Expat to Repat: Challenges and Wot Not

Four weeks in on the repatriation in the UK, folks.

How’s that working for us?

Happy Britain!

Happy Britain!

So…..in no particular order

  1. I think I am addicted to Radio 2. I love it and all its British charm and eclectic music offerings. I tried listening to it in the States on odd occasions, but it just seem misplaced during my time out there. I’m back in the Radio 2 groove along with every other bugger!.
  2. The 4 week bit of the repatriation curve is hard. Week 1 is like – ‘ooer, what’s going on here then?’ Week 2 is pretty much spent going ‘oh this is same but different and so much has changed but that’s still the same’; week 3 is mostly spent thinking ‘normality is setting in but I still feel like I’m a bit different and not fully settled……and what the hell is that car doing?! – Oh, Lordy, it’s me supposed to be driving on the left – yikes!’; and week 4 is like ‘oh boy, I miss stuff about Americaland a lot.’ What else is to come?
  3. Harry does not know what a pantomime is, and I almost replied it was the British government, but obviously I stopped imposing my own political views on him. 😉 He now is aware of what a pantomime is, but I am sure it will be fascinating watching him watch one.
  4. The drinks holders in British cars are tiny because they don’t want you to drink water or whatever in your car ever, cos it’s illegal or something. Fact: my USA water bottle does not fit in my British hole. Fancy that.
  5. Car parking spaces here are flipping tiny.
  6. Paying for parking everywhere is pain in the arse.
  7. It is now Autumn. and it is cold.
  8. Harry does not know what a Mars Bar is. British childhood confectionary treat, that’s what son!
  9. Rugby is where it’s at for the kiddos here. And Harry, being the expat-repat kid, turns up wearing a Pittsburg Steelers kit, cos that’s how he rocks.
  10. People in Tesco wear their pajamas on a Sunday. Much like Walmart, I gather;)
This is going to happen to me....


Trying to make the repat process fun: online Tesco order (yes really!)

I’m finding the UK repatriation thingymabob slightly tough. There is so much to sort out, and to be honest I really just want to be making the most of my time here, not packing and ticking off lists and planning bits and bobs. It seems endless, and is not helping my insomnia!

However, after a frustrating day attempting to tick of various repatriation to-dos I decided to do something fun in my repat-list. The online food order for our return! I remember that when I did the USA one it was fascinating and weird, since I had to Google various items using the British words to find out what the US alternative was. You know, stuff like ‘kitchen roll’ = ‘paper towel’, ‘washing powder’ = ‘laundry detergent’ etc.


This time round, on the Tesco website (Gawd Bless ‘Em, they remembered me and my ClubCard points after three years!) it was super fun inputting all the British groceries! I was mentally re-stocking my cupboards with all sorts of British items. And BOOZE – let’s not forget the joy of ordering booze on your weekly shop! The food is generally slightly cheaper, I think, than in the USA.


Rich Tea biscuits, jam, bacon, teabags, crisps (Monster Munch and Skips!), Cadbury’s, OXO cubes, Bovril and a load of other things made the list. And I haven’t finished yet! I’ll still be adding, since I don’t need it delivered till August, obviously! Suggestions welcome!

What ya gonna do when you get back home?

I get asked this question a lot in the USA. And, believe me, I think about it a lot.

When my parents moved back from Gibraltar, when I was 18, I stayed out there for a few extra weeks, sleeping on friends’ floors and hanging out at the beach. That was super cool fun, and I knew I was heading to uni when I got back, so it was all just sorted.

Carefree in Gib, 1993

Carefree in Gib, 1993

I didn’t think too much about the repat process back then – I mean, come on, I was 18 and self-absorbed! My parents did all the packing and the sorting and I just made plans to meet people at the pub.

This time, it’s a whole different ball game. There is oodles of stuff to sort out, and the key thing for me is sorting work for when I return to the UK. What am I going to do? I like working – I think it’s a privilege to be able to work. Before the USA journey I was working full-time in PR. This time, I think things will be a bit different. Out here I spend my time freelance writing, teaching fitness and being an extra on TV. It’s all fun, but I’m not sure that the UK accommodates such things so easily.

I’m already setting up in-roads to work for friends’ companies, doing freelance PR, but there’s still a part of me that loves that British workplace (I am romanticising it somewhat!). I believe that YOU make things happen and are responsible for your own life, so that’s what I shall do – make it happen and be responsible for my life back in the UK.

Me in PR mode back in 2012

Me in PR mode back in 2012

Some people have also asked how we’ll cope going back to a smaller house (MUCH smaller house!). At least it will be easier to clean, I reply, this American house is a bugger!


Getting ready to repat

Repatriation is the process of returning a person to their place of origin or citizenship.

This is slightly terrifying. It truly is.

So, this is the article I wrote recently about my temporary expat life.

And this is the article I wrote recently about repatriation.

I think it’s safe to say the thought of returning to the UK is never far from my mind, even though I’m squeezing every last moment out of being here in America.

From America to England, folks.

From America to England, folks.

Eight months to go, and counting. I can’t help counting. And saying to myself ‘this is the last time I’ll do this or this or this here’ (Halloween, Christmas etc etc). I say that a lot.

This is the blog about the journey towards repatting or repatriation or becoming a repat, or whatever its called.

It’s going to be emotional! 😉