Trapped Abroad

Many expats venture abroad without really thinking too far into the future. “I’m taking a job for a couple of years in (insert far-flung place). It’ll be a great adventure for the kids.” That’s fine, and indeed, planning too far ahead is just asking for trouble in my opinion. However, a surprising number of expats … Read more

The Only Brit in Town

My fellow columnist and bloggy chum Michelle Garrett is currently writing about being the only American in her UK neck of the woods. It prompted me to think about my status as the only Brit in town. Well, OK, not the only Brit in town; this is Chicago after all, there are thousands of us. … Read more

Americans, You’ve Been Warned!

If you’ve read my book, you’ll know that I go to great pains to keep Americans apprised of British customs, sayings and manners. Not that we all take tea at precisely 4pm every day, or consort with the Queen on a regular basis, but there are some things that while minor, make all the difference. … Read more

It’s a Small, Small, Social Networky World

When I first left England’s green and pleasant land, way back in 1990, the only communication I had with my large circle of friends came in envelopes. As an avid letter-writer, I was (and still am) noted for “keeping in touch”. I probably wrote at least one letter a day to someone or other for … Read more

So Long, Farewell? Not Necessarily

There are two types of expat in my opinion – the static expat and the transient expat. I’m a static expat in that I have lived more or less in the same place for years. Transient expats are the ones who move on every three or four years, often bumping into people they met half … Read more

Things to Consider Before Emigrating – The Total Cost

How many people do you know who talk about emigrating? Chances are, most of them have yet to do it, and it’s often because of the huge costs involved. It is crucial to get a detailed idea of these costs in order to avoid disappointment and/or hardship down the line. The costs can basically be … Read more

Knowing Where You’re Going

I was educated in England and have found the American education system to be one of the most difficult “assimilation” areas so far. One thing I have never really done is make comparisons; the two systems are so different it’s not really apples and apples. However I have recently discovered my one exception to this … Read more

It’s All in the Delivery

“I shouldn't be saying this – high treason, really – but I sometimes wonder if Americans aren't fooled by our accent into detecting brilliance that may not really be there.” – Stephen Fry When it comes to accents it’s great being a Brit in the States. OK, let me qualify that. Sometimes I would like … Read more

Something Else to Consider Before Making the Big Move

In addition to the list of things I wrote about last year, there’s another thing to consider before making the big move abroad. Family. (If you’re reading this having just had a tiff with the mother-in-law or a sibling, come back when you’ve calmed down.) But seriously, despite the well-worn adage “You can choose your … Read more

A Very Foreign Christmas

Whether you relocated two years ago or twenty, Christmas can always be counted on to remind you of “home”. Holiday attire in the States does that for me.. Oh yes, it’s not just the people standing in for Santa who dress up around here. For the subtle look we have ear-rings that look like they … Read more