and Hawaii once previously-so I knew what to expect in terms of the topography, people, food, weather...everything. But, I couldn't help but be struck by Simon's reaction as we got stuck into these places this past year (most recently, just last month)-and observe the wonder with which he looks at the US sometimes.  By hopping on a flight for a few hours to go to a different state-it can very much be like travelling to a different country.

Sometimes I think that being married to Simon must be what it's like to have a child-and constantly be forced to look at something thru the the eyes of never seeing or experiencing it before-and I am infinitely thankful for the forcing function.  The list of these firsts hasn't gone down in the past 18 months, only evolved.  I'm sure it will continue to evolve in 2014, and I really look forward to seeing something I've already seen before thru a fresh pair of eyes.

(kicks self for taking US for granted)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Finding My Voice

Simply put, I've not been very active on my blog for the past year-effectively, since I returned to the US.  Which, considering the premise of my blog ('an expat in London'....), makes sense.  I loved writing my blog when I was in London, but since moving back, didn't feel like I had much of a voice any longer-or at least a voice that would be true to the nature of my blog.

However...it's dawned on me over the past several months how different my life is now because I was "an expat in London."  Without stating the obvious, I would have never met Simon, and the hundreds of thousands of moments that have happened in my life with and because of him would never have been.  I've had a true 'Sliding Doors' epiphany.  While it seems like these moments would be less and less after returning to the US, the reality is-they aren't.  The experiences we have had this past year (more on that in the upcoming weeks...), and even just today continue to remind me every day just how different my life is because of my life in London-and because of Simon.  And, I want to capture this sentiment while I remember.

So, I have decided to pick up my blog again.  The first few posts will be more detail on what I alluded to above.  Some posts may be mundane (oh the joys of getting Simon a bank account...).  Some posts will talk about what is truly life altering (his 10-year Green Card application is now a work in process. yikes).

But, at the least, I will try to continue to be true to the original purpose of my blog:  what life is like due to me being an Expat in London.  Admittedly, the blog will now be a bit of a "PS", but I think I still have something to say.  If for no other reason then selfishly, when I am 80-and can barely remember if I took my bran tablets in the morning-I'll have this blog to remind me of these experiences.

So, for those of you that by some miracle continue to stumble upon my blog anew...and if there is anyone still out there who may still have me in your reader...stay tuned-and thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Back to the Homeland

After 1 year and (what will be...) 29 days, Simon will return to the mother ship for the first time since departure.

I am incredibly excited for him to be able to go home and see friends and family-and experience the sense of familiar that he will surely feel by being back in London.

I wonder if he's truly prepared however, for what has changed-both in London, and him.  I recall that there was a tipping point for me that made me feel less familiar with the US and more familiar with London-almost a comfort level.  I don't know if this will be the trip for Simon-it is just the first year after all, but it has been a year, so he's probably quite settled in the 'American-ness' of his life already.

This should be interesting.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy American Birthday

Happy American Birthday, to my incredible husband. 

One year ago today, you landed in the US, and started a new chapter in your life. I hope you've had as much fun the past year as I have.  It's been a continuous series of firsts, and there are plenty more to be had!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Season of Firsts

It's safe to say, I now know what it must be like to be the parent of a small child...Since our time back in the US, and presuming it isn't permanent, I am keen to chase as many First Time Experiences as possible-for both Simon & I, though mainly for Simon.

To wit:  This year alone, in no particular order, Simon has:

  • Filed his first US tax return
  • Attended opening night for the Seattle Mariners (a first for me as well)
  • Joined a softball league, and played two games.  Which led to...
  • Visiting the emergency room-just this week..Simon fractured a bone in his arm after falling at said Softball game on Sunday.  OK. That one we didn't 'chase.'
  • Played a game of kickball.  Only one game, unfortunately-due to the aforementioned arm, he will be playing no more.
  • Purchased a house
  • Observed just *how many* prescription drug commercials are on TV (it's not legal to do so in the UK)
  • Started to  just a *little bit*) enjoy drinking an IPA
...and that's just the big stuff.  We do however, still have a few boxes to tick.  Like:
  • Learning how to drive
  • ..and with that knowledge, getting a drivers license.  Just in case.
  • Visiting Alaska and Hawaii (we'll tick these boxes before the end of the year.  woo!)

What else?   What other first time experiences (parents?  Expats?...) should we be chasing for Simon?

Friday, March 15, 2013

My First Date in London-Update

Five years later...I'd still say that first date was pretty darned good.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Familiar yet Foreign

Back in London for a little over 24 hours.

It's GREAT to be back!  But, it's also a bit strange...I'm staying in a hotel, not my home. I've thusfar interacted with people I didn't know when I lived here (ie new colleagues), and I'm staying & working in a part of town (Camden) that I barely spent half a day in when I lived here.

Oh, and Simon isn't here.  I don't know London without Simon; we met the 4th day after I arrived; on the flip side...Seattle without me now must be a bit odd for Simon.

Everything feels familiar, yet oddly foreign all at the same time.

Friday, February 8, 2013

London Bound!

In less than 48 hours, I will be back in London for 2 weeks for business.

I've had this trip planned for several months now, and was feeling rather mixed emotions about the trip-somewhat because I'd be going solo (and haven't been in London the past 5 years without Simon), and somewhat because business travel (especially when dealing with a red-eye flight and 8 hours of jet lag) is hard.

But, I've started reaching out to friends and setting up dinners and drinks. And dinners and drinks.  And, more drinks...and find that I'm actually quite excited now at the prospect!

Oddly too, I find that there are a few things on the 'shopping list' that I'm keen to pick up while there-that I can't find here in the US.   So, my behavior the previous 5 years when going to and coming from the US with an empty suitcase to stock up on is about to be repeated-but in reverse.

I'm looking forward to walking around again and taking the tube as my primary mode of transport.  The things I used to complain about the most (well, at least the tube..) are now currently part of what I'm looking forward to. 

Oh, and Lebanese food.  Lots and lots of Lebanese food!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Through The Eyes of Others

I think I've mentioned a few of the observations (drivers, portions, etc) Simon has made past few months in the US.

His latest observation-well, flat out surprise, is over the H&R Block TV Adverts that are now playing in full rotation in prime-time.  As someone who has only ever lived in a country where the concept of actively completing a return is reserved only for those who have the most complicated of taxes, it is blowing his mind that everyone-including the most average of households are expected to submit a paper return to the IRS. Hee..

On the flip side of the coin, I've an acquaintance who just landed in London a few days ago for an expat assignment, and I have just seen some of her first Facebook posts about her experiences.  It's bringing back a flood of memories for me, and I can't help but feel a little envious of her new & exciting experience.  

London-life is especially fresh on my mind as I'll be heading there in a few weeks for work-and I'm so
excited (oh, the irony...)-and also a little sad to know that my experience will be temporary (oh, the irony).  I couldn't be happier in Seattle, but I have pangs for London every now and then.

I guess that is what the norm is for me now...