British Expat In USA - Expat Interview With Claire McGill

Published: 8 Nov at 1 PM
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Filed: Interviews,USA
Claire McGill’s friends asked the question “You might be ready for the USA, but is the USA ready for you?” when Claire told them she, her son and husband would be moving to the States for a few years. So far, so good…! The McGills are determined to make the most of their three years in Maryland and are up for anything! Claire writes for own expat blog called UK Desperate Housewife USA (see listing here)



UK Desperate Housewife USA

Here's the interview with Claire...



Where are you originally from?
From the south west of the UK, a lovely, gentle part of the world.

In which country and city are you living now?
Columbia, Maryland – very near Washington

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
We’ve been here for a mere 10 weeks and are planning on staying for at least 3 years, if they’ll have us that long….

Why did you move and what do you do?
As a family we wanted to experience new things together, spend time travelling and have adventures. I also think it’s something to do with my itchy feet (metaphorically, not medically). As a youngster I moved around a lot, lived abroad and I guess it’s in my blood…

UK Desperate Housewife USADid you bring family with you?
Myself, my husband and my son are all together, as well as our two cats, Pumpkin and Pieface.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
We did a lot of research before we came about the place and what makes it a great place to live (the internet is a Godsend). We also did a visit to look at houses and schools, which means that you get a sense of the place.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
We try to integrate with Brits and Americans. We are lucky that there is a British community here already and we’ve got to know a lot of them. The Brits do all sorts of social events and keep a flavor of Britishness, but the real experience has been hanging out with Americans, whom we’ve met through the gym, work, school etc. They willingly share their lives with us, which is a wonderful, intriguing and entertaining thing.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
It is very family-orientated here, which is great. No one raises that British eyebrow like at home when kids are out with the family for dinner. And boy, there are enough places to choose from for dinner! We’re embracing the culture as much as possible, including baseball games, Halloween (massive!) and corn dogs!!!

UK Desperate Housewife USAWhat do you enjoy most about living here?
The climate has been great so far – summer was hot, and the Fall is beautiful. We wonder what the winter will bring – lots of snow apparently, which we will have to adapt to. Oddly, we love the driving – big roads, space and not too many traffic lights, though we haven’t driven through any cities as yet, but that experience will be soon enough. It’s also great to jump on a plane and be in Florida in two hours or think we’ll take a road trip to Savannah. For us, we see the opportunities as pretty endless.
We make sure we do all we can – community events, fairs, festivals etc, to get a real sense of what a proper American living here would do. I also bug all my American friends for stories, thoughts, and opinions about their lifestyle, politics and cultural bits and pieces.

How does the cost of living compare to home?
Food is definitely more expensive, especially healthy food, so I can now see why lots of people eat out more. The bill for aircon is astronomical, but required, sadly. Gas/petrol is cheaper, but the cars are such gas guzzlers, it makes you wonder how economical it really is.

UK Desperate Housewife USAWhat negatives, if any, are there to living here?
Skype means that we can talk to our friends and relatives, so the only negative is that we can’t get them round for coffee (we have a lovely coffee machine!)
I found moving from a full time job to being a desperate housewife (or homemaker as my visa application requested I put on!) tough. I’ve found work as a Zumba instructor, which is just fabulous as it gets me out of the house.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Find out stuff, investigate and don’t worry – it will all fall into place. We treated the first few weeks like a holiday, and then things like getting car tags and bank accounts just happened. It can be frustrating, but that’s just the way it is. It is tough getting mobile phones with no credit rating, but it does happen – persistence is the key!

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Getting everything sorted – it does exhaust you, and you never totally feel you’re on top of things, but then that’s all part of the adventure I guess. I don’t ever want it to feel too comfortable, otherwise it becomes boring and mundane.

UK Desperate Housewife USAWhen you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
It will be hard to adjust to the UK again, I know that already, but there are some things I think about, like wondering through beautiful Bath and knowing where to stop for a drink and bumping into someone I know; that will feel great again. Here, I quite like some anonymity.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
Stay calm, be happy, see it all as a learning experience, build on your adventure and take some risks. They all pay off in the end.

Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I wanted to showcase America and Americans through observations of their personality, behaviours and culture. And I want to make people laugh! It’s great to get feedback that people are enjoying it. I never want to upset the Americans, and it’s all very tongue in cheek. I find it all so fascinating and I want to share new experiences, either challenge or uphold some of the stereotypes and preconceptions of America and Americans that we have, and to log our experiences for friends, family, a wider audience and for us as a family to look back on. I also wanted to keep my brain engaged, and I love to write. I think with this blog I’ve really found my voice, so it’s always a pleasure to write.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Sure – clairebolden{at}hotmail-dot-com

Claire has an expat blog called UK Desperate Housewife USA http://ukdesperatehousewifeusa.wordpress.com which is very worthy of a visit. Claire can be found on Twitter @ukhousewifeusa. UK Desperate Housewife USA has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here which would love a nice review if you can spare a quick moment! If you liked this interview with Claire, please also drop her a quick note below.
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Comments » There are 4 comments

EmmaK wrote 1 year ago:

Your blog is great fun and you have great cultural insights.

Laurel wrote 1 year ago:

Claire's blog is really worth a read, do it folks! Very funny and eye opening observations.

Sue wrote 1 year ago:

Always glad of the opportunity to say how much I enjoy Claire's sense of humour which is so obvious in her natural style of writing. So pleased the American experience is so positive and rewarding. Long may it last!

Rebekah Gosling wrote 1 year ago:

My family and I are very keen to visit the US so it's great to see how easily Claire and her family have adapted to life there - makes it seem less daunting!

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