First impressions of living in the South

yankeebeanI’ve now lived in the South of England for about 2 glorious-sun-filled-but-lonely-for-my-York-people weeks.  Now that the ‘moving’ exhaustion, muscle strain and caffeine/sugar coma have subsided – I think it’s starting to sink in that I live here now.  That’s good… because I do…

So what are the differences that I’ve noticed so far?

  1. More sun! – I’m sure this has a lot to do with the fact that we just left a York Winter for a Southern Spring, but statistically we’re living in the sunniest city in England and it’s FREAKING HEAVEN!!  Almost every day we wake up to the sun – or if we wake up to the rain, half the time it burns off to a sunny afternoon.  It is, in a word, AWESOME…
  2. Bzzzzzzzzzz – The buzz here rocks my world.  It feels like there’s so much going on and, even if I decide to stay home and read, I can still FEEL the buzz (in a good way – not in a distracting way).
  3. Neutral territory – My husband, Mr. Nice Guy, and I had the ‘where should we live’ debate when we were coming to the end of our long-distance relationship.  I move to York initially because that’s where he lived and it was easier for me to go through the immigration process here than vice-versa.  But it was tricky moving into ‘his world’ where he already knew his way around and also had an established set of friends that I had to ‘slot into’.  It took a long time for me to feel comfortable there.  But the South means a clean slate for the both of us and it’s ‘our place’ instead of just his or mine.  It’s been awesome exploring a new place with Mr. Nice Guy and I can already feel that it was the right thing for us.  Woop!
  4. There is no place, there’s only people – My biggest complaint about the South is that all the people that I love didn’t move here, too.  Despite all my campaigning and coercing, not one single person packed up their stuff and piled into the moving van with us.  I’m definitely missing everyone already – especially my fellow American ladies – and I keep reading the ‘meeting new people‘ blog entry to motivate myself to ‘get out there’ and get started.

These are just the initial thoughts about the South vs. North from my POV – oh and I think I prefer the Yorkshire accent :)

How do you find people in Britain who make you happy when you've just moved?

yahooavatar15“Wordgoddess”,  wrote us on our about page last week about being new to Skipton:

“To wit, it seems to be easy to make acquaintances BUT, it’s much harder to make friends. I’m not working so I have no co-workers, I only see my fellow students once a week and I spend most of my time alone. I’ve gone to my local – but people there are already in couples or groups. Since, I’m in my mid-50s, hanging out at a club to meet people isn’t really a viable option. (Not without looking like a cougar in search of young meat – which I’m not.)” I am writing about Wordgoddess because her situation is not a new one for any expat.

There is a really cool blog called Zen Habits, have you seen it? This post (you can see it on his blog here) caught my eye because it seemed really apt to living in a foreign country– the blog’s author Leo writes:

“How do you find amazing people who will make you happy, when you’re in a new city and don’t know anyone?

Recently reader Ting asked:

“I’ve been studying in a new city for about 6 months now, and I’m considering finding a job after my studies are over. I have this conflict, that I can’t seem to resolve in my heart.

I truly believe that the people around you, make your life worth living. I haven’t met the type of people I’d like to in this city, yet. And I’m afraid I won’t after I’ve committed to a job. I want to be able to be okay with myself, without having to depend on friends/people to be happy. I love this city. But I haven’t found the people that I love.

Should I try to stick it out, work towards separating happiness from friends? (Maybe I just haven’t been going the right places?) Or, should I go somewhere else and try something new?”

I was contemplating this reader’s question, trying to think of what I’ve done in my life that has worked. But then I thought, ‘I bet my readers can come up with many more answers, more intelligent answers, than I can.’ And so I’d like to leave this question to you, my wonderful and wise (and incredibly attractive) readers: How would you answer Ting’s question?

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Here at She’s not From Yorkshire we had a really caring reader comment on moving to Australia,  and I liked one of her ideas to meet friends. “Happy”, an English expat in Australia writes that she ” invited round practically everyone I met (they must have thought I was mad!)”.

So in keeping to the spirit of Leo’s blog, What are your ideas?

An Englishman, an American and a German walk into a pub…

yankeebeanLast night I went to the pub with Mr Nice Guy and a very good friend of ours that’s visiting from Germany.  It wasn’t your average Friday-night-pub-jaunt, and I actually thought it was really amazing and eye-opening experience.

I’ll call our German friend Anna, and she’s an amazing person that’s very comfortable with herself and likes to have a good debate.  But when chatting with her, there’s never even a hint of conflict.  She has an amazing gift to talk about potentially irk-some things without ever sounding accusatory.  It’s an art… she’s a genius…

Over three hours we discussed a handful of wars – WWII, the Cold War, the American Revolution – we discussed the effects of the Berlin Wall, Barack Obama (and the election process), and more and more and more and more…  Oh, and we also talked about other less meaningful topics like mixing electronica with music from the 1930′s and crochet (it wasn’t just a giant history-fest)

And while discussing politics (and a little bit of religion), never once did the atmosphere congeal into discomfort.  No one was ever offended or upset by what was said.

One of the main reasons, I believe, is that none of the criticism was directed at ‘you’.  I’ve lost count of the number of times that people have replaced the word ‘America’ with ‘you’ when we’re talking politics – ESPECIALLY when talking about the war in Iraq.  And I wonder (although I didn’t ask) if the same ever happened to Anna while she was living in another country.

But there was no accusation, no arguing, no tension… just talking, debating and learning.  It was AWESOME…

American friends in Britain, where would you be without them?

yahooavatar15One cold night on the 31st of January, the three American “She’s not From Yorkshire” gals got together for one big hoopla celebration in York, England. There wasn’t any big occasion per se–there were no birthdays, graduations, new jobs or babies or marriage announcements.  While walking around the ancient city of beautiful York  they probably got excited and talked a bit louder than the others in the streets, their enthusiasm brightening up the dark York snickleways.  They wore wide grins that got lots of stares– were they drunk? Nope– but their laughter echoed through the quaint cobbled-stone streets.

Well, who else could they  rant to about UK tax struggles, their British lurve-life and their wish about really wanting some flowery Cath Kidston wellies even though they don’t live in the countryside?? Without their American-gal-we-hear-your-pain-support-system they would be lost and very lonely indeed. But secretly each of these American women also needed their Betty’s Tearoom fix…and they even waited a lousy and cold 27 minutes outside to be seated.

Of course, of course, after trying to figure out the meaning of life when you’re approaching 30, they started talking about all of you lot (that phrase still makes them giggle!) They decided they needed a mega change on the blog– a new headline pic! Yes, that was what they needed!  Its was their 3 month blogiversary a couple days ago and in honour of  having 8,000 readers in 3 months… well, they decided it was time for a makeover (see above pic– you did notice right?!). Also, Peaceful found other blogs that was using the their old picture on it– including a blog that was written by a Las Vegas stripper. They needed to set themselves apart a bit. No offense to strippers using the same blog pic as them. Kassi the stripper was a really sassy one and seemed very successful.

So, Happy Birthday to “Shes not from Yorkshire” and were glad you’re with us!

Trying to amuse Ms. English Muso at the Goth Cafe, step 1

yahooavatar15Yankeebean’s post about English women has been one of our most frequently read pages. She has got me thinking…. could I try to work harder at being friends with some English women in my work circle?

Margaret is a fellow classical musician, teacher, performer, my age, and lives in my city. Already we have stuff in common. It will be great, I decide.

The start of a burgeoning friendship, I initiate a coffee date.  Oh, but I won’t suggest Starbucks, no, that is too risky for a first date because I don’t want to look too “American”. A Goth cafe is what she decided instead. But no, she is not a Goth…

My Fantasy: Instant friends!! Leeds shopping pal! Do I hear an invite to her wild hen party someday? Whoo hoo!

My Reality: I can’t seem however to move past that barrier (you know the one?), where we talk about non-work related stuff.

I branched out to see if she has a boyfriend…. yes?  Oh Great, I say!

I thought, now we can moan about men in a camaraderie sort of way… Maybe I will even ask her for a good Yorkshire pudding recipe…

Hmmm… that didn’t seem to bond us either…

I KNOW ! I should ask if she knows a hip hair dresser, she has wavy long hair, too!

Ummm….. that didn’t work either.because her boyfriend cuts her hair, and no, he is not a hairdresser.

Got it! What is her opinion on Climate change? Hmmm…. no takers.

Some feminism, perhaps? No, she says.

We then get back to discussing musical things. Sigh…

Its just gonna take longer to break the ice…  so I ask, what are you doing next Friday?

A FACT:I once heard a smart Brit business man say “Americans will be your friends fast, but they won’t be your friend forever.British people will slowly come around but they will be your friend for life’.

I will continue asking Margaret out on on friendship dates—- after all, I can’t just have American friends.