Expat Interview With Taylor - US Expat In England

Published: 30 Oct at 1 PM
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Filed: Interviews,England
Taylor Kellum is a 22 year old expat who traded the south of Florida for the south of England. She likes to think that she fits in great in her new home because she eats grilled to-MAH-toes for breakfast and fully understands the game of cricket (they lied, it is NOT like baseball). But she will always be that American girl who gets forced to say typical American phrases at parties. She loves England and loves sharing her experiences so that she can help others trying to make their way across the pond! Taylor also enjoys running. She made a new year’s resolution to become a runner 2 years ago and miraculously has stuck to her commitment. She is currently training for her first half marathon. Her blog shares not only her exciting expatriate experiences of seeing sheep in the road and getting lost on the London tube, but also her running and racing adventures. Taylor's blog is called Running Across the Pond (see listing here)

Running Across the Pond

Here's the interview with Taylor...



Where are you originally from?
I am originally from south Florida, USA.

In which country and city are you living now?
I now live in Southampton, England.

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I’ve only been here a few weeks, but England has always felt kind of like a second home. I’m planning to stay, as of right now, forever!

Why did you move and what do you do?
I always say “I moved to be with a wonderful man with an accent.” We’ve been dating 3 years and got engaged in May of this year. After months of preparation, I finally moved! Right now under the terms of my visa, I can’t work until we are married. So right now I do a whole bunch of keeping myself busy! I do have a bachelor’s degree in psychology with emphasis on child development, so I’d love to work with kids once I am able to!

Did you bring family with you?
I did not bring any family with me, but that just means they’ll have to come visit! (and obtain passports…)

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
So far it’s really easy because I knew what I was getting myself into. I’ve visited England 4 times (all for at least a month at a time) so I already knew a lot about what it was like to “live” here. I’m still finding out so much though everyday!

Running Across the PondWas it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Luckily, my Fiancé’s friends are very accepting of me, even if it’s only to make fun of my accent! So I socialize mostly with them. And I was lucky enough to already have a lot of friends all around the UK since I worked at a summer camp with mostly British staff. I’m still trying to get involved around the community as much as I can to make new friends!

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Southampton is great because it’s so close to other places, like London and Brighton, which are fantastic to visit. More importantly, there is a lot to do around here that is in walking distance! (My brain still drives the other side of the road and the other side of the car, so walking is amazing!) I’d recommend any expat in England to go to a football (soccer for the other side of the pond) game at least once. You’ll be hooked! I've become a big fan of Southampton FC! It gives you some loyalty to the city you live in; another great way to make friends!

What do you enjoy most about living here?
Obviously my favorite thing about being here is no longer being in a long distance relationship since we live together now! And this is going to sound crazy, but I really like the weather (I know, every English person is rolling their eyes at me right now). I absolutely hate hot weather, so I think I came to the right place! The proximity to everything is amazing as well. I love being super close to London. Back at home, I’d have to fly 3 hours to New York City just to get that same city atmosphere. Also in America, you cross a border and you’re just in another state. In Europe, you cross a border and you’re in another culture. It’s completely mind blowing to me.

Running Across the PondHow does the cost of living compare to home?
I’d definitely say most things are most expensive when you compare it to the dollar. Occasionally I’ll find the incredibly cheap item. Like Paracetamol (to relieve headaches) is only 16p. I don’t think a box of Advil would ever cost 16 cents. But most everything else is expensive, especially electronics. Now that I live here, I’m starting to notice it more. I’m past the stage of pounds sterling being “monopoly money” so to speak.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
Right now the only negative is the time difference to my family and friends back in the USA. It’s only about 5 hours, but it’s still difficult. Familiarity is another thing I miss. Something so silly as walking around a store or supermarket frustrates me sometimes; it usually takes me a seriously long time to find what I’m looking for! I know that the familiarity will just have to come with time.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Just jump in with both feet. I know that doesn’t say anything specific, but it’s the best piece of advice I can give. When it comes to uprooting your life and dropping it into another country, there’s a lot to worry about. Money. Making friends. Missing home. But there’s nothing you can do about these things. Instead of worrying about the “what-ifs”, just throw yourself in wholeheartedly.

Running Across the PondWhat has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The hardest aspect was definitely the goodbyes. I’m terrible at goodbyes. The anticipation was the worst. I would just start crying while eating dinner; it was ridiculous! . I just hate missing people. Just thinking about it is making me tear up! Once the goodbyes were over, I was fine and excited for my new life.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
1. SAVE SAVE SAVE YOUR MONEY before you go. I can’t emphasize this enough. Even if you’re starting a job straight away, you never know what’s going to come up. Extra luggage fees. Food. Taxis. There’s always something.
2. Important memories are more important to pack than clothing. You can always buy more clothes. You can’t buy your 2 favorite stuffed animals from when you were 6. And pictures don’t take up that much of your suitcase either. Take that picture of your mom and you at age 4. You’re not any less of an adult, I promise.
3. Teach your friends and family how to use technology before you go. That way, they’ll know how to use it once you’re away. Skype and Whatsapp will be your best friends.
4.Make a list of goals you want to accomplish, and always be willing to change or add to the list. Maybe you want to be fluent in the native language, or maybe you’re like me and want to learn to drive on the other side of the road! It could be something as quirky as “find 5 new candy bars that don’t exist back at home”. These goals just keep you busy and give you something to look forward to accomplishing.
5. Try to expand your horizons as much as possible once you’re in your new country. Force yourself to learn Celsius instead of Fahrenheit. Plop yourself in the middle of town and force yourself to get home without your phone GPS. Little things like that start making it feel normal to live there.

Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My blog is called Running Across the Pond. I started it back in July when I was waiting the approval of my UK visa. It’s all of my humorous trials and tribulations of waiting for the visa, getting ready to move, and now living in England. On it you can find a lot of attempted wit, Americanisms, and my not so secret love for all things British. When I’m not blogging about getting stuck in the English rain or finding American candy stores, I’m out running and training for my first half marathon in February. (And then probably blogging about nearly getting run over by a car.)

Running Across the PondHow can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
I love giving advice or chitchatting with hopeful expats! The best way to contact me is through email: runningacrossthepond{at}gmail-dot-com

Taylor's expat blog is called Running Across the Pond http://runningacrossthepond.blogspot.co.uk which is very worthy of a visit. Taylor can be found on Twitter @HeyTayK and Running Across the Pond has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here where you can leave a nice comment if you like! If you appreciated Taylor's interview, please also add a quick note below.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Roger Schur(Uncle Roger) wrote 4 years ago:

Hello Taylor! So happy to hear of your recent engagement and pending marriage. Most of all I particularly enjoyed hearing that another family member has become a lover of running along with your cousin Danielle. We have been running together for many years in many different road races throughout New Jersey. As for myself, I have run 8 marathons, 6 New York, 1 LI and 1 Philadelphia. It is a very rewarding experience once finished, but I always found that the most difficult part of running a marathon is the training. I could not wait for race day so I can stop the long 16 week training program that I would follow. I always wanted to run the London marathon. I think it was a good idea to run your first race as a half marathon as I did back in 1989. How is your training going ? When is the race? Good luck with race and stay strong! Please stay in touch and I hope your wedding plans are falling in place nicely. When is the big day? Give my best to the lucky guy and my love to you, Taylor. Be well and safe. All my love, Uncle Roger

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