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Michelle Garrett

Columnists > Michelle Garrett

Michelle Garrett

British Tea Drinking Explained

Posted by: Carole on Sunday July 15, 2012 (21:48:16)   (2600 Reads)

Michelle Garrett

As a long-term expat in the UK, I have learned that the mysteries of tea are much deeper than ‘how do you have yours’ and ‘what’s an Afternoon Tea and when is it supposed to happen.’

From my experience, I would say there are two types of tea ceremony in Britain, the Afternoon Tea and the Cuppa. Both have their separate purposes and merits. I wonder if British expats continue with these traditions when they’re in other countries? If I moved back to the States I could easily see myself carrying on with the cuppa, at least.

Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea is a social event governed by etiquette and accompanied by light sandwiches and cakes. The sandwiches are served without crusts. You do not lift your pinkie finger and you NEVER dunk anything into your tea.    more ...


Columnists > Michelle Garrett

Michelle Garrett

Is There A Difference Between Expats Who Blog And Those Who Don’t?

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday June 26, 2012 (17:10:30)   (2282 Reads)

Michelle Garrett

I attended BritMums Live, the parent blogging conference this weekend, and as with last year I organized an expat get together on one of the nights. I knew that a handful of the expat bloggers were only in town for this event so I thought it would be nice to get everyone together—selfishly, because I really wanted to meet these expat bloggers!

Around 30 people got together, some were foreign expats in the UK, others were British expats home for the conference, others were Brits who had once been expats and there were a few Brits who had never been expats but were friends of expats.

The attendance requirements were pretty loose! They were all women—British, Americans, Antipodeans, a Romanian, an Estonian, an Austrian, and a Swede, so we were from all over, with the only shared characteristics being expat mothers who blog.    more ...


Columnists > Michelle Garrett

Michelle Garrett

Do You Prefer Living Overseas?

Posted by: Carole on Thursday May 17, 2012 (00:58:59)   (3162 Reads)

Michelle Garrett

I know we're not really supposed to admit to it, but I also know there are a lot of us expats who prefer living overseas to living in our home country--no matter how much we may go on and on about what we miss from home.

An American friend of mine who lived in Germany as a single woman for eight years has spent every minute since she moved back to the States (about 10 years ago) trying to think of ways she can move her new (American) family back to Germany.

For some people the reasons for their preference may be that they have a better job overseas or better access to further travel destinations; perhaps they enjoy a better social life, or a better standard of living; and many feel the social system and cultural attitudes seem more suited to their philosophy.    more ...


Columnists > Michelle Garrett

Michelle Garrett

One Of The Best Souvenirs From Living Overseas

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday April 17, 2012 (12:53:47)   (2770 Reads)

Michelle Garrett

One of the great joys of travel and living in other countries is the food. I love trying new things and I love adding new foods to the menus I prepare at home for my family and friends.

Food is a bit like scent, (which I suppose makes sense as much of our ability to taste food comes from what we can smell of it) in that it is evocative of certain times and places. When I eat strawberry ice cream I am back in a hot summer in Oklahoma, eating strawberry ice cream on a cone in a frigidly air conditioned Braum’s restaurant with my grandma. When I have French red wines I am back in a mountain pizzeria near Evian, drinking the fantastic local wine and eating pizza next to a fire. When I eat dosa I am back in India having a wonderful curried breakfast on a veranda under gently turning ceiling fans while the insects hum in the humid jungle around me.

Collecting tastes is like collecting any souvenirs but more fun to share with friends and family when you return home.    more ...


Columnists > Michelle Garrett

Michelle Garrett

What's The Difference Between Expat And Immigrant?

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday March 14, 2012 (12:10:56)   (20234 Reads)

Michelle Garrett

Did you know that by calling yourself an expat you could be using a politically incorrect term? Or you could be demonstrating your superiority over others? No, neither did I.

Like many expats before me I realised that there may be more than one label for my life overseas and I started wondering what the difference was between expat and immigrant. My initial thought was that technically, an expat is someone who moves somewhere temporarily, maintains his or her foreign identity and will eventually settle 'back home.' An immigrant, on the other hand, is making a permanent move with the goal of making the new place home.

By that definition, does that then make us 'long term expats' people in denial? Is it that we are really immigrants but we just can’t accept we will be in our host country forever? Or is it simply describing a state of mind, therefore letting us off the hook (we can still call ourselves expats if we want)?    more ...


Columnists > Michelle Garrett

Michelle Garrett

History Written In The English Landscape

Posted by: Carole on Sunday February 19, 2012 (13:56:06)   (2335 Reads)

Michelle Garrett

Last month I wrote 24 Reasons Why I Love Living in Britain, but the one I left off, and one of the most important and interesting is that I love living in a place where every day I walk through an historical landscape.

Two of the areas I have lived in the US are Minnesota and Oklahoma. Both are in the American Midwest; Minnesota is tucked against the western side of the Great Lakes on the Canadian border and Oklahoma is sitting on top of Texas in the South. Until about 150 years ago both were great swathes of wilderness, populated by wild animals and several tribes of Native Americans.    more ...


Columnists > Michelle Garrett

Michelle Garrett

24 Reasons Why I Love Living in Britain

Posted by: Carole on Monday January 16, 2012 (23:05:15)   (12269 Reads)

Michelle Garrett

In my 20+ years of living in the United Kingdom I have been asked ‘Why do you live here?’ many times. The emphasis in the question is on the word ‘here’: Why on earth, if you were going to choose to become an expat would you choose to move to Britain? My recollection is that these questions are usually asked on a rainy day and so the implication is why would you move to a rainy cold place like this?

Because there is more to Britain than rain and cold!

The number one reason is because my husband is English and is already well established in Britain. It would be difficult to find an equivalent of his career in the States and he has children living in the UK. We may consider a drier, warmer climate for retirement, but until then, I actually enjoy living in the UK.    more ...


Columnists > Michelle Garrett

Michelle Garrett

Christmas in England

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 04, 2012 (18:44:05)   (3437 Reads)

Michelle Garrett

A few days before my first English Christmas, I walked along wet cobbled streets, past the warmly glowing windows of the little honey-grey stone houses built right up to the sidewalk. The faint coal smoke trail lay a trace for my memories forever. Now when I smell coal smoke on a cold night I am brought back to my first winter in Britain.

Northumberland is a county of majestic landscapes and clustered cottages tucked in sturdy but picturesque villages. Hands in pockets, head dipped against the faint mist, I marched stiffly through one of these villages along the winding route to my host family’s house. I soon arrived at the gate in the low stone wall with the house name painted white on a black sign, chipped at the edges. I opened the gate and walked up the path to the front door. A holly tree sat hunched in an empty oval flowerbed in the middle of a small square lawn, its red berries bright in the warm light from the house.    more ...


Columnists > Michelle Garrett

Michelle Garrett

The Only American in the Village

Posted by: Jamie on Wednesday January 04, 2012 (18:41:40)   (3819 Reads)

Michelle Garrett

Some expats like to completely blend in and not draw attention to their differences and I have been one of those expats. However, I have learned to make the most of my American background, because I enjoy how it makes me unique amongst my friends, and sometimes I don’t want to share the uniqueness!

There is a comedy sketch show in the UK called Little Britain. Two comedians have constructed a series of sketches making fun of aspects of the British people. In many cases, the themes are not exclusive to Britain—in other words, you’ll get it even if you aren’t British.

One sketch is The Only Gay in the Village, in which a gay man, Daffyd, flaunts his homosexuality by wearing outlandish outfits and making bold statements about his lifestyle. The villagers are completely indifferent, which causes Daffyd to react with further attempts at provocation. He is also outraged when ‘other gays trespass on his patch,’ clearly relishing the self-imposed title of The Only Gay in the Village.    more ...