The lovely Molly over at The Move to America is running a linky for January, all about The Expat Experience.
Each week has a prompt, and this is the last one, late again!
So, what is my new normal? How is it different to my life before?
In a lot of ways my day to day life is not that different: I get the boys to school, I pick them up from school. I make dinner, I feed them, I get them to bed and then start all over again!
And, the biggest difference has nothing to do with the country, it is the absence of a job! The full time care of the wee girl is quite a departure from my previous life :)
Having said that, there are some things that definitely do have an American spin to them; some, not all!
Then: the nursery day started at 8am, the school day started at 9am, my day started at 6.30am
Now: the school day starts at 8.10am, the preschool starts day at 8.25am, my day starts at 6.30am!
Then: the walk to school took us across the road!
Now: the walk to school is a 1.5 mile round trip (and I drive when it’s -10C…)
Then: after school activities were limited, and the nursery day didn’t end till 5pm.
Now: after school activities include garden club, Lego club, swimming lessons, art classes; with the odd trip to the zoo or the beach for good measure
Then: I did no baby groups or classes.
Now: I do swimming, music, baby songs, library story time, playgroups, play dates…
Then: I didn’t have time for arts and crafts with the kids.
Now: we craft, we bake, we play messily, we paint, we draw, we make!
Then: my favourite quiet alone time was a tea and a cinnamon swirl in Starbucks.
Now: my favourite quiet alone time is a tea and a morning bun in Starbucks :)
Then: breakfast at the weekend was no different to during the week, just later.
Now: breakfast at the weekend generally consists of pancakes/waffles/crescent rolls with bacon, eggs (scrambled, sunnyside up or over hard…) and maple syrup.
Then: I spoke to my neighbours if I happened to see them.
Now: I speak to my neighbours, I have coffee with them. I drop round cakes and cookies when I’ve done baking with the kids. I offer help, and occasionally ask for it.
Then: summer consisted of a few days of sunshine, if I was very lucky. I averaged two days a year in sandals.
Now: summer lasts from May to October and I wear flip flops every day for six months of the year.
Then: the boys had never swum outside.
Now: we went lake swimming last summer, several times!
Then: we took the kids to Pizza Express for a treat.
Now: we take them to Border Cafe (Mexican), Fudruckers (burgers), IHOP (pancakes)…
Then: we got fish & chips, indian or pizza for take out
Now: we get pizza, burritos, burgers, chicken, hotdogs, sandwiches…!
In all honesty, my day to day doesn’t feel all that different (apart from not working of course!), but every so often I do realise that something is quite different!
I drive a lot more. Everything is bigger; from the cars to the portion sizes to the gallons of milk; I cannot buy a pint of milk! Going out for breakfast is commonplace. We live in a smaller town than we did in the UK, and there is a wonderful sense of community. People are confident and friendly, they really do say have a nice day – and for the most part I believe they genuinely mean it. Americanisms are slipping into my day to day vocabulary :)
Our lifestyle is different, the biggest thing being that we spend a lot more time outside – the climate is a huge positive! But, for those long summer months, we get a bitterly cold winter with a lot of snow… and that’s not as fun as it might sound.
It’s an adventure, and everyday we have the opportunity to make the most of it. And, while the day to day grind often takes over, we are enjoying the experience!
As for me, I have realised that moving isn’t as scary as I thought and I am far more resilient than I would have ever imagined :)
Again, Molly has asked for our three tips for dealing with your new ‘everyday’:
1. Get a routine, but a flexible one! This really helped me structure my week, but allowed me to…
2. … say yes to every invitation, build up those contacts! Not all of them will work out, but you’ll develop a new network to help you build your new daily routines around.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and remember that people genuinely mean it when they offer assistance.