Awkward Expat Moments

awkward expat moments

This is just a little post about something I have noticed since moving to America. It causes me great amusement and social discomfort all in one. It is something that I get a little shy about correcting and start to giggle uncontrollably. I really should be more mature about it, but …

My name is Molly – fairly uncomplicated and simple with most people knowing that it rhymes with dolly, brolly, lolly etc. No confusion thus far … however, there have been a few funny moments when I am introducing myself to someone new, and because of my accent, they mishear what I have said – cue me repeating myself and getting more and more embarrassed. I usually end up just going with whatever they think my name is to avoid the clumsy social interaction of me laughing out of my own awkwardness.

I have been called – and I have made up some of the spellings so you get the idea of how it is being pronounced – Mo-nay, Mow-lay, Mull-lay, Mowleen and Moo-hay (my personal favourite)!

awkward expat moments 2

I appreciate that English and American vowel sounds are different, and I know that it will slightly change how my name is pronounced, but the aforementioned attempts at figuring out what I am called bear no resemblance to what I am actually saying, and the conversation goes something like this:

Me: I’m Molly
Person: Mo-nay?
Me: (sounding it out) No, Moll-lee
Person: Mowleen?
Me: (starting to giggle) No, Moll-lee
Person: Mow-lay?
Me: (snorting) No, Moll-lee
Person: Moo-hay?
Me: (dying inside) … Yes

Have you ever experienced anything like this? How do you cope, or are you like me, and just blunder your way through moments like these? I would love to hear about them!

UPDATE: Upon reading this post to Hubby, he said that if you are not listening properly, or expecting a Brit to be talking, it does sound like I am saying Mow-lay. He went on to say that when he first met me, it took him a few months to figure out what I was saying! :-D

A Slice of Americana: American Candy

Welcome to my food review blog series A Slice of Americana, where I get to try different iconic American foods, based on suggestions from Hubby, and you, my lovely readers!

a slice of americana

I will be tasting most things for the first time, and will give an honest opinion of all that I consume – it is important to note that I am not receiving any payment or endorsements of any kind.

With that said, on with my review of . . . Junior Mints & Milk Duds

american candy graphic

The Information
Junior Mints have been around since 1949 and started in Massachusetts. They have a soft, fondant-like mint filling coated in dark chocolate. They are currently made by Tootsie Roll Industries.

Milk Duds were first created in 1926 in Chicago and the ‘dud’ refers to the failed attempts at getting a perfectly round candy. It has a caramel centre and is covered in milk chocolate. They are currently made by The Hershey Company.

Junior mints are made with a dimple on one side

Junior Mints are made with a dimple on one side

The Taste Test
Junior Mints are packed full of a minty flavour that is very pleasant and refreshing. The chocolate has a nice texture (slightly crunchy it seems) and as it is dark, does not have a sickly sweet taste (which I mostly find with US chocolate). The filling is soft (not sticky) and has a nice smooth texture.

Milk Duds have a malty, milky, chewy caramel in the middle which is complemented by the milk chocolate covering. I enjoyed the centre and found the chocolate to be a little on the sweet side, but it seemed to go with the overall candy experience.

Milk Duds

Milk Duds

The Verdict
I enjoyed both types of candy, and will buy them again to have as a treat. I like the boxes they come in as they seem perfect for a movie night – which is when I tried them!
They were both sweet, but without being too overpowering and had a nice, smooth texture.

Have you tried Junior Mints or Milk Duds? What did you think? What would you like to see me try next?

Expat Life: Getting Used to the Weather

One aspect of expat life that I had not really thought much about, until I moved, was the weather. This was a complete oversight on my part that has maybe let my British sensibilities down (I am rather obsessed with the weather) and left me enjoying the new meteorological conditions whilst also being terrified of them.

Shortly after I became an expat, Ohio experienced some of the worst winter weather it has had in about 35 years, with temperatures reaching as low as -30 with thick snow and ice everywhere – a condition I was not prepared for at all. Not to mention the tornado siren going off, which has me in a state of panic every time (much to Hubby’s amusement I still have a ‘moment’ when they are testing it at the beginning of the month to make sure it works).

Frozen windows in our old apartment (this was on the inside).

Frozen windows in our old apartment (this was on the inside).

Recently there have been some pretty amazing storms with thunder that sounds like it is out of a horror movie. It starts with a huge clap/bang and then proceeds to rumble on … it is unlike anything I have ever heard. I managed to get a rather shaky, poor quality, mobile phone video of one such clap of thunder. The filming of it does not do it justice as it does not pick up the real volume of the noise at the time – but, if you listen carefully, you can hear my house shaking as the thunder rumbles on … have a look/listen!

Expat Life: Loud thunder makes the house rattle! from Molly on Vimeo.

I am currently trying to figure out how to get a piece of audio up on here that managed to capture a truly horrifyingly loud bit of thunder – I feel it will prove I am not crazy when I shake in my British socks every time a storm arrives!

UPDATE: Managed to create a video of the audio of the huge thunder clap I recorded – see below!

Expat Life: Getting Used to the Weather (Thunder Audio) from Molly on Vimeo.

5 Quick Tips about Becoming an Expat

I am 7 weeks away from my first year of living as an expat. The time has gone by so quickly, I can barely believe it. I thought I would use this post as a chance to share some of the things I have learnt in that time about living abroad, becoming an expat and settling in to a new life. Here goes:
10 expat tips
1. Research before you go | Find out what life is like – look at the history, politics, public services available, healthcare, cost of living, job prospects etc to give you enough information to make the most of your first few weeks.

2. Quickly set up ways of communicating | Make sure you have ways of connecting to family and friends set up before, or just after, you move (I recommend researching what is available too). I felt the distance between the US and UK when I had trouble getting in contact with people easily which gave me my first experience of the expat blues.

3. Get your bearings | Explore the area close to where you live to really get to grips with directions and immediate local amenities. It helped me to feel more settled and familiar with my new life, and gave me confidence to explore further.

4. Find a local library | If your area has one, definitely get to know what it has to offer. They often have courses, groups or access to information about local events. They may also have computers, printers, photocopiers, fax machines etc which you can use for free or a very small fee. I found my local branch invaluable for all the reasons mentioned above.

5. Join local groups | I have yet to really take advantage of this one, so I really need to follow my own advice! Look in the local paper for community groups (I have my eye on a knitting/crochet group in a local church within walking distance that starts up in September). It is a good way to meet new people and make friends.

Have you recently moved into a new area – what did you find helped make you feel settled?

If you have anything you would like to ask, you can either leave a comment or use this contact form.

A Little Leibster Lovin’

liebster-award-main

Thank you to Caitlin from Bi-Continental Bird who nominated me for this Leibster award, which is the best kind of blogging award because it comes from fellow bloggers who recognise and appreciate what you do!

The award is a chance to shine a light on a relatively new or evolving blog that you particularly enjoy in the hope of building your blogging community and giving a friendly stamp of approval.

If you are nominated by me (see below) or are interested in taking part by nominating others, the rules are as follows:

  • write a post answering the questions posed by the blogger who nominated you
  • nominate your own favourite bloggers and set them at least ten questions (I will leave how many you want to nominate up to you)
  • the blogger you nominated answers your questions on their blog and nominates another blog
  • if you are nominated, you do not have to join in if you do not wish to

Here are my Leibster Award questions from Caitlin:

1. How did your blog come about?
I was in the final stages of an incredibly long, hard, drawn out visa process for my move to the US. I wanted a place to document the journey, share my news with all my friends and family, and provide support and guidance to anyone else going through the same process.

2. Where was the best place you have traveled to so far?
Egypt! I am a huge ancient history/Egypt nerd, so it was a dream of mine to go and visit all those ancient monuments.

3. What was the scariest thing to happen to you?
Getting a text from my Hubby to say he had been robbed at gunpoint and then not being able to get through to him for a few hours (he was at the police station). I was in a blind panic because I was still in the UK when this happened and I felt so far away from him.

4. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
This is a really hard one as there are so many I could choose … but if I have to, I think it would be … Dr. Who!

Colin Baker was the first Dr.Who I watched (source)

Colin Baker was the first Dr.Who I watched (source)

5. What’s the best/worst gift you’ve ever given/received?
A giant plastic ladybird/beetle to put on the front of my car – I did not have a car nor have I ever had one as I have never learnt how to drive.

6.  How many countries have you visited?
Just three so far …

7. If you could write an autobiography, what would the title be called?
If Patience Is An Art Form, I’d Be Picasso – I wrote a blog post with this title, and it just seems to suit my life up until this point as I spent over 4 years apart from my Hubby. We never saw each other (no visits or computer chats – just writing, daily phone calls and texts). It was such a difficult time, but we both – with great patience and belief in each other – got through it.

8. How has travel changed you?
It has provided great memories to share but becoming an expat has had the biggest change as I get a fresh, new start with the man of my dreams!

Reunited and reconnected at last

Reunited and reconnected at last

9. What is the best advice you could give to someone about to travel?
Research about it, respect its traditions/culture and be embracing of new experiences.

10.  If you have friends coming over, what do you cook?
For speed, it would be some kind of pasta dish, if I had longer, probably a curry! Yum!

11. What is the most played song on your iPod?
I do not own one (I hear you all gasp). I do not own any music playing devices except for my ageing and rather old mobile phone … the most played track at the moment is White Walls by Macklemore.

liebster-award-3

Now for my nominations and questions … drum roll please …

Holly from English Girl Canadian Man

Chantelle from Seychelles Mama

Melissa from A Teaspoon of Happiness

 

My questions are:

1. What is your favourite thing to do to relax?

2. If you could have a super power, what would it be?

3. It you could travel to anywhere, right now, where would you go?

4. What is your favourite food?

5. What is the strangest or most unusual thing you have eaten?

6. Who would you most like to go out for a drink with (real or fictional)?

7. What is your pet peeve?

8. If you could sum yourself up in one word, what would it be?

9. When was the last time you laughed hysteriacally, and what caused it?

19. What is your dream job?

Toledo Water Crisis – A Community Responds

You may, or may not, be aware that Toledo had a state of emergency issued on Saturday because our water supply (which is taken from Lake Erie) was toxic. An algae bloom had occurred and microcystin was found to be present to a level that meant we were not allowed to consume it (no brushing of teeth, no drinking or cooking and no washing up). You were not even allowed to boil the water as it would not kill the mircocystin but make it more concentrated.

At the time of writing this (Sunday afternoon) the water ban was still in effect.

I watched the news and social media outlets throughout the day and I have to say that the whole situation was dealt with really well. The news anchors were calm, gave out information really clearly and kept us informed (shout out to Melissa Andrews and Jerry Anderson, and the whole team from WTOL, who were on non-stop for well over 12 hours). The mayor kept the public informed as best he could with the test results about the toxins as and when they were made available, and the local stores really stepped up to help out with getting water to people.

There was also a really great community response as people with big tanks of water gave it out, fire stations – not in the areas supplied by the toxic water – filled up peoples containers and even people who were from outside Toledo bought large amounts of water (out of their own pocket) and handed it out – all for free. The National Guard came with water packs and set up purification machinery to produce huge amounts of water, and many, many people came to help hand it all out. There was even a home delivery for people who were homebound.

With all the waiting for water you would expect there to be anger and maybe even outbursts of aggression and violence, but, as far as I can see, there really was not any incidents like this. People were patient, kind and helpful and also dealt with the crisis with a sense of humour.

This is currently all still going on, and it is a bit frustrating and worrying, however, the response of the Toledoan community was a pleasure to witness.

Faith in humanity restored.

Favourite Things About Becoming an Expat

expat favs graphic

I was asked recently about what I have liked about becoming an expat, so I thought I would share it in a blog post today! It also gave me a chance to stop and think about all that has happened since I arrived and take stock of the adventure so far. It is a challenge, and there are days when it can be overwhelming, but there are some great perks to it too.

My favourite things about becoming an expat:

being different | I never really blended into the crowd having red hair but it is really nice being different for being a Brit and people being interested in where I come from

getting compliments | I do not get endless compliments about it, but when it does happen, and someone says they love my accent, it makes me feel good

experiencing something new | Getting to try new things for the first time, especially now that I am in my mid-thirties, is something I did not think I would get to do and kind of gives you a renewed energy for the everyday

creating a new life | Not many people get to have a fresh start, and this too is very energising and positive

appreciating the old | You certainly develop more patriotism for your old home country and a deeper love and respect for the people you said goodbye to

What are your favourite things about living abroad? What do you think would be your favourite things if you moved overseas?