Let’s put it this way – when you go on vacation somewhere, to a foreign land or hell, even to Florida, you’re on vacation. You don’t think about laundry detergent or which bank has the best APR’s or what form you need to fill out for a grocery store savings card. You’re on vacation. On vacation your main concern is having fun, eating fatty foods, and taking 168 pictures of landscapes to bore your friends with back home. You don’t look around and think to yourself whether or not the area around the hotel would have a good school system, do you? But that’s what it’s like being an expat. It’s just real life- regular basic living, isn’t it? The only difference from trying to get settled in another town in the country you are born in and trying to get settled in a new country completely different from your own is that people talk funny and you spend entirely way too much time identifying the worth of the coins you have jangling around in your pocket.
I also think your mind is a lot more open when you are on vacation. Or maybe that’s just me. I just know that when I was here last year for 3 weeks I was all about trying all the local foods and just taking in whatever England could throw at me. This time around I find myself already searching for American equivalents to the every day things I use. I didn’t give a rat’s ass about that a year ago. Why would I? There’s no point in finding Britain’s answer to Secret solid deodorant if I’m going to be back in the US in 3 weeks. Bring on the roll-on!
This all may sound like doom and gloom. Andy is probably reading this right now shaking his head and mumbling about me being a bit fat complainer; which I must respond, I’M NOT COMPLAINING. I’m actually stating some facts here and I’m stating them for all those out there who are thinking about moving abroad and are as delusional as I was. Because if you are delusional (like I was), the reality can hit you in the face pretty fucking hard and maybe it would help if someone had told us (the delusional people) a little bit about how it actually goes down. So, hey dumbass, it’s not going to be a vacation, it’s just going to be your life.
With all that NOT complaining stated, I have to tell you that life here isn’t so bad. It’s actually quite good really, for regular life. Technically, we’re still in limbo living at Andy’s mum’s house at the moment; anxious to get on with proper settling down in our own place and all that, but it’s been good regardless. Now that we’re here we’ve been able to buying the big things that the baby is going to need – stroller, crib, car seat – also things that plug in like the baby monitor and bottle warmer. That’s actually been a huge relief. For someone who considers herself efficient and just likes to get things done already, it’s great not to be waddling around at 34 weeks without a clue on how we’re getting the baby home from the hospital. Baby aside, we’ve gotten a lot of the basic things taken care of – opening a bank account, got new phones with really long phone numbers (which I admit fully I can never remember what mine is), got the saving card at the grocery store (and Costa Coffee – uber important!). I’ve also got to experience a lot of normal UK life – going to the tip (aka: dump\landfill), going to the Trafford Centre (aka: big ass mall), going to the cinema on Friday night to see Simon Pegg’s new movie, “Paul” (I was the only one in the theater who laughed a the illegal alien joke), and eating out A LOT. We’ve visited the cat twice in quarantine, which is really a big ass compound in the middle of the countryside (she’s doing fine, though has let herself go by gaining a least a pound in two weeks). We’ve helped Andy’s mum buy a new laptop and Blu Ray player at Curry’s (aka: similar to Best Buy but they have Best Buy too).
The Willage (aka: Crosby Village). I've been to Costa no less than 8 times in the last 10 days.
Our abode and fantastically awful Vauxhall rental car
Headed into the Birkenhead Tunnel to go see Chloe
Our chubby little monster
Me, trying to show off my bulging belly in Sefton Park but failing miserably. At least I have water shooting out of my head.
Like I said, we’ve been busy and it’s been good but it’s not terribly exciting, it’s just life. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
I do have one small anecdote for you, which is to describe Little Chef. Little Chef is a chain diner type place, usually located along a traveling route. I would say it’s similar to a Stuckey’s or Waffle House in the States. When we go and see Chloe in quarantine (which is in the countryside remember), we actually pass two Little Chef’s on the way. The first time we headed that way, I couldn’t hold my bladder any longer and asked Andy if we could stop at Little Chef so I could pee. Walking in to Little Chef is like visiting an area that just got a visit from the Dementors (Harry Potter reference – I don’t care how dorky it is, I’m not changing it as it’s the only way to describe it). Everyone there, from the customers to the employees just looked like the joy had been sucked out of them. Like they were all there, in that Little Chef, wondering what they had done in their life wrong that they somehow ended up there, at Little Chef, for the rest of their days. Even their mascot, Charlie, looks like he has a forced smile. Growing up my parents used to threaten to drop us off at jail when we were misbehaving. When Henry misbehaves, I’m going to threaten to drop him off at Little Chef.
I feel the life draining from me just looking at this.
That’s about it for me. Now that the laundry is done, I’ve got to run into the willage (aka: Crosby Village) to get some bread and vegetables from Sainsbury’s because that is the sort of glamorous expat life I lead.