Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Anglophiles

When I was growing up, history, especially British history (Russian history came in a close second) fascinated me. The Kings and Queens, lines of succession, the customs, the pagentry, the castles, I wanted to know about it all. I had an old book from the 60s or 70s that listed the British Monarchs and gave details about each of their reigns. I read it cover to cover more than once. I did a research paper in 10th grade about Elenore of Aquitaine and was immediately smitten by her. Then I delved into more recent history, Churchill, Thatcher. Oh and Monty Python and Black Adder? Of course! I was a complete Anglophile.

When my husband entered the Air Force the one thing I was excited about, other than his actual job, was that we would be able to travel. The first place I wanted to go? England. Then in February of last year, after five years in Missouri, we got notice that we were headed to England. I was on cloud nine. I was finally getting my wish. It was destiny.

Now that I actually live here, yes, I love it. It however was not a seamless transition. In fact I still have moments where I question what the hell I was thinking when I thought THIS was a good idea. The simplest thing all of a sudden became a chore. Then you learn the system and how things are done and the chore becomes less of a chore. You learn to combine your shopping trips, find the shops that are the closest together, and make a day of your shopping experience. If you don't want crowds, you learn to avoid market days. If you are looking for a bargain, you actively seek market days. A whole bowl of plums for a £1, yes please.

I am still getting used to the hot and cold water taps, the lack of a "proper" flush handle on toilets, the small fridge and a few other quirks. And I am certain that when I go back to the States I am gonna be grabbing into thin air looking for the pull cord for the lights in the bathroom. However, I would not change this experience. For every rough time, I have had a good time. I have also made some awesome friends through this experience.

So Anglophiles beware, if you have thoughts about moving to the UK, know it might not live up to your expectations. It might throw you some curve balls. You might question your sanity. But where else in the world could you see all this on a regular basis?





But just remember, when you move here, you also have to learn how to drive all over again.

35 comments:

♥ Braja said...

You mean "have to learn how to drive PROPERLY." :)))))

Suzanne said...

Ok...I have found someone who is living the life I wish I had!:-) Seriously, it must be a HUGE adjustment but what an adventure for you and your family. My husband once had a chance to work in Singapore for a few years. At the time, it freaked me out. Now I wish we had done it for a few years, for my girls, if nothing else. I can't wait to follow and hear about your daily life in the UK.

Badass Geek said...

I guess, with those views readily available around you, it would all be worth it.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I love driving in England. Every time you try to shift you end up rolling down your window.

Ellie

Mom in High Heels said...

I am so hoping our next assignment will be England. I'll just be happy that we can speak the language (or at least a version of it). Living in Germany is fantastic, but the language is an issue. Well, not the language per se because they all speak English, it the reading signs and directions and trying to find what you're looking for at a store (things are often called something very different) that's the real challenge. Some restaurants don't have an English menu and trying to figure them out can be incredibly difficult. They smash everything up together. The English equivalent would be something like: salmonsearedpastacreamsaucemushrooms with mixedvegetableseasonedbutter

It's pretty easy to read that in English, but try it in German and figure out what you're ordering. Ugh.
I'm a HUGE Anglophile and would be over the moon if we could get orders to England. I'm crazy jealous of you. Also, you have M&S, Tesco and ASDA. Heaven.

smittenbybritain said...

I could have written that post Kat almost to the word, except I was the Air Force person. My transition was not easy either, as much as I loved England and even after I married a Brit. But I don't regret a single minute of it and I'm glad your getting out and about and enjoying it. I always despised those nob heads who never bothered to leave the base and experience the beautiful country they were lucky enough to see.

Erin said...

Okay so the scenery is pretty, but let's not forget the merits of the pork sausage. American sausages have nothing on British sausages, if you ask me (which I realize you didn't, but I feel strongly about this issue).

Sprite's Keeper said...

Gorgeous scenery.
I look out my window and see nothing but billboards and traffic lights and congestion. I need a new window. I need your window.

satakieli said...

I never really understood the American obsession with the UK until I moved to the states. Apparently it doesn't go down well to stand in The Alamo and ask how old it is before loudly announcing "WHAT? My parents, neighbours house is older than THAT?!"

I miss England. I've been secretly hoping that my husband will get the ONLY slot for his MOS that is there. Sooo not going to happen, but a girl can dream. Germany is totally the closest I'll be able to get... at least it's green here.

Bobby G said...

England..nice place to visit but I wouldnt wanna live there...

Michele said...

I've never been to the UK so what's up with the hot & cold taps and no flush handle? Ahhhh...I'm confused.

Moonspun said...

Lovely pictures. I'd love that experience...glad you are having it!
I hope next time my husband has leave for his teaching job he gets a cool grant so we can live someplace aweseome for 6 months!

Lisa said...

beautiful

notfromaroundhere said...

It goes so far up and down, I've lived in the UK for almost 3 years and it's up one month, down the next. The views are amazing. The people are just different. My first attempt at driving (admittedly in Australia but same system) meant that I turned on the windshield wipers every time I wanted to turn. I don't get to the markets much as they are open during "work" hours only, except on the weekend when they are swamped with people! But it's certainly an experience I would not trade, no matter what moves or non-moves I decide to make in the future. Living abroad is definitely an experience I'd advocate for everyone. It teaches you so much about yourself!

notfromaroundhere said...

It goes so far up and down, I've lived in the UK for almost 3 years and it's up one month, down the next. The views are amazing. The people are just different. My first attempt at driving (admittedly in Australia but same system) meant that I turned on the windshield wipers every time I wanted to turn. I don't get to the markets much as they are open during "work" hours only, except on the weekend when they are swamped with people! But it's certainly an experience I would not trade, no matter what moves or non-moves I decide to make in the future. Living abroad is definitely an experience I'd advocate for everyone. It teaches you so much about yourself!

Employee No. 3699 said...

I'd love to see that scenary everyday. So, when you get back to the states will you have to learn how to drive here again?

for a different kind of girl said...

So beautiful! I want to move there just to say things like "Put the bags in the boot" and "I'd fancy a bag of crisps."

I also wonder if I lived there, the voices in my head would sound American rather than the British voices that are there now...

;)

lizspin said...

You know. . . my daughter just moved there and she couldn't drive "properly" (as Braja says) to begin with!


And - yes - I'm an Anglophile myself. Jane Austen and all that. . .

Brittany said...

England is by far my favorite place we visited and I bet the transition... especially driving is difficult! I know Germany was a whirlwind affair!

Captain Dumbass said...

Then there's that whole thing of hardly anybody there speaking English.

Oh!

Irish Gumbo said...

Great pics, and great writing, too.

Who knew you were a history geek? BTW, I nearly minored in History...and I was intensely interested in English and Russian history, too. Small world...

Bee and Rose said...

Hi Kat! Sorry to do this via the comments area...

Earlier today, blogger removed my blog and profile for some reason...they've since put it back up, but in the process I was also removed from all of the blogs I follow! YIKES! I tried to re-follow your blog, but it's saying that you've blocked me from re-joining. The reason I'm emailing is that I wanted you to know that I still want to follow your blog! It appears that the blocking thing is some sort of "FAIL" on blogger's end, but I am trying to re-join:) After talking with some bloggy friends, I discovered that they had no idea I was being blocked from re-joining their blogs! I hope that's the case here too! Would you mind checking to see if you can un-block me via your settings? Once I follow a blog, I stick with it!

Thank you for your very kind understanding!

Dawn

www.beeandrose.blogspot.com

Michelloui said...

We live about an hour south of you, Kat. We have a decent size fridge/freezer, we dont have hot and cold taps just one in the middle and we have normal flush on our toilets, but we do have one bathroom where there is a hanging light switch! I think these amenities vary from household to household.

We dont have screens on the windows, though, which I miss. We have lots of traffic which I really hate, we have wet summers which I also get tired of.

I do love living in the UK, I love all the things to see and do so close by, I love the history, I love the sense of humour, I love the easy access to Europe, etc etc etc... I miss my family terribly, I miss the convenience of the American culture, I miss the lack of traffic in the States (or at least the parts where I go), and I miss the standard of living. But being a long-term expat I have to just sigh and get on with it.

Will you miss it when you are moved on again? Or do you think you will have had your fill?

JennyMac said...

I went to school there and loved it. Yes, some things to adjust to for sure but gorgeous scenery abounds. Great pics.

JennyMac said...

I went to school there and loved it. Yes, some things to adjust to for sure but gorgeous scenery abounds. Great pics.

Sandy said...

I have not visited the UK since I was a teenager and then all I wanted to do was shop! I so hope to return in the next couple years.....and I am so envious of your experience living abroad! Love your photos.

Lola said...

Great views! I think the driving would be the best part. I love a challenge.

Single Parent Dad said...

Perhaps you could give me a brief history lesson, I was never paying attention, and turned off by it all. Still, we do have some sights.

Krystal said...

awwww..gorgeous...i miss it there....u r so lucky....wanna switch?

Marguerite said...

I have ancestors from Wales and I've always wanted to go there. Sounds like you are enjoying life in England. Your pics are great!!

American in Britain said...

Being at least a decade older than you, I feel we have some common bonds. I have always been an Anglophile - it was not much of a surprise to my family that I married a Brit.

I also loved Russian history, but only discovered that in my last term in college. If I could do it all over again....

After nearly 25 years of driving on the right, will I get it right on the left? My husband had trouble with the windshield wiper/turn lights, but I think that may be due to the car model.

As for the water taps, I hate it when we have two taps. Yet, in the kitchen we have one tap, but the water doesn't mix. If you put your hand in, one part will scorch, while the other freezes.

Yes, England does not live up to my imagination, but I still want to stay. If the job situation does not improve, we may have to go back to the States, but we hope it won't get to that.

MarmiteToasty said...

There is you living here and me gagging to live in the States and not just visit....

I would love to live their proper :)

x

A Free Man said...

I was never an Anglophile, quite the contrary. I had no interest in living in the UK. When I was looking for jobs overseas, I wanted to choose the one in Vienna or Paris. But my partner convinced me to stick with the English speaking world.

I hated Oxford for the first year I lived there. Hated the English, the weather, the dirt, the confined spaces.

Four years later when it was time to move on, I cried. There was a major change in the interim.

Anonymous said...

Read the Namesake. It's a book about an immigrant to the states and is very similar. He loves the US but is bemused by some things. He is particularly delighted with the heat being on all night:)
I moved to the US from Europe. I was stunned by the size of the sandwiches, the heat of the houses, and how much info. people changed.

Middle Aged Woman said...

For the opposite perspective, read Bill Bryson's I'm a Stranger here Myself. The story of moving back to the states after having spent his whole adult life in G.B. Very funny.