08 February 2012


So when I was in my twenties and back living in Wisconsin, I would go to the family functions as expected. At the Christmas family functions, my grandparents would – not knowing what in the world a 24 year old could possibly want (besides sinful sex and hedonistic rock-n-roll) – give me a card with some cash in it. One set of grandparents always gave me a check. This of course means that I couldn’t spend this money until the banks opened two days after Christmas. My granny though would always put in hard cold cash in the form of a ten or twenty. I always gave her a big hug and kiss and promised that I would spend her gift on something I’d been wanting like a new CD or some shoes.

Truth of the matter is, after the family function dispersed and I was left to my own devices, I typically found myself at my local pub with nothing in my wallet except that twenty from granny. As I ordered my first pint, I turned to my friend and said, “Nothing says booze like Grandma.”

Last week my granny passed away. It was a bit of a shock that no one really expected. I was (and am) heartbroken. Granny was by far one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. When I learned that she had died, I turned to Andy and told him that it didn’t matter if we couldn’t afford it, I was going to Wisconsin to be with the family and to say good-bye to her in person. Two days later I was on a plane back home.

In the 9 days I have been back, I have spent more time with my family that I thought was humanly possible. We laughed a lot, we’ve cried a lot, we’ve made jokes at each other’s expense, we’ve fought a bit, we’ve drunk a bit, and we sure as hell have eaten our weight in fatty Wisconsin food.

After granny’s memorial service, the whole lot of us went to a Polish restaurant for a buffet dinner. Yes, there was sauerkraut on the menu. My brother and I as well as a couple of our cousins went up to the bar for a round of drinks. It occurred to me that I had absolutely zero cash in my wallet – except for a $50 bill that I had just received that morning – a Christmas gift from granny that my parents had forgotten to send. I turned to my brother and cousins and told them, “I’ve got this round! Well, granny has this round because nothing says booze like Grandma.” I can’t believe that’s the last time I’ll be able to say that.


Very sad things aside, it’s been an interesting trip back. It’s a huge coincidence that I happen to be here exactly a year after I moved to England. I ended up watching the Superbowl in the exact same bar I watched it last year (though with less excitement). I’ll be landing back in England on the exact same date I landed there last year. At least when I land this time I’ll know what the hell I’m getting into.

By the way, after moaning about kosher dill pickles for over 8 months I can proudly say that I have had some. Some? That’s probably an understatement. I’ve pretty much bathed in them for 9 days. As it turned out, my father picked me up from the airport. On the drive back home he said he needed to pick up some things at Sam’s Club and would I possibly want anything. “Kosher dill pickles,” I replied. As anyone who has been to Sam’s Club knows, there is no such thing as a reasonable portion size there. While I could have waited and just gone to a normal grocery store at some point, I saw this jar and my eyes glazed over. I was in pickle euphoria. I made my sister model this mongo jar of pickles with a normal sized jar of pickles for comparison.

To answer your question, no, I didn’t manage to eat the entire jar. I tried. I think at one point I challenged myself to do it. In the end I got through 5 gigantic pickles – each gigantic pickle being equal to that of 4 regular sized pickles. The remaining pickles in the gigantic jar now reside at my brother’s house where they will probably remain until 2018 when one of my brother’s drunken friends eats the rest as a bet. As for me, it is best that I don’t retain salt or my ankles would look like Goodyear tires by now.

Anyhow, I head back to England tomorrow. I’m ready to see my husband and my little Henbot. No, I’m so desperately anxious to see them I feel like climbing in my dad’s car right now and tapping my fingers in anticipation until I get driven to the airport. It’s been a bittersweet trip home and all my boozin’ grandma cash is spent.


Unless I die in a fiery plane crash, I’ll be back next week with my very special One Year in England Anniversary post.


  1. Just found your blog. Floridian making the move to Liverpool to live with my English husband in a few months. Been trying to search out someone in my shoes. Hopefully a meet up in our future.

  2. Rue de Vamp: Thanks for reading! I hope this blog has enough expat content to give you a feel for the place. I don't know your situation so this forewarn may be useless - I'd just like to say that it's very very expensive here and unemployment runs rampant. Being in the States for 9 days I have stocked up on American supplies to the point my suitcase is bursting. Half of the things I got I could easily get in England somewhere but I'd be paying twice, if not three times, the price.

    Good luck to you regardless and I'd be very open to having a new friend. :-)

  3. I disagree! It's cheaper than London and in ten years I've only had a month without work! I'm in Cheshire, thus proving that there is more than one expat up north! (you'd be the third though)
    Moe: so sorry to hear about you grandma, safe travels back here.

  4. VW: Yes it is cheaper than London. But you're brilliant so you have it made job wise. ;-)

    BTW: I'm too jet legged right now to be humorous so you'll just have to take that statement above at face value.

  5. ha got it. thanks for the input. Will keep in touch

  6. i literally teared up during this post.. soooo good to see you!! even though i regret having no more than 5 minutes of alone time with you it was good to be with you.

  7. Anon (I'm assuming that this is Shannen!): It was awesome seeing you too and I hope we get to spend more time together in the future. Neo is adorable by the way!

  8. It wasn't actually me but I share the sentiment! Gma would have been happy to know her gift money was used on spending time with friends. She was the best eccentric granny ever.

  9. Hi Moe,

    I am sorry for the loss of your grandma and I sure wish I had been able to see you this last trip but glad you enjoyed some family time. I love reading your blog by the way!! xxxooo Andrea

  10. Andrea: If we ever make it out to CA again, I will definitely give you a shout.