My friend Jessi told me that I should write a post about what I’ve learned while living abroad. There are endless articles and blog posts written on this subject so I kind of hmm’d and hah’d about writing such a post but once I sat down and collected my thoughts, I thought, why not?
All of my Things I’ve learned as an American expat in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UKoGBaNI) posts will be categorized and tagged as “Expat Learnings” so you can easily find these riveting revelations at all hours of the day.
Introducing Jessi, the inspiration for my UKoGBaNI post mini series.
The first thing I have learned as an American expat in the UKoGBaNI is…
It took a fucking long time for me to become comfortable living as an expat.
After living in England for a few months, I thought I was settled and felt comfortable in my new country of residence. At about month eight I met another American expat who mentioned that it took her about a year to feel settled and comfortable. As the years have flown by, it’s become clear to me how uncomfortable I was during my first year in England and, even to some extent, my second year in England.
My comfort level now – four years after moving to England – is completely different than it was after a year living in England. Moving to a different country will knock you out of your comfort zone and you will remain out of your comfort zone for a long, long time. Longer than you could ever imagine.
Now, four years on, I realize I felt completely comfortable living in this country about a month ago when I found myself yelling at the account manager for our flat. I never would have yelled at a citizen of this country a year ago much less bluntly told them that talking to them was like talking to a brick wall. The fact of the matter is that customer service in England is terrible!