Welsh Expat Living in USA - Interview With Rachel

Published: 6 Feb at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,USA
Rachel has always had a yearning to live in another country since visiting family in Canada when she was 16. When her husband joined a multinational company she vowed that if he were offered the chance of a job in another country then they should take it. She feels incredibly lucky to have been offered this opportunity for her family, one that most do not have. Rachel's expat blog is called rightfromthestart (see listing here)

Meet Rachel - Welsh expat in USA
Meet Rachel - Welsh expat in USA

Here's the interview with Rachel...

Where are you originally from?
I am originally from the UK growing up in Wales and living in the West of England in recent years.

In which country and city are you living now?
I live in the US in the Greater Seattle area.

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I have been here for 5 months, we are on a 5 year visa but are seriously considering staying.

Why did you move and what do you do? I moved with my husbands job who works for a multinational company. I am an Early Education Consultant and Freelance Writer, I have a work permit and I am currently setting myself up as a freelance consultant, trainer and writer.

Staging our own Olympics in the garden and showing our support for team GB
Staging our own Olympics in the garden and showing our support for team GB
Did you bring family with you?
I brought my 3 children with me aged 8,4 and 2. They have adapted well, the schools here are excellent but the pre-schools are variable and expensive.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
At first there are lots of things that take getting used to. Schools are different, food is different, you get lost all the time because you don't know where anything and healthcare is a total mystery. Being in an English speaking country helps but sometimes it feels like they are speaking a foreign language, I often have to get menus explained and then realise its only rocket or coriander not some exotic vegetable.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
I haven't been very good at meeting other people. My neighbours are really friendly as are the mums at school but I haven't really made any friends yet. One of my new years resolutions has to be to get out more.

Enjoying the snow at Hyak Sno Park
Enjoying the snow at Hyak Sno Park
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
I love that in the winter we can drive 40 minutes and be in the snow, we visited Hyak Sno Park and hope to try skiing soon. We spent a lot of time at Pine Lake in the summer swimming and kayaking. We've also found really great

What do you enjoy most about living here?
I love that the Summers are predictably warm and in the winter we can travel a short distance to snow. The scenery is breathtaking, I love the outdoor life. The space is great tooyou can feel like you are in the country even when you are just outside of the city.

How does the cost of living compare to home?
The cost of living here is lower I would say. We pay less taxes, petrol is much cheaper and eating out is reasonable. There is however a big temptation to buy stuff in the great consumer nation. The cost of child care is much greater as there is no government subsidy.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
The Americans have no concept of uninterrupted viewing, the most emotional scene in a film will be interrupted by an advert for fast food. Child care is expensive and quality varies.

Our first experience of picking our own pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, Remlinger Farm
Our first experience of picking our own pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, Remlinger Farm
If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Be aware that your kids are growing up in a whole new culture, learning different things. Not only American history and geography but young children will learn spelling and vocabulary in a different way. If you want to make a transition back to the UK find ways of teaching them both.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Missing my family and friends but Skype helps.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Buy a subscription to Netflix if you want to watch TV without adverts.
  2. Visit Cost Plus World Market where you can get a lot of British food like Marmite and Birds custard.
  3. Bring a TV with integral DVD from the UK so that you can still play all your UK DVDs.
  4. Books by British authors are rewritten in American English. If you want the British version buy them in Kindle format from Amazon.co.uk.
  5. It is normal to have teenagers babysit for your kids, most 12 year olds attend a babysitting course to qualify them to babysit, this includes first aid.

The view from Rattlesnake  Ridge on one of our family hikes
The view from Rattlesnake Ridge on one of our family hikes
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My blog is about early education and family life. I write about my experiences in these areas and my thoughts and experiences of living here.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Contact me via my blog or on Twitter @mcclaryrachel

Rachel blogs at http://rightfromthestart.wordpress.com which we recommend a quick visit if you haven't been already. rightfromthestart has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here so add a review if you like! If you appreciated this interview with Rachel, please also drop her a quick comment below.

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