Wow. What. A. Year. Seriously. I chuckle thinking back on my first few days in England. It seems like so long ago now. So many things have happened in a year. Amazing travel moments, overcoming my fears of being in the spotlight as an American, and basically falling in love with this new country. England has captured my heart and I feel so incredibly blessed to have spent a year in this amazing place!
There have been many experiences, good and bad. I've experienced the brisk fall, the wet, windy and cold winter, the absolutely gorgeous British springtime and the mild and sometimes sweaty summer. I've learned how to communicate effectively in a sometimes foreign British language. I've learned how to navigate foreign countries, airports, train stations, and the tube. I've learned how to successfully drive a manual....on the other side of the road (yes, Dad, I've gotten much better!)
I've experienced extreme happiness and extreme sadness. I've missed my family but enjoyed the adventure. I've learned a TON about blogging and still really enjoy it. I've had one amazing year. We've had an amazing year.
I'm becoming accustomed to many things that I never thought I would when I first arrived in England. For example (and funny), I never thought I would be able to master some of the toilets around here. I just can't seem to flush some of them! Another thing that I am getting accustomed to is not having a car. I really had a hard time with this at first. But now, its nice to take a walk into town on a pretty day. And when it's yucky outside, I love having my groceries delivered right to my door! One of my most favorite things!
I am learning to live on a smaller scale and to really think about our "things". Having less space means I really have to think every purchase through. I have ONE, yes ONE closet in my house. So it really has been a great change for us. Less things, more life experience.
I love the food here and I have become much more aware of what I am putting into my body. But it's really easy to be healthy in England. No drive-thru fast food places, no parking lots in front of restaurants.....you walk everywhere! I absolutely love it.
There are things I still miss about home, such as watching college football at a decent hour. Staying up until midnight is starting to become difficult for this soon to be 31-year-old. I also miss my family but am so grateful for technology and to be able to see their faces on my screen. And I miss my friends. I have friends all over the States and I am so thankful for their continued friendship!
Ok, and now for my American 'misses'. I miss Target....oh how I miss Target. I miss good Mexican food. I miss the drive thru at the bank. I miss wide roads. I miss American television (but thank you Amazon, Netflix and a VPN!). I miss using US Dollars, although the exchange rate has really improved lately. I miss Waffle House and Taco Bell. There. I said it.
But not to worry.....all of those things I can live without.
And so I have created a little "Top 10 List" of my favorites over the past year. It was hard to narrow them down...we've had some pretty amazing travels over the past year. But these are ones that stick out in my mind and make my heart do a little dance. (Click the links for more on these favorites)
9. Walking amongst these gorgeous yellow fields
6. 10 Cool Castles around the UK
I can't believe all of this has happened within one year. Pure amazement.
With one year down, that means we are closer to leaving this amazing place. While the options for our next destination are still floating up in the air, I secretly (well not a secret now) don't want to go back to the States. And it's not that I don't miss it. It's just that we are able to experience so many new things abroad. So many different people, many different cultures, new ways to look at life. One of our destination options is foreign and the other option is to return stateside. So, I'm keeping fingers crossed but who knows where our home will be this time next year!
I have so much planned for the year to come and I can't wait to keep sharing it with everyone who reads Gunters Abroad. This has been an incredible year in England and I feel so blessed to have called England my home!
Hooray for one year!
For previous expat 'updates', click here.