Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog

Interviewing….Me! Part I

Since I’ve been here for one year, I thought I would open things up and let people interview me and ask me anything they’d like to know about living in the UK. I asked over on Facebook, and here are some of the questions with my answers. If you’d like to ask something, feel free to leave me a comment on facebook or on this post. There will be a part II, assuming I get more questions!

From Amie:
What is the most amazing thing you stumbled upon living in the UK that wouldn’t be something a tourist would find?

Knowing I can go back to places more easily means that I don’t obsess so much about HAVING to see something or another and can take my time and enjoy a place. But I think it would have to be the village pubs. Most tourists probably wouldn’t consider stopping at a small village pub for dinner unless it was in the guide book or a “name brand” kind of place. Tim and I have been in some great little pubs that we found simply by getting off the motorway and driving on back roads – which is also something a tourist probably wouldn’t do!

But oh – I thought of an actual place. Finding Tupholme Abbey while driving on a back road.

Oh, and charity shops!

From Carrie:
What are some of the biggest differences between the US & the UK? What were the hardest adjustments to make?

Honestly, there aren’t as many differences as someone might think (at least to me). Money is different, but it’s still based on decimals, so the only hard bit there is learning the new coins. Food is different, but not in a “ew, that’s weird” way, just in a “never had that in the US” way, like Fish pie or bangers and mash. It’s more normal for people to have a Pay-As-You-Go mobile phone here than it is in the US, but the PAYG plans are also better. Measurements for cooking are different – grams and ml instead of cups and ounces. The UK uses Celsius for temperature here (learned that one the hard way with the washing machine!). Most schools require a school uniform and most schools are still affiliated with the Church of England. I’m sure there can be loads more to add to the list, but I just don’t find things super different.

Also, the drinking culture is different. Here, it’s not uncommon to give a child a shandy – a mix of lemonade and beer – when they are young and children as young as 15 can drink wine in a restaurant or pub as long as their parent is present and gives permission.

A hard adjustment was getting used to shops closing at 5, and living in a village. Coming from an area where the local mall was open until 10 and most stores were open until at least 9, it was hard to get used to. We do have 24-hour grocery stores, though.

From Amie:
Is there anything you miss from the US that you simply CAN’T find in the UK? Be it food, a certain type of restaurant, or even other items…

My mom? No, but seriously – I miss hoagies. We do have Subway here, but Subway in the US was never as good as going to a local mom and pop shop for a hoagie. It works in a pinch, and if I’m in town and need Lunch I usually go there, but it’s not the same! A few nights ago we bought lunchmeat and baguettes and I tried creating our own….still not as good!

From Lou:
has the experience of finding your way in a new country changed you? Has the experienced helped your confidence, challenged you, things like that?

I don’t know if I can separate moving to the UK from getting married, since one lead to the other. I DO think I have changed in the past year, but whether it has to do with moving to the UK or the fact that I’m now married, I don’t know!

I do think my confidence level has gone up, but I also think that has a lot to do with Tim.

What is your Favourite UK TV show? (not counting Doctor Who I know that one is a given)

I’m currently enjoying QI, Come Fly with Me, and Not Going Out. Secret Diary of a Call Girl starts soon, too. I also love the shows Giles and Sue do, and I watch anything Jamie Oliver has on. I also like some older UK shows – Red Dwarf, Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes, Black Books, Hyperdrive, Spaced, etc. We watch a lot more TV on DVD than we do actual television.

Actually on the same theme – UK bands artists that you hadn’t heard of prior to coming over to live?

I don’t know if I really know, to be honest. Any time Radio 2 played a new artist I liked, it would turn out that they weren’t British. LOL. Boothby Graffoe doesn’t count since I heard him on the cruise in 2008.The only new CDs I’ve bought since moving have been new BNL and Carbon Leaf.

Oh, but would you believe I had no idea who Take That or Amy Winehouse were before I moved here?

From Sue:
Is Hogwarts real?

Yes and no. Alnwick Castle (where they filmed bits of the earlier ones) is real, the viaduct the train goes over is real, and platform 9 3/4 is “real”.

From Brian:
Do you think you’ll ever want to be living stateside again?

Not really. I think whatever happens, it would have to be a family decision and be what’s right for our family. Tim’s job is very UK-specific, so I can’t see us leaving unless one of us got a better offer than what he makes now. We joke about the possibility of living in the US and building a huge garden railway in my aunt’s backyard, but we also know it isn’t likely to happen. Plus once we have kids and they are in school, I wouldn’t want to pull them out to move them since the school systems are different. But that’s okay. I’m happy to stay here!

From Sheldon:
Do you like EastEnders or Corrie ?

Honestly, I haven’t seen a full episode of either, only bits and pieces. Occasionally I’ll watch Doctors, or have it on in the background. I watched Emmerdale a few times. My problem with picking up an established soap is not knowing any of the back stories. I don’t even like starting to watch a TV series partway through!

From Sally:
You at the dinner tonight Rebecca?

Sadly, no. We originally thought the weekend would be the only time for Tim and I to see each other, so I told Helen I couldn’t! 🙁

From Elisabeth:
Do you think your and Tim’s future kids will have a better life here in the UK than they would in the US?

I don’t think I know enough about the British education system to really answer this yet. I’m sad that my children won’t get to be in marching band, though! But, if we lived in the US, there’s no way we’d be able to afford a house with as large of a garden as we have, so I think that’s a definite plus for them!

From Emma:
which building in Lincoln has a hidden Imp?

As far as I know, the only place to find a hidden imp would be the Cathedral.

From Robert:
Have you seen the Queen?

I’ve seen the film “The Queen” if that counts!!

From Michelle:
Is there anything about living over there that you don’t like, that just drives you crazy that’s different?

I try my hardest to use “British English” and use the British words for things. But 30 years of living in the US ingrain some words into my head that are hard to not use. Things like asking for the bathroom (which in the UK, is the room with the bathrub), or calling those long things you wear on your legs pants (in the UK, pants are the undergarment). Tim tells me over and over not to worry about it because with the influx of American Television, people know what I’m talking about. But it really annoys me and drives me crazy when someone deliberately acts like they don’t know what I’m talking about or tries to make a joke about it. That doesn’t really answer the “different” part of your question though! I guess you could say the differences in language, despite being the same one, can drive me crazy at times.

Do you think your mom will ever move over there to live by you?

Unfortunately, the UKBA closed the way of bringing over a dependent parent, so it would be a little hard to get her a visa to live here. But maybe when she retires she can spend months at a time here as a visitor instead of a few weeks.

From Janey:
Is it still hard to convince people that you don’t get homesick because England is the best place ever?

It’s really hard to explain that I don’t get homesick. The things that I miss I either make do without, get sent to me in care packages from my family, or I create my own substitute. I don’t really miss a lot of people because I do get to talk to people like my mom on a near daily basis, and have had video calls with some of my friends, too.


8 Comments so far

  1. Sue January 21st, 2011 19:28

    You couldn’t just lie to me, and say, “Yes, Sue, Hogwarts is real.” ??? LOL!

  2. Rebecca January 21st, 2011 19:30

    Yes Sue, Hogwarts is real :p

    Oh, and the Hogwart’s Casle engine is real. Except that it has a different name and is usually green, but it does exist!

  3. Michelloui | The American Resident January 27th, 2011 12:43

    My favourite is the free healthcare. I’m so used to it now I was actually completely shocked when one of my friends int he States said she wouldn;t have any more kids because she couldn’t afford to deliver them.

    And Alnwick Castle is where I first lived when I moved to the UK as a student! They were filming Robin Hood Prince of Theives while I lived there, and I met Kevin Costner. When I went back there last summer to show my family, one of the tour guides said one of the weirdest questions they ever had from an American was ‘so what was here before Hogwarts?’ Uhm…a 900 year old castle? Oh dear.

  4. Rebecca January 27th, 2011 15:54

    Oh me too! It blows me away when I now read stuff from friends in the US talking about not having money for healthcare…and yet, I was there once.

  5. Rebecca January 27th, 2011 16:03

    I just got the second half of your comment – for some reason, only the first part posted to my comment page when I saw it.

    LOL!! I love it! And so cool that you lived there!

  6. jane January 27th, 2011 15:47

    wow you have taken a lot of time and put so much information on here. Much sounds familiar:) Hope you are having a good January and are feeling better.

  7. Rebecca January 27th, 2011 15:57

    I bet my answers are similar to what yours would be! I had a few friends on FB who went a little nuts with the questions, but I’m happy to answer them and it makes me happy knowing they want to know things.

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