My So-Called Expat Life
I have been in our current location of Bath, England for the past two years and a couple of months. Only one more year and a few months to go until we have been here as long as we lived in Hawaii, which would be the longest I have lived anywhere in one time. This highly nomadic life of mine that has spanned over two continents (I am not including my travels), seven US states, and three countries in Europe has impacted my life and world view.
How Much Longer in Bath, England?
This is one of many questions I get asked regularly as I have a job that involves personal introductions on a daily basis. In the past I at least had a rough estimate if not an exact date. If my husband were still in the military, we would already know where we would be stationed next. However, that is no longer a factor in the equation, nor is schooling or any job searching in general. For the first time in my life, I do not have to move anywhere in the near future. We could actually stay here in Bath for the forseeable future, if not indefinitely.
Already my brain is coming up with lists and thinking of the pros and cons of staying or going.
Pro: My children can keep the same friends for a longer period of time and continue their education in the UK.
Con: My children are not forced on a daily basis to use another language beside English in their day to day life.
Pro: My entire family has been involved in eight different productions with four different theatre groups in Bath over the last two years and we will be in our first one all together as a family this summer.
Con: We no longer live near a beach, have beach days, and rarely have a warm sunshine day.
Pro: We can buy all our food from local farms and have it delievered to the house more affordably than shopping in a supermarket.
Con: In the UK, we live a bit isolated from mainland Europe where bordering countries with different cultures awaits.
Pro: We do not have to have a car in England and can walk 45 minutes to the boys school and 70 minutes into work.
Con: We do not have a car and have to walk roughly 45-70 minutes one way on cold and rain days (though I’m not really complaining…we live in England and I love it here)
To be fair any of us could make lists like this ‘until the cows come home’, but finding a state of happiness in your current life is a better feat. All it takes is looking at our current location with the awe filled eyes of a traveler, with the expat soul, and a heart filled up with love from my husband and sons.
Two years later and I continue my so-called expat life in England as the British American girl who moved back for ‘a proper cup of tea’.
I begin this post by saying I love living in England, so take what I say lightheartedly. I still enjoy my seventy minute walk from home to work, fawning over the beautiful Bath architecture and picturesque countryside. I just remember what it was like being stateside and wish I was here and now…here I am. It is a beautiful thing to be content and happy in life.
I remember the problems of being a ‘hidden foreigner’ in America when it came to conversations with those who had never left the US of A. I have left those behind me and after three years in England realise I still run into a problem with the American part of me here in England. I overshare. It is not so much that I overshare in a bad way, but that I love to talk and can open up to almost anyone quite easily. It is a quality of being a Third Culture Kid (TCK) that you can find something to relate to anyone you meet and do not feel shy to start talking to someone you do not know. I am constantly trying to reign myself in and give people the ‘cliff notes’ version in conversations. The trouble I find is that when I feel most comfortable and let my guard down, that I share and talk the most without realising it. Continue reading
Today is our monthly themed prompt for Travel Tuesday, as it is the last Tuesday of the month, and my cohost Van chose ‘languages’. I really did not know where to go with this one, not for not being a great prompt, but my mind was just racing in so many directions. So many stories of not having the right words in other countries, of being lost in translation, and language mishaps.
I decided to share with you the irony of the fact that I live in a country that speaks English, as a dual citizen, and yet it makes me feel like English is not my first language. I already had some British English words, phrases, and spellings engraved into my vocabualary from having lived here as a young girl. I thought I might be picking up few new things here and there and letting my own American accent soften nicely back into my English accent from before. Not quite the case. Continue reading
There are so many terms and labels floating around out there define different categories of people who are living abroad. As an expat, a former military kid and wife, and a third culture kid, I understand the need to be defined in today’s world. So when citizenM hotels contacted me about a project on defining ‘what it means to be a ‘mobile citizen’ in today’s society, I was eager to weigh in on the subject. More and more people are leaving home, branching out of their social networks, and becoming what could clearly be defined as mobile citizens. What does that mean for you and could you be a mobile citizen? Continue reading
The reason I love blogging most is being able to connect with people
who share similar nomadic stories and share the wanderlust for life.
I am on the look out fellow expats, third culture kids, and travelers
for a new upcoming blog series on A Compass Rose. Continue reading
Last month we surprised my sons with a special Saturday activity, a children’s cookie class at Coffee @ Camden in Bath. You might remember my blog post from Coffee @ Camden on my day date there last year. The owner, Sara, specializes in amazing and delicious cupcakes which are perfect for birthdays, weddings, holidays, or those ‘just because’ moments. While we were not having cupcakes on this day, my sweet tooth was not disappointed. Continue reading
“A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The TCK frequently builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture may be assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.”
– David C. Pollock
Not every Third Culture Kid’s experience is exactly like another and when it comes to language study the same is true. I have known some TCKs who are bilingual from their time growing up between two countries. There are TCKs who only know one language from not being immersed in a second language while others know multiple languages. Continue reading