Hannah Drake

The Expat Diaries, Vol. 11

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I wasn't sure if I was going to continue my Expat Diaries series after my first year of being an expat, but ultimately I decided I'll aim to continue it every other month. Now that I've been abroad a year, fewer things feel foreign and I feel rooted in my new home, I think I'll have less to report about being an expat. Everyday life just feels like everyday life now. It doesn't feel like an extended vacation anymore.

We celebrated my year anniversary (with England) with a nice date in town. We went to a tapas place we walk by frequently and enjoyed a bountiful Spanish feast. After, we went to the trendy bar where I had my hen party for a drink before calling it a night since Luke had to work in the morning. Unfortunately that was the first of two back-to-back weekends of Luke working both Saturday and Sunday, but we still managed to do plenty. We went to a party at our vicar's house for the volunteers and I participated in my first silent disco and we celebrated our good friend's 30th birthday with a huge bash and a Greatest Showman singalong. 

The following weekend my sister came to visit for a few days. We spent some time hanging out in Birmingham before heading down south to visit Oxford and the Cotswolds. We had a lot of fun while she was here, finding a great balance between exploring and just hanging out at the house. Plus I'll cherish any house guest who brings me Red Vines and popcorn! I'm working on more posts, other than Oxford, for this month about our travels with Sam.

The weather was basically fantastic all June. So much sunshine, which translated to so much time in the garden. Light summery dinners on our picnic blanket outside or a glass of sweet tea and a game are our favourite evening activity right now! Luke decided to build us a pair of adirondack chairs and I'm still in awe at what a fantastic job he did! I keep telling him he needs to start doing commissioned pieces for our friends! I'm just glad I get to benefit from his projects! I love grabbing a book and some iced tea and sitting out in my new chair! (This photo is from when he was still working on it, before shaping the top, sanding it more, and staining it.) We also got some solar string lights to put up on our fence, which are fantastic, but they don't come on until about 10:00PM.

We celebrated the Fourth of July a bit early on the First of July (Canada Day!) by hosting a BBQ with our friends, most of whom are English, but the group included four other Americans and a German. I made my annual American flag cake and we cooked up some burgers to eat with all the classic BBQ fixins. The Brits just couldn't get behind baked beans at a BBQ. They prefer their beans at breakfast. We had a lot of fun though and watched a bit of the World Cup, which proved to be rather exciting when both Spain v. Russia and Denmark v. Croatia ended in a shootout.

This is my first major international football (soccer) tournament taking place since I moved to Europe and boy has the atmosphere been exciting! Luke went to watch the first England match against Tunisia, but I stayed home, which I now regret. We watched the Panama game at home with my sister, which I again regret because it would have been cool to experience that atmosphere with Sam as well, but we were all just exhausted from our weekend of exploring. Luke and I went to a pub with friends to watch the Belguim game, which was fun, but resulted in a loss. The pub had put up a huge screen outside in the beer garden and we got their fairly close to the start of the match, so we ended up sitting on the grass. We also had to wait about 30 minutes at the bar for each round, but it was fun nonetheless. England advanced out of the group stage into the Round of 16, playing Colombia. We went to a different pub with friends this time and Luke and I got there just over two hours early and scored a table right at the front. We had dinner and played a card game (The Mind) while we waited. That game was INTENSE. Colombia tied the game in the 93 minute and when it was still tied after 30 minutes of extra time, it went to penalties. When Colombia was leading in penalties 3-2, the fire alarm in the pub started going off and the TVs all cut out. Everyone started freaking out, not about the alarm, but about the game. People were scrambling to get it on their phones and ended up congregating around only a few phones in the whole pub to watch as Colombia missed two more and England make two more. The place went absolutely nuts when they won. It was the first time England has won a knockout game in a major tournament since 2006 and they finally broke their curse, dating back to 1990. When Luke and I got home a little while later, still buzzing with excitement, we watched the highlights so we could see the penalties we missed. I can't believe how into it I've gotten!

This is, however, the first edition of the Expat Diaries that is live from the US! We're back in Colorado for the week for my younger brother's wedding (tomorrow!) and it's great to be back. We're off on a little mini holiday-in-a-holiday the day after the wedding which I couldn't be more excited about since it's been on my bucket list for years! Follow along on Instagram to find out where we're going.

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