E N G L A N D
Since I've been in England now for about 3 weeks, I figured it's time to write about this side of the move. Much of those 3 weeks has been spent adjusting to all the changes. Luke and I moved into our friends' house last week, which we're subletting for the summer, so really I moved twice in as many weeks. Aside from that, I'm just trying to put roots down here in England.
I figured the easiest way to chat about this part of the move was with FAQ's that I've been getting from friends and family, both here in England and back in the States.
When are you and Luke getting married?
We're having a ceremony in May of 2018, but my current visa stipulates that we marry within the 6 month duration of the visa, so we have to legally get married before 30 November. We've made an appointment to register our intent as soon as possible, but they didn't have openings until mid-August, which means we won't legally get married until mid-September at the earliest.
Can you work?
No. My visa specifically states that I am unable to work in the United Kingdom. After Luke and I get legally married, I will apply for a new visa that will allow me to find a job. As for what that job will be? I have no idea.
Are you a British citizen now?
Also no. It's my understanding that because I will next be on a spousal visa, I can apply for citizenship after 3 years, which is earlier than someone who moved here on a different visa, like a work visa. I will have to take a citizenship test, which Luke recently said he's not sure if he could even pass, so it sounds fairly similar to the process in the States.
Can Luke become an American citizen?
He can apply for a Green Card if we plan to move back to the States. After that, he would go through a similar process to become a US citizen after living in the States for the minimum number of years required.
Are you planning on moving back to the States?
We haven't ruled anything out. Luke really likes the States and Colorado in particular, but we decided that I would be the one to move initially. However, in order for me to fully dive into my new life here, it's important to me that I don't have any sort of timeline in my mind for our life in England. I don't want to have thoughts like "If I just make it through this year, we can move back." Our plan is to live here indefinitely, which means that I need to cut ties with some aspects of my life in the States to focus on my life here and be present in my current situation. When I get asked that, I often say we won't move back until I know our kids' accents will last through American influences.
Do you have an accent? Will you get one?
I doubt it. I've known a few adults who are from Wales, England, Ireland, etc. who still have their natural accent despite living in the States for years. I've already picked up some British inflection and it's just easier to communicate if I adapt to their words and phrasing that differ from American English. Besides, Luke has been pretty clear that my attempts at a British accent sound like "a really good American trying to do a British accent". Reading between the lines, I think that means I'm rubbish.
How do you fill your days?
Moving has kept me quite busy so far. Luckily I was mostly packed from my first move still, but we had to pack up Luke's belongings, which included separating them from shared spaces in his previous house. We also had to deep clean the last house and we were on a tighter timeline than his housemates since we went to Scotland that weekend. We've also been busy with errands, like trying to get my phone squared away or open a bank account for me. Luke was off work the first week I was here, but now that he's back to work, I've been doing things around the house like grocery shopping (which includes walking to the shop), cooking, and getting our new place organized since we're not fully unpacking everything we moved over here. There are a lot of little details that need to be taken care of due to moving countries and moving houses. It's also nice to get out an explore my new surroundings.
This week I subscribed to Pure Barre On Demand and we're thinking about doing a free 30-day trial of Daily Burn. I'm hesitant to join a gym or find a fitness class that I can regularly attend while we're in this house because we may move to a completely different area of Birmingham. I'm also wanting to find some new hobbies (like water color), or practice old ones (like lettering). Next week, my goal is to set a routine for myself, at least for the mornings, and maybe stick to it using the 30/30 app. I also need to buckle down on wedding planning, especially since I have a large craft undertaking that I want to get done while I have the time.
You'll travel all the time now, right?
Well, so far I haven't made a strong case for "no". Since I've moved, we've spent a weekend in Germany with Luke's family (which was why I moved when I did) and a weekend in Scotland with my sister and brother-in-law (post coming soon). We're living on one income right now, so travel can't be a priority for our spending right now. And though I have the time since I don't currently have a job, it's a lot more fun to travel with someone you care about, isn't it? All that being said, I have Luke's blessings to take day trips within the country (via train) and explore other cities while Luke is at work.
Can I still text you?
I have a new number with a +44 country code, but since it's an iPhone, I can still iMessage international numbers (which now includes you with the +1 numbers). Otherwise, I can text via WhatsApp and I finally have enough space on my phone to keep the Facebook Messenger app downloaded, so I can be reached that way as well.
What do you miss the most about living the States?
Friends and family should go without saying, of course. I thought I'd miss the food, but maybe that hasn't set in yet and I'm currently enjoying making lunch and dinner at home instead of eating at Chick-Fil-A or Motomaki. I think right now, I miss the convenience of having a car and knowing where I'm going. That's not to say I'm jumping at the bit to start driving over here. Quite the opposite, in fact! But life is certainly a lot more simple when you can hop in your car and head over to Target and get everything you need. Right now, though, it does still feel quaint to walk to the shops, like you imagine living in Europe is like.
What do you like most about living in England?
Again, being with Luke in real life should go without saying. My favorite thing, so far, is the proximity to so many amazing places in the world. There are a lot of things to do and see across the 50 states, but I've always been so fascinated with European history and it's all so close! Luke also enjoys telling me buildings and other landmarks are older than my country.
If you have any other questions, leave them in the comments below and I'll answer them for you! I'm just learning as I go!