I’ve been here just over six months and a few things have taken shape.
- We own a house.
- I am famous (read recognized by three people I never met before) in my new hometown as the crazy, British lady who gave out free coffee, dressed as a french maid. (see GISHWHES 2016)
- I have visited seven water falls so far.
- I have spent more time in the water or at the beach than since I was a kid.
- I have visited the traveling Vietnam Wall.
- I have celebrated a birthday.
- I have climbed the largest gemstone in the world. (The delightfully name Jasper’s Knob in Ishpeming)
Things I Miss:
- My friends and family (duh!)
- Curries I think our nearest curry house is in Wisconsin – so about a six hour drive. (That would take you clean across the UK)
- Magpies – they don’t have them here! (In the UK they are lucky birds, who we salute and greet on sight.) There is a poem that helps them tell your fortune:
One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret, never to be told.
(If you are my age or elder you are singing Maaaaag, Magpie right now!)
4. Lurpak Butter – I had to hunt high and low for a replacement that is even yellow – most US butter is vampire-white because the cows are fed on corn not grass. I finally found an organic, grass-fed butter and will not think about how much it cost!
5. Normal portion sizes.
6. Marmite, Yorkshire Teabags and Gentlemen’s Relish (thank goodness I brought my own stockpile.)
Things I Worried About That Are Actually OK
- Driving on the wrong side of the road.
- Recycling – I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do it here, but our city has a really good roadside collection program.
Things I Worried About That Are A Problem.
- Sugar in everything – I am putting on weight.
- Getting a job – I am struggling!
Things I find Strange:
Americans find my collection of mugs that don’t match really odd and very British. It was eldest child that pointed it out. She said she had seen a meme on Tumblr that said you could always spot a Brit because they don’t have matching mug sets, but she hadn’t realized it was true until she met me. I had never noticed US mugs all matching, but now I see it everywhere on TV shows and in stores. I love my mugs, each one was a gift or a souvenir or commemorates something I did, I pick different mugs depending on my moods, having them all the same to match my decor seems very dull!
2.Attitudes to Alchohol.
Although alcohol is really cheap, there is a really puritan attitude to drinking at home, despite this it is fine to go out to a bar and drink drive yourself home (not legal but loads of people do it!) I am delighted to say that JT is probably the only bloke in the UP who hasn’t had a DUI or been banned for drink driving.
On the plus side you can get a great margarita for less than £3 and you get money back on bottles and cans that you return to the stores.
I nearly messed up with my relaxed European attitude to drinking outdoors. I was at a bar watching a band one night and on the break, we all walked out to the outside area for the smokers to smoke. I heard someone say you better not let anyone see you with that and assumed they were talking to the chap with the spliff, but they were actually talking to me about my beer. (I never leave drinks unattended in strange bars.) Luckily it wasn’t open, but had it been, both the bar and I could have been prosecuted if caught. Standing outside the pub, having a pint and watching the world go by is a UK tradition. Here it is my biggest immigrant faux-pas to date