It’s the eve of our first ‘moving to America’ anniversary. This time one year ago, we were saying our fond farewells to our nearest and dearest and preparing to embark on a new adventure, and what an adventure it’s been….
I’ve grown, learned, changed, adapted, become more British than I believed was possible, yet, at the same time, become more American than I ever thought I’d be!
From inane television to bureaucratic governments, healthcare copays to all day brunch, experiencing the ‘delectable’ confidence of New Yorker’s, to extreme snow storms that apparently made up the ‘lightest winter in years’. From missing home to absorbing every last drop of life abroad. Moving to a new country is everything I thought it would be and everything I never thought it would be.
I now drink more coffee than I should and eat more burgers than I ought to. I’ve been offered more drugs in my time here than in any amount of trips to my GP in the UK (the prescription kind of course). Heinz Baked Beans are now a luxury (at $2 a tin – about £1.50), which doesn’t stop us from eating them, but man do they taste sweeter. I’ve got used to the taste of bread that at first I knew contained far too much sugar, and I now drive when I know I should walk.
However, I spend more time outdoors than I did in the UK; have more days of guaranteed sunshine than ever before, I spend less time in pubs (and more time at brunch), which could be considered both a good and a bad thing. I speak to people in the elevator even when I just want to look at the floor and pretend I haven’t seen or heard my neighbor yelling at me from along the hallway. I earn more, but work more – the City of Stamford motto is ‘The City that Works’. I get to go to Vermont and Niagara Falls for my weekends away instead of Paris or Rome. I am even being persuaded to take my first ever camping trip this summer (something I never considered due to the iffiness of the British climate).
I’ve become even more of a socialist since moving to the States, primarily prompted by the healthcare system here in the States. I can’t fault the care we’ve received here, but that’s because we have pennies to spend. As my husband said when he was laid in a hospital bed in excruciating pain: “they came over with a card machine to take my insurance co-pay before they would treat me.” In my view, that is a sentence that should never be uttered. For those less fortunate than us the system, in my view, sucks. I read a quote the other day that said:
“The British National Healthcare System is a social insurance system that operates on the belief that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.” Aims Education
For all of its faults, the NHS offers healthcare to anyone who needs it and, in my view, this is how the world should be. Healthcare system rant over, as Bill Bryson quotes in ‘Notes from a Big Country’:
“When you move from one country to another, you have to accept that there are some things that are better and some things that are worse, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
But, as he also quotes:
“In a funny way nothing makes you feel more like a native of your own country than to live where nearly everyone is not.”
I believe these quotes perfectly describe the experience of moving and setting up home somewhere new. There are good bits and bad bits, and no matter how you sugar coat it, that’s life. Some days I love it here; other days it drives me nutty. Much like when I lived in the UK. But, as a native of somewhere other than where I live now, the UK will always hold my roots and my heart, but it will also always be there and for now adventure beckons.
As I said at the beginning of this post, this journey so far has been such a fantastic adventure, and I have no desire for it to end anytime soon. So, onwards and upwards and here’s to the next chapter of US living.
Yours Sincerely, Mrs ‘Living the American Dream.’