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Claire Bolden McGill, Maryland

Who are you?

This is an excellent question, because I am truly a different person from the person who came to America three years ago from the UK. I had all this bottled up ambition, aspiration, energy and optimism to do something different with my life in the USA from that which I had back in England. I had had enough of ‘normal’ and wanted a life less normal and ordinary, and I was under no illusion that this would come to me if I simply sat on my arse watching daytime TV. The only person who can make things happen is you, and I did just that from the moment I landed at Washington airport. I did not want to be that desperate housewife, yearning for a life less ordinary – I was going to be the person who made sure that a life less ordinary happened.So, currently, in the USA I am: lifestyle expert on TV, extra on TV shows, actress in the theatre, fitness instructor, travel blogger, writer for an international expat magazine, writer for local women’s magazines, writer and reviewer for online newspaper, psychology student, author of a children’s book and impending adult novel, mother, wife and completely crap housewife :). And I love it!

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

We moved August 2012 to Maryland because I was nagging my husband about taking a posting abroad so we could have some kind of new experience and adventure I don’t think he could take it anymore and promptly applied for a job that brought us over here.

Are there many other expats in your area?

I’ve met a whole bunch of amazing expats out here. These Brits are truly my friends. It’s great to have stuff in common, and to be able to make an innuendo and have them laugh at it, to reminisce about British pubs, festivals, schooling and wotnot, but it’s more than that. These are people who also appreciate and understand the American culture and the way of life, and who have opened up their hearts and mind to the American way of life. That’s why they’re brilliant.

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What is your relationship like with the locals?

I think if I called my American chums ‘the locals’ they would be amused. Contrary to much media about Americans, not all Americans are chicken wing-eating, loud, unsophisticated, bible-bashing nutjobs. I live in Columbia, MD, and it’s one of the more progressive areas. My blog allowed me to integrate into a fantastically intelligent, fun and diverse community. We rock out at festivals at weekends, take in a political event during the week, and join together for wonderous dinner parties on a Friday. That’s how these American friends of mine roll.

What do you like about life where you are?

I love practically everything about my life. I think that every day – how lucky I am. I can do all the things I love – write, act, have fun, travel, meet new people, socialize, chill, read, get fit, try new things and live a rich and diverse life. I just wish I could walk more where I live. Everyone drives everywhere. I rant about public transport a lot!

What do you think of the food in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

Good lord, the portions are bigger, but I’ve tried everything I can from all over the States – from Gumbo to blue crab, from Mint Juleps to bacon on a stick. Why not try it? That’s my philosophy on everything in life. Food is big here, and yes, I’ve gained 10lbs, but I’ve had a lot of fun doing it!

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Open up your mind to all possibilities. If you want to be an expat that has a rewarding experience, step out of your comfort zone and plan your adventure. It can happen, if you want it to. You just have to make sure you’re the one leading the charge.

What are your plans for the future?

We return to the UK later this year. A large piece of my heart will be left in Columbia, MD, USA. I have relished every second of my expat adventure.

Follow my USA blog: www.ukdesperatehousewifeusa.com
Follow my return to the UK blog: www.fromamericatoengland.wordpress.com
Twitter: @ukhousewifeusa.com

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