Emergencies Overseas

avt_kapyork_large115A few weeks ago my family had a scary emergency and of course, I am very far away. I did not run for the very next plane out – and we all decided that it was not the kind of emergency that called for a visit home. In fact, the people in the US were quite sure about that. But a few people in the UK asked if I needed to go. Everything is ok now, luckily.   

I have always been fearful of exactly that type of situation and it was pretty shocking when it happened for real.  

Have any of you had a similar experience?  How do you decide when to go and when to stay?

Kraft – Its the Cheesiest! And other care package desirables

avt_kapyork_large115I received a care package yesterday!  My Mom sent 9 boxes of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and 2 bags of Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chips!!  That’s right Ladies, semi-sweet morsels!!  :)

Care packages are just automatic ways to lift spirits and be reminded of favourite treats from home.  Any of the yucky feelings left over from a rough day at work yesterday suddenly lifted.   Note to self: bring small baggies of morsels to work every day. 

It got me thinking – what things will I want in a care package from the UK when I’m back in America?

Here’s a quick list:

Cheese and onion pasties or veg pasties if from Thomas the Bakers (not suitable for overseas travel, sigh)

Cadbury’s Dairy Milk

Lemsip – Flu strength

Yorkshire Tea

Any number of vegetable curries (also not a good shipping contestant)

Louie Theroux documentaries

Episodes of Never Mind the Buzzcocks with Simon Amstel

Umm, this one is embarrassing but… I really like all the reruns of Murder, She Wrote that you can get everyday if you have Sky.  I don’t think you can still get that show in America anymore. 

What would you put in your care packages Ladies?

Hollywood dream or gun crime crazy?

avt_kapyork_large115In a comment for Peaceful’s recent post about feminism, I wrote about my future mother-in-law’s impressions of America prior to her first visit.

She had a manicure before her visit and had the most beautiful fake nails applied. She had never had fake nails before but she got them for her trip because she thought all American women would have them. At first I thought that was odd. Didn’t she know we are relaxed and casual and all “hang loose” etc… I mean the Pacific NW is known for being a hippie haven.  Her nails were gorgeous but no one would have thought any different of her if she didn’t have them.  Nor does one have to have perfectly white and perfectly straight teeth.  Nor does one have to wear perfect designer labels or even think about whether they must wear shoes rather than trainers for a night out.  I don’t even iron… pretty much ever. 

People often have this impression of America though - of a perfect hollywood life with perfect big houses, cars, and huge refrigerators – it just happened to be my M-I-L who first brought it to my attention. 

OR people completely have the opposite reaction.  “Oh you are American?  Have you ever seen anyone get shot?”  What??? Are you serious?  OH – you think America is a massive gang land. 

I spend a lot of time telling people that my American life was actually really similar to my British life.  Even the weather in my home town is almost identical to Yorkshire weather.  No really!

America fits, but so do the Brits

yankeebeanI went back home to the Midwest in America for Christmas and New Year.  It was my first Christmas back home for 4 years and it was a fantastic experience.

Going back home (although I do consider England my home, too), I always breathe a kind of sigh-of-relief when I get back into the swing of things.  My weird semi-brit accent fades, the volume of my voice rises, my humor gets more flambouant, my hands warm up (is it just me or does England make your hands cold too??), my optimisim comes more easily, and the list goes on and on.

My Ameri-me is such a comfortable thing, even though it’s never quite the same as it was ‘back in the day’.  It’s like my favorite sneakers that I wear when I want to loaf around town or my giant College sweater that I get out every time I have cramps.  It just fits… like something that was made for you, and like something that you could never replace.

But, like I said, it isn’t quite the same as it always was.  I still made dry-sarky comments and people would actually think I was being mean until I explained in an apologetic rush that ‘I live in England and that would have been funny there, I’m sorry!’

This trip was the first time I didn’t fight these changes.  Before I always wanted everything to be just like it was, like some giant-American-time-capsule that you can only get to via O’hare airport.  But this time all I wanted was to enjoy what was happening ‘right now’.  I wanted to live in (and do a happy dance in) the moment.  And it was awesome!

I loved easing back into America’s famliarities, but I wasn’t annoyed when people picked up on my Brits-ways.  I loved seeing my Mom, Dad, and brother, but I lovedlovedloved coming home to Mr. Nice Guy and all of his gorgeous wonderfulness.

All in all, it was a 10 out of 10 experience, right down to getting 3 seats to myself on the flight back to England.  Nice!

The Coolest Dudes in Britain

avt_kapyork_large115I always have a little chuckle when I see dudes driving around in tiny little sports cars. In fact Mr. Charismatic has started to join me in my little joke whenever a very loud little sports car whizzes by. I say “OOOh, look at him. He is so awesome.” And Mr. Charismatic responds to my prompt with the appropriate response that he has heard me say so many times, “Small willy.” If the car is particularly loud or bright red then the response is, “Tiny willy.” Of course I don’t really mean it. I just feel these guys invite a certain amount of ridicule for being so flashy. How very British of me, perhaps!

Anyways, twice this year I have seen guys take the little sports car ridicule invitation to the next level. In January they are driving their convertable with the top down! Sunny day? Yeah. Freezing cold? Yes, SO COLD. Possibility that the weather could change in two seconds? Always. What could possibly make someone think it is ever a good idea to have a top down day in January? In Yorkshire?

How to fall in love with an English man – part 3

First of all – Happy 2009 to our readers!

avt_kapyork_large115Last year, Mr. Charismatic and I enjoyed a year of travel We have been debating what kind of year 2009 will be – yesterday we settled on a Year of Romance! Let me tell you why…

But first, it might be handy to read Parts 1 and 2 of How to Fall in Love with an English Man.

Six years after that chance meeting in Part 1- we are getting married! I know you might be out there thinking “6 years! What a long time to decide to get married!” When we met, I would have said that I could never manage to wait six years. That’s not to say we weren’t committed to the relationship but things all take a bit more time when you are in an international relationship.

After we met we sent emails and made phone calls for 8 months before Mr. Charismatic came back to the US. In fact we had many periods of long distance romance over the 3 years that he hopped back and forth with temporary working visas to the US. Next, came my decision to study in Britain for a year. That led to temporary employment which has been extended several times and is the way that I have managed to stay until we were eligible to be “unmarried partners” in the eyes of the UK government. We got engaged last May and are planning our wedding for June. :)

We’ve had plenty of romance over the years. But this year, we are taking that step to put our relationship first. 2009 will be our year to say out loud that immigration is no longer going to rule us!

Well, there is that small matter of getting his visa to the US – that’s right we have decided to make the move back to the US! This is for many reasons and is far more about wanting to be there than wanting to leave the UK. In fact I have mixed feelings about leaving the UK because I have enjoyed my time here. But it just seems like the right time to have a go in the US.

Not to worry though, I’ll be around for several more months. And I’d like to continue blogging from the perspective of bringing my English man to the US with me.

Wrapping Presents Twice

avt_kapyork_large115I didn’t quite make it home for Thanksgiving and I’m spending Christmas in England this year.   But I’m home right now for my dad’s 60th birthday.  Yay!  It is lots of fun to be here and it was even better to surprise him completely with our visit!  But I have one teeny weeny little thing to complain about.  Every Christmas we haul over a set of presents from one side of the pond to the other.  Then, we must wrap them and make them look pretty and make sure we put the right name on the right gift.  Afterall, none of these gifts were bought by us, they were bought by my family or Mr. Charismatic’s family for us to deliver to the other family.  And of course we must lie to the security officers when they asked whether anyone gave us anything to bring with us. 

Then, we receive an entire second set of gifts to take back with us and wrap again - sometimes even heavier and more bulky than the last set!  (or maybe we just blame the gifts but really we bought too much stuff during our vacation). 

I think Christmas is wonderful and I’m especially happy that our families like each other so much that they want to exchange gifts.  I just feel bad for Mr. Charismatic who ends up doing most of it because he’s the organised one.  Maybe next year I ought to arrange a Secret Santa.

Year of Travel

avt_kapyork_large115In my last post I revealed that I used to nickname my boyfriends.  Well now that there aren’t new guys to name, I’ve started naming my years.  I started 2008 with one goal only – The Year of Travel. 

My first year in the UK I was a poor student, my second year in the UK I was a poor data enterer with too many events in America to attend (all fun though!).  My third year was going to be my chance to see so much of the wonderful continent to the East of our lovely island. 

We shouted Happy New Year in America last year, we spent Easter in Italy and had two nights in Paris on the way.  Then in June we met up with some family in Barcelona and suprised my future mother-in-law with a trip to Prague in July.  I had two nights in London catching up with a friend from home.  By the end of August we had several special days in NYC immediately followed by another visit to see my family on the west coast.  And right now, we are headed to the Northwest AGAIN to spend time with my new nephew and surprise my dad for his birthday! 

I am so happy to have accomplished my travel goal this year.  There is still so much more to see but now I’m not in such a rush to finally explore this part of the world. 

I’m not sure what next year will be named yet.  Possibly something like the Year of Change or maybe even the Year to Settle Down.  Or after all this travel, it might end up being the Year to Work Really Hard.

As a side note, do you get butterflies when you are just about to visit home?  I get kind of this nervous excitement that feels a lot like first dates or first days of school.  Its funny!

I’m allergic to English train stations and airports

yankeebeanI’m sitting on a train on my way to Leeds right now.  I’m only going to Leeds for the day, and I’m actually going to meet up with peacefulyorkshire and pacificyorkshirebird which I am EXCITED about!!

But I’ve just left York train station and I feel a little sick and emotional. There’s a lump in my throat, and my heart is beating really fast.  “Why”, you ask? Because I’m allergic to English train stations and airports.   And being an American that’s in love with an English man has made me this way.

I have accepted that I’ll always be pulled in two opposite directions.   That I’ll always miss someone somewhere, whether it’s my guy or my family.   It’s something I have to live with if I’m going to be with Mr Nice Guy, and I AM going to be with Mr Nice Guy, so I better just suck it up.

I dated Mr NG for 4 years while I was living in the US ans he was living in the UK.  FOUR FREAKIN YEARS of long distance.  Looking back it’s just a smear of phone calls, emails, plane trips, all-sex-or-no-sex, crying-and-lonliness or smiling-and-loved-up feelings. Even thinking of it now makes me feel kinda panicky… like a worm hole is going to suck me back to my College years and I’ll have to do it all again.

Over the years, I came to associate train stations and airports with the extreme emotions that go along with a long distance relationship.  I was only ever there because I was saying hello or goodbye to the person I love the most.

So now every time I travel in England, I get this slightly tight and panicky feeling.  And I just saw a couple saying good-bye on the train platform and I felt like bawling.  BAWLING.

I’m only going to Leeds for the FREAKIN DAY!!

They say you can discover new allergies when you move abroad.  Well it turns out I’m allergic to English train stations and airports.

How to fall in love with an English man – part 2

avt_kapyork_large115LWBB!  Before I found myself in a loving and committed relationship with Mr. Charismatic I had a tradition of giving nicknames to the men in my romantic life.  Immediatly preceding Mr. Charismatic were The Logger, The Kicker, Coincidence Design Boy, oh and Marathon John.  :)   LWBB (Lost Wallet Brit Boy, now known as Mr. Charismatic) was named the night I drove him and 2 friends home from the expensive nightclub where I had earlier refused to go.   For those of you who are worried about the extremely bad choice I made to take 3 drunk strangers home in my car, take comfort that I had a lovely lady friend following me in her car.

So, any respectable American night out ends in a trip to Taco Bell and this night was no different.  Several minutes later I was having a goodbyeIloveyoualreadypleaselovemebackfortherestofmylife snog and then made my way home.  Just hours later I was awake again heading to work (by the way this was 1.5 hours away in the car and is why I had intended to have an early night, but was out the window when the pivotal moment happened).  I was already running late when I discovered that not one, but two wallets were left in the back seat of my car!  Those sneaky boys, I thought!  Secretly though I was so happy because I had a reason to see the gorgeous man again.  So, with email address memorized already I arrived at work, announced to my coworker that I’d fallen in love the night before, and sent the email to let him know that I was working out of town but would return that evening.  That email was the first of many accusations of the planted wallets in order to meet up again.  He denies it still today.  “It wasn’t even my wallet.  Why would my friends do that with their valuables?”  “Umm, maybe to meet my friends?”

Anyways, we met up that night (after he explained that by “half eight” he meant eight-thirty) to return the wallets but also to get to know each other a little better.  He gave me a t-shirt from the company that he was working for and I wore flipflops (he’d made a drunken confession the night before that he thinks toes are cute).  I knew that night that he was special.  Somewhere in storage in America is a picture of the two of us that evening.  I must dig it out someday.

A few weeks later he was back in the area (they traveled around to different soccer camps all summer) and we had one more lovely evening with friends and a few more sparks between us, and a brief few minutes where he met my mom… and then he got on a plane back to England.    He sent emails full of terms of endearment and romantic ideas and feelings of missing me.  No American man had ever been so open and emotional before.  It was wonderful but miserable all at the same time!  Would he ever come back?  Was he seeing anyone else?  Should I be seeing someone else?  Was I silly to entertain the idea that we could be together???