Easing the transition to life in the US for my English Husband and Children(18 Posts)
I am from the USA, my husband is from the UK and our 2 children (4 and 5) were born here in the UK. We are relocating/emigrating to the USA eminently, and I'm looking for any advice or thoughts on things to consider that might make the transition easier.
DH and kids have all spent lots of time where we are going, we will be bringing lots of UK "comforts of home" food and personal items. I guess what I'm asking is for advice from anyone from the UK living in the USA on what has been difficult for you, what I can do to make things easier and make sure everyone is happy?
I've sourced a butcher to get DH his "proper bacon!" I know that there are lots of things they will love about being there, but I am worried there will be somethings that they won't, although I suppose that is the case anywhere!
Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated
The kids will be fine. For me it was the food that took a while to adjust to - sweet bread and funny baked beans spring to mind!. I would track down the local british shop if you have one for your DH (or the Irish section in a large supermarket). He may not care about food though!
Thanks for replying, funny you mention the bread, I've lived in the UK for 7 years now and I find American bread too sweet. Definitely sourcing some Heinz beans. I think he's excited enough about American food for the start, although I'm sure the novelty will wear off.
Will you be near a trader Joe. If so you will be fine. They do both good bacon and sausages.
Bring tea bags. Only thing we miss really.
Decent bread, chocolate and Heinz beans!
Make sure the kids know the differences in words. My sister yelled across her new office 'does anyone gave a rubber? I need a rubber'. I suppose it broke the ice...
Where abouts are you going? Do you have any Irish or Scottish roots in the family - there seems to be lots of Celtic societies.
I lived in the US for a number of years a long time ago (so pre internet). I found getting the banking and financial arrangements sorted was very tricky as certainly back then my good credit score didn't transfer. So worth seeing what help you can get from your UK bank in advance.
I missed UK tv so worth investigating what you can get now over the internet or radio. I wasn't a big sports fan but if your dh likes football ie soccer he may want to be able to catch up on games.
As a pp said worth seeing if there are any local societies that might be of interest. Just having someone use your own language (even if it is english english) can be very supportive.
Will your DH be able to work? Later, I was offered the chance to go with my ex for a 2 year secondment and I wasn't going to be allowed to work. I would have gone mental!
Finally have you discussed what happens if you split up. Where the children will live? Sorry to be gloomy but it does happen.
Where will you be in the U.S.? What you can find and expect in LA or NYC is very different to rural Montana!
Agree that it depends upon where you are. I do think that people underestimate the culture shock that you can get moving from the UK to US. I have lived all over the world and thought the US would be a breeze in comparison. In many ways it is but in others some of the differences were really striking. I find the social nature of American society quite challenging at times. By that, I mean that I want to be able to stand in the line at the store and not have to have a conversation with the person behind me. I want to be able to walk into a clothing store and browse without having to reply to the millions of questions from the sales assistant. I realize at times that I must come across as stuck up because I find these things hard to engage in. I'm not but I do honestly find the constant need for interactions a little wearing (how MANY times did the server at Valentines dinner last night need to come over and engage us in conversation?!) I've concluded that this is part my shyness and part cultural differences.
In some cities football (soccer) is huge with a huge fan base (Seattle, L.A.) and in most of the big cities you will find at least one British pub where the lads get together to watch live UK matches at bizarre hours.
Bogey I could have written you post myself. USA was our 10th international move and by far the hardest. I totally underestimated the culture shock, assumed that because I spoke the language and watched American tv it would be easy but the USA was far more foreign than I bargained for!
Op, take a look at the I Am A Triangle Facebook group. It's for people who repatriate home and find that slotting back in isn't exactly what you assumed it would be. A great resource, repatriation can be tricky too.
A tip about alternatives to the sweeter American breads (which I don't like even though I'm American); buy bread from the bakeries in grocery stores. They usually have good variety, and it is almost always not as sweet.
World Market for Cadburys chocolate and some other British goodies.
Local bakeries for non sweet bread.
Ŵholefoods for acceptable foreign cheeses, and some other treats
There are websites that will provide/ sell you a way of watching British tv via iplayer.
Marks and House of Fraser offer good international shipping if you miss British clothes brands.
Buy a bread maker. Moved to the US almost two years ago, it was one of the first things we bought - I use it every day.
I did the same, matildasaunt.
John Lewis also ships internationally.
Book your first lot of flights home before you leave. It will help your DC.
I'm a Brit who lived in the US with my American DH for six years. Tbh it wasn't so much 'things' I missed as people, but the main thing I would say is to remember this: the US is a very different country from the UK (which I'm sure you are well aware of). We both speak (versions of) English, but apart from that the US felt pretty foreign to me for a long time. So don't expect your DH to feel 'at home' immediately. For me it took five years for the US to feel like home and even then the UK still felt a lot more like home. So be patient and remind him to be patient too.
As for stuff, it depends where you'll be living, but I could find a lot of British foods in my local Shoprite (I lived in NJ). Proper baked beans in a turquoise Heinz tin (not the yukky ones in a green tin), Bourbon creams, Marmite, marmalade, etc. Cadbury's chocolate is made by Hershey's in the US and tastes nothing like the real stuff, so if he likes Cadbury's he should take his own. All British radio and newspapers are online now, so he won't have to suffer withdrawals from those (I really missed Radio 4). British magazines are often available via online subscription too. These are quite minor things, but they are comforting.
As for people - those he loves you should encourage to visit and be tolerant of them staying for 1-2 weeks at a time. My DH tolerated my DM, DF, DSis, DAunt on a regular basis and I loved him all the more for his forbearance.
Oh yes and tell him to get a credit card asap so he can start building up a credit history. His British one won't count in the US, so he's starting from scratch and the sooner he does this, the better.
Have a look at some of the 'third culture kids' information. It might help you all.
Its kind of you to think about how to help your family fit it. They will be expecting to feel 'foreign'. You might find that for you, too, there are unexpected changes and irritations.
Have a great time, its an amazing opportunity for you all. Hope it works well for you all.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.