Go Georgia Bulldogs!

And every other college football team out there. Yep, that’s right people, college football season kicked off again last night and America has gone mad for it as usual, well, at least here in the South anyway! Here it’s like a religion and fans get more excited for the college football season than the NFL. It’s just unbelievable!

So, I thought I’d go on a trip down memory lane to celebrate and tell you all about the time we headed to Athens (the one in Georgia, not in Greece people) to take in a University of Georgia football game.

Bulldogs 1
Now, I knew that I’d be blown away when I went to the Sanford Stadium to see my first ever college football game but I definitely didn’t realize just how much! As you all know I’m a Brit and back in the UK university sports teams are watched by a handful of people, all of which are usually students enrolled at the university, but things couldn’t be any further from that here in America and I was about to find out just how far away they actually are.

The realization was starting to set in even before we got to Athens for the University of Georgia Bulldogs game against the Missouri Tigers. Cars were passing us on the highway covered in flags and bumper stickers with the Bulldogs logo on – everyone was heading in the same direction – to cheer on their ‘Dawgs!’ As soon as we parked up I spotted the infamous tailgaters – hundreds were hanging out behind their cars with beers and football snacks – some even had their RV’s parked up and the BBQ burning away! To me it was just like what I’d seen on the big screen in films.

As we walked towards the Sanford Stadium the only thing you could see was a sea of red as thousands and thousands of people made their way to the game –you could tell some of them made the same journey for every home game without a doubt, and what amazed me the most is that the majority of them weren’t even students. Families have season tickets and go week upon week and support them religiously, just like an NFL football team, that’s something you would never see back in the UK. I remember a trip to see my university rugby team play a rival university an hour away, about 5 buses left the university and the stands were mostly empty, it couldn’t be further away on the scale from the sheer volume of fans at college football games here in the states.


I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the moment we walked into the stadium and all we could see all around us was red – just unbelievable:


There were more people in this stadium than at a Premier League soccer game in the UK and that’s our biggest sport. The stadium is bigger than our national stadium, Wembley, and it was full to bursting. I just couldn’t get my head around the sheer amount of people all cheering on a college football team. I constantly looked around the stadium and shook my head in disbelief, not in a negative way though, I love the fact that everyone is so passionate about it and so behind the team.

The noise and the atmosphere was just incredible. The stadium was alive and when everyone cheered together before a kick off, it was so loud they could probably hear it all the way in Atlanta! Then came the ‘barking’ and ‘GO DAWGS!’


Now I’m not going to lie, despite the German trying on many occasions to explain the rules of American football I had no idea what was happening throughout the game but that definitely didn’t stop me enjoying myself. Just being in the stadium and among the supporters was incredible, never mind when there was a touchdown! (Yes I do know what one is!)

And then came the very, very exciting part of the game for me – the marching band, oh how I love a marching band! These are something we don’t get in the UK and I’ve always wanted to see one, again because of the movies! During the game the Red Coat Band was entertainment enough playing in the stand but when they took to the field at half time I was mesmerized! It’s just amazing how they play their instruments and somehow make their way around a football field in time and in a certain sequence!


Sadly the Dawgs weren’t victorious this time and they lost the game but that didn’t put a dampener on the day at all. The sun was shining, it was a perfect football afternoon and I thoroughly enjoyed my first college football game. However, even after visiting the stadium, taking in the atmosphere and the amount of people around I still can’t get to grips with the amount of support for a college team. Unbelievable, but definitely something to be proud of.

I’m sure all those fans and more will be out in force this weekend, the tailgating parties will be kicking off and thousands upon thousands will be screaming ‘Go Dawgs’ as the Bulldogs kick off their new season. Like I said, it’s like a religion around here, the excitement is already building and will be here to stay throughout the season. I think we’ll be heading to another college game this season, maybe this time we’ll try out Georgia Tech and its yellow jackets – Pa Cook’s already a fan, we bought him a yellow jacket golf club head cover for Christmas! Enjoy the season people!

Are you a football fan? Who do you support?


Exploring: Savannah, GA

Exploring Savannah

The German added another year onto his life last weekend (Happy Birthday Handsome Husband!) so we decided to explore somewhere new and headed to Savannah, GA. Being in the same state I figured it wasn’t too far away, although it was still a 4 hour drive, I forget just how big this place is!

Savannah is on the coast of Georgia is the oldest city in the state after being established in 1733, so it’s pretty historical in American terms and it’s been on our bucket list ever since we moved here. So, we set off on Saturday morning and arrived just after lunch. We picked a great hotel right in the middle of historic downtown Savannah called Marshall House, imagine a traditional Georgian house turned into a hotel:

Savannah 1
After checking in and unpacking we headed out to explore Savannah. Jeez, this place is beautiful! It’s packed with cute old houses with beautiful staircases to the front door, little squares all around the city offering benches to chill out on and some much-needed shade from the sun (we managed to pick the hottest weekend of the year to visit, temperatures were in the triple figures people!) and the prettiest trees which line the road and grow together in the middle creating some gorgeous archways across the streets.

Savannah 2We spent most of the day strolling from square to square, checking out the beautiful  houses and of course catching a glimpse of the iconic Forsyth Fountain.

Savannah 4
We obviously hunted out the square where Forrest Gump spent hours waiting for a bus – remember that one? ‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get!’ Yep, that famous bus stop scene was filmed in one of the beautiful squares in Savannah – Chippewa Square. The bench isn’t there now and modifications have been made which I was a bit disappointed about, I wanted to sit on it!

We also strolled into the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, a beautiful building both inside and out, right in the centre of Savannah:

Savannah 3After the cathedral we headed to the river where we checked out some shops and of course stopped off for a little drink – it was hot out there! This place has some really beautiful buildings and a lot of history, I loved just walking around and taking the place in. We stopped off at the most amazing candy store – Savannah’s Candy Kitchen. If you’re ever in the area you have to check this place out! It was full of delicious treats and they make pralines, taffy and other tasty treats right in front of you! It was sweet heaven – Ma Cook would have done everything in her power to keep me out of that shop when I was little!

Savannah 5
Savannah’s also one of only four places in the US where you can drink on the streets – somehow the German and I have managed to find ourselves in 3 of them in the last 6 months alone! I have no idea how that happened…

After eating dinner at Maxwell’s (you should go there if you’re in the area, we had the best steak!) and taking in a flight of beer or two we called it a day ready for some more exploring (and the German’s birthday!) the following day!

The next day the German got older, finally got his birthday presents after begging from 6pm the following day because it was already his birthday in Germany and we carried on exploring. We went to the SCAD museum, a definite must see, through the city and its various squares (there are so many we couldn’t do them all in one day!) and visited the Candy Kitchen again for some birthday treats for the German!

Savannah 6

Birthday boy!

We walked along the river, got caught in a little shower (damn rain in high temperatures!) visited the cemetery and of course sunk some birthday drinks! Later we went for dinner at a lovely restaurant called Pacci at The Brice Hotel (the cola braised ribs are to die for!) followed by some more birthday drinks for the birthday boy!

The following day before heading back to Atlanta these beach lovers couldn’t leave without a little trip to Tybee Island! Sadly though a tropical storm was hanging around off the coast meaning the beach was pretty windy! We attempted to lay out for a couple of hours but, without any chairs to sit on we were being hit by sand blowing in the wind…not the most comfortable beach trip ever. So, we ditched the towels and took a walk along the beach instead. It’s a pretty place and definitely worth heading to if you’re in the area!

Savannah 7
Have you ever been to Savannah? What were your highlights?

5 Things I Hate about being an Expat in America…Part 3

Expat Hate

So, we’ve had the third installment of 5 Things I Love about being an Expat in America, so now it’s time for 5 things I hate. Remember I don’t necessarily hate these things, it’s more things that annoy me or things that I miss from good old Blighty. Here goes:

1. Errands taking 3 hours
In America, and especially in Atlanta, running a couple of little errands like popping to the supermarket and the post office, can take a LOT longer than you expect. I usually estimate an hour for things like this then when I’ve finished, realise that about 3 hours have passed since I started and my plans for the day are ruined. I think this is because everything is a drive away even if they’re close together. You get caught in traffic, you’re on a strip mall and spot somewhere else you just have to bob into (ok, that’s an added extra that I don’t really need), the stores are so huge they take ages to make your way around, something you think is around the corner is actually about 5 miles away and takes longer to get to than you think. I’m still shocked by the amount of time it takes me and annoyed when I don’t get everything done that I wanted to!

2. Friends and family being so far away.
This is obviously a given when you’re an expat but some days they feel further away and you miss them more. Yes, there are things like Facetime, Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook and good old text messages to keep you up to date but they can also highlight the fact you’re not with them and you are actually 4,000 miles away. Life goes on without you back home, people’s lives don’t go on hold just because you’re not there. I hate the fact I don’t get to see my friends as much as I’d like, don’t get to see their babies and bond with them like I would if I was living close by but it’s something I have to deal with. I chose to come here, I have to deal with the consequences. It makes you appreciate the time you actually do spend with them a lot more.

I sure do miss these peeps.

I sure do miss these peeps.

3. Traffic
Atlanta is the city of traffic and it is hell on earth. Rush hour doesn’t last an hour, it lasts 3 hours in both the morning and the evening. I try to avoid leaving the house before 10am and making sure I’m home by 4pm at the latest, if not my journey time is about to double and I’ll probably spend most of it bumper to bumper with the car in front, my foot constantly poised over the brake…not fun at all. Add to that the bad drivers in Atlanta, squeezing in front of you when there really isn’t room, switching lanes at the last minute without using their indicator (turn signal if you’re American) and there are car wrecks everywhere. Not a day goes by without a huge wreck on one of the main roads in this city and, when that does happen, you may aswell go ahead and triple your journey time! In fact, I probably need to get a wriggle on and get back home soon or I’ll be bumper to bumper and in a foul mood when I walk through the door!

4. Ready Meals
Ok, so I don’t and never have eaten that many ready meals, I like to whip up my own concoctions in the kitchen, but, there are some days when you really can’t be bothered and a ready meal works just fine…unless you live in America. The only ready meals available in this country and frozen ones. Now, I have nothing against frozen food (the German’s cakes are frozen, frozen food makes us pennies) but these meals are just not nice, or at least the one I’ve tried didn’t cut it. I miss the fresh ready meals you can get from the fridge in the mecca that is Marks & Spencer, the nutritious, fresh meals that taste delicious and not like they’ve been hanging around somewhere for months and have freezer burn. They were also pretty good when the German was working away, now I actually have to plan what to eat and cook it…cooking for 1 is not my forte!

5. Nightly news that actually gives you the days news.
Unless you watch CNN (and that’s pretty repetitive), the only news you’re going to learn about is the latest shooting, murder, deal at Krispy Kreme or car wreck in Atlanta. Seriously. The news here is local to the core which, is definitely acceptable, I used to work in local news back home and being truly local is definitely important, but not when it lasts for 2 hours in the evening, an hour and a half at night, containing just about 2 minutes of national news and literally no international news what-so-ever. It’s as if nothing goes on outside of Atlanta. Back in the UK we would have 30 minutes of national and international news followed by 30 minutes of local news – the perfect balance if you ask me. You need to know what’s going on in the rest of the world as well as around the corner, it’s ultimately going to have an impact on your life in some way, probably more than the latest shooting. Give me the BBC news anyday!

5 Things I Love about being an Expat in America…Part 3

Expat Love

It’s that time again where I harp on about what I love about being an expat in America. It can be anything from food (that’s usually in there somewhere) to a trip I’ve been on or simply the way of life over here. So, without further ado, here’s my latest top 5:

1. Burgers
America does burgers and America does bloody good burgers. The  burgers here are the best I’ve ever tasted, I don’t think I’ve ever had a really bad one and I’ve tucked into a fair few since moving over here that’s for sure! They’re usually all hand-made, not like those disgusting frozen ones you get in some restaurants back in the UK. They’re ground to perfection, moulded and cooked to your liking, even in the chain restaurants where, back in the UK, the burgers can be pretty naff. They’re then topped with every topping imaginable that always work together. Even the fast food restaurants have got the burger down to a T, well, obviously not McDonald’s or Burger King, they’re the same around the world, but head to somewhere like Five Guys and you’ve got an amazing fast food burger that is out of this world! I never used to order burgers back at home unless we were somewhere like the Handmade Burger Co. or somewhere I knew the burgers were good, here I don’t hesitate. I usually opt for something with cheese and bacon (everything tastes better with cheese and bacon) and add some guacamole or fried pickles or pulled pork, or mushrooms…the list is endless!

2. Baseball
I’ve definitely taken a big liking to this sport! When we came over to the States, we went to watch every new sport going, basketball, American football but baseball was my favourite. I love putting on my Braves t-shirt and heading to the ball game at Turner Field! It’s a relaxed game, you can spend time with friends, if you’re eyes aren’t on the field all the time it doesn’t matter, you unlikely to miss something if you’re looking away for a few minutes. You can kick back with a beer and some peanuts, tuck into a hot dog or some nachos and jump up and shout when there’s a home run! The German has made it his mission to catch a ball at one of the games, he literally jumps out of his seat and braces himself if the ball is ever heading somewhere near his direction! He’s yet to catch one but he once came pretty close! We can’t forget the 7th inning stretch either where everybody stands up, sways and sings ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game!’ A perfect Sunday afternoon can be had right there! Just remember to pack the sunscreen…

5 Things I love Aug

Five Guys Rocks! / The Braves at the Ted / A house ready for Halloween!

3. Holiday Celebrations
Let’s face it, American’s know how to celebrate a holiday. Whether it’s 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas or something simple like Labor Day or Memorial Day, there’s always something happening somewhere to celebrate, and it usually involves fireworks, especially on 4th of July! People decorate their homes with seasonal decor (pumpkins in fall, American flags for 4th of July), they have parties for every event imaginable and go the whole hog with the decor – Halloween is one of my favourite holidays, especially when it comes to the fancy dress! Valentines Day, St Patricks Day and any other day gets its fair share of celebrations, not like in the UK where they’re half celebrated and half not! Although, I think the UK is copying the States and heading towards this type of celebration now.

4. Coffee Creamer
If I had to leave the States I do not know what I would do without my, now beloved, coffee creamer! This is something that definitely needs to catch on back in the UK – it’s literally flavoured cream but it does wonders for your morning coffee! There’s every flavour imaginable from French vanilla (my personal favourite) and hazelnut to cinnamon roll and Bailey’s, yes you heard that right, Bailey’s. Some of them are a little too sweet for me but I’d definitely miss them if they weren’t there! It’s the simple things.

5. It’s a confidence thing.
Being an expat definitely helps to boost your confidence. I’ve always been a pretty shy person, hell, I used to hide behind my mum’s skirt when I was little and cry at men, but, moving to another country means I’ve had to be more confident. I’ve been forced to go out and make friends, they weren’t going to come to me. We had to put ourselves out there, make new contacts and build our new life. I do things now that I would never have done back in the UK all down to the fact I came here knowing one person, the German, and let’s face it, a life knowing just one person isn’t going to be that much fun is it? Now, just over 18 months into our adventure, we’ve built a life, have a good network of friends and have definitely become a lot more confident in ourselves. Now, we can take on the world…well maybe not the whole world but we’ll give it a good go!

Exploring: St Pete Beach, FL

Is exactly what the German and I had a couple of weeks ago before I headed back to the UK for a couple of weeks and it was bliss!

My aunty and uncle were flying out to Florida and staying in an apartment there so they suggested that we jumped in our car and drove down to stay with them for the weekend as they wouldn’t be able to make it to Atlanta this year. Do you really think we were going to say no? Erm…I don’t think so!

So, we did exactly that:

Road Trip!

Road Trip!

Early on Friday morning, we hopped in the car and started the 7 hour drive to St. Pete Beach on the gulf coast of Florida. Now, back in the day when we lived in the UK, driving 7 hours for a weekend away would have been deemed ridiculous but in America-land this is normal.

At just after 7am we were on the road, and, after a quick stop for some brunch, by 4pm we had arrived here:

Beautiful, right? You can’t go wrong with white sand, clear water and blue skies! We are so lucky to have this, in American terms, on our doorstep. Spending a weekend in Florida is something I could only dream of a few years ago, I could only dream of flying to America on holiday, and now, here I am, having a weekend break in the Sunshine State. One very lucky lady indeed.

Back to the story, we jumped out of the carsaid a big fat excited hello to my aunty and uncle who we hadn’t seen since the wedding and literally within minutes we were changed and by the pool – you get pretty hot and sweaty in the German’s car and we were in serious need of a cool down! After a few hours chilling out and catching up, we went back to the apartment, got changed and went out for dinner where we stuffed ourselves with some amazing seafood (when at the beach!) before having a stroll to a local home-made ice cream parlour – just delicious!

The following morning we got up, had breakfast and drove to Fort Desoto in search of some dolphins and, after never seeing a dolphin in real life before, the German and I ticked something else off our bucket list and spotted some! Just amazing!

St Pete 1

The Dolphin Hunters / Spotted One! / Happy Dolphin Spotters

Sadly, we didn’t spot a manatee – hopefully next time!

The rest of the weekend was pretty much spent relaxing on the beach, perfect right? We spent Saturday on Fort Desoto beach and Sunday at St Pete Beach just across the road from the apartment. The German and I went for a walk along the beach and spotted some baby birds and turtle nests, we drank a couple of beers, caught some sunshine and had a few dips in the sea – amazing.

St Pete 2

Fort Desoto Beach / Beach Fun / St Pete Beach

Then there was the food. We were on the gulf coast where there is some amazing seafood so, obviously, that was just about all we ate, well, apart from the very tasty Italian we had in St Petersburg! We tucked into snapper, tuna, salmon and grouper and everything was just delicious!

St Pete 3
But sadly, Monday morning came around and we had to say our goodbyes once again (the part I hate the most about being an expat) and head back to the ATL. Sad, sad, sad times. Driving 7 hours for a weekend at the beach was definitely worth it though. We got to spend some time with my aunty and uncle, even if it is just for a couple of days, when you live so far away just a couple of days makes all the difference. Thanks for a great weekend Team Lodge! We had an amazing time!

Before I go though, I can’t forget to show you the stunning sunset we managed to catch a glimpse of in St Petersburg:

And that is just one of the many reasons why I will be heading to Florida once again very soon!

Life is Good. {July in Review}

Life is Good...

So I seem to have taken a little, unplanned blogging holiday this past week or so, but, never fear people, because that is now over and I am back! Once again it’s been another hectic month in the life of this expat (there’s a surprise!) so, in an effort to remember everything I did in July, I thought I’d link up with Belinda again over at Found Love, Now What and tell you the reasons why July was just so good!

Life Is Good… {July in Review}

We took on the Peachtree Road Race and won! It was our first ever 10k, it was hot and humid and it was tough but we did it!

Then we spent the rest of 4th July on a houseboat on Lake Lanier with our friends and their parents – pure bliss!

July Review 1

The Peachtree Gang / We did it! / Chilling on the boat

Our niece came to stay from Germany and we went shopping, had burgers and of course we took them to our favourite BBQ joint – when in America and all that!

We also headed to Turner Field and introduced them to the delights of baseball at a Braves game.

Then came the semi-final of the World Cup when Germany took on Brazil. I was extremely nervous, if this all went wrong instead of just 1 sad and miserable German I would have 3 to contend with…but thankfully those German’s did us very proud indeed and goal after goal went into the back of the net – final score Germany 7, Brazil 1 and Rachel had 3 very, very, very happy and ecstatic Germans on her hands…few!

July Review 2

BBQ / 3 Very Happy Germans / Indoor Picnic

I’m trying to get more of my writing out there and published, hopefully picking up more work along the way. This month saw my first article for the Internations Expat Magazine published. It’s entitled ‘A Lifetime of Firsts’ and you can check it out by clicking here. I’m hoping to write a few more for them in the future so I’ll keep you posted on that one. Woooo!

We attempted to meet up with one of our British friends at Stone Mountain to watch a laser show but, it would appear 2 Brits together means a lot of rain! The past couple of time’s I’ve seen her it’s rained, this time we didn’t even make it out of the house and had to have our picnic inside!

I had a lovely dinner with my friend in Roswell, followed by a couple of relaxing drinks on the lawn of one of my favourite bars. I also managed to spectacularly flick a shrimp tail so high that it hit my shoulder, and my arm twice before landing in my lap. It could never be repeated!

Then came the pinnacle of the month for the German – the World Cup Final. We watched it at the German Cultural Center where I volunteer and, thankfully, Germany only went and won it!! You can imagine how happy my German was…and how pleased I was! He was so confident before the game that if they lost, that fall down to earth and disappointment would have been ten times worse!

July Review 3

Cheering His Team On / 4 Stars / Very Happy German

We went to The Vortex for a burger afterwards…pure heaven. One day I will write a blog post on that place!

I picked up some more paid work this month – yay! My temporary lady of leisure status is slowly fading but the German is a very happy man.

We went to our first Alive After 5 event in Roswell and stumbled across Santa Claus…in July!

July Review 4

Saaantaaaaa! (Said like Buddy the Elf)

The German and I attempted to make home-made pizza. It worked but needed some improvements – he’s working on them whilst I’m away, I’ll keep you updated.

A rainy Sunday saw us head to our local bowling alley for our first game of ten-pin bowling in America. Afterwards we headed to a Mexican restaurant where the local Mexican’s go – it was delicious!

We spent a weekend visiting my aunt and uncle at St. Pete Beach in Florida – a blog post will be heading your way on that one very soon indeed.

July Review 5

St. Pete Beach / Bye-bye Atlanta / NYC from 35,000 ft.

And the month ended with me jumping on a plane back to England for a couple of very special reasons indeed – all will be revealed next month!