A little different post for this week… I was browsing the internet, as one does, after waking up one morning and I came across a fun little article about things that one lady didn’t do any more after moving from the US to Germany. It highlighted a few things about how life had changed for her, and I thought it would be fun to share some insight into how we’ve changed over the past years since we’ve moved from Texas to England. There are some habits we know we’ll fall back into, and some we’ll probably never pick back up. So without further ado, here’s the list:
HABITS THAT WE’VE DROPPED THAT WE’LL PICK BACK UP IMMEDIATELY
Eating Mexican Food
For those of you who aren’t from Texas, it’s hard to comprehend how significant a change this is for us. I’m not exaggerating when I say that, back home, we probably ate Mexican food at least 5 times a week. Taquito or breakfast taco for breakfast? Burrito for lunch? Fajitas for dinner? Yes, please!
One of the questions we get asked often is what we miss the most, and it’s not a question… it’s good Mexican food. We miss our friends and family, but we can FaceTime them or call them. You can’t call a taco.
We went back home over Christmas and tried to eat so much Mexican food that we’d be sick of it for a while until we go back later this year. It’s February… It didn’t work…
Wear shorts/ sunglasses/ flip flops
One of the wonderful things about Texas is that generally the weather is pretty warm all year long. Our standard uniform was pretty much always shorts, flip flops and a t-shirt or polo. We would wear them everywhere.
Sunglasses were an absolute must! It is so bright. Libby would actually get a headache sometimes if she didn’t wear sunglasses.
Those days are behind us now. We no longer are in the habit of wearing anything that might be confused with beach attire. We can go days without seeing the sun. Instead, what you have is grey… the constant overcast sky. It’s so much worse in the winter. I never had to deal with dramatically shorter days before, but, for a significant portion of the year, we deal with only having daylight for less than 12 hours. Right now, we’re super excited that sunset is now after 5pm!
Celebrate American Holidays
For the first couple of years we were here, we all made a pretty game effort of trying to keep up with the holidays. The expats would get together to have a pot-luck style thanksgiving dinner. I smoked a brisket one year for 4th of July.
Since this past year, I don’t think we even really tried. Memorial Day is loosely replaced with Spring Bank Holiday. I think last year, for 4th of July, we had hot dogs as our only concession to the day. For thanksgiving dinner, we had the traditional Indian curry take-away. Oftentimes, they are so far off our radar that we don’t even realize it’s a holiday until we see our friend’s Facebook photos of them at the lake.
Never carrying cash
We never carried cash back home. I can’t think of anywhere in America outside of the backwoods places in the middle of nowhere that don’t accept credit or debit cards. Anywhere we park, we have to pay for parking, and those almost never take cards. To use a cart at the grocery store, you have to insert a £1 coin. Brits, they allow you to use them for free in the US. America, land of the free!
Also, since the smallest paper bill they have is £5, I practically carry a coin purse that weighs a ton in my pocket. I will be looking forward to going back to a cashless system again. Technology is great, people, and lighter!
HABITS WE DON’T SEE MAKING A COMEBACK
Go shopping at night
This is something we absolutely took for granted when we moved over here. On weekends, we would think nothing of driving to, for example, Target or Best Buy or some other random superstore at 8pm. After work, during the week, we would sometimes drop by a store to pick up some random thing we missed in our weekend shopping. Why not? Stores would be open until 9, and during the holiday season would be open until 10!
This is such a dramatic change for us here. Stores close at 5:30 here, and I mean almost everything outside of grocery stores. Even the grocery stores are only open from 10:00 – 4:00pm on Sundays! I can’t tell you how many times that bit us the first few months we lived here. Now, for the most part, we don’t even bother driving to the store. We order a TON online. Amazon is definitely our friend. Heck, we will even order our groceries online sometimes. It really has been a massive step-change in our daily lives. Given how easy it has been, I don’t see this changing back.
Watch live TV
This has been dramatically increased by the arrival of Duke, but the trend was definitely there before. Back in Texas, we would curl in for the night and watch a show. We would watch sports games. On the weekends, it would not be uncommon for us to watch an American football game or baseball game. Almost all of this, we would watch in real time.
With very, very few exceptions, we never watch any TV live. We still love our American shows like Castle and NCIS and Survivor. We still love the Dallas Cowboys (well… I do anyways, and so will Duke). Those shows are on in the middle of the night for us. A prime-time show starting at 7pm will on starting at 1:00am here. It’s just so much easier to watch it the day after. Even British shows we enjoy, like Sherlock and Whitechapel and Grand Designs, we never watch live. Who wants to deal with commercials anymore? Fast forward is your friend! Given that our TV-watching time is even more limited with Duke these days, I’m fairly certain our days of live TV are behind us.
We used to eat out all the time back home. Our lives were so fast-paced, and going out to eat was often faster and cheaper than eating at home. Comfortably, a majority of our meals, during the course of the week, we ate out.
That’s definitely changed here… First off, dinners here are more costly than one of Judas’ denarii. I mean, going out to hamburgers can cost us almost $40! Secondly, maybe I never noticed it in America, but good, quality fresh food is so readily available here. The grocery store has a good selection of produce, meat, and other fresh food. The village next to us has a farm shop we can pick up local produce from. A couple of villages over there is a fantastic butcher shop.
I feel like we’re very spoiled here. We’ve learned to love having Sunday roast. I think that we’ll definitely take this back with us, and be very happy for it!
I could go on and on… We are so happy we took this opportunity to experience a new culture. It’s exciting to look back on how we’ve changed and grown over the past few years. I’m eager to see how much will stay with us as we move forward.
We hope you’re well, and look forward to catching up with you guys!
Derek and Libby and Duke