Crackers Christmas

One of the most interesting things about living overseas is experiencing the way different cultures celebrate holidays. The Christmas Cracker has become one of my favourites. Over 20 years ago I spent one of my first Christmases in Britain with my fiancé and his staid relatives. The oldest generation arrived slow and creaking, placed gently … Read more

American Expats And The Big Tax Betrayal

A few hundred years ago some British expats who were mostly settling in a new land (some still travelling back and forth for business, with homes in both places) started to grow increasingly frustrated by taxes levied by the Parliament on the other side of the ocean. The crux of the matter was that in … Read more

Slow Living As An Expat

I know that title seems an obvious statement to some people who have preconceived ideas about the relaxed ‘G&T on a veranda’ lifestyle of expats. But as most of us know, it’s not exactly like that. For me, the expat life is a bit more frantic than it might have been at home. I have … Read more

How Do You Deal With Angry New Expats?

I’ve lived in the UK for over 20 years so the early expat days are a little foggy in my memory. I belong to some expat groups and each of these groups has members who have lived in the UK for anything from next month to thirty years. I mostly enjoy these groups as a … Read more

Deciding On Dual Citizenship, Or Not

I’ve lived in the UK about 24 years and apart from the time I abandoned logic and decided to travel without my old passport that says ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ as well as my current one I’ve never really strongly considered getting a dual citizenship. (Have you ever been detained at Heathrow? It’s fun! No, … Read more

Relax! It Might Not Be An Expat Thing

Perhaps it was the very specific Northern Mother-in-Law who first instilled the fear of tea in me. If she were in a good mood I would get lots of jokes about an American’s inability to make a cup of tea, or if she were in a bad mood it would be ‘just let me do … Read more

Why I Love The British Boxing Day

As an American living in the UK one of my favourite days of the year is Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. The day off, after Christmas. Until I moved to the UK I had never heard of Boxing Day. Boxing Day is a public holiday originating in England, which is now celebrated in many … Read more

No More Thanksgivings

The first year I lived in the UK I was here with other American students. We lined up at the phones with our phone cards calling home and cooked a sort of Thanksgiving dinner with what we could find in the shops, which meant no pumpkin pie. We all felt a bit lost, unsure, but … Read more

Investing Time In The Local Community

One of the best tips for expats who want to cope better with homesickness and culture shock and get the most out of their time overseas is to get involved in the local community. There may be community garden projects, an eldercare charity, an annual church event or other projects, charities or events that always … Read more

Creating Expat Characters In Fiction

I recently wrote a post, The Perils of Expats Writing Fiction about an unexpected difficulty for long-term expat writers. Your internal editor is muted (or confused) because after living somewhere long enough it’s difficult to remember if they say taps or faucets, or both, if they say ‘what’s on the cards for today’ or if … Read more