Meet Claire - who's move to America resulted in a life change, from drab to fab!:
I asked him a few days later. ‘Your positive outlook,’ he replied. So then I’m thinking again, does that mean us Brits usually come across as a bit glum and always looking at things as ‘glass half empty’, whereas the Americans would look at things as ‘red solo cup half full’…..?
I wanted to come and live in the States so that we could experience new and different opportunities as a family and what has really resonated for me during my year here is that those opportunities do exist, as long as you're prepared to invest time and money in seeking them out and doing them to their full potential.
My life here is significantly different from my one in the UK. I comment that it was much more black and white in England. Work, social life, family time. That’s how it was. Just the three of us, making it happen in our little three bed semi-detached house. We went to work, came home, did an activity, went out at the weekends to see friends or family and that was that.
Here in the USA we are always seeking, always doing, always taking the opportunities that come our way. Not a quiet moment, not a dull moment, and never do we utter the words ‘what shall we do this weekend?’
Our American calendar is full to the brim of new and exciting things to do, people to meet, places to go. Road trips, baseball games, concerts, towns to visit, cultural events, political events….all of it stands out as part of the American experience.
So that’s the positive outlook we’ve adopted, which can, quite frankly, be exhausting at times. But worth it. I never want to look back at my experience and think ‘I wish we had done that’ (okay, so it’s a big country and we won’t see everything), but I also suspect I won’t be saying ‘I wish I hadn’t done that’ because the end result is that it all adds up to life changing experiences and that’s primarily what we came out to the USA for.
I had two stipulations about our move across the Atlantic - 1. I can work and 2. I can take the cats. Of course, the latter happened at great expense, and the former was an experience in its own right (getting a work visa is not the easiest system to navigate). But get it I did, and promptly set about reinventing my career by training hard, investing a great deal of time and money into programmes and courses, and securing a couple of jobs as a fitness instructor. My passion became my work. In the USA, I felt motivated and inspired that I could achieve this goal. Yes, my circumstances allowed it, but there was also the ‘you can do it’ holler from all sides that spurred me on.
And writing. I am always writing, morning noon, and like today, the middle of the night. I’m a writer, I think to myself. From 6 years old I said I wanted to be a writer, and now I kind of am. Dreams do come true….
The response on this side of the pond has been phenomenal - Americans like it; perhaps even more than the Brits… They seem to suck up the observations and enjoy reading what I make of things in the USA that they might take for granted, or seeing my take on how cultural differences and this and that compares to how we do it in the UK.
I like living in America. I like what it offers me; I like that it has allowed me to see the positive everywhere I go and with people I meet and that it has allowed me to grab those opportunities. Every day is a ‘carpe diem’ day if you let it be.
That’s why I wanted to come and live here - to appreciate fresh experiences, a different culture and a change in my way of life. When people asked me why I wanted to leave Britain for a while and undertake this adventure, I replied that it was nothing to do with seeking greener grass, but simply about being able to smell, touch and feel a different kind of grass for a while.
We know we can’t maintain this relentless pursuit of all things new and exciting forever; one day America may cease to feel new and exciting and then we’ll be back to just ‘life’, but while we can, America is our land of positive attitude, opportunity and adventure. And that’s just the way we like it.
How do I feel about going back to the UK when all this is over? Tired. I expect I will feel tired. But very, very fulfilled.
Claire McGill is a blogger, fitness instructor and nutritionist. She moved from Cheltenham to Maryland in 2012.
Check out her blog: ukdesperatehousewifeusa.com
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