Stupid Shit People Say #3

“It is weird driving on the wrong side of the road?!”

Yes. Yes it is.
Did you expect me to say that it’s totally normal? It’s not. What’s worse is that I’m always confused when I’m driving. There is a nagging feeling in the back of my mind saying, which road rules are for this location?!

And…technically it’s not the wrong side of the road; it’s the opposite side.

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USA? UK? Brain freeze!

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I am Not Ready

I’ve got exactly 2 weeks until I return to England. I’m not ready mentally. Maybe it’s because it’s an island and it feels like a prison.
I’m not ready to say goodbye to my family or to my friends who I did not get to see enough of.
I am not ready to stop driving through Culvers. I’ve still got 6 free ice cream tickets and a free kids meal.
I’m not ready to go back to the dark, dark days or the endless rain.
I’m not ready to watch my mom cry as we go through security at the airport or explain (again) to my crying children why daddy can’t be a doctor in America.
I am not ready to get up at 6am and take the kids to school.
I am not ready to pet my dog for the last time knowing that at 15 years old and cancer ridden, he will not be around next summer to welcome us home.
I am not ready to let go of another piece of my American identity. Every year I am gone more and more slips away. I am losing my vocabulary and spatial awareness. 1/3 of my life has been spent abroad. I am not ready for the day that 1/3 of my life was in America.
I am not ready to go back to England and be “the American”. It’s just a constant reminder that I am not “home”.

I. Am. Not. Ready.

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Summer!

Well, it’s been 5 months of not writing. The Spring brought a feeling of excitement and stagnation in my life. Total bliss as my USA summer tickets were booked and I was going for the longest I’ve ever been out of England since moving there (9 1/2 weeks!). But spring also brought the dreaded anniversary of my move to England. 10 YEARS! TEN effing YEARS! It is frightening. How have my twenties passed so quickly and how have I grown such deep roots into a land that I am so indifferent about? Ugh.

Never mind. I cannot dwell on that. It’s summer!! I am so happy to be in the Yoop. (You know, *that other* part of Michigan. Not the mitten.) Since that darn polar vortex hit the UP so bad Lake Superior had ice chunks until June. Yikes! So the summer temperature has been chilly. There have not been many beach days or the dreaded camping that my children, parents and rest of the family love so much. Never the less I am happy just to be here with my parents and my 83 year old grandmother.

My dad keeps saying, I can’t believe summer is half over and you’re leaving in 4 weeks! Please dad, don’t wish away my summer. It’s going too fast on its own!

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Happy Independence Day! ūüáļūüáł

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Yearly Snowfall Record

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1st Place Women’s 2k

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4th Place Under 10 2k
(8th Place Men’s over all)

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Quincy Mine Tour

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Swimming in Lake Michigan

CBA

CBA. The best British phrase I have picked up, the only one I use with full enthusiasm and with my own free will. Can’t Be Asked (Arsed?). I love it.

Today I totally feel CBA. This is the fourth weekend in a row my husband isn’t home. Tomorrow starts half-term, a week off school for the kids. Kinda like spring break, but there are a fecking million half-terms. I. Am. Tired.

I am tired of doing all the running around 7 days a week. 33 days in a row I have taken the kids to school and back, brought in forgotten items, went swimming 4 times, taken to friends houses, went to running club, Eco club, golf lessons, trips to Legoland, a hand full of birthday parties, all the madressa runs, and had two kids off school sick for good measure.

My poor mom keeps saying she wishes we were closer so she could help. Nothing like 3,000+ miles of guilt. Thanks, mom.

It’s Sunday night, 7pm and I have run out of will power to cook, clean, and be calm. I just can’t be asked any more. I need help. But, woe is me, no one can help me. My laundry pile is out of control and what I did wash (ssshhh, 2 weeks ago) is still sitting in the office waiting to be put away. I refuse to feel guilty about the amount of take out we have eaten. Somehow in the middle of not cooking anything since Wednesday my dishwasher is full of clean dishes and my sink is full of dirty ones. How?!! Why?!!

It’s times like this I wish I was in Michigan so I could drop off the kids at my parents house, get my house in order, and just clear my head.

Instead I will put everyone to bed now and pretend I have my shit together.

Valentines Day

I don’t think the question of Valentines Day being an overly commercial “holiday” needs to debated. It’s true, it’s a Hallmark Holiday.

The cultural differences regarding Valentines Day for children in the UK and America are huge. Where I grew up and went to school (and I dare say 99% of other US schools) Valentines Day is a big celebration. We started our party at 1:30 and it lasted until the end of the school day. We made card boxes decorated in construction paper, hearts, and glitter. We passed out cards stuffed with chocolates and conversation hearts. We had a feast of cupcakes, rice Krispy treats, chocolate, and red kool-aid. Cards were made for our parents, grandparents, as well as paper flower bouquets. It was a special day, it reminded us that we were loved by our classmates, teachers, friends, and parents. It was a fun and exciting day and it helped break up the monotony of the white winter months.

In the UK, Valentines Day is for lovers, not children. Not much is done at school, I received a nice card (to mommy and daddy) from my 6 year old. My 8 year old found a card template on the internet, printed it, wrote it out, but didn’t get time to color it. My 4 year old said, “It’s Happy Bal-in-times Day!! I love you!” (insert kiss and hug). So the school made them aware of this day but didn’t buy into it. I sent cards and candybars for all the kids classes, 2 out of 3 passed them out. The one who forgot said sorry. Great.

Maybe it’s the American in me but I’d rather make a big fuss for the kids and forget about the lover part. (Well, maybe not forget him, but he knows he is loved.) In the times we live there is such a problem with bullying and parents being so busy, it’s important for the children to know that someone is thinking of them and loves them.

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Wouldn’t it be nice for 8 year olds to tell each other that they are awesome friends?

My mom, grandma, and aunt all sent packages full of cards and candy for the kids, so at least Valentines Day is alive in this American house.

Do you buy into Valentines Day? For your children, nieces, nephews, friends kids, your self, or partner?

Acceptance/Denial

So I am tittering on the tightrope that is acceptance and denial. England just might be my long term home. Shit. This is comforting and madding at the same time.

Life is good here in terms of H’s job and ability to make money and my luxury of being a stay at home mom (which, as all my kids are in full time school is looking more like a housewife). Also, the whole living in a safe environment with clean drinking water on hand at all times and a government that isn’t so outwardly corrupt that one might just trust its leaders. (cynical smirky face). The schools do their jobs in educating the children to a high standard and I do have fantastic friends here. So, life is good.

But… it’s always the same but. I don’t feel settled or at ease or at home or I love like this place enough to want my children to make their lives here and force me to stick around if I want to see my grandkids. ugh.

It’s very sad to feel like this. Over the past 3 years I have really, really tried to “get settled”, like, “buck up woman!” This is your forever home. Some days and weeks go by with out much thought to the future and where I might end up, but I think that is just because I’m so busy living the day to dayness of a young family I don’t have tons of time to throw myself a pity party.

I asked H if he had heard from Jeddah. That was a big no. Still working on Saudi time I guess. Nevermind. It’s not worth getting worked up over. I saw in H’s email today that a job that he had accepted in Al Ain, UAE was out again and he was inquiring about it. I thought in 2011 that UAE was our golden ticket, the job was accepted, notice given to the kids school, got moving quotes, the whole nine yards. In the end, 7 weeks before the move the final contract came and the money was significantly lower than what was offered. So, we stayed.

All I know is that after every interview I get really worked up, super excited, then depressed when I know it’s not happening due to whatever circumstance.

This month has been quite depressing as we still haven’t heard from Jeddah, one of my friends is going back to India in March, and another friends husband has accepted an offer in Qatar.

In the meantime I should be happy I can drive my new car freely.

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TGIM

Move over TGIF! The new best day of the week is Monday. This may sound like blasphemy to many, but, to the stay at home mom or housewife (which ever you like) Monday is the best. ALL my kids will be at school from 8:30-3:30 for five whole days!

I love my kids; they are so cute and say funny things and give me kisses when I want them. But, they are terrorists. My house and laundry basket hate the weekend. There is sticky bits of who knows what on many surfaces, crumbs from toast or parathas litter my sofas, and there are dinosaurs everywhere I look!!

Today it will be quiet. No chattering, crying, or complaining. TGIM.

Wow

I am in shock. People have been reading my ramblings! What?!

Hello to my followers and those who have ‘liked’ my posts.

I write this all straight out of my head, no filter, on my iPhone, letter by letter. And people read it! Wowzers.

I feel like most of the time I want to write when I’m down about living here, but I should just be more honest. It doesn’t totally suck. I promise.

The expat life is not glamorous like many think. It’s just life. Day in and day out just life. Routine and generally not exciting. It’s not “sexy” to hear a British accent all the time. (It never was for me). Black cabs are no longer quaint. Red telephone booths are disgusting and get pissed in like once an hour.

What’s so different being in the UK rather than the USA? Everything and nothing at the same time.
-My extended family is not close to me. I cannot drive to them. It takes no less than 16 hours and £3000 to see them.
-Drive thru banking. OMG it rains here like, every day!
-Super size Coke. Some times no less than 42oz of sheer delight will do!
-Lemonaide, Rootbeer, Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream. Sadness.
-Driving without wacky depth perception problems.
I could go on. For days. I’ll spare you.
But the normal life persists as well.
-Taking the kids to school, PTA, after school swimming lessons.
-Housework, bills, taxes, etc.
-Best friends to share life’s ups & downs
-Gym work outs, naps, grocery shopping
-Loving the hubby, hating the hubby, repeat.
Some things just don’t change no matter what country you are in.

So fellow expats, do you have a love/hate relationship with your adopted country or have you made it your forever home? I’d love to know!

Until my next rambling session. . .

Having enough of England

This week has been irritating.¬† England is wearing thin on me.¬† I’ve been here too long.¬† I have not adjusted to the culture here and honestly, I don’t want to.¬†

Four things this week have tipped me over the edge:

1.¬† “Do your kids look half-cast?”¬†

First of all OMG! Who says that? My children are not ‘half-cast’ and we are NOT living in 1945, it is NOT ok to say that to someone.¬† My beautiful children are half Asian¬†Indian, half¬†White¬†American.¬† They have a beautiful olive skin, amazing brown eyes, and the most luscious medium brown locks a child could have.¬† My children will forever be more beautiful that you, you horrible woman with bleach blond hair and pasty white – too much fake tan skin.¬† I forever hate you and your parents who taught you that is ok to speak so rudely and think so backwards.¬†

 

2.¬† “You have to accept the fact that your kids are British.”

Um, no, I don’t.¬† As an aquantince of mine you cannot dictate my children’s nationality, which is American.¬† We are living in Britian, we are NOT British.¬† We will not live here forever.¬† Considering the fact that¬†all of our close friends here are not from here and the majority of them are either American or¬†Cananadian they¬†are growing up with a North American culture and not a British one.

 

3.¬† “We’ll get those children speaking properly.”¬†

Again, WE ARE NOT BRITISH, therefore, we will not speak British English, or say things like vit-a-min.¬†¬†Its vite-a-min.¬† We don’t add¬†the letter U where it¬†does not belong.¬† My name is MOMMY not MUMMY and if you ask my 5 year old to¬†write¬†that in a card he won’t.¬† We throw things in the garbage not the bin, and for¬†Gods sake toffee is only ONE kind of food!

 

4.¬† Apparently the MET office changed the first day of Spring to¬†March 1 in 2006.¬† WHY?!?! Because its ‘easier to remember’.¬†

That¬†is so stupid¬†I just have no comment with out swearing, I’ll leave you to ponder that.

 

We are still waiting on the interview date for the job in Riyadh, its supposed to be in April sometime.¬†¬†The sooner the better, I need a change.¬† There have been emails from other recruiters regarding jobs in the UAE, which is my first¬†choice but I’m not hopeful for any of those¬†right now.¬†¬†

 

Trying to keep my spirits up this week and try not to speak to any idiots as well.