An American expat in a small village outside Sheffield, UK

Expat life in England is proving to be a challenging one for American expat Denise, and there are plenty of lessons she has learned and is continuing to learn. Here she talks about how she came to be living in the UK in the first place, the cost of living in her part of England, and her tips for those considering a move to the UK.
 

Denise Smith Roeterdink

-Where were you born?

Red Bluff, California, USA

-In which country and city are you living now?

North Anston, UK

-Are you living alone or with your family?

With my husband

-How long have you been living in England?

2 years

-What is your age?

46

-When did you come up with the idea of living in England?

Well, that was an unfortunate error on my part. I had my own Real Estate Property Management business and I was doing quite well. I decided to date online. Well, I met a wonderful man who was in California in my same town visiting his brother. He was born and raised in South Africa but is Dutch and had been traveling Euorope for the past 10 years.

Long story short, we fell in love and got married. Small wedding in Reno, Nevada as I had been married before. What I had no idea about was immigration. I thought I would apply for him to stay and I knew it would take time but I had no idea what a nightmare it would become. Ignorance is no excuse and I am guilty there.

I allowed my heart to get in the way of things and I paid for that dearly. He was assisting me in my business and ended up overstaying his 90-day visa by 2 days. He left and went through Canada as he had friends there. Some Orange alert happened and they stopped him at the border and refused him entry. His flight was due to leave the next morning after his visit with friends. He was sent back and the U.S. claimed he was illegally entering so they tossed him in prison. After a ton of money and an immigration lawyer and 3 months later to no avail the government treated him as a terrorist and the judge refused to allow him out while we processed everything so I told him to allow deportation as his horrible treatment in a hard core prison for this was not worth it. Funny I wish those internet dating sites would list a bit of a warning about how immigration may not work out so easily between people from different countries.

I was then forced with a horrible decision, to divorce this man that I love and admire or give up everything I worked so hard for and leave my own country. I made a commitment, and was raised to stick to it. I sold everything I had for love and we picked England due to the fact I spoke no other language. He speaks quite a few different languages but thought it would be so much harder for me to adjust if we picked a country where I could not read or write the language. He belonged to the EU so immigration was also reasonable. Within 6 months of applying I was in. the cost was free for an EU family permit. This is also considered a Visa and it is good for 6 months after you arrive then you apply for your residency card.

-Was it hard to get a visa or a work permit?

You do need to have money in your bank account. Your spouse needs to have a full time job as well. It also helps if you have money in an account so they know you will not become dependent on their system. Not that you are allowed any assistance here because you are not. I am here on an EU Family Permit and now after 1 full year have residency. This EU Family permit allows me work and live here no different than anyone from the EU.

-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?

I could never afford medical insurance in the U.S. So did not obtain coverage for here. Because he belongs to the EU we are entitled to medical insurance. I still must pay pay for presecriptions which is very reasonable and no comparison to the U.S costs.

-How do you make your living in the UK? Do you have any type of income generated? 

We both had money from selling everything which bought us some time to get set up here. My husband landed a job fairly quickly after we arrived. But I do not make a living here. It is a nightmare. I try so hard to blend in but it does not work well. I have a business degree and a real estate license and 15 years experience which means nothing here. So for me it was like getting out of high school all over again with nothing. It took 8 months to land a very poor paying job as a receptionist in a sleazy hotel. That was when I realized how awful the labor laws were here. After 8 months, they made me redundant. That is what they call a layoff here. I am still unable to find employment. I wanted to begin my own Letting Agency but again I am a foreigner and they do not take too kindly when it comes to paying you for a service here. (Lack of trust) which is reasonable I guess. But it does not help me at all.

I think I am resented as I say what I think nicely but I am honest. They do not appear to like this much here. They won't tell you this to your face so you know where you stand it will behind your back. I am not here to put down any other culture at all that is not the point. I trusted my husband as he is well travelled and I assumed he knew the laws when he arrived in the U.S. when in fact he did not. Because of my ignorance I created a bad situation for myself.

-Do you speak the local language and do you think it's important to speak the local language? 

Well in Yorkshire there is a very different language.

It is a type of slang and it takes a while before you understand what it is they are saying. I had a neighbor who became a friend who assisted me in this and that helped quit a lot. Yes you need to know and use the slang so you can communicate with people on their terms. It makes things easier for you. I remember my very first experience when I was asked "what are you having for Tea"? Well I have never even visited here before so for me I thought, what does that mean? I replied "I do not drink tea" of course they looked at me very strange and laughed. When I mentioned this to my husband he explained what they meant. What are you having for dinner? In a way it is kind of funny. I felt so stupid but I learned.

-Do you miss home and family sometimes? Describe your favorite recreational activities there or those that are available.

I miss home every single day. I have always been a history buff and loved castles and manor homes and England provides tons of that. I belong to the National Heritage and pay a yearly fee and I have a card that allows me to visit all their sites which offers quite a lot. It rains a lot here and it is cold most of the time so outdoor activities for me are very limited. 

-Do you have other plans for the future? 

I plan on going back home as soon as we can get that mess straightened out. That will take some serious planning on my part and a separation of probably at least 2 years. But in the end I believe for me to be worth that. I want my life back and I want a career which at this point I do not believe I will ever obtain here. Maybe just a low paying job here but for me that is not enough.

-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it? 

We are renting, which was yet another experience here. Due to the fact I was a property manager for 15 years in the U.S. that helped a lot here. Renting is very different here and you can be disappointed if you do not investigate this in detail before doing this. It is not a common practise here to have a home cleaned or even the carpets shampooed before moving in.

It is common for an owner to leave furniture in the home whether you want it or not. Move-in inspections are basic and only list fixtures and owner items. The first place we rented was all inclusive but basically a closet in comparison. for a tiny 1 bedroom terraced house with the kitchen living combined to a very small space cost 460.00 pounds. That included council tax. The 2nd place was bigger but outside of the main city and it was 4 bedroom 1 bath 2 story home for 495.00 but the council tax is 1,200 per year, then you have your phone costs, internet, and gas/electricity on top of all that. We do have a nice yard which is not a common thing to have here without paying dearly for it. 

-What is the cost of living in England?

The cost of living is expensive and the wages are very low. It costs us around 700 pounds per month not including car tax, insurance, gas and food to live. You are lucky if you have a job where you work on average 48 hours per week for a monthly income of maybe 750 pounds. They do not pay over time here. Keep in mind if you are a teacher, doctor, lawyer/solicitor, you can do ok here; if not be prepared to struggle a bit. This also depends on where you live too. London is very expensive and the wages for what I am maybe qualified to do are very low there as well but the cost of living is even higher than here.

-What do you think about the locals? 

Well, they are very curious as to why I would have moved from California to here. They always say why on earth would you move here? They do not seem to like it here much either funny enough. It is all about the great weather in sunny California for them. I am remembered in the local pub. They are genuine and polite and I enjoy them. Where I live there are no other Americans that I am aware of.

-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in England?

Wow, where do I begin. The positives, well lots of green countryside. It is very green here all year around. When you go shopping because it is a small village the shop owners are nice and say hello. The weather is mild all year around, so if you do not like hot weather you do not get that here. This community has lots of parks all over and so you will see lots of people walking their dogs. I enjoy that as dogs are always happy to see you.

The negatives, well it rains a lot, you fight moss and mold. The one thing I just have a heck of time with is getting anything done. For instance when you need to call for a question about your bank statement, phone bill or anything those calls cost you money per minute then if you are lucky you manage to obtain a customer service person who really is rude and doesn't help you then as I have found out they tend to always tell you they will call you back. Guess what, they never ever do. Bad customer service all the way around here is very difficult to understand. It really frustrates you to no end. But you just have to accept it which I still have not come to grips with here. 

-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in England?

Well, yes of course. Please do not do what I did. Everyone has their reason for leaving, but even though I read everything I could get my hands on about life here before arriving, they do not mention the tiny details. I guess some small details may not make a difference to most people but it certainly did with me.

I lived without hot running water for over a year. That is not illegal here. Again everyone will experience something different. But that made life almost umbearable for me. Your shower or most at least has its own electrical box that heats the water up so you do or can take a shower.

The housing laws are very lax here. Obtaining a driver's license is yet another nightmare and very, very difficult to obtain not to mention expensive. I am still trying after 2 years. Where I live I need to drive and still I can't. I was used to being so independent for most of my life and since I arrived here I am not. I can't drive anywhere, I cannot obtain employment and it makes things very very difficult and lonely. Please, please take into consideration all the tiny things you take for granted that just might not be so easily obtainable here. Think about how you would feel when you send out 150 CV's per month and you might get a call and then they say they will call you back and they just never ever do. It is a weird feeling. I know at times it would happen back home but not to this degree did I ever experience this. I also know the economy is struggling but the reality is they will hire their own over you as this is logical.

You do not have anywhere near the space inside a home or apartment that you had. No electrical outlets allowed in the bathrooms. I mean these are things that are not mentioned really and you would never think it would make a difference but when you experience these things they add up. Shops do not stay open late unless you are in a large city. You need to plan ahead for weekends and especially on Sundays. Again not too big of a deal but still. Where I live the main weekend thing to do is to head to your local pub to get drunk. That is about the highlight of it.  Drinking and getting drunk is huge here. Not all do this but most do and it is an accepted thing to do.

For me personally moving here has seriously changed me. I will never take anything for granted again. I appreciate America for everything it has to offer and the reasonably easy life I had there. I appreciate how people in America are such entrepreneurs and think to the future and they say what they think so you always knew where you stood with people. It is not like that here at all.

Just really consider everything to the absolute fullest before making a life altering choice for yourself. If I could go back and would have had the knowledge I now have I doubt I would have jumped in. Age also I think has a lot to do with my negative experience. If I were in my 20's I think I would have enjoyed this so much more. When you are young and going to school your mind is open, you make friends easier and you have lots of time to establish yourself. At my age, it is not so simple. Employers want younger people to hire and not really foreigners either. Education and degrees between the U.S. and here are different so because they are so conservative thinking here they tend to stick with what they know.

Neither of us have family or friends here so that also makes it hard. If you have money or your spouse has a good paying job and one of you has family here I think that makes a huge difference in your experience. Most people that have moved to a different country it has been because of school or a good paying position. Becoming a teacher allows travel and they always need teachers in many countries.

Be aware without a specific degree in a profession accepted worldwide can have drastic results in trying to just make a living and can be incredibly difficult in another country. My Real Estate License and all that experience gets me nowhere here. All that money and time I spent to get it is now simply gone.

If you want to be an exchange student this would be a great experience. If you are coming to teach again a great experience.  Make sure to have a good job that pays well and a recognizable degree for here before you even think of just coming here. Jobs are far and few between for foreignors and they pay very low wages.

Again maybe if my situation would have been different my experience thus far might have been a better one. Not everyone can adapt to a different culture. For those who have embraced it I admire you.... One more very important piece of advice. Do not say what you really think. They simply do not like that. Being completely honest as you were taught in the U.S. does not work here. You must really think before you open your mouth or you will be doomed. Once you say it you can't take it back. You need to learn to read between the lines of what they say to you. What they say is not exactly the truth. Their culture has taught them to be overly polite to the point you will not know where you stand. Getting the truth is very difficult. Until you know the difference it is better to walk on egg shells.

A Hard Time

jessicanolanb's picture

I feel very sorry for your difficult situation. I do believe it can be terribly tricky to integrate into English society at any level. The cultural differences are enormous and are belied by the fact the language is similar! Yorkshire is beautiful but perhaps better to be visited in your case rather than experienced daily. I also feel for your frustration and perplexity at the indifference of the telephone operators. It is usual practice to wait for what seems forever and in the end be told to call back or elsewhere. Love seems to have gone away with all daily issues of life in another culture that one has been dumped into rather than a thoughtful choice. America can be just as hard for someone thrown in the deep end but is home when you grew up there. American lifestyle is a lot more comfortable, warmer (most places in the summer) and far more modern which makes England a stark contrast. Those that love rural England love the moody wetness, enjoy the crooked walkways and put up with kicking the old radiator all winter long.

Hi

Tess's picture

Hi Denise

I am very new to this site and consequently don't know much about how it operates, including whether or not I am allowed to address any comments personally to you. If not I do apologise in advance. However I have just read your account and have to both sympathise and empathise with you. I feel we have so much in common and we live relatively close that maybe sharing experiences etc can benefit us both. My story in a nutshell. I was born and raised to a certain extent in the UK, in my teenage years I left here for Southern Africa, where I ended up in spending a total of 26 years of my life (very happily I must add). However due to changing circumstances I returned here in 2000 and since that time have tried very hard to settle in the UK way of life. I however must admit that despite all my efforts, that has not happened, I feel like a ‘fish out of water’ and long for sunnier climates. I too have battled to make friends, I am a different culture and share many of your thoughts and experiences and this is in the land of 'my birth' (I am a foreigner, with very little in common with the majority of the population). I had a major culture shock on returning, and the one thing that keeps me sane is travel. I have been lucky enough to have visited the States twice, one of which was California and simply love it, definitely more my kinda place than the UK. Well enough said, if after reading this you would like to stay in contact please feel free to E mail me at theresa77d@hotmail.com
Tess

Your Experience

pattyxclentcouk's picture

Wow, sorry you don't enjoy it here. I love it, prefer England to the USA actually. I find America a strange place anymore and can't believe the medical insurance stories I hear when I go back. I married an English man who was already established here in Surrey so had built in friendships which always makes it easier. I also became a teaching assistant in a local school (lots of turnover in schools so there could be a good job there for you), and that brought some lovely friendships. I'm only 21 miles sw of London so am not in a rural area which maybe you are.

Good luck. The horror story of USA "Homeland Security" and it's terrorism paranoia doesn't surprise me.

Customer service in the States is fantastic I agree. However, I just find America too capitalistic and the redneck mentality too prevalent. I'm happy my children don't have to pledge allegiance to the flag every morning too. No cheerleaders, no homecoming queen no pep rallies...... it suits me fine...

Best luck to you, both countries have their positives and negatives!

views on England & USA

studentman's picture

hi, ive been receiving these pages for some time now and as im on an extended break/tour of the USA & Central America i thought after reading the 'hard time' piece, i'd like to post a reply! So here goes When i touched down in the US the 1st official that spoke to me was from the homeland defence force, and he actually asked me if i was a drunk because i was British!! to which i replied heh your an American tell me what drugs your on, he realised his disrespect straightaway. Welcome to the good 'ole US of A. (not)! But what an atypical impression Americans have of Brits, i was disgusted, he also didnt believe i was going to tour the country looking at forests (Humbolt County - North Cali) and many other natural & man made features. Americans in general i found since are ignorant of both knowledge and attitude, if you dont understand the many accents both American and foreign over here then your treated as either stupid or time wasting! I was ridiculed by a waiter for a request of butter for a bread roll, he tried making so much fun of my usage of T instead of his D, and it was only another customer who put him right about it. Anti or negative British/UK/European myths here are legendary about all sorts of things, from weather to health to finances to USA only based world wide sports. And you have to pay for everything and everyone is out to make money from you. The addage of USA positivism and 'can do' attitude is often based on the fact that no one has told them to NOT do that, so therefore to them its ok, hence all the pollution, social and economic problems that plague the country. Recently in California, there was a news article about a school that had been built on a hill ABOVE a heavy industrial plant, just because the land was cheapest there, and now the officials are trying to work out how to deflect the pollutants away from the schools ailing population without stopping the industrial plants. And the previous writer says UK land laws are lax- hah no way, just look at our 'Greenbelt laws' to protect the countryside ect. UK Industry is kept increasingly separated from residential areas. Ive seen massive slums and run down, districts, towns, cities and regions of America with homes next to industrial sites and factories and pollutants of noise, light and air, similar to what the UK had in the bad old days of the industrial revolution!
Im a qualified social worker with both BA & MA degrees to my name, and im appalled at the poverty, lack of respect, and many forms of officials and security personnel and weapons that almost every single establishment,from corner shops to schools to city halls, have within them or nearby them! Surely a sign of the haves and the have nots and the way US society treats the 'have nots'; And the recent furore over the health care bill is stupendous 36 + million of your people with no medical care! And your government has to FIGHT for that to be addressed! Wow what a society you (DONT) have! Please watch the Michael Moores films ! Yes the weather is good in southern Cali and other states but most of your continent has as bad or worse weather patterns as the UK, and theres nothing but nature for that call. Humbolt County is full of giant redwoods trees - well you wouldnt get those if it didnt rain a lot eh?! Jobs are as scarse here as in the rest of the world not just the UK, and crime rates that would and do frighten the life out of most europeans are casually tolerated here! Again your all 'allowed to' bear weapons, from the Civil War era, but you've not had anyone tell you 'NO' YOU DONT need weapons in every home any more, so you keep them and have the resultant crime problems! Its national news in the UK if some one is shot or injured let alone killed, yet a US paramedic i know, says he has to always wear protective clothing on duty, and he attends up to 4 killings a day everyday he works, in New Jersey!
The diets here are dreadfully bad for most people, and thats not just the fast food junkies, salt, fat and sugar levels in everything are massively high.
USA is a generally more arrid and dryer continent than the green, wet, cold, damp, (but more humorous about it) stoic, UK, but each countries populations deal with that in their own ways. Yes a lot of US service staff seem pleasant with those 'thank you & your welcome' but its 99% false, and theyre so impatient, just ask them, as i did, theyre all told to say it, well meant? I think not! Issues of electrical plugs in bathrooms, oh come on minor points surely, qualifications - yes theyre different, and as 68% of US students couldnt even find the UK on a map, are you shocked there is a validation issue? Slang or accents - well that goes on ALL around the world be real, even towns 15- 20 miles apart in the UK have vocabulary differences, you cant tell me a New Yorker speaks the same as a Texan! If the lady and her husband hadnt gotten into serious trouble in the 1st place and HAD to find an English speaking country to take them in, they wouldnt even have been in the UK by choice, let alone in a SMALL RURAL area of a once heavily industrial county of Yorkshire in England. If she was to have lived in a more urban centred town or city then at least some of her efforts and remarks would be positive and not so negative. Yes the UK has a drinking problem, equally the US has its drugs & guns problems, yes her shopping is difficult without late night stores in larger towns, ditto for the USA. Driving licences costs and their required standards are being raised to have safer drivers on the roads, though why she hasnt yet after two years gained a licence is a mystery(?)
I myself was looking for employment in the USA and a lifestyle change, based primarily on the weather, and its constants, thus allowing for a more active and outdoors lifestyle, but believe me the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence,
or in this case the ocean. Those that have - can do, those that dont , despair and cant do. Canadians are ridiculed for obtaining health care insurance to cross the border, imagine that in the UK between say Scotland & England or Wales, or even to Europe!

A lot of what everyone says is both personal and generalised, and whilst these are my views and replies and events ect, I, unlike the lady writer, had the option and CHOSE to visit the country (USA) to get a taste before I made a decision about moving, and my views about USA are no longer so positive.

For a holiday its ok, but to live, without sustainable or suitable funds OR a conscious about others around you, well thats a stretch; the USA needs a major sea change! In the words of the Tom Jones song - the old country is a callin me with its green green grass of home! lol

Touching experience-another expat wife's thoughts from Geneva

Canadianerrant's picture

Dear Denise, alot of what you are describing about your life in merry Ole England echoes with my own experiences in Switzerland-mostly your perception that being up front is ill received-

what comes up for me is the question of finding your "tribe" out there in the british boonies or in the capital-have you not found a great local girlfriend - for myself, it's the very first thing I seek out when I move-usually via some volunteer activity, I'll discover someone "fun" enough to bother to try cultivating a friendship with and when I say cultivate I'm talking about bringing back crates of maple syrup and Inuit Teas from Québec every time I go, little gifts, exchanges of lovely hand and face creams and the like till we're received-our only friends are couples with whom things go super al around met through volunteering and sporting club

Another issue though as I'm finding some swiss women can be a trifle catty I need to work hard at changing my core beliefs and naïveté so that it won't affect me should I be excluded from the professional circles I'm presently seeking to join-

Culture shock 2 years ago, none of the wives from my husband's United Nations outfit outrightly ignored me as a newcomer during an offsite function after their husbands went to get them to do so!!! and snubbed me the whole weekend-so I ended up taking the daughter of a cadre under my wing for local visits-after, having seen their gluttonous table manners I surmised that nothing had been missed- and ---and-I was asked to tennis at 9 and 3 women my inviter among them, were volleying on the first court right under my bench-I waited the hour before joining my friend for singles...ouch As a guest/friend of an old protestant family (as they are called and call themselves) I spent time with a grandchild while mother and grandmother worked and did protestant lady things-till I found myself being interrupted in mid sentence more and more frequenty and asked to do this or that and charged for a piece of craftwork I never asked for but was offered repeatedly...My strategy to break off the relationship with this family was to refuse an invitation to a concert stating that I NEVER listened to THAT kind of music- Untrue and I felt nicely vindicated But it adds up and I keep bouncing back because we can afford for me to try out my most ambitious ideas in tiny steps to test the waters-my trick is to have a whole lot of FUN doing it and the outcome is not life and death crucial-I've got a Plan B that's just as attractive!

I realize I said alot but you inspired me with your own honesty about the hidden difficulties of the quaint life abroad in Europe

I'm Québécois we're very friendly right up front I don't understand the ways of the Occidental world although I'm an anthropologist by training- We're both thankful for all the young people we paraglide with and my daughter's girlfriend who lives here and includes me in alot of interesting research projects that her and her anthropologist friends are up to-she has been my ANGEL
European men in general are too cartesian to grasp alot of what I say-Presently as I'm starting to network my coaching services I'm also having to keep a tight bridle on my thoroughbred North American spontaneity
Socially, people, in general are far too uninterested (polite uncurious) of the Other and spew their stories at you while you grow more and more curious of what is making them do this to you especially since they never ask you what it is you think of this particular predicament or success-
we're in an era where people are also paying fortunes to learn to communicate and to listen-It sort of sucks as they say that we who know how to do this through our North American educations where, in the words of my geneva student friends, they're taught to speak up-IHere the young peope and my friends say it's don't make waves-I think North Americans need to play at adapting alot when we travel you, due to anti-american (although on the wane since Obama) and I because of the shared perception in the francophone world tha Québec and North Amercia is very much in advance in terms of human development- I'm not sure what sentiments we raise it's not trust usually but sometimes it is, at first sight, lovely lifelong friendships can emerge
I hope you find good local friends to share your exotiqueness with and create ties for you both- I'm called the Minister of Social Activities and Good Times, a role I take very seriously when I'm not attempting to make a living and participate in local affairs doing something I love-which brings, in turn, better conversation at the dinner table and many many less tears and despair and fear of my inutility and of "mesquinerie"

Arya L

MPlan B is re retire and travel between Québec and be daughter and grandmother, Martinique where we keep a beloved sailboat while hubby keeps climbing the diplomatic ladder

An American expat

Limeygal's picture

If your husband is Dutch, why don't you go and live in Holland? The vast majority of the Dutch speak English as a second language. English is so prominent a lot of the English/American T.V. shows are not even sub- titled.
My dearest wish is to be back home in England, I have lived in the Southern part of the U.S. for twenty five years. My husband is a veteran, and has had major health problems since 1987, four heart attacks, diabetes, and now emphysema. He gets free prescriptions, and health care at a V.A. facility. He has numerous blackouts, and he he is on a veterans pension. We have no family whatsover here, so I am his only caregiver, therefore, I have been unable to work being as there has to be someone with him.
I have a small bare bones health policy, that runs out in March of next year. I have lived an almost poverty stricken existance here for many years, to say it has been a nightmare is an understatement. We are awaiting results of more tests next week, which will likely entitle him to a higher pension.
If this is the case, everything we own (which is not much) is being sold, and by hook or by crook, I am going home.
With regard to your post, I only wish I had your "problems", they may seem big to you, but I would give anything to have them. No electrical outlets in the bathroom? a piece of cake, shops closing early? what the heck.
Be grateful for what you have, and if is so intolerable to you, living in England, like I said, Holland would be a good choice for you.

Getting the heck out of the USA

markmac's picture

Hello, I really enjoyed your post. I have wanted to live in the UK since I was 6-years old and planned my entire life there. Unfotunately it never came to be. Now that I am 50 I desperately want to give it a go. Can you tell me what you did and how long it took? It is true that most US nationals couldn't find their way out of a paper bag let alone understand that living in a different country with different customs is just that....if you don't want to experience new cultures, then stay at home and continue to eat chocolate cake, get really fat and watch "Wife Swap". I cannot stand the current situation with capitalists trouncing and pounding the less fortunate to the ground. A population that actually didn't want national healthcare, and a president from 2000-2008 who was such an imbecile he bankrupted the country and made a fool of us all. Needless to say, I was born in the USA by mistake. My family heritage is all Scottish and English and I simply want to reclaim my citizenship. Can you give me the low-down on how you made it to the UK?

The truth hurts

Expat's picture

First let me say that you and most people are just going to hate what I have to say.
You are an out an out LIBERAL that loves Michael Moore (who is a complete left wing moron) and a social worker (who are bleeding heart libs mostly as well)
I am a proud and die hard REPUBLICAN and this is why I absolutely relish being in America versus Britain:
Firstly, I am not an American. I am a Brit who has lived in America for 20yrs and let me tell you what is wrong with Britain:
Probably about 85% of housing in Britain is so abysmally dire. Of that 85%, people are living in semis or flats and have to share the walls with someone...or lots of people. And the cost to buy these 'super' dwellings is ridiculously high. I guffaw at the dross that is passed off as habitable. At least in America the populace is for the most part, not asked to use a sink with 2 taps (the hot tap and the cold tap) even with the new houses. The builders just refuse to change their specifications. In America, people have a 2 car garage as standard in most houses, but many people have 3 car garages. What are you given in Britain? -Off-street parking or parking in the street. There is nary a garage to be found...and if there is, there most certainly is no connecting door from the garage into the house. And let's not forget that hardly any home in Britain has a 2 let alone 3 car garage.
What else? -Oh yes, how many 'super' british homes have wee galley kitchens and the washing machine installed in the kitchen as opposed to a separate laundry room. And then there's the perpetual 'radiators' in most homes as opposed to gas forced heat. Now all this is just the housing situation.
What about the astronomical price of petrol which is around $6 a gallon of which 75% is tax. In the U.S. it is only $2.40 a gallon. What about the road tax and the rip-off MOT every year and the television license for 5 channels!
What about the fact that the government told pensioners to wear extra jackets and a wooly hat in their own home and throw away their electric toothbrush to conserve energy.
Why are all you 'bloggers' not facing all these truths about Britain???
Then let's talk about how Britain has sold out the indiginous populace to all the illegal migrants who have run rampant with grabbing all the free benefits that the pensioners worked hard all their lives to be able to provide..courtesy of the government's reserves. How many more millions are waiting at the port of Calais just waiting to 'feed' off other people's backs. They bypass a lot of other countries...just to get into Britain.
I have prospered here in America and I thank America for the chance it gave me to succeed and live 'like people are supposed to live'. Not just 'exist' like most of the Brits do.
I was back in Britain one time and I had bought a train ticket and I wanted to use the toilet. I was told by the 'more than my jobsworth' attendant with full rail cap and regalia that I had to pay 20 pence to go to the toilet. -RIDICULOUS.
When in America would I be asked that. Let's get blood out of a stone.
Where in Britain do they offer 'free refills' on soft drinks and coffee like they do in America. How many 'Happy Hours' with occasional complimentary hors d'oeuvres do you see in Britain. In America, most people receive this between 4pm-6pm or the like. Oh and the local phone calls in America are 'free'. Are any local calls 'free' in Britain? -Not a chance.

What is the reply from the Brits that love Britain and want to put down America? -I'll tell you. It is the medical. The fact that Britain will look after you with 'free' medical and America won't.
Well here is my reply to that. Yes, America doesn't have free medical as such. However, they do have medicare as opposed to nothing at all after retirement. While you are working there is medical for most of your adult life. The medicare upon retirement covers the basics and then you have to purchase separate medical as needed. If you are unhealthy and have lived a life of being overweight and triglyceride-prone and need helicopter flight-for-life transports to the hospital on a regular basis you might be buggered with the costs.
But in the end, with all the excess costs, fees, licenses, etc for petrol, housing, MOTs....ad nauseum, the Brits are effectively paying for that 'free' medical anyway. In America, where people don't have all those 'extras' that the Brits have to pay, nest eggs can be built up and used for extra medical anyway.

Someone I know worked for 3yrs in America in the 1960s before returning to Britain permanently and currently receives 35 pounds a month as a 'pension'. ANother elderly person I know worked about 9 or 10yrs in Britain (more than triple the work time) and now gets the princely sum from the British government of 12 pence a month!!! -That is fundamentally WRONG.
Who pays someone 12 pence a month pension for 9 or 10yrs work? -And this elderly person was even working on Xmas day as her work was given the option in the 1950s of getting xmas day or victoria day as a holiday.
Yet the illegals are given housing, housing benefits, child benefits and medical.....FOR CONTRIBUTING NOTHING.
But liberals love a good 'melting pot'.

I sure would prefer to live where I am in America with mod-cons in the heat, versus eke out an existance in Britain in the cold in a semi or a flat with high heating bills.

You Brits need to stop moaning about Britain and do something to change it back to the place it used to be.
It used to be a great country but it has been destroyed by the liberals and too much socialism.

Something new

Scottsman's picture

I particularly enjoyed the last two stories myself but could identify with somethings from them all. I myself am a 24yr old male born and raised in the U.S and since I was young have always wanted to atleast visit if not move over to the U.K being that my the majority of my heritage is Scottish and English and I have a great affinity and love for my ancestors heritage not to mention love the colder rainy season weather. I actually am planning my first trip this coming year to visit and see as much as possible. As far as agreeing and disagreeing goes I feel America certainly has its ups and downs as well as the U.K. America certainly has alot of people who run around acting as if they are somewhat better than most people because of course we are fed that this is the greatest country ever. I read recently on another website about tourists in England and how the locals do appear to show a "nice" side almost as a show but that the Americans because of our ability to get what we want when we want it almost "demand" things while we are there not to mention I've heard this from a friend who was born and raised fromt here herself.Now dont get me wrong I am certainly a patriot towards my country and its history but I can't stand how it has become. I spend time talking with my grandparents and parents about the way things were in the 20's up until now and how people have changed and not so much for the better either. Now reality is that all over the world that is the case not just here but living here for 24 years has made me I guess dislike it very much. I do agree alot with Expat that wrote the truth hurts article about how America certainly has its benefits that many countries do not i.e housing,amenities, or gas prices etc. We are fortunate to have alot of things here in this country but I feel that because of the "melting pot" society there is so much difference between people, I mean we have people from all around the world here and certainly not everyone agrees on similar things particularly Liberals and Rebublicans are at one anothers throat when it comes to politics which only makes its "followers" tend to do the same. I feel in my own opinion of course that in England they tend to have a more love for country and their heritage and culture and stick to it rather than allow diversity to flow through it. And I base that on reading books, websites, videos, news, as well as friends from there. I do feel also that people such as Dragonflygirl the original creator of this discussion and older people in general who are used to the cultures and ways of the U.S find it difficult to be somewhere else in its entirety simply because it is completely different reguardless of language. And I agree with her that It would be alot easier for someone my age per say. As always I know that it is different with everyone and their own experiences so I do not base my choices upon the words of others but absolutely love the diverse opinions. If there is one thing being and American has taught me it is simply to be accepting and open to new things be it cultures, ideas, or anything different from our normality. One other thing that I have notices is tha tas an American going to other countries and yes I have been outside of this country a few times have noticed how hard it is to actually do so and be able to move about freely to other countries where as coming here is no issue at all just look at how many immigrants come to this country daily. If this was such a bad place to be why does everyone want to be here? All in all as I stated I'm partial to my heritage and ancestry so it inclines me to want to be apart of it more and more not to mention I love the idea of marrying and English Girl. I feel the world simply has changed over many years and no matter where you are it will never be anything of its former self unless we change it.

Update: Unfortunately love

cricket's picture

Update:

Unfortunately love was not enough and left England January 2010. I made it back to the U.S. and picked up my career where I left off and I am now running a Real Estate Company. I couldn't be happier and I filed for divorce. The one thing I learned throughout all of this as how much more I appreciate my country even with all the flaws. We are so very lucky to live here. I live in California and with all the glorious warm weather and sunshine I am now finally thrilled to be home where I really do belong.

My independence has been re-gained but I do not take anything for granted anymore. I am thrilled when I get into my car to go anywhere as I did not have that ability in England.

I will not date anyone that is not an American as this experience was a painful one for me. England is a nice place to visit but not to live for me. For those who had a good experience I will always admire that ability. I have no regrets as had I not gave it a try I would never have realized that I was not able to adjust to another country. It is ok, as I am happy to be home again and will never leave except for vacations! A life lesson well learned.