Wednesday 12 January 2011

2010 Expat Milestones

Is it too late for a New Year's related post?

I am sure there is a rule somewhere that states any self-respecting blogger would have their New Year's post written and posted by at the 4th of January at the latest, so as lover of rules and order, I do apologize for my tardiness, but on to the post....

I'm sure there are many expats who mark traditional milestones of assimilation such as the first time you called your new country "home", or your first celebration of a holiday unique to your new country. I could bore you with my own stories of these and maybe that time I had my first royal spotting (no less than the Queen herself!), but really, who needs another one of those blog posts?

Instead, as we welcome a new year, I'm looking back to on a few of my own less-conventional expat assimilation milestones in 2010. (please share some of your own too!)

Farnham Castle
March 26, 2010 - I had a friend come to visit and took her around to "see the sights" including a short stop in Farnham, where she very astutely noticed a rather impressive building on the top of a hill and asked what it was. Not even giving it a second look, I said "oh, that's just a castle". Just a castle?! Farnham Castle may not be the grandest castle in the land, but I never would have thought before living in England that any castle would be viewed by me as "just a castle".

August 21, 2010 - This one makes me a bit uneasy... I had another friend visiting from America and was explaining some of the differences between life in England as life in the US and for the first time noticed that I was consistently confusing the "them" and "us" pronouns. I simply couldn't seem to keep straight if I was a "them" (the Brits) or an "us"(the Americans). Was I a "we" or a "they"?? I eventually ceased use of pronouns all together to solve my new identity crisis. I highly suggest this method if you find yourself in a similar situation.

October 13, 2010 - I got my driver's license in August of 2010, but was (ok, still kind of am) what I would consider a nervous driver, so the events of this October afternoon surprised and delighted me enough to be considered milestone #3. I was exiting the Tesco parking lot onto a large-ish roundabout and it wasn't until I had exited the roundabout that I realized what I'd just done - I'd been eating a ripped off piece of french stick whilst manoeuvring around the roundabout with no extra thought! I'd multi tasked while driving on the wrong side of the road and wrong side of the car for the first time!* Hooray for me!

December 30, 2010 - It was on this day that the The Unthinkable happened. My husband and I had reason to be over in East London (like waaay East London), which is considerably closer to the two Taco Bell locations which have recently popped up in Essex. Being the kind, caring man he is, my husband offered to take me to Taco Bell for a pre-new year's diet gorge. The Taco Bell menu began floating around in my head; I had visions of Nachos Bell Grande and shoving handfuls of brightly coloured sauces packets in my the purse and then, The Unthinkable.... I declined his invitation and asked to be taken to our local Indian (Bangladeshi to be precise) restaurant instead. Gasp! The horror! Could I actually prefer Indian food to the previously best food on earth (i.e Mexican food) or was it just a battle between Indian v Taco Bell?? I quickly realised it wasn't... I wasn't just choosing Indian over Taco Bell; I actually preferred Indian over ALL Mexican food. What has happened to me? This one is quite possibly less assimilation and more self-preservation, but a milestone either way.

If you too like Indian food (or variations thereof) and would like to try some of the best curry that England has to offer, The Independent claims these are the 50 best curry houses.

*I should probably mention that the Highway Code likely states you should concentrate only on driving when behind the wheel, and preforming any other actions concurrently may lead to death or grievous bodily harm.


  1. Man I don't blame you, that chicken Korma was damn delicious and I can't wait to eat it again!

  2. I am speechless about the Mexican food thing. Although I think I do prefer Thai over Mexican.

  3. I love this post! I had no idea there are Taco Bells here. There is a Chipotle in Soho if you need the best burrito anywhere (newish chain from US). These are really interesting milestones that I would have gone unnoticed for myself - I need to pay more attention:)