North American Expats in England

It’s November. Which means NaBloPoMo. Let’s see what happens when I force myself to blog every day for a month, shall we? Hah. Haaaaaha. Ha. At least it got me writing a little more frequently, yes? Yes. 

There was a fantastic article posted on Business Insider the other day about the experience of a US Expat living in England.

It is hard.  Just because people speak English, do not be deceived.  It is an utterly alien place from America culturally, and I found (and still find) the adjustments frustrating and I sometimes still get furious from the difficulties.

Some of the Americanisms aren’t really applicable to Canadians (universal health care and parental leave being well-established in Canada, too), but a lot of the other lifestyle differences ring really true.

The material standard of living thing is a big one. Even coming from a place as expensive as Vancouver, we find it quite hard to get ahead, and are overall spending more and saving less than we were previously able to. Frankly, it’s stressful, and not something we’d anticipated.

But oh!

The proximity to London, the prevalence of pub culture, the treasure houses. “And best of all (to me):  the deeply inbuilt intellectualism — world class museums, theatres, concerts, bookshops, lectures everywhere.” Quintuple that when you’re living in Oxford or Cambridge.

Being a Canadian, and used to only our irritating sense of defining ourselves by what we are NOT, in the loud, brash shadow of unrelenting US patriotism, I find the sense of strong, quiet, unquestioning national pride here inspiring.

The whole piece is worth a read, if you want a glimpse of what relocating has been like.

And yes, so far, it’s worth it.

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2 thoughts on “North American Expats in England

  1. Rich

    Funnily enough we faced the same problem with cost of living coming over here. I found many everyday things to be expensive. Wine and cheese, for example.

    On reflection I suspect the overspending has something to do with the fact that as an expat one tends to behave a bit like a tourist – at least for the first few years. More cultural activities, more road trips, more travel or weekends away. It all adds up.

    Jen Watkiss Reply:

    So true. There’s also the part where you spend more to have ‘things you’re used to’ while you adjust to more ‘popular’ alternatives. We are definitely still in that phase a bit, too. (Plus, the budgetary hit from all the extra wine and cheese we’re buying, because it’s SO CHEAP HERE.)

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