Living in England as an American is mostly good. It takes a long time to learn how things are done, adapt, fit in, find friends, feel at home, and love the way of life here. It’s not easy, but it does get easier. I love talking to newbies, people who are struggling, people who need to hear the positives. My life and outlook on life has definitely changed since I first moved here.

Things that make me ecstatic that I never thought would even factor in, let alone make me happy and add to my enjoyment of life.

  • Doing a wash and bringing in dry clothes from the washing line, within 6 to 8 hours only
  • Not having to turn the heat on to heat the radiators in order to dry clothes
  • Buying peanut butter from Marks & Spencer
  • Buying Kraft Macaroni Cheese from Ocado
  • Being asked in a shoe or clothing store if I need any help
  • Being smiled at by staff pretty much anywhere
  • When our food order comes all together and no one has to wait
  • When my youngest child’s food order comes first (instead of very last)
  • Public transport
  • Watching Britain’s Got Talent with my children
  • The splendor of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton
  • The view of the sea while I watch my children do their swimming lessons
  • Discovering new books about cross culture, TCKs, CCKs, language, mixed race and cultural differences
  • Meeting other Americans
  • Always having an extra sweater or jacket when out and about, even in August
  • People asking me where I’m from and not being surprised at my response
  • Really good pub chips (french fries, not potato chips)
  • Online Tesco delivery
  • Meeting people from Romania, Bulgaria, Russia and Holland (and probably many other countries too)
  • Talking to other parents about raising children in Britain
  • Talking to other parents about raising children in America
  • Being called ‘love’ by taxi drivers
  • Being called ‘mum’ by my children
  • When my husband makes me a ‘nice cup of tea’
  • Discovering short breaks to places like Amsterdam and Bruges
  • Visiting Spain, another foreign country that is nearly becoming my third ‘home’
  • Business lunches in London
  • Street food
  • Finding a place to park our car in front of our house
  • My dishwasher
  • Keeping in touch with family and friends who live all over the world via Facebook
  • Meeting amazing people who share my sense of global entrepreneurial spirit through Twitter and Expats in Biz
  • Pinning on Pinterest
  • Afternoon tea at Bill’s (actually, afternoon or cream tea anywhere!)
  • Asking “What do you fancy…”
  • Saying “I’m knackered”
  • When my neighbors smile at me
  • When my children smile at me
  • When my children’s friends ask for a ‘cookie’ instead of a ‘biscuit’

I could go on! The joy (or should that be the trials and tribulations?) of living in England! Of course there are plenty of things that make me unhappy (such as having to bust a gut to bag up my shopping quickly so as not to anger the checkout person or annoy the next customer by taking too long) but I wanted this post to be full of all the wonderful and somewhat weird discoveries that have become so much a part of my cross-cultural life within a cross-cultural family here in England.

public transport

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Meghan Peterson Fenn is the author of Bringing Up Brits and co-author of Inspiring Global Entrepreneurs with Heidi Mulligan Walker. Meghan is also the Director and Chief Designer at her own design company, White Ochre Design Ltd. And, she is an award winning expat blogger.