Showing posts with label expat. Show all posts

Ex-expat Catch Up!

Hello there! Well, we have officially been in the United States for 42 days! I still can't believe it and I almost just keep expecting to pack up and return to Ely. When I force reality into my brain, I feel such a let down but I just remind myself of how lucky I am to have called Ely my home. We have been surviving 'gypsy' life for some time now here in Atlanta, packing up all of our junk and moving from place to place. We are a sight to see when arriving at a new hotel haha!! But alas, we are now finally in our last 'home' for our time in Atlanta. And we are actually staying in our first American AirBnb! It's extremely nice, much larger than any AirBnb we encountered in Europe, and will be a comfortable last spot in Atlanta before moving down to the beach at the end of October! I honestly can't wait to get to the beach. Sun, sand, family and PUPPIES!! Sunshine/puppy emoji! :) are we coping?

Missing 'home'
Van and I have often found ourselves in conversations about how much we miss England. And Europe in general. The way of life that we were so privileged to experience for two years was something that we grew quite comfortable with. And right now, I would give anything to hop in the car and drive through the British countryside. While the North Georgia mountains are pretty, nothing compares to passing by the hedge lined farmland and quaint villages in the United Kingdom. Or even to just be able to walk into town and grab a coffee and peruse the daily market. I walked a mile to Publix today and people probably thought I was crazy....or homeless! It's just been a total change in daily life and is taking some getting used to for sure.

So, truth be told, while I am so excited about the next couple of years around family....I'm homesick for England. Like the heartbroken kind of homesick. Anywho.

While we have had said "missing home" talks, our conversations usually turn to what's next travel wise for us. While I would be up for jumping on a long haul flight every month to go back to Europe, Van brings me back to reality. We will have, at most, 2 weeks to spend travelling next year...well plus long weekends and such. But as far as flying somewhere more than 4 hours away by plane, it's going to be tricky. But let me back up.

While we will be in Florida for some time, there will always be opportunities popping up for us to once again be expats. And while I hope this opportunity comes sooner than later, I have to remind myself to let life flow as it should and to not get in a hurry to plan it all.

Ok, so back to travel. We have tossed around ideas of a major trip to Thailand, or maybe even a week on the Adriatic in Eastern Europe. But we've somewhat decided to try and stay in this hemisphere for now. Since there is always hope for another opportunity to live abroad, we think that travelling 'locally' may be our best option. While the thought of not touching the ground in England or Europe for two years makes my heart want to break in two, I also know that visiting for one week will not completely fulfill my need! So while this is just a thought at the moment, I've learned to keep my mouth shut and let life happen!

Living in America is surely different and I almost feel like it moved and grew too fast while we were gone. Every body is busy. Traffic is horrendous. All there is to do is shop and eat. Ok, that last statement is a little dramatic but sometimes that is how it feels. But, we have found a few little cozy restaurants and wine bars that are growing on us and we do try and get outside quite often. We actually attended the Atlanta Boxer Rescue "Boxerstock" yesterday. And even though it wasn't British crowds at the market, at least we were around all of the cool know, the boxer owners :)

Eating in America is a whole other topic that I will get too soon enough...

We are slowly surrendering to American life however we both are incredibly thankful for our new, more Euro outlook on life. I think that living at the beach will be a much better place for us to readjust than busy Atlanta. And I can't wait to get there.

So, in a nutshell, that's about where I am at with this whole repatriation thing. Slowly settling but with a new perspective.

Hope you are having a fantastic Monday!

Jamie xx

22 Months an Expat

Well, more like 22 1/2 months eek! and possibly my last 'expaty catch up' post. It's easy to say that I have become quite comfortable with my life in England at this point. I love my town of Ely and I don't even notice that I'm American anymore (hehehe). But I thought it would be fun to take nostalgic look back at my 'Expat Checkup' from 3 months in. At three months an expat I was feeling a little bit lonely, I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb and I was really having a hard time adjusting to life without a job. I was trying to keep a happy face but inside I was feeling like I might never feel comfortable in my new surroundings. In my 3 Month post, I made a list of my misses which were;

Repatriation | What I'm Excited About

Well hello there!! Remember me? It's know, I used to be a pretty active blogger, haha!! It's been a hectic few weeks...getting the pups all geared up to make the trip back to the States (more on that later) and just life in general! But now that they are gone and settled, I am hoping to get back into the swing of things. And plan our last few trips in Europe. Sad Face.

My ABCs of Travel

So I've seen these ABC posts floating around for awhile now and I thought I should put one together of my own! Living in England has brought so many new experiences into my life and I am just so happy to actually have some interesting stories to tell!

18 Months in England

Well, I'm sitting here today on this rainy British Sunday, coffee cup in hand, reminiscing on the past 18 months. Wow. I can't believe it's been 18 months! Oh England, you've stolen my heart. I had to take a look back at my previous expat posts (again), and reread the struggles I was facing having just moved across the pond. While some days were hard at first, I knew I would get through them with time. But what I didn't realize was how much I would change in the process.

Living in England has changed Van and I in many ways. Knowing that our move back home is on the horizon, its hard for us to imagine returning to normal American life. Our daily habits and routines have been shaped into a more European way of living and I know we will once again have to readjust to a new way of life with the next move. But, living here has opened our eyes to so many things and I know we will hold onto these new views wherever we live. 

Lately | & A Walk Through Wretham Heath

Life lately in Gunterland

Upcoming Trip
With our impending move on the horizon, we have had to face reality. A move back to the States means we will be purchasing and paying for some major expenses. Like shipping the pups, purchasing two cars, and possibly buying a new house. I mean talk about anxiety! So I have had to drastically scale back our upcoming travels. Pout face.

One place that I knew I had to visit was Aushcwitz. I have been drawn to the history of the Holocaust and WWII since I first learned of it in school. So instead of a happy little weekend away, we are going to pay our respects to the victims and to see first hand what the most notorious concentration camp is like. Of course, Krakow will be a great experience but this trip is definitely different than our other happy little vacays.

But in a good note...y'all. The Euro and the Pound....seriously taking a dive! Which is amazing for us Dollar makers! When I booked our incredibly fabulous and low priced hotel a few months ago, the price was running about $110 a night. Now that the Euro is tanking, the hotel is only going to be costing about $88 a night! Talk about a win! So any tips for Krakow? Let me know!!

Have you ever taken a look at my fitness blog? It's not much, but is a place where I like to ramble on about my workouts, healthy recipes (some incredible smoothies lately) and maybe finally seeing some abs!! I have really been on a roll with my health and fitness. So much so that I signed up for a 10k in April! I am super excited and super nervous. I don't think I have ever run over 5 miles before. But I am finally to a point where 4 miles is fairly I just got to push a little further! I feel confident and I think this may be the start of a new love for running. To my runner girls.....what's your favorite running shoe?

Job Search
I'm starting to get serious about the job search. Even though we still don't have the 100% answer saying 'you are moving to ____' we are pretty confident that we can go ahead and start making plans in our new home city. I mean we literally were given the 100% your moving to England a MONTH before we left. But I promise I will write about our new home when we are 100%! Anyway, I have seen some amazing jobs posted that I am going to apply for. If I have to move back home early, so be it. If the right opportunity came along, I would just have to do it. Ugh the struggles. But hey, what a dilemma!

Needing to Spring Clean
With said move upon the horizon, I am desperately needing to get on the ball and get rid of some things in our house. It's amazing how many things we accumulate. Having only been given a 10x20 shipping container to move over to England, there were some purchases that had to be made upon arrival. And of course, due to voltage differences, some items were necessary to buy over here. Such as a new TV, fridge, dryer, living room furniture, etc, etc. There is no way it will all fit back in the container! So my question to my English readers....what site have you found most effective to sell your items on? 

Wretham Heath
So where is this little walk that I have taken you on with my pups? It's Wretham Heath in Suffolk. I picked up a cute little book at a charity shop called the 100 Best Walks of East England. I am trying to get Van to go with me on nature walks and I figured this book would help. So for our first walk we chose Wretham Heath because of it's WWII history and it was only about 45 minutes away.

It was about a 3 mile walk around a nature reserve that is drenched in history. Not only has an abundance of Mesolithic tools, and Roman pots been found, there is also an abandoned WWII airfield. At the back of the trail, we were able to see the remnants of the taxi areas of the runway. I'm sure Bruno and Willis had no idea what they were walking around but they sure had a great time. As did we. Plus, there were about 4 million bunnies running about and the pups little noses were in heaven!

This is what I love about England and what I will miss. Just a normal walk around some little lakes. But due to the history, your imagination can run wild. Just think of the WWII aircraft flying overhead back in the day, or the Romans marching through and setting up camp. Or even back to 7000BC, during the Mesolithic period. Pretty darn incredible.

Happy Monday and happy week!! 

Catching up on Expat Life

So my last 'expat' post was at my one year mark....and I have totally missed the mark for our 15 months catch up post! Oh well, let's just go from how many days I have lived in England now....which would be 506 days! Wow. That's a little crazy.

We have truly begun to acclimate to the quirks that come along with British life. Like remembering to bag your own groceries at the checkout line (or queue as I now call it). Or knowing which coins to use. I have started to replace my 'American' words with my new British terminology which is going to be pretty comical whenever we move back Stateside! But speaking the different terminology just makes it easier to communicate and it makes me sound a little bit like Lady Mary, so it works. Ha!

I have learned to love the slower pace of life living in Ely. I LOVE this city. And yes, it is a city. Apparently, Ely is the smallest city in Britain. It meets all the criteria that deems a town a 'city in England'. So there is some knowledge for your day :)  But yes, I love it here. I love driving up the A142 and seeing the Cathedral sitting high upon the hill it is stunning. So stunning, I wish I had a picture for you but they just don't do it justice. Sigh. I love the slowness of it, I love the community, I love the architecture. I love it all.

We are dreading the day when we have to move back to the GMO 'land of the free'. The food here is so fresh and real. I love that I can't even find any caged chicken products in more store.....everything is free range. I love seeing the cattle and pigs living in excellent conditions. Makes me feel better to know that my food lived a good life. I am going to miss this food. I am going to miss the CHEEEESSSE. Makes me sad. And I am a terrible gardener, so I guess I am going to have to find a farmer friend wherever we live next!

And it will soon be Spring again here and again, my heart will melt when the rapeseed fields start to bloom. Do you remember this post from last year? Omg. It was just too gorgeous. And we are now in that sweet little time between winter and spring in England where the days are slowly getting brighter and we know that perfectly mild British summer is on the way.

Post from last Spring
Once again, I have moved to a new place and made incredible friends. This is where our 'travel' life starts to be a little bit of a hard thing. It is so hard to leave good friends....but it is starting to become just a part of our normal life. I am seriously dreading the day....Van may have to drag me away from England. But enough about the sad stuff.

Which brings me to what's coming next. What the future looks like for us....

It is looking like we will most likely be moving Stateside in about 6 months. We aren't sure exactly where just yet, but we have two great options and whichever one we go to, we have plenty of friends and family nearby! Which is exciting. And there is a possibility that one of the locations will be a permanent move for us. Which is also exciting and also a little bit terrifying. We haven't been 'settled' for a long time. It boggles my mind to live in the same house for 5 years or so. But, all of life is a challenge and a learning experience and I am up for whatever happens!

And in other news, we just returned from Prague, again. And we are still just in love with the city as we were last time! So more on that to come!!

So I guess you could say we are fully settled into our expat life! We are going to try and soak up these last few months and experience what we can. And thinking about leaving makes me all the more grateful that I have this blog. It will be such a fantastic way to relive all of these memories that we have made! 

Linking up for Travel Tuesday

Previous Expat CatchUps/British Life Posts:

Expat Life:
British Life:

Top 5 Destinations from 2014 + Top 5 for 2015

2014 was an incredible travel year for us which makes it difficult to narrow down our top destinations for the year! I swear we leave every new destination claiming it to be our favorite. But after discussing what our favorite trips were, we came up with a shortlist. 

Top Travels in 2014

5. Tie: Amsterdam and Paris

After a short trip to Amsterdam with my Dad, we have decided that this city is one that we could definitely return to and actually need to return to. We loved the architecture and the city but we missed out on a lot of the museums. And not to mention, we would love to go back just for the food! 

Amsterdam Posts:

And Paris. We visited Paris while I was sick with a tummy bug and we missed out on a lot. There was sooo much to do in Paris but we still got a good feel for the city and wouldn't mind returning for some food and shopping!

Paris Posts (coming soon)
Thoughts on Paris | Notre Dame | The Louvre
Our Wonderful Apartment | Cedric's CV Night Tour | Montmarte/Sacre Couer

4. Santorini

Santorini is on many a bucket list. And for good reason. The sunsets from the island's cliff side cannot be beat! Plus the beaches, the food, the's all amazing. We so enjoyed our time cruising the island on the ATV and eating the glorious Greek food. And after seeing our first sunset, I was sure I had died and had passed on into some sort of travel heaven. I had permanent chills!

Santorini Posts:

3. Chamonix

As avid snowsports enthusiasts, skiing and boarding the Alps was high on our bucket list while living in England. Our first taste came at Chamonix in France. It was absolutely incredible. We will now be forever spoiled by the Alps, especially now that we have booked 2 more Alps getaways this winter!! But Chamonix will always be our first love when it comes to the Alps.

Chamonix Posts:

2. Germany

We finally got to visit Germany in December. We immediately felt comfortable in this country and I think that it has to do with the similarities to the conveniences of the US. But add in some amazing castles and Christmas Markets and its a perfect country to getaway to. Luckily, we have another trip planned back to our new favorite country in a few days!

Germany Posts (more coming soon)

1. Prague

Germany may be our favorite country but Prague is by far our favorite city and for many many reasons including; the people, the food, the beer, the history, the architecture, the prices, the hotels, everything!! We were so sad when we had to leave Prague after a 3 night stay. We had a perfect trip to Prague and hopefully will get to return before we leave England. 

Prague Posts:

*Honorable Mention: not a destination, but flying first class from the US to the UK was a dream. I got lucky and was able to score a seat and it was just incredible. Oh to lead that lifestyle!

Top 5 for 2015

Ok, here is where reality hits. We will be moving this year and we don't have much time left for adventures in Europe. This hurts my heart just a little bit. Ok, a lot bit. The thought of not being able to hop on a plane to visit a new country every month just sucks. And the crazy person in me wants to spend every last penny we have and travel every weekend until we have to leave. But its just not possible. I have a serious itinerary planned for our remaining months but I'm also trying to be realistic and not go overboard......oh the struggles!

So here is my Top 5 list for 2015:

1. Austria
I am a massive Sound of Music fan and I have wanted to visit the "hills" before we ever knew we would be moving to England. So this WILL be happening! Hopefully, we will get to take a little sidetrip to Hallstatt as well as it looks to be incredibly gorgeous. 

2. Poland
Ever since I read Number the Stars and learned of the Holocaust in school, I have had such a desire to visit Auschwitz and pay my respects to those who were brutally murdered there. I know there are several other sites and if it is possible, I would like to visit those as well. But Poland has been on my list for awhile because of this reason. 

3. Croatia
We are hoping to fit in a beach trip this summer to the waters of Croatia and we are trying to talk some family members (ahem, Dad) into coming with us! Since we visited beaches in Greece and Spain last year, this will be our beach 'fix' trip for 2015!

 4. Italy
After visiting Rome last year, we know we need to get back to Italy. I'm hoping to put together a trip including Cinque Terre, Venice and Florence. Any tips are appreciated on this little adventure!

5. Budapest
From what we hear, Budapest rivals our most favorite Prague. So this little trip is almost completely planned. It looks fantastic!

Of course there are a million honorable mentions. And I am hoping to fit some of those in. But with the nature of Van's job, we never really know exactly when we are moving so this is about all I can plan for at this moment. Oh and in addition to these Top 5, we are headed back to Germany next week and Switzerland in February!!

So there you have favorites from last year and my penciled in travels for 2015!

What travels are you looking forward to this year?

Treasure Tromp

USA Part 2 | The 'South' South

| Dec 27-Jan 2 Perdido Key, FL |

This crazy bunch had a pretty good time down on the coast. Football games, Flora-Bama and seafood...I sure felt like I was back home.

Van, my brother Daniel, his girlfriend Shanda and I all stayed in my little cousin Shelby's apartment for the week after Christmas and we got to catch up on some bonding time. I felt a little guilty for not travelling around and seeing other family members and friends but I knew this time with my family was much needed.

And with this view everyday....sigh.

I was a terrible photo capturer for our time down in Florida. I just enjoyed soaking in everybody through my own two eyes! I got to see my Grandmother, who drove all the way from Arkansas and I also got to see my sweet cousin Kelli! The time was too short but I'm thinking that we will all meet again sooner than later. 

And check out this sunset from one of my favorite Perdido Key restaurants....

Our days were spent outside when the weather wasn't yucky. And when it was yucky, we watched a lot of football at the tiki bar!

And you can't make a trip to the Gulf Coast without a visit to the Flora-Bama. We had our favorite Bushwhackers, and my sweet friend Bridget came by to say hello!

It was hard to say goodbye to family but I know I will be seeing them soon. Florida may be an option for us as a home base in the future and this trip back home made me realise that it might just be the best option. Who knows where the wind will blow us to this year?!

And as for coming back to England, it was so nice to go and pick up my puppies and get settled back into to our British life. However, the jetlag has been absolutely brutal. We messed up by not setting an alarm for our first morning and we slept until 5pm. Talk about confusion waking up and it's dark outside! So I think we may be back on track today but goodness, this has been the worst jetlag so far. 

But, the jetlag lazies are giving me some time to catch up on posts from Germany and Paris (which seems so long ago now) so stay tuned for those coming up! 

Happy New Years + Year in Photos

Happy New Years!
2014 was a pretty incredible year here at Gunters Abroad...
12 Countries visited, countless memories made, eyes opened to the world...

Here's to 2015! Wishing you and yours a healthy and adventurous year!

Thankful | Reverse Bucket List

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers! Hope you are enjoying the precious time with your families and getting your bellies nice and full. With this being our second Thanksgiving in England we definitely are starting to crave all those yummy dishes that we are so used to having on this day. But we also have really enjoyed to opportunity to take this holiday and travel somewhere new. Last year it was London and the Harry Potter Studios and this year, well let's just say that its a city that "is always a good idea" Audrey Hepburn...Wink. Wink.

So with us not having a traditional Thanksgiving day, I'd like to take this day to share with you my reverse bucket list. We are always talking about things that we would like to mark off our bucket list but do we ever take stock and look back on the things that we have done? And maybe some of these bucket list items may have not originally been on our list but now after experiencing them we can say that they should have been! I have plenty of those!

These are of few of the things that I have 'checked off' and am extremely thankful for on this day of thanksgiving!

Check out Stonehenge

See London/ Big Ben

Get lost in Amsterdam

Watch a Santorini Sunset

Ski the Alps

Marvel at the Sistine Chapel
(I complied with the rules and do not have a picture of this one!)

Eat a French Baguette on the french riviera

Golf in Scotland

Visit Downton Abbey

Tour a Castle
(checked off many times over!)

Eat pasta and pizza in Italy

Pretend I'm a gladiator at the Colosseum

Life is a big bucket list and even the smallest of experiences should be cherished and remembered!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

What are you thankful for?

To read about any of these bucket list items....head over to my Travels page and browse away!