One Year Across The Pond: The Diary of A British Expat

Get ready for a diary about the most boring year on record… but we did move to a new country so here are some fun/weird things that happened and observations for your amusement. I know it looked like I was just jumping in front of murals and having a blast, but there were challenges along the way. Moving from London to Austin was quite the adventure – even if it was a whole year of trying to avoid people and stay home.

Coming to America…

Day 1: I love America. The accents, the food – I forgot how exciting it was.

↑ A big American welcome, a trip to Vegas, a vineyard wine tasting, baseball in Houston, road trip stop at Buccee’s, and looking worse for wear after a day of digging in the dirt at the diamond mine.

Day 5: Nothing in stores is the price it says. Sales tax is added at the checkout. So like, the Dollar store is more like the $1.09 store. Who came up with that torturous system? Just add it in secret and show me the total, right?!

Day 15: Okay, so… how does healthcare work? The refusal to accept my British prescriptions is going to force me to figure it out, I guess.

Day 23: The dentists here are very thorough. A dentist in England once told me she could only fix or clean what she could see – not ‘go looking’ for problems. Eek.

Day 30: Btw I can’t drive. Also can’t find public transport. I miss the tube.

The Same But Different…

Day 37: Before I moved, people told me “Don’t talk about religion, politics, or guns, or you might get shot.” Feels legit. 

Day 48: Uber driver shared conspiracies about coronavirus. Complained about people moving here from other places… like me. He almost crashed at one point. I still rated him five stars; I’m not a monster.

Day 50: “When you come to collect, it’s just in the back garden.” -“Carrie, he’ll be looking for tomato plants. It’s ‘yard’ here.” Right. So we speak the same language but I guess there are more differences than TV taught me. And btw the thing they were collecting? A cage with a raccoon in it. Because these random animals just move into your attic over here. And there are more dangerous critters about than the lowly badger. If I see a snake and it bites me, I’m on the first plane to London!

Day 55: Actual meltdown trying to understand all of my healthcare insurance options. Co-pays, out of pocket, deductibles… I just want to see a doctor without taking out a loan. Send help.

Day 64: “Are you Australian?”

Day 85: “Half seven” means 6.30 here. And there’s a severe hatred for the 24hr clock. More notes, I guess.

Day 116: Moving countries during a plague is a bad time to try and make new friends. 

Day 120: “OMG I love your accent.” As a Geordie whose accent changed into a hybrid of everywhere I’ve ever lived, it’s nice to simply be ‘British’.

What Are You Most Thankful For?

Day 127: So, Thanksgiving is amazing. See family, eat delicious food, and share what you’re thankful for? Perfection.

Day 147: Should have been flying to England to visit today but the pandemic is still going on way after everyone expected. Flights cancelled. Boo.

Day 156: My first two-person Christmas. No dressing up for somewhere to go or a big roast dinner. It was actually perfect. Sending Christmas gifts to England was a headache, though. Something to work on.

Day 157: Biscuits and gravy is this country’s finest culinary contribution.

Day 168: Hello driving license, let’s be having you! So, everyone drives very irresponsibly for a place where you HAVE to drive. But what can I expect? I took the test: drive around for 15mins and then parallel park. Sounds like enough – go let loose on the highway at 80mph! Terrifying.

Road Trips, Jobs & The Frozen City…

Day 179: Cheeky trip to Vegas because it’s so close. Full of sanitiser, temperature checks, plastic dividers, and it’s so much emptier than usual. Actually prefer it.

Day 207: They told me it’d be sunny in Austin. And it was. Until the entire state FROZE. Actually froze

Day 218: Wait. So, you can just book to see a medical specialist the next day?! I’ve had broken ears forever and GPs would always rush me out of their office with a nasal spray that did nothing. (Sorry NHS – I still love you.) Here in America, a specialist found a solution for me so today I love healthcare. But don’t ask me next week because I’ll probably be crying about not understanding it all.

Day 226: Today my whole company was laid off. (Made redundant.) Because you can just do that here. No pay, no notice, just “Don’t come in today”. Dangers of a start up. We went to a drive-thru for milkshakes.

Day 264: Started new job. LOVE IT.

Day 271: People say ‘folks’ and ‘y’all’ a lot here. Need to adopt these into my vocabulary because I’ve been searching for some time for a phrase to replace “hey guys” because you know, not everyone wants to be guys, and I respect that.

Day 275: Did you know there are 5 time zones in the US?! Me neither. 

Day 281: It’s the day after my 2nd COVID vaccine. Zombie-like but powering on. So grateful for everyone who made the vaccine possible. Yay science. 

Day 295: As we flew to Hawaii, sat behind a couple on their way to their own wedding, I couldn’t help but feel bad for the bride-to-be…Obviously she found out too late but I personally wouldn’t marry a guy who reclines his seat* all the way back for the full 8hr flight.

*In the front row with extended leg room. P.S – Hawaii is dreamy.

Day 311: My first baseball game in America. Felt like a movie. I’m so glad they put the lyrics up on a screen for the national anthem because I only really know the first and last lines. Next time I’m getting a foam finger and ice cream in a tiny baseball helmet. Baseball is basically rounders. 

Day 325: Omg who do you have to tip here? Is it everyone? It feels like it might be everyone. And how much? Eeek.

Day 365: Has it been a year already? What did I even do?!



    • Carrie
      October 3, 2021 / 2:04 pm

      Thanks so much! I was going for light-hearted and fun even though it was a boring year for most of us. Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

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