My most recent post about things to memorize when you move to the UK had a few comments and questions on the Anglotopia Facebook page that inspired me to work on a post where I simply answer some of the questions or comments you’ve left on my posts, or emailed me with, or posted on Facebook. Hopefully it’ll give you a little more insight into our experience here (and how I go about writing about it). I hope you’ll continue to comment on my posts. I enjoy the dialogue immensely and it helps me to know what types of topics you’re interested in hearing about.
How did you get so lucky?
(Or… what are you doing in the UK?) As several of you have pointed out, you can’t just hop on a plane bound for the UK and declare yourself a resident. Immigrating to this country from the U.S. is nearly impossible without either lots of money (and time to wait) or a company to sponsor you. The latter is our situation. My husband works for an American company that has several facilities throughout the UK. They coordinated our visas which allow us to live here for a few years. Personally, I’m on a spousal visa, meaning I’m not allowed to work while here. And I apologize to those who email me with visa and immigration questions. My husband’s company handled most of the process, and I’m not very familiar with the ins and outs of it.
UK spellings and terminology
I always chuckle when someone posts or comments to point out the British spelling or word for something. Like cell phones are called mobile phones. License is licence. The list goes on. I’m not sure if people write this to let me know of the difference, to inform others, or to correct me. For the record, 99% of the time I’m well aware of these differences. I live here, after all. But I’m an American writer, and writing for a mostly American audience. I’ll continue to primarily use American terminology and spellings. I’m sure if I were moving to the UK permanently and hoping to continue with a writing career, I’d make the switch. But that’s not the case. (Not to mention my American computer would point out all my incorrect spellings if I used the British spellings!)
Which do we like better, the U.S. or the UK?
I hope it’s clear from my writing that we love it here. I was not an “anglophile” before moving here. I never had the fascination with Great Britain that Jonathan does. But now? I adore it. I know we’ll miss it greatly when we leave. But I also now have a new appreciation for all the things that are great about America, too. Our families and friends are there, and that will always be home to us. I could never compare the two countries and pick a favorite. They’re both proud nations with so much to offer both travelers and residents. One of the hardest parts about taking on an expat assignment like this is that you’ll always “miss” a place for the rest of your life. When I’m here, I sometimes miss the U.S. And when we return, I know I’ll often miss England.
You’re really not an expert on the UK, having only lived there a year
To this commenter, I say, absolutely correct! I would never claim to be an expert on, well, anything! But the purpose of the Dispatches from England column is to highlight my personal observations, things I notice about living here that I think Americans would find interesting (or to share an American perspective on life here for British readers). I would never claim to know everything. And I appreciate it when readers point out an error, or a regional difference, or provide me answers to dilemmas I face. For example, now I know exactly where to go to get a flu shot next fall! I hope you’ll continue to enlighten me.
How did the moving process work?
I’ve gotten a few of questions about this, so look for more information on that next week!
Is there anything you wish I would write about? Let me know. And like I said, keep the questions and comments coming. Just leave my spelling alone!