Saturday, 24 May 2008

Dead End

When I started this blog I thought it would be a good idea to share about my experiences as a repat, what it is like to make the transition back to my own country after living abroad. I didn't realise just how difficult that transition would be. Not only did simply make a change from one country to another, but we were moving from a stable situation where we were doing fairly well and lookinging forward to start exploring the country we had been living in for 2 years, into a totally unstable, scary, crippling, disfunctional, dark and distorted situation which we would feel the impact of for many months to come. I thought it would be great to share about my experiences, but they were so out of the ordinary and so depressing. I thought it would be a great release, but it turned out that I was so crippled with fear and saddness that even the simplest of activities took more effort than I could muster up. I could not even find the motivation to enjoy any of my numerous hobbies.

So that is why this blog never really took off. That and, I'm really not a writer and I can never put things in just such a way to really describe my feelings or a situation in the right way.

So I will lay this blog to rest, for the random few of you who check in every so often to see if there is anything new. For you and for those who stumble across this blog looking for the experiences of an expat or a repat, I would like to refer you to my friend at Potential and Expectations. Though her situation is a bit different (married to a British husband, has two wee girls, lived in England, and lived abroad much longer than me), I can truely relate to much of what she says. The fears, struggles, and worries, the suprise and the differences, homesickness, learning new systems or trying to remember what was tucked away for so long. And she says it so eloquently.

So with this, I will take my leave of this blog.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Why most Americans don't travel outside the US

Josh started a new job 5 weeks ago. After one year of employment he will get one (1) week of holiday. After 3 years of employment he will get two weeks of holiday. After 10 years, three weeks. Whoop-dee-doo. He does not even get any personal days. He has to find someone to cover his shift if he needs a day off. Even then they ask if he can be on call.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Six-Month Slump

For the last few weeks I have REALLY been missing Scotland. I think of it every day and when I see pictures I sigh. I was wondering if it was the weather. It has been a very dreek winter, just like Scotland, only MUCH colder. Last week we had a thick haar, only not haar because it didn't roll in off the sea. :)

Last week I was thinking about 'the six-month slump' that most expats get. When relocating to another country, as stressful as it is, it is still very exciting. A new place, a new culture, new food, new styles, new accent (or language). Everything is new and for a while it is fun. But I think they say that at about six months it is not as much fun anymore and expats start to miss home, or just something FAMILIAR.

I hit it really hard at about 4 months, naturally because that was Christmas. I was just tired of constantly having to learn new, basic things, like 'can I get tinned pumpkin anywhere in this country!?' Work was overworking me, we didn't have many friends and the friends we did have were away for the holidays, family was far away, our Christmas decorations were sparse, the sun (when it decided to show it's face) was only up for about 5 hours a day (and it still sat very low in the south). It was a depressing time.

So when I was thinking of all this last week, it hit me that we have now been back in the States for six months. I wondered if many repats felt this. Of course I missed Scotland when we first moved over (even before we moved!) and our situation was a tough one, but I began to realise that we were back here permanently. I didn't think of Scotland daily.

Now I have to remind myself of the things I didn't like while we were there: the taxes, high cost of living, my work, dreek winters (hmmm), our small fridge and miniature kitchen ;).

Of course there are good things about being back here. I don't want it to sound like I am unhappy. This is all just part of the experience.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Universal Health Care

A friend of mind made a thoughtful post. Please visit her blog to read it if you were not already directed there from my other blog.

I will always say that one of the things I really miss from the UK is the universal health care. It sounds like one of the biggest, baddest words you can say to so many Americans, so I have to be careful whom I say this to or it can start a big political discussion, which is not what I want. I would ask you to really think about this, though. Many people who are against it really seem closed minded to me.

Health care has been a great concern for us after moving back to the States. We have no money to buy insurance. We are currently uninsured. It affects the decisions we make. I may have to take a job I am not thrilled about because they offer a benefits package. Josh may not be able to take a job he could be happy with because they offer no benefits. What if I got pregnant? What if Josh had an accident while working on the car? It's winter...what if we get really sick?

That is all I will say about it now. After living in 2 countries one gets a taste of the good and the bad of both. This is the one thing that left me sick to my stomach when thinking of moving back here.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007


I heard snide comments from time to time about how American's cheat with the holidays by having Thanksgiving (so close to Christmas), but most people were just curious and enjoyed hearing about what we do.
As Americans we really appreciate and treasure Thanksgiving because it is the one holiday that has not been so commercialized. It is a time to relax (unless you are in the kitchen everyday for the week previous!) and enjoy the time with family. As Christians we think about our abundant blessings and how we have been provided for throughout the year(s).

This year we were in a position to have my family over for the holiday. Those of you who know me know that I LOVE to cook and entertain, so I was very excited to be able to have my family over. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of my family or the food, but I did get a picture of the centerpiece. I was very proud of Josh for going out into our backyard and putting this together:

The picture does not even do it justice. It looks very fallsie.

the table

Our first snowfall!

Snow in the backyard.

The sweet potato casserole was so popular this was all that was left the next day (and I don't even like it).

It was fun to have Stevie stay the night and the next day the Carter's came over and helped us eat up the leftovers (and left their car for us!!).

Tuesday, 20 November 2007


I still feel funny saying:

cell phone rather than mobile
pants rather than trousers
vacuum (cleaner) rather than hoover
garbage rather than rubbish
garbage can rather than bin
canned rather than tinned
restroom rather than toilet or loo
line rather than queue
ad-ver-TIZE-ment rather than ad-VERT-is-ment or advert

Yet somehow in my conversations, I THINK the British word or pronunciation but SAY it in American. There are some awkward moments, though when I will ask someone where the toilet is, or if I can use their toilet. It does sound a bit crude to the American ear. :)

Saturday, 17 November 2007

A little evening shopping

It still feels a little strange that I can plan to go shopping after dinner...after 7pm for that matter! and expect the shops to be open! :)

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Date Day

No, Americans are not required to own guns, nor do ALL Americans even own guns.

You will find that in the large cities it might be illegal to even carry a gun (though there is such a high crime rate in the cities involving guns). When you get to the more rural parts you will be more likely to find a gun in many households. They may be there for either hunting or for the protection of the family. Some call it a virtue to have a gun, or even a SIN if the head of the family does not own a gun (because he is not protecting his family).

One thing Josh was looking forward to was shooting. Simply shooting his gun at a target (he does want to go hunting, too). He asked that we could do this for one of our date days. Ok, I gave in.

It turned out to be a lovely day when we went to the property of a family friend. Josh did most of the shooting.

Because my arms are too whimpy I had to use a monopod. My arms still got tired!

My target.

I think Josh got it out of his system.


I missed flavoured coffee creamer while in Scotland, but only for the first several months. After working at Starbucks a while I scoffed at flavouring my coffee and didn't think I would ever really find the need for it.

The last time I was grocery shopping (now that I have my VERY OWN fridge that I can fill up all by myself!!) I came across these creamers. I stood there thinking, wondering if I should get some. I was planning to just get some heavy cream because that is what I used in Scotland, but the prices drove me over to the creamer/half and half section. My eyes fell on a limited edition flavour called pumpkin pie spice. Being nearly Thanksgiving and being deprived of all things pumpkin while in Scotland, I couldn't resist.

I made my coffee strong(er than normal) and added extra creamer. Yum! Ok, I wont scoff any more. :)

Saturday, 3 November 2007

You might be a repat* if...

when crossing the road, you look right, start to step out, then feel hands pulling you back to the curb because a car is coming from the other direction.

people look at you funny when you call the vacuum 'hoover', the trash container 'rubbish bin', the trunk 'boot', and the shopping cart 'trolley'.

you get annoyed that they don't serve tea and coffee after church.

you put cream on your pudding/dessert.

you have to explain to people that they do speak english in Scotland.

you say things like 'wee' 'gobsmacked' 'aye' and 'fab'

you nearly keel over when looking at the cost of owning a mobile/cell phone.

you are overwhelmed with joy to have a closet.

coworkers think you are odd because you bring a birthday cake to work for your "own" birthday.

your hairdresser looks at you strange when you ask her to trim your fringe.

eating a delicious breakfast at a restaurant is an exciting and wonderful experience.

you are suprised that there is enough food leftover to take home from the restaurant.

you freak out that the guy driving the car isnt holding on to the wheel and is eating... only to realize he isnt the driver.

you are convinced the world needs more roundabouts!!!!! Keep the traffic flowing people.

you walk into a store to ask for something and sit there completely stumped as to what they call it there as you can only remember the British word for it. You end up gesturing and drawing a picture until they finally guess it and you say "Yes! That's what I meant."

You are asked if you are from England.

you enjoy doing laundry again.

you get to rediscover one stop shopping.

you find tinned pumpkin at the grocery store and hoard it.

you look up the grocery stores online to see how much delivery is.

the cashier is annoyed with you because you are staring into your change purse trying to figure out how to make 70 cents in change.

you keep reaching for a quarter in your change purse thinking it is a 2p coin.

you are tired of constantly explaining to the cashier that you have your own bags...then they just stand there and stare at you in amazement while you pack your own bags.

Thank you to my friend at who helped me come up with some of these. ;)

*a repat is someone who has returned to their 'home' country after living in another country. Someone who has repatriated.

Monday, 29 October 2007

The Library

I can get lost at the library. We have one just down the road. Very easy to walk to. I have enjoyed it quite often. I spent some time there today. I brought the laptop because they have free wi-fi. It's a great thing! I sat in front of this huge window they have in the front. There is a wee bit of property with trees before you see the highway. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the leaves are changing colour!

We have lived in larger cities for the past 10 years, so I do miss the selections at those libraries. But what I really miss from Edinburgh is the 3 week check out. It is just 2 weeks here! If I get a book I have a hard time getting into it takes me about 2 weeks just to start reading it regularly. Then I have to go renew it. The things I don't miss though are being charged to check out a video (is there a charge for CDs as well?) and the late charge for books. I can't remember what it was in Edinburgh, but I know it was more than the 4 cents per day I have to pay here.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

It's worth MORE?!

We went to the bank yesterday (FOR THE THIRD TIME!!) to try to deposit our international cheques. They kept telling us they couldn't do it, but the lady in charge of foreign currency for all of our banks in the nation said that they could. And that she was tired of them saying they couldn't.

So we went back yesterday equipped with all the right words to say to tell them that they CAN do this.

After about 20 minutes of 3 people looking over the cheques, getting on the phone, looking at the computer, one lady came over and said, "Is this a pound sign?" When Josh confirmed she said, "Oh, that's what she said but I thought it was a euro sign."

After about 10 more minutes another lady came back behind the counter and said, "Ok, all of these are MORE so here is the amount of each check..." She seemed astonished that £35 converted to $70 and expected us to be so happy and greatful that we were getting more dollars than pounds. It was cute. But then she told us we wont see the money for 6-8 weeks...

Nobody likes to make any aspect of an international move easy.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Sunshine on Leith!

I am really liking how my pictures look on the black background. I am going to have to change the format of my other blog! For now I just want to post these pictures here.
As I said on the other blog, these are from a walk I took to Leith about a week and a half before we came back to the States. We were blessed with a wee bit of summer in the weeks before we left!

City art

I always loved the view over the Forth

It's a port town.

A mural of the working class of Leith

Josh's work

Only 2 more days of work!

Monday, 3 September 2007

Labor Day

We Americans need a reason to have a government holiday. It can't just be called "Bank Holiday" and just take a day off just for the heck of it like other countries do. ;)

Today is Labor Day. When I was young I thought it meant you had to labor. Maybe harder than normal? Then when I realised that businesses were closed on Labor Day I thought that maybe you had to labor in your garden (lawn) or something.

But no. Labor Day is a day we take off (except retail, of course, because they need to handle the huge sales) to go to a parade, get together with friends and family, barbecue, and take a nap. There's also the laboring in the garden bit for some.

The Lowell Labor Day parade is the largest in the state for a town under 50,000. And I will vouch for it's length. It took over 2 hours! In that hot sun! No trees!

But lots of candy!!!
I forgot to mention that they throw candy at the crowd.

The pipers came out just for us! And they even played the Scottish anthem!

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