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Derek Knight

Columnists > Derek Knight

Derek Knight

The More Curious Culture Shocks Of The USA vs. UK

Posted by: Carole on Saturday October 24, 2015 (14:47:28)   (1849 Reads)

Derek Knight

Being a Brit living in America is full of surprises, and you never know where the next one will come from. I was alone in the house the other day and became aware of the sound of water running. It was one of those things that slowly crept into the consciousness, and eventually surfaced as a question – why is there water running when I’m the only one in the house, and everything should be shut off? With a sigh, I went around to find the source of the noise, eventually locating it to the downstairs bathroom, and specifically to the toilet. I pushed the handle to see if that would help, but no, it continued to run, so I lifted the lid of the cistern to see what was happening.    more ...


Columnists > Derek Knight

Derek Knight

All The Fun Of A County Fair In Rural Illinois

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday September 02, 2015 (23:11:40)   (1341 Reads)

Derek Knight

One of the summer traditions in both the UK and the USA is the County Fair. In my time living in the UK, I’d been to a couple of these, the most recent being in Norfolk. So it was with interest that I attended a County Fair in rural Illinois. I wasn’t sure if there would be any differences apart from the accents and the place names; after all, isn’t farming still farming, wherever it is practiced?

The weather was ideal when we visited, not too hot, but a pleasant warm and dry day towards the end of the fair week. As we were nearing the grounds, I had a call from a friend who had just arrived at the show, and we arranged to meet at the race track, where the horse races were just starting.    more ...


Columnists > Derek Knight

Derek Knight

Life's A Beach at Lake Michigan

Posted by: Carole on Saturday August 08, 2015 (22:30:23)   (1287 Reads)

Derek Knight

The last place I lived in the UK before emigrating was on the North Norfolk coast, about 5 miles from a most pleasant beach. I would often just go there for on the spur of the moment just to walk on the sand or enjoy the seascapes. Before that I lived in a London suburb, and although a visit to the seaside needed to be planned, it was still only a couple of hours drive at most before I found a beautiful beach by the sea. In other words, to someone like me, brought up in a country where nowhere is more than 150 miles from the sea, it is incredible that my nearest ocean is something like 600 miles away.    more ...


Columnists > Derek Knight

Derek Knight

Out And About – Interstate Travelling In The USA

Posted by: Carole on Thursday June 25, 2015 (21:17:27)   (1081 Reads)

Derek Knight

Over the last few months I have had occasion to drive between St Louis, Chicago and Northern Illinois quite regularly, and interstate travelling makes it easy to do these fairly long distances, much easier than equivalent distances back in the UK. One thing that is noticeable as you travel, not just on these routes, but on most of the Interstates I've ever driven on, is that at almost every major intersection have grown up little communities of businesses, whose sole reason for being there is to serve the traveler. This was true even back in the days of the now famous "Main Street of America", Route 66, brought travelers through what had been quiet backwaters. The interstates now bypass those towns, but the tradition continues.    more ...


Columnists > Derek Knight

Derek Knight

Out Of Contact

Posted by: Carole on Saturday June 06, 2015 (23:05:56)   (1341 Reads)

Derek Knight

There is much to love about living an expat life, but one thing that is really hard that family members and close friends are so far away. It is hard to comprehend just how difficult communication over long distances must have been before the internet age. Living as I do in an area that was part of the Louisiana Purchase (which I was only vaguely aware of before moving to the USA) there are lots of reminders of the early European explorers, who would have been out of touch with anyone for many months at a time.    more ...


Columnists > Derek Knight

Derek Knight

Clang, Clang, Clang Went The Trolley

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday April 07, 2015 (19:21:42)   (965 Reads)

Derek Knight

An exciting new development has started here in St Louis, as work on the Delmar Loop Trolley gets underway. I’m sure there have been other films set here, but “Meet me in St Louis” is certainly the most famous. Like many of these films that “everybody has seen” it seemed to pass me by entirely, and it was only recently that I actually got to see the whole film. Within this famous film, perhaps the most notable tune was the Trolley Song, taking excited people to the Great Exhibition in Forest Park, and the new trolley will also go there, recreating a scene not seen here since the 1960’s. This new development set me thinking about an interesting discovery I made about this city.    more ...


Columnists > Derek Knight

Derek Knight

For The Birds

Posted by: Carole on Friday March 06, 2015 (00:44:58)   (1461 Reads)

Derek Knight

One weekend in early February, my wife asked me first thing on Saturday morning if I had filled up the car with gas, and then asked if I was up for a road trip. You bet I was, and before long we were heading off to… somewhere, but where was to be a surprise.

We headed up Interstate 64, and at first I thought we might be going to Hannibal MO, a town that we both really love. From our house, it’s about 115 miles and takes under 2 hours’ drive to get there. Once, we went there for a day trip and came back with 2 clocks from a simply amazing shop where they build and repair all types of old timepieces. We love how you can experience the Mississippi from there, and marvel at how picturesque it is. But, although we stopped at the tourist information office there and had a nice chat with the lady on duty, it was evident that our destination was yet further north.    more ...


Columnists > Derek Knight

Derek Knight

A New Expat In St Louis

Posted by: Carole on Saturday February 07, 2015 (00:51:55)   (1950 Reads)

Derek Knight

(Welcome! This is my first post here on Expat Focus, so I thought I’d start with a look at some of the things I’ve noticed since being a resident in America.)

When I first moved here to St Louis from the United Kingdom almost 3 years ago, I was constantly being asked where I was from, my accent being a real giveaway that I’m not originally from the Mid-West. To most people over here, my accent is an interesting thing, and I can totally understand that, and for most of the time it’s actually quite a useful conversation starter.

Only occasionally is it a hindrance, but I do recall one time when I was in a store and asked an assistant for help in finding a particular item. Rather than trying to help, they were so enthralled by my accent that they stopped what they were doing and started grilling me on all things British!    more ...