It seems you guys like to read about what I love and hate about life as an expat in America, so, for your reading pleasure, here is the latest installment.
1. The Long Hot Summer.
It’s nearly November and I’m still wearing sandals. Seriously. The weather here is one of the major plus points of being an expat, especially when you’ve moved from the dull, grey, constantly rainy place that is northern England! Atlanta boasts amazing weather practically 8 months of the year. From about mid-April to mid-October jeans are literally nowhere to be seen. Temperatures are in the 70s and higher and shorts, skirts and dresses are the only clothes you will need. It’s great to finally have and use a summer and winter wardrobe instead of a summer wardrobe on a 2 week holiday to Europe. The sun shines nearly every single day and you can more often than not make plans outside and they won’t be cancelled because of the weather. Back in good old Blightly though, summer usually turns up for one weekend a year, if you’re lucky, in extreme cases, that gets stretched out for 2 weeks. The country goes mad as people make the most of the couple of days of summer. The shorts are on, supermarkets sell out of BBQ food and everyone walks around sporting strap marks and sunburn – hey, we might not see the sun for another 12 months! Here though, I can take things a little slower knowing that the sunshine and warm temperatures will be around for months, although most of the time that doesn’t happen and the German has to remind me that the sun isn’t going away! I think it’s the British girl inside me that’s convinced it will disappear pretty soon!
2. The Mailboxes.
Ok, so this one is pretty silly but hey, I’m living in a different country and it’s sometimes the little things that make me smile! I love the mailboxes around here, standing at the end of driveways waiting for the mailman to come and pop some letters in from his little truck. This is probably because the only time I have ever seen the is, of course, in the movies, and now that they’re a reality for me it’s pretty weird. It’s a bit like the school bus situation I mentioned before, I’m still in awe when I see one! Sadly, I don’t have an American mailbox yet. Living on an apartment complex means we have a tiny box in the middle of many others at a mail center. One day though, when we (hopefully) get our big American house I’ll be making sure one of those beasts is standing proudly at the end of my driveway!
This place kicks some serious butt. So, for you readers that have never heard of Target before, let me explain. Target is a supermarket here in America but it literally has everything you can think of, and I mean everything. There’s food, clothes, electrical stuff, baby stuff, shoes and home accessories like furniture and every other piece of accent stuff you can imagine for your home. Now, I often say, I’m just popping into Target for something and end up spending hours in that place. Seriously, it sucks you in. You go in for one product and end up doing the whole I’ll just look at this, I’ll just look at that and before you know it you’ve hit up every section in the store and have an overflowing trolley, probably with stuff you don’t really need. I’m a sucker for that dollar section at times and don’t even get me started on the shoes, home accessories and candles…! The German’s face goes a whiter shade of pale when I tell him I’m headed Target’s way!
4. The Thunderstorms
When it rains here, it rains! There’s none of that constant drizzle stuff you get back in England that lasts all day and gets you soaking wet without you realizing it, this stuff is the real thing. We’re talking rain that is bouncing a foot off the floor and gets you soaked to the bone within seconds, the type that means you have to stay in the car/house/shop you’re in until it stops because it’s not worth heading out in. I love listening to it and watching it, the claps of thunder are so loud you think the windows could break, there are big flashes of lightening and any car that is on the road has to drive at literally 2 mph to stay safe. Although many American drivers don’t think this is necessary and still drive at their usual high speeds. Safety first people! Water runs down the street like a stream, and, still to this day despite seeing many storms since moving over here, I’m mesmerized by them and could watch them all day! We also can’t forget the major storms that involve tornado warnings too. We have a siren at our apartment complex to warn us but the German and I had no idea what it was when we first moved in and carried on with our plans. It wasn’t until we got in the car and heard the tornado warning on the radio that everything clicked! Whoops!
Who doesn’t like shopping? Well, apart from most of the men in the world! Ladies, this one is aimed at you. Shopping here in America is so good! Most things are cheaper than they are back in Europe and, if you head to the outlet stores, you’re guaranteed to find a good bargain. Whenever we have visitors, shopping is always on the agenda, which the German isn’t too keen on because that usually means I will spend money too! They come over with empty suitcases and return with cases they’ve had to sit on to get closed! Some of the prices are unbelievable – the other day, I got a pair of Converse for $12. Seriously! You couldn’t make it up! We can’t forget Black Friday either – the day designer goods are at more than affordable prices! I’m already writing up my hit list for this years trip!
Stay tuned for the next installment of 5 Things I Hate about being an Expat in America – it’s coming up next week!