When you least expect it!

Posted on November 25, 2008 by pacificyorkshirebird

avt_kapyork_large115I never blog twice in one day, but I have to today.  I just had to tell someone that in one of the places I least expected to find another American woman – I found one at 9:15 this morning.  She’s from California and she’s been here 16 years!  In fact, she misses America so much she doesn’t go home to visit because she knows if she does she might not come back to Yorkshire and she’s got a son here to look after.  I even said to her “You are not from Yorkshire are you?”  When she realised I wasn’t either her face softened and it was like we were immediate friends. 

She also said she cried for the first 2 years living here.  And you won’t believe the exact words she said next: “It took a long time for people here to warm up to me.  Its like they used to look at me like I’m from outer space!”

I might try to give her an anonymous link to this blog.  She might find some comfort in knowing she isn’t alone.  I do!

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What Others Are Saying

  1. GingerGirl March 31, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    This topic is something I am currently struggling with myself, and ultimately I have NO idea how it is going to end. I am about to finish up a masters degree in a program that has many more good opportunities here in the UK and especially in London. At this point, my resume is just so much more impressive here, as people know exactly where I have done my work placements and the standard of the university. And I mean, I love, LOVE the UK, and am going to do my best to try to find a job to stay here as long as I can. But then sometimes, when I have a good think about it, I realize that even if I do stay for just 5 years I am potentially at the age where I could find someone and settle down and stay in the UK for the rest of my life. And I just think that my earning potential here will be lower, I would never get to live in a house as nice as I would at home, I don’t think I would ever even be able to own my own home, I don’t know if I would have an option to send my children to a (UK) public school. And sometimes, I find that incredibly disheartening and sad. Because I miss my family on a daily basis SO much, and there really is no place like home. But even if I were to return to the US, I don’t think I could go back to my home state. And at that point I would be cross country anyway. I guess everyone makes sacrifices in life, no matter where you are or where you are going, and I am going to be curious about what I decide and ultimately where I end up. Sometimes its hard to tell if the UK and I are still just in lust or whether its true and lasting love!

  2. Michelle March 31, 2010 at 1:44 am

    (warning, this is kind of depressing)

    Back in 1989, when things were also pretty grim in the UK (a recession officially started in 1990), I was a college student doing an exchange programme at a small UK university (which was so poor that they hadn’t been able to afford to buy any library books for 10 years), and the dorm food was so bland and dangerously un-nutritious that I walked about 5 miles to get some fresh fruit and muesli at a big Tesco I hadn’t been to before. I got confused trying to find a way to cross the highway to get to the store, and I asked a tired, hassled-looking lady with a stroller that had full Tesco bags draped on the handles how I could get across the complicated ring-road system. She ended up being an American who had married an English guy about 15 years earlier, moved there with him, and had some kids – then her husband lost his job, and she said they were in really bad shape. She told me that her life was much worse than she’d expected, that everything was so small (houses, roads, the usual), so expensive, and so crowded, and that she’d give anything to roll back time and decide to stay in the US instead of moving to the UK. She urged me to leave the UK when my studies were over and go back to the US.

    I hadn’t thought of her for 20 years, until last year when I was trying to figure out if I should go back to the UK (after being in the US for a while taking care of my mom) or not.

    In many ways, the 10 further years that I did spend in the UK (which came about at a later point in my life, not right after I met the unhappy American lady) did have a LOT of opportunity costs to them. I’m sure if I’d lived those years in the US, I’d have earned a better salary, had more career opportunities, had nicer places to live, had more nice boyfriends (probably would have found a husband by now), etc. Even maybe had a decent-sized clothes closet and a washing machine that wasn’t in the kitchen (ha ha).

    But there were benefits as well as negatives to the years that I lived in the UK, of course. The things that I learned, the places I travelled, the people I got to meet….

    I am now probably the age that Tesco lady was back in 1989. Unlike her, I don’t have a British husband or kids, so I have the freedom to choose where to settle down now. I am wondering if I would be making a big mistake to choose the UK again – financially, career-wise, relationship-wise, (laundry-room wise! heh)

    Like the Yorkshire lady from California you ran into, I know that I probably still wouldn’t feel completely at home or accepted in the UK after many more years of living there. I suppose I’m ‘lucky’ since the part of the US I come from is not pretty or interesting, not like her home state of California at all — I never feel homesick for my home state.

    But I also know that after living so many years of my adult life out of the US (I also lived in another European country, other than the UK, for some time), that I won’t ever feel completely at home or accepted in the US either, especially if I had to live anywhere other than in a cosmopolitan coastal American city (and most of those are foreign and unknown to me anyway, and moving to one of them would be more scary and nerve-wracking for me now than moving to an unknown part of the UK, strangely).

    If the Yorkshire lady went back home now, she’d probably find that her new California life wasn’t at all the way she remembered it from before, and that she’d miss many things about her UK life. After a certain amount of time (maybe after a couple of years) of living outside your home country, you become an in-betweener, not really fully belonging in either place anymore.

  3. peacefulyorkshire November 25, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Ohhh Pacific Bird, your post made me sad …. I hope it won’t take me a bloody 16 years total to feel settled here too!!
    Poor lady not even going home to Cali to see her family…. Sigh! Glad you met up with her though!!

  4. yankeebean November 25, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Oh my God! I love this!! I feel more at home already, just knowing this happened today. Hoorah for American ladies meeting each other! :)

    I think the anonymous link is a must…

  5. Pingback: When you least expect it! | jdTVu

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