• David Holland Mba

Expats - A Foreign Field that will be Forever England…




Moving from the green pastures and rolling, sheep filled hills of Shropshire in the UK to the heat, desert and relentless energy of Las Vegas was always going to present some challenges…




As a family we made a decision, one that served us well in the USA and when we moved back over to Europe to live in rural France too…


We decided to let go of England…


All the advice we had – and trust me you’ll get plenty of advice from armchair experts and internet warriors – suggested that to settle into Vegas all we had to do was join online Ex-Pat communities, seek out other Brits that had made the move and of course attempt to recreate a corner of the USA that would be forever England…


We were sent links to English Pubs – in the USA there is no such thing, it’s an Irish pub that sells Pork Scratchings and has a dartboard. Everyone was excited to tell us we could buy Marmite and Salad Cream from some obscure trailer out on the Boulder Highway on a Sunday morning…


There would be British cultural events; aka beer and curry nights, in local venues and we could hang out with the other Brits, talk about the weather, politics, how the Americans all talk funny and watch Premier League football – it’s not soccer – on the TV…


One of the reasons we took the opportunity to go and live in the USA was to experience the USA – living in Vegas was the opportunity of a lifetime to immerse ourselves in Americana at it’s very best – and that’s exactly what we did.




We ignored every Ex-Pat group, didn’t watch football and refuse to buy Marmite from that trailer on the Boulder Highway…


Instead we watched American Football, Baseball and NASCAR – we celebrated Thanksgiving, Independence Day – ironic as that may seem – essentially became American.


What I see so many people doing when the relocate is to compare things to “home” – they never really let go of “home” and they attempt to recreate as much of “home” in their adopted country. This simply means, they never really move, they may physically move but emotionally they stay put…


This constant comparison leads to frustration and tension – then they start to get the food they are used to, put a flag sticker on the bumper of their car, tell everyone how amazing their home town was, how god the food was and how flight was invented in their country before the Wright Brothers took off…


No-one is interested – it’s why the Aussies call us Brits “Whinging Poms” – because Brits always moan about everything. The only consolation to remember is that Brits moan a lot when they are in Britain, so doing when they go somewhere “foreign” is hardly surprising…


When the comparisons stop, the enjoyment begins…


There are dozens of things I think Britain does better than the USA, and France…


For example the USA Gun Culture is crazy to me, French Rock music is “interesting”, Freeway Lane discipline in Nevada does not exist, and French shops close on Sunday and don’t open until lunchtime on Monday – the list can become endless if you let it, and many ex-pats live their whole unhappy existence comparing, complaining and looking to recreate their version of historic of paradise.


Remember too, we only recall the good times never the bad when we get abroad – I have forgotten how awful the weather is in the UK, the endless traffic and TV Soaps…


This a real shame, relocating abroad is a golden, sometimes unique opportunity to start over, learn new ways of life, habits customs and behaviours – once ex-pats stop fighting the process and lean into the new culture and environment, only then does the journey become enjoyable and fulfilling…


So do I still love England – yes of course, we go back to visit and have Fish n Chips, warm beer and a proper curry – but we love France, our adopted home where the people have been warm, friendly and helpful (apart from that one car mechanic, but that’s another story…) we have adapted to the lifestyle, culture and customs and have made this our home…


Letting go of home is the best way of finding a new one…

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