Monday, August 19, 2013

Expat Guest Post featuring my friend Sarah

While we are cruising the Baltic Sea, I thought I would have a few friends stop by and share a little bit about how travel or being an expat has changed them.  Sarah is one of the first people that I met here and a fellow Texan.  A wine lunch with Sarah got me through many rough patches during the first year of our move.  Matt and I love traveling with her, Stephen and Dacia and just hanging out with them.  I'm so thankful for my Texas girl Sarah!
When she's not working on her Ph.D. (rock star) she blogs at Texpatsabroad and The Experience Collection Project.  She also completely enables my queso addiction every chance she gets. 

While Selena’s out on vacation (on a cruise, lucky gal!!) she’s asked me to guest post on her blog as to how travel/and or being an expat has changed me.  Let me just say, a LOT.  But, in the spirit of not writing a novel - I thought I’d do a “top ten ways I’ve changed since moving to London” list.  You’ve probably read a few of these before – but maybe you’ll find a few gems in here as well.  Enjoy!

10) Walking a mile as a method from getting from A to B is the norm.  When I lived in Texas, asking me to walk a mile felt like asking me to run a marathon.  Now, it’s usually the least amount I walk on any given day…a couple of days ago I was running around London with a friend and logged 8.5 miles.  Barely noticed!

9) I cook at home more.  My husband, known as the Canadian on my blog (*cough* which hasn’t been updated in months *cough*), and I used to eat out ALL the time, mainly because food was inexpensive and easy.  Here, eating out is substantially more expensive and we like cooking together in the evenings (also see #3).

8) I live without central a/c and I’m (slowly) getting accustomed to radiator heat.  Right now we’re having a lovely warm spell so no complaints here! But a fan is a necessity when you live without a/c (also, can we have a discussion about why ceiling fans don’t exist in this country??).  In the winter, even with the radiators on full blast, I still can’t get warm enough.  I spent a lot of time this past winter in sweatshirts (I still can’t call them jumpers) huddled under the covers in my bed.  I’ll be honest, I miss full blast central heating.

7) Long weekends are never spent at home running errands and cleaning out the garage…these days the Canadian and I ALWAYS travel during a long weekend.  We pop over to France or Belgium or maybe Spain – this last long weekend we trekked over to Dresden and Leipzig Germany (highly recommend both of them – particularly the STASI museum in Leipzig). 

6) My new friends are from all over the world.  I’ve collected expats and friends from England, Scotland, Sweden, South Africa, France, Madeira, and Canada.  Some of my foreign friends have some stellar insight into American culture, which is pretty fun during drunk games of Cranium.

5) I spend a lot of time in parks.  In the States we have backyards that are generally where people gather on holidays or beautiful sunny afternoons.  Here in London, while I do have a back ‘garden’ (as it’s called here), if the weather is fabulous, I’ll usually head over to Hampstead Heath with the dog and go for a hike….and speaking of the dog…

4) We travel with the dog A LOT.  We took her on a 10-day hike through the Scottish highlands.  We took her down to the coast in Kent with some friends.  We take her to pubs and on the Underground and on trains.  Last weekend we took her over to the Continent (Den Haag to be exact) on the ferry with her newly acquired pet passport.  She did smile for the photo.

3) Sunshine is an event.  Living in Texas you take the sun for granted – here, if it’s beautiful, you race outside because it might disappear in a few minutes.  Every nice day is cherished.  I used to feel that way about the rain – I used to love a rainy day when I could snuggle indoors, eat a bowl of chili, and watch movies.  Now for most of the year (present warm, beautiful weather excluded) the rain and wind are obstacles that you have to maneuver around to do just about anything.  Hence, the traveling (to escape it) and the eating at home (because you have to walk through it to get to a restaurant).

2) Pimm’s is now and forever will be part of my life summer (No. 1) and winter (No. 3)

1) I can navigate public transportation pretty much anywhere in Europe.  Undergrounds, trains, buses, you name it, I’ve got it figured it out.  

So there you have it – hope you’re as envious of Selena’s vacation as I am!



She, isn't she fabulous?  Please shower her with comments!
Thank you so much, Sarah!!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!


  1. Amanda @ Adventure YearAugust 19, 2013 at 6:46 AM

    I eat up these posts like candy! My sister wants to move to London so incredibly badly. I was going to spend some time with her there, but I'm not sure if the no sunshine thing would get to me. I visited once when I was abroad and got completely lucky with sun the whole weekend. So that was awesome!

  2. Haha since moving to the US I now wonder how I got by without AC - it's so weird in hindsight!

  3. I LOVE THIS LIST!! I still don't understand who in their right mind doesn't have a/c (we don't have a/c..... silly England) because all everyone does is complain about how hot it is! And how long weekends are for country hopping... Seriously, I love saying "oh yeah I just spent the weekend in Belgium... no big..."

  4. I love that you are loving my home city, and could relate to just about everything on your list (and you look like you are where I am living now in that top pic!!)... Yes I am jealous of Selena's trip too! :D

  5. Makes me want to live in London all the more!

  6. Ok wait.... you can get a passport for a dog??? THAT is cool!!!! Loved reading this! I went to your blog to follow you but you're not blogging anymore??? :( I want to see your travels :)
    Have a great week!!
    Tammy x

  7. Hmmmm my comment came out as a reply to someone!!! Sorry about that (silly smart phone).
    Tammy x

  8. Happyeverafter_BrideAugust 20, 2013 at 2:00 AM

    As someone looking to move over from Sydney Australia to London, this list is heaps good insight for me! I'd identify with a lot of what you say in a way because I used to live in Malaysia before Australia and never used to walk anywhere, also used to eat out a lot. Yay, it helps me realise this move might not be as huge a culture shock as my last move. Looking forward to London more now. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Cheers to Pimms and cheers to you my darling Sarah!

  10. It's been good this summer. I have a tan for the first time EVER because I come from New Zealand where I'm not allowed to go outside in the summer (the sun is too strong for my pale skin). English "sun" suits me just fine and I love being able to spend a lot of time outside.

  11. Love you Sara Louise!

  12. Yes, sorry about the not blogging...the dissertation has definitely controlled my life these days!!

  13. This summer has been lovely....other summers, not so much!

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