Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 630

Happy 4th July

It seems apt that my final blog post here in the USA on this blog happens on the eve of 4th July. You know, the day before the day back in history when the Brits got walloped and booted out of America ;) .  Rather fitting, don’t you think?!

We are getting booted out, in a manner of speaking. Our visas run out and we’ll be back to the UK in seven weeks. And that is that.

flag-logo-only

So I will don my UK Desperate Housewife USA outfit for final time for my last 4th of July parade. Cowboy hat, Daisy Dukes, cowboy boots. And the T-shirt, cos I do love ya USA.

My ‘Exit Interview’

And thus the journey ends. I just had to write something to end it all on a high and so I wrote my ‘Farewell to the USA’ post for Global Living Magazine and here it is in all its glory. I’m rather chuffed to bits with it, as we Brits say.

My editor, Alison, had this to say about my three year stint: ”If you’ve kept up with Claire’s writings, you’ll know she’s hardly a wallflower and, during her time living in Columbia, Maryland as an expat, she has boldly put two feet, a bright smile (and her trademark peace sign) into nearly every corner of her community…’ I thank Alison for allowing me to unload my stream of consciousness on a global audience.

Editor sNote-page-001

FarewellUSA-page-001

FarewellUSA-page-002

And so I am now in the land of to do lists, packing, and checking the British weather with an odd intensity.

Three years ago…..

I wrote this:

‘I’m your UK Desperate Housewife in the USA and this is my blog. It’s all about me, how I feel about moving to and living in the USA, and what life is like out here.

New York 180

It’s a little bit adventure, little bit stream of consciousness, little bit Bill Bryson.

I’m an ‘expat’ who is pretty much seizing every opportunity I can in this strange and wonderful country (whilst also being a mother, wife and rather rubbish housewife.)

I’ll be debunking myths and probably confirming some cliches that we Brits have about America and Americans. After all, what we know, or think we know, is generally from movies and TV series….. Throughout the blog I’ll share the things that amuse, confuse and bemuse me – and lots of stuff does!

UK Desperate Housewife USA

Three years later….

I write this:

July 2015 – And so, my expat journey in the USA draws to a close. I will be signing off on this blog from July 2015 – Chapter 630 is my last. (Not bad, hey?! And Chapter 629 was my highest ranking blog EVER! How folks love a bit of British piss-taking – actually, the Americans not so much, but such is life! ;) )

Writing and promoting my blog been a joy and a burden, but it’s also been a dream fulfilled to sit and write practically every day and with such passion for something. Thank you muchly to all you readers, supporters, sharers of my posts, those who have written guest posts, and those who have invited me to write guest posts for them. It’s all this and interactions with these folk that I will miss greatly. I shall look back on these expat and blogging communities and my time as part of them with great fondness and affection. You’re all #awesomeballs and #brillopads (had to get those in one last time!).

Barnes and Noble Discovery Friday

Barnes and Noble Discovery Friday

My expat life :)

My expat life :)

Don't worry, I will find my other leg and put some shoes on before I run! :)

Don’t worry, I will find my other leg and put some shoes on before I run! :)

One of my very fun, positive experiences as an expat :)

One of my very fun, positive experiences as an expat :)

This is me practicing my 'who has been murdered and where is the murderer and where is the muder weapon' look ;)

This is me practicing my ‘who has been murdered and where is the murderer and where is the muder weapon’ look ;)

Keeping it real, Desperate English Housewife stylie ;)

Keeping it real, Desperate English Housewife stylie ;)

Halloween!

Halloween!

Life on the streets

Life on the streets

Look, I even signed it!

Look, I even signed it!

Hee, hee: lifestyle expert

Hee, hee: lifestyle expert

Such fun, as always!

Such fun, as always!

Life in the USA

Life in the USA

Happy to be in NYC!

Happy to be in NYC!

Harry is British at heart

Harry is British at heart

In the press room - yeehah!

In the press room – yeehah!

Cos everyone drinks wine in the bath in California!

Cos everyone drinks wine in the bath in California!

Anyone for cricket?!

Anyone for cricket?!

Claire Bolden McGill

That's me!

That’s me!

Thanks for the memories, Uncle Sam!

Keep on following my adventures back in the UK

My new blog is From America to England and it charts my bittersweet return to the UK. Please sign up to follow it!

Rest assured, I will be sharing all sorts of tales from the Green and Pleasant Land. I’m not sure the transition is going to an easy one, and no doubt my life will seem topsy-turvy for a while, but I feel that my new-found passion for adventure stands me in good stead to bring on another rich and vibrant experience with new and fervent eyes (I bloody well hope so!). No cynicism from this Brit!

I’ll see y’all at the other blog! Cheers chaps!

x

Let’s keep in touch!

Like my Facebook pages: Desperate English Housewife in Washington and From America to England

Tweet me! ukhousewifeusa and @clairebmcgill

Posted in American, American customs, American dream, bloggers, blogging, blogs, Britain, British, British American differences, British customs, England, English, expat British, expat life, expats, fearlessness, Howard County, lifestyle, Maryland, Repatriation, Travel, Travel, UK, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 629

Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 629.

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Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 629

Things about the USA that I won’t miss and things that America should adopt from the UK or just get rid of

America, USA, The U.S, Uncle Sam – I loves ya, you know I do, but having been here three years there are things I just have to let off steam about. You don’t have to change them or adopt these things, they are simply suggestions which might be helpful, you know. Whatevs, I won’t hold it against you if you simply dismiss it with a wave of your flag.

Just have a think about these things…..

We love ya, USA!

We love ya, USA!

Signage – where I live in Columbia, MD signage is shocking. Where am I going, what is down that road, where is such and such a place or village? I don’t know! Tell me, sign it, let me know, cos I might just visit and not need the Interweb or my GPS to get there. :) And I guarantee locals would find some of this info useful!

Toilet doors – what’s with these massive gaps where you can see someone having a poo? Not that I’m looking on purpose, you understand, but it’s hard not to see bits and bobs when there’s a two inch gap in front of your face. For all the primness and prudeness that is given towards nudity in the USA, apparently it’s okay to see someone having a quiet moment to themselves with their trousers down.

Peepo!

Peepo!

Undertaking – oh flipping heck, this is a nutty thing. Speeding up to undertake on the inside lane?! It’s dangerous, y’all! Stop it right now!

Roundabouts and indicators – it would be really cool if, when folks take their driving tests, they are taught about using indicators on roundabouts to let fellow drivers know where you intend to go. It’s super helpful! Try it!
An American roundabout (rotary)

An American roundabout (rotary)

Driving – in America (not all of it, I know!) folks love to get in their cars and drive. They drive everywhere. In Columbia, MD the public transport sucks, so moms are driving their kids everywhere all day every day and no one can be arsed to walk. You can go the bank and the store and post office, but be prepared to drive and even if you can walk the distance between those places, it appears everyone prefers to get in their cars. Green? Environmentally friendly? Healthy? Er, no, no and no.
This on yer telly!

This on yer telly!

Commercials on TV – so effing many of them! They just pop up – bang! You’re watching something and you’re about to find out who dunnit, and then there’s a Viagra advert that appears out of nowhere and tells you how to sort out that problem. And that’s at 4pm in the afternoon. Weird, and v v v annoying.
Do it!

Do it!

TVs in bars and restaurants – I get that there are sports bars and people want to watch the game when they’re having their burger, but why all the TVs – like 17 of them in one bar all showing something different. It’s an ADHD nightmare – ‘squirrel’! If I want a romantic meal with my other half, I don’t want his attention on the sports match above him. He might though, to be fair. And I suppose if you’re on a disastrous date, it’s potentially a good distraction. ;) But really, do we need more TVs shouting stuff at us in our lives?!
summer
Long summer hols – hey, 10 weeks of summer hols – it’s enough to drive the parents crazy. I should know. Yes, summer camps are awesomeballs and I wish the UK had more of them to choose from, but with only 6 weeks of hols in the UK, it makes life easier (and cheaper) for working parents. In the UK they have half terms, which are a lovely little break for everyone (parents, teachers, kids) and gives us all a chance to recover. It also means we won’t want to ditch each other half way through the summer. I highly recommend them.
winner
Everyone’s a winner – this is a school thing that really bugs me. Not true, not a good life lesson. People lose. People come last in life. Deal with it, kids.
boxingday
Boxing Day – in the UK this is a day off, but not so in the USA and that’s basically crap. It should be. Just sayin’.
soda
Soda obsession – one word, America: ENOUGH! Massive gurt cups of the stuff. Like massive gurt bigger than my head massive. I can’t take it anymore!!!
Loving ya, America-ca!

Loving ya, America-ca!

Don’t get me started on the poor vacation time folks get at work, the tipping even if there is bad service, and the shockingly crap maternity time off, cos that takes us down a political route and we know I’m far too fluffy for all that! So, there we have it – some bits and bobs to think about, Americaland. You know, put it in the pot, or at Congress or whatever. None of the above have had a serious impact on my life as an expat, but I think each one has made me consider alternative options that are possible for a better America. Be cool, Americanas. We’re still friends, right?! Course we are! Tis all just a chuckle and we each have our different quirks across the pond. Remember, one is not right and ine is not wring: they’re just different :) . And they make us who we are. This Brit will still be waving that Stars and Stripes flag come July 4th ;)
Posted in American, American customs, blogging, Britain, British, British American differences, British customs, culture, England, expat, expat British, expat life, expats, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 628

UK vs USA: the final list!

This is a tongue-in-cheek summary over a couple of blog posts about what I love about America, or what gets my British back up, and what I think it should adopt from the UK to make it even coolio-er, or what the UK should take from Americaland to give it a bit of va-va-voom ;)

These are listed in no particular order and were just randomly plucked from mine and my husband’s collective thoughts during one roadtrip (I think it was our Southern roadtrip over Christmas!). Take no offense, be simply amused, cos this is just a jolly jape as I near the end of my expat time here with Uncle Sam.

I call this one:

Things we think that the UK should adopt / things we will miss from America

Baseball – yes, despite only going to a game a couple of times, we loved the atmosphere and that everyone’s attending and it’s every day and pretty cheap and people are really interested in it and it brings a nation together.

Tailgating – Lordy, this is fun! Hanging out with your car and a grill and beers and chatting to your mates! This would NEVER happen in the UK because the police would be on it in a heartbeat, and all the losers would be drinking cider and swearing and beating each other up. We must adopt this friendly thing, Britain! And it’s not the tailgating you know (driving up someone’s arse).

Cool!

Cool!

Distances – so this one is weird. Longer distances feel shorter than in the UK. Americans, and now us expats, would think nothing of driving an hour and a half for brunch or just for the day, where as in the UK that is A Weekend Away. I wish we could adopt this, but I don’t think our roads make it possible. But this won’t stop us exploring all we can.

Politics – people really care about their politics here and love their local community. I’ve met so many people who just want to be involved in making their towns better, whereas in the UK there is a lot of apathy and it’s not really seen as cool. Kudos to those Brits who do it. Here, it’s socially acceptable and I hope this might happen in the UK (I will NOT be running tho!)

Fun times in Howard County politics scene!

Fun times in Howard County politics scene!

Family meals out – people just eat out more here and that means that families are spending time together, kids are accepted in restaurants and it’s easy, less formal and more fun. Oh formal meals exist, of course, but I like the way you can rock up and just eat. In the UK, meals out are An Event.

Two winter celebrations – Thanksgiving and Christmas! They are so close together that it feels like the parties start early for the ‘holidays’. It also means you have two opportunities to see two sides of the family, like ‘Oh this year, we’re doing Thanksgiving with her lot and Christmas with mine.’ None of that awkward ‘who shall we spend time with’ nonsense. Let’s find another reason to celebrate, UK!

Halloween – oh, if only the UK could do this like the USA. Let yourselves go, Britain! Enjoy it, feel the Halloween love! Get dressed up and go talk to your neighbours! Don’t throw eggs, kids, or harass old people for money. Halloween can be a community event if we let it…..

That's me in the middle!

That’s me in the middle!

History – by George, these Americans love their history and all the kids know all sorts about it. History  for Americans is closer in time in the USA, naturally! But it seems very relevant and I don’t get that with the UK history. Maybe Britain needs to get with some its proud history (okay, SOME of our history) and make it relevant again. I don’t know, maybe I’m waffling, but American history just seems to resonate here with pride.

Drive thru banking – Love This. Period.

Drive thru liquor store – WFT? Yes, please!

Drive-thru liquor store even!

Drive-thru liquor store even!

Drive thru pharmacy – Ditto. Don’t Care How Lazy It Is.

Turning right on red – Yes, every time! UK, this would make traffic flow so much better (tho we would need to turn LEFT on red ;) )

Family gyms – the gyms here are for all the family. There is childcare and there are kids classes. All the gyms I’ve looked at for our return offer nothing like that. Come on, we can all workout and have fun, UK!

Just like the movies – this is actually where I say that I do feel like I’m in a movie in the USA with the yellow school buses and Route 66 and seeing sites that we grew up with where movies were filmed. The UK has caught on to this with Downton Abbey and Lacock as ‘movie or TV sites’ but in the USA there is a real sense of it not just being set as a set, but that what you see really is a the real thing, the real set, the real backdrop. I would like to feel that in Englandland :)

Brunch – hallelujah for whoever thought to make Brunch a Thing. It’s awesome! It’s one of my favourite Sunday things.

brunch

Music in town centers – I adore this! You’re walking along, and there’s a bit of funky jazz to brighten up your day! It’s not raucous or distracting, but mood enhancing. I can see this stamping out some of that Saturday night fighting in Newcastle!

Solo cups – yey for them, red or blue (red is MORE fun!). They indicate a party and are an actual thing in your right of passage to drinking. Hoorah for them!

How are you? – I love being asked this. I’m good! Thanks for asking! How very nice! We Brits can be so cynical we don’t really want to answer, but try it – it feels great!

Cook outs – this way of eating is brillopads and we will take this back and not just have BBQs As An Event.

Hugging – oh, I how I love American hugging! I just met you and we hugged! Life is too short not to hug! It is a joyful thing! I’m hugging you now, Britain, and I know you hate it! Just learn to love it….

hugging

Kids’ politeness – now, MOST of the kids I’ve met in the USA are v v v v polite and they call me Miss Claire, and they are pretty respectful and wotnot. I don’t remember this quite so much in the UK. Kids of Britain – listen up, and be polite cos it’s super cool to be that way! (Side note – not grumpy teenagers tho!)

American salads – holy moly, these rock. They are like a nutritional feast on a plate, and if you don’t want to eat it all, take it home! I hope to see some rocking salads in the UK, and not just a bit of iceberg lettuce.

Take out boxes! – How I love these. Too much on my plate? Then I shall have it for dinner tomorrow. Take out box, please! Thanks very much. Easy peasy, job done. Think about it, Britain, it’s pretty smart!

takeoutboxes

Positivity – it doesn’t harm to be positive. It helps. If offers opportunities. It opens up a whole new world and way of thinking. It opens your mind and your heart to new, exciting things. It is rewarding for you and for others. This is probably the single greatest thing I have taken from my time in the USA. Make it happen, do it. Do it now, don’t delay. #carpediem

Thanks America, it’s been So. Much. Fun! Come now, England, is this all too much to think about? I’ll be there to help you through ;) See you in 7 weeks!

Next up: Things about the USA that I won’t miss and things that America should adopt from the UK or just get rid of ;)

Posted in American, American customs, Britain, British, British American differences, British customs, expat life, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 627

Curiouser and curiouser

Harry is becoming more and more curious about England. He remembers snippets of it, and mostly very romanticised, but he also picks up on what other people say about it.

Recently he’s been asking questions and making comments about it.

Like on Saturday, when it rained like crazy: ‘Is this like the English summer?’ (Now I know you have your hottest week yet, Brits, but you get the gist!)

Crazy rain!

Crazy rain!

And then he saw people walking in Baltimore: ‘Wow, loads of people walking! Why don’t they walk very much where we are in America? People walk loads in England.’

And this: ‘Daddy thought I had had proper chips when my friend’s mom told him I’d eaten chips, but they were just crisps. It’ll be easier to understand each other in England.’ (Yes, after three years my husband still gets confused!)

chipsorcrisps

I think my From America to England blog might be viewed somewhat through Harry’s curious eyes because it will almost all feel new to him back in the UK :) .

Posted in American, blogging, Britain, British American differences, British customs, culture, expat life, Repatriation, UK, USA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 626

Discovering Maryland

My heart sinks a little when I realise how much more there is to discover still in this little East Coast paradise that is Maryland. The wineries, the beaches, the hiking trails, the coast line, and so much more – all yet unseen by my British eyes. And with only 7 weeks until we return to the UK, and a crazy schedule, including being commissioned to write a piece about expat life in the great state of Maryland, these things appear to be out of my reach.

But I’ve learned not to dwell on things I haven’t done – I wrote about this very thing in a recent piece for Expat Focus which you can read here.

So, why I am learning all this new stuff about Maryland now? Well, last night I attended a bloggers event (#MDbloggersbash) held in beautiful Annapolis by Maryland Office of Tourism. They gave me loads of information and as I trawled through it I realised that Maryland is a total gem, even more so than I had ever imagined.

Me and @hocomoms hang out in Annapolis :)

Me and @hocomoms hang out in Annapolis :)

Maryland, I loves ya, I do!

Maryland, I loves ya, I do!

There are so many people who adore this state and so many people blogging about it. And rightly so. When many Brits come on their holibobs to the USA they think Florida, California, New England, Grand Canyon, NYC. I say to you now: don’t dismiss Maryland! It’s #awesomeballs. And that’s UK Desperate Housewife USA official :)

Last TV appearance

Well, I hit the Baltimore airwaves on WBFF Fox 45 news yesterday for the last time as a ‘Lifestyle Expert’ talking about how to prevent summer damage. Gawd knows I need all these products being the sun worshipper that I am!

IMG_1521 IMG_1527

This is the last time I’ll get to open my British gob on the telly – I even had to turn down a House of Cards shoot on Monday cos I’m so flipping busy packing right now!

Britishness in the USA

I really am still very British, but with a big dollop of positive Americana in me now!

However, I still say ‘sorry’ when someone is in the way. Did that yesterday. They said ‘there’s no need to be sorry, I was obstructing you’, and I said ‘But I’m British, that’s what we say!’ :)

Britishness innit!

Britishness innit!

And I’m used to rain delays. We’ve had to reschedule a pool party cos there will be mad American rain (it is mad when it comes!) this weekend. I think I’m just used to that. If it was a BBQ, however, we’d just use our brollies and BBQ anyway, cos that’s v v v British :)

You can read my From America to England blog musings on Britishness is here. Don’t forget to sign up to the blog for my repatriation series!

Posted in American, bloggers, blogging, blogs, Britain, British, British American differences, British customs, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 625

Twirly-wirly padlocks

Let me tell you a little story about me and the twirly-wirly American padlock. Every Friday I work at a gym that has a locked cabinet that contains the stereo. Every Friday I have to do the combination on the padlock to access the stereo. I arrive 15 minutes earlier than I need to do this. I know the numbers off by heart, but can I open the twirly-wirly padlock. Can I heck!

American high school students use these combination (twirly-wirly) padlocks for their lockers at school so Americans are pretty au fait with how they work. I, however, and many Brits I know out here, cannot work the damn things. We do not have diplomas in twirly-wirly padlocking :)

Combinaton / twirly-wirly padlock

Combinaton / twirly-wirly padlock

This twirly-wirly padlock does my British head in! Every Friday I try 8-10 times and every Friday I ask someone else to do it for me. I just can’t work it out. Right, left, past the number, back past the other number or whatever. I just can’t do it! America, you have stumped me with your twirly-wirly padlocks.

I only have to teach this class four more times in my USA time here, so that’s four more mornings where my head is done in! Poor baffled British me ;)

From America to England

Over the next few weeks I’ll be transferring my blog writing to my new UK blog, From America to England, charting my repatriation to the homeland! Make sure you sign up to follow this blog for my British adventures!

desperate-housewife-usa-logo-final.jpg

One more TV show

I’ll be appearing on the Fox 45 news channel one more time on Thursday this week before I leave the USA. I’ll be talking about ‘Sins of Summer’ and how to cope with the extreme heat. I need this, being a professional sun worshipper and all that. Today we reach 99 degrees in Maryland. Holy cow!

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