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AMA

I moved to the UK from the US, AMA

166 replies

Avalla33 · 27/07/2018 15:19

It's still early days, as I moved here about a year ago. I don't know if I have anything particularly interesting to say, but I'll try to answer any questions the best that I can.

OP posts:
Knittedfairies · 30/07/2018 19:38

What makes you proud to be an American, and what do you think we Brits should be proud of in the U.K.?

Candyflip · 30/07/2018 19:44

I once heard my neighbour say neesh (niche) instead of nitch. I was ridiculously happy.

Knittedfairies · 30/07/2018 20:08

@candyflip I’m confused. Doesn’t everyone say neesh for niche?

Candyflip · 30/07/2018 20:19

No , I am in the US, so everyone here says nitch. With a rare exception. Same as boo-ee above.

MissConductUS · 30/07/2018 20:20

What makes you proud to be an American

The Bill of Rights in our constitution and how it has given us both freedom and opportunity. Also, how successive waves of immigrants has been assimilated into our culture without losing their own cultural identities and made us all better in the process.

Flisspaps · 30/07/2018 20:44

@Avalla33 if you're in the Midlands and miss large swathes of open countryside, head over to the Shropshire Hills - it's a designated area of outstanding natural beauty with miles and miles of unspoilt fields and hills. It's doable by train to Shrewsbury (on the mainline from most of the Midlands) and then a train to Church Stretton, if you fancy a day out.

Also the Peak District Smile

Biggreygoose · 30/07/2018 20:52

Nearly done, IDLR in January. £2369. On top of the £3.5k we have already spent.

The price rises every year are killer and annoy me. There must be an upper limit though, the financial threshold is still only £22k. Which means that if you start saving right from the month you get the last spousal visa you need to save £80 a month. That's going to be tough (nearly impossible) to do on only 22k. Plus the arbitrary price rises mean you are trying to hit a moving target.

We are very fortunate that our income is considerably more than that, but I feel for the people who would struggle with that.

People have no idea. Shipping her over in a crate would have been far far cheaper. Grin

Have you had a mini breakdown in a supermarket yet because you can't find (Italian sausage)? (or other item)

CraftyYankee · 30/07/2018 21:34

Along the lines of the secret handshake...

My US husband told his UK colleagues that for the 4th of July Americans bake redcoat soldiers (like gingerbread men but frosted with little red coats) and at our barbeques before fireworks we ate their heads off to celebrate.

He was so convincing he had them going for at least a week. Grin

Candyflip · 30/07/2018 22:22

Waitrose do them Goose.

sashh · 31/07/2018 08:43

I also missed proper Taco Bell - for years! I was so excited when they opened one in my home town but it doesn't taste the same as US Taco Bell!!

On one of these 'eat better' programmes a few months ago they had Americans in the UK try American recipe and British recipe fast food.

I know there was McDonald's and a pizza not sure what else but the US McDonald's fries had something like 10-15 ingredients but UK (EU) ones had 3 (potato, oil and salt) due to laws about additives.

It's probably the same with Taco Bell.

CraftyGin · 31/07/2018 17:17

I went to Taco Bell last year after a break of 15+ years and it was truly ghastly. I was psyched up and pumped it up to my DD, and it was beyond awful. Somewhere on I-71 for the record.

MissConductUS · 31/07/2018 18:37

Nearly done, IDLR in January. £2369.

I've asked Mr Google and not found a clear answer. What is IDLR and why does it cost so much?

My US husband told his UK colleagues that for the 4th of July Americans bake redcoat soldiers

Crafty that's hysterical, I actually laughed out loud reading that.

Avalla33 · 31/07/2018 19:53

@MissConductUS you might have better results if you search for ILR, or Indefinite Leave to Remain. It’s roughly analogous to permanent residency in the US. I’ll try to respond to the other couple posts later tonight!

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CraftyGin · 31/07/2018 20:00

IDLR is more commonly known as ILR - indefinite leave to remain.

Biggreygoose · 01/08/2018 10:58

Form SET(M) if you're really interested. Grin

Avalla33 · 01/08/2018 18:13

For anyone who is curious, here is a link to the fee increases from April 2017. Also the NHS surcharge is expected to double to £400/year.

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/607212/Fees_table_April_2017.pdf

@squashyhat
Do you agreee that Jed Bartlet was the best president you never had?
I only watched a little bit of the West Wing! Need to put that on the watch list, although I don't think I could bear even talking about the presidency right now.

@Knittedfairies
What makes you proud to be an American, and what do you think we Brits should be proud of in the U.K.?
Oooh, that's a tricky one. I suppose some of the cliche sounding democracy bits. The right to free speech, the right to vote. A lot of it is subjective and about luck as much as anything else. I appreciate the opportunities available to my parents and therefore to my family, but I know that these opportunities aren't available to everyone.

I was proud of the marches when Trump was inaugurated.

@Candyflip
I think I say neesh! Or maybe I go between the two? I certainly don't say nitch all the time; I wonder if it's a regional thing.

@Flisspaps I've seen the Peak District, albeit briefly. I'd love to return. I've never heard of the Shropshire Hills, I'll have to look it up!

@Biggreygoose I hear you. I think the financial threshold is 18.6K but goes up with each non-British child. We feel very lucky to meet the requirement as well. It's expensive falling in love with an American! I'm stressed just thinking about it.

Have you had a mini breakdown in a supermarket yet because you can't find (Italian sausage)? (or other item)
I may have had a small meltdown when I wanted to make stuffing for Thanksgiving and he got those silly little stuffing balls. I was so sad about missing Thanksgiving and my family back home and it felt like I couldn't even have this one little thing. I have missed Italian sausage a few times but haven't found any at Waitrose. I miss having it on pizza! Italian sausage and mushroom is my favorite. It's weird, the things you take for granted. I feel like I've tried every lint roller in this country and they are all horrible.

@CraftyYankee
My US husband told his UK colleagues that for the 4th of July Americans bake redcoat soldiers (like gingerbread men but frosted with little red coats) and at our barbeques before fireworks we ate their heads off to celebrate.
I think I need to make this a tradition! That's amazing!

@sashh it's probably better for us but our tastebuds don't care.

@CraftyGin it's weird because it's not like it's fine cuisine, or that I ate it that often. I just miss it every now and then. I hope I don't start getting disappointed by things back in the States! There's a question, how have your feelings about the US changed over time?

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CraftyGin · 01/08/2018 19:39

how have your feelings about the US changed over time?

I’ve been up and down about US culture over the many years that we have been in the U.K.

Depending on where you are, it can be a very easy place to live day-to-day. The roads are wide and straight, parking bays are huge. Supermarkets are good and bad - good for lovely fresh produce, including making it up into party trays, but bad for aisle after aisle of processed foods.

We were there a month ago for my FILs funeral, and that is a whole I industry that doesn’t really exist here.

Biggreygoose · 01/08/2018 19:55

Missing Thanksgiving freaks my wife out. The first few years it weirded her out that it's not even a thing over here.

We try and get back every year around that time though.

It weirds me out that it's a bigger deal than Christmas. (At least to her family and friends)

I think meatloaf, biscuits and gravy, head sized burritos and American pizza are America's greatest contribution to food. (After going over there, pizza everywhere else is shit, and yes, I include Italy in that)

What do you reckon is the UKs finest contributions to the world of food?

CraftyGin · 01/08/2018 20:17

After a few years, you realise that a Thanksgiving meal is on par with a regular Sunday lunch.

We always do Thanksgiving, but not necessarily the same every year. If we do it with other families, we will do it on the Saturday or Sunday. If we do it on our own, we do it on the Thursday with the Perfect Turkey from Iceland.

Thanksgiving wasn’t massive for us in the US. The food was identical to Christmas, and we didn’t have the tradition of going round the table badgering people about what they were thankful for. Funnily enough, we have different foods here (eg green bean casserole) and do ask about thankfulness. You make your own traditions.

MissConductUS · 01/08/2018 20:17

Missing Thanksgiving freaks my wife out. The first few years it weirded her out that it's not even a thing over here.

When DH was working in London before we met he was there for Thanksgiving. Apparently he whinged so much about it that his workmates found an American restaurant in London that served a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all of the trimmings and took him there on Thanksgiving day. It was a lovely thing for them to do, but it was also a way for them to have a long lunch out with lots of wine paid for by the firm he was with.

He still talks about it fondly. Smile

SenecaFalls · 01/08/2018 20:55

Thanksgiving is big in my family. It's my favorite holiday, much more enjoyable than Christmas for me.

What do you reckon is the UKs finest contributions to the world of food?

From my American perspective, that would be the bacon butty.

needyourlovingtouch · 01/08/2018 21:04

Explain state/private unis... we only have one system here I think.

Avalla33 · 01/08/2018 21:19

My family did not celebrate Christmas, and as immigrants we didn’t originally celebrate Thanksgiving. We definitely didn’t eat roast anything when I was growing up. The meal evolved for us over time and we developed our own traditions which meant a lot to us. We didn’t have a lot of family there at first, but over the years we gained a few, added boyfriends/girlfriends and then spouses. Our friends would come over after eating at their own houses because they all enjoyed the atmosphere at our home so much. Other people may eat mashed potatoes and green beans and such on a regular basis, but that was never a thing in my house. Just once a year, on Thanksgiving.

It was hard for me to lose that. I don’t have family to celebrate my other cultural holidays with me here, and Thanksgiving isn’t a thing. We do Christmas with the in-laws but it’s not really my holiday at all. So I feel like I’ve lost all the celebrations I cared about and I was just trying to have a bit of that with my husband.

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Avalla33 · 01/08/2018 21:22

Sorry, just to clarify I was born in the US, but my parents were immigrants. So I had a slightly different upbringing than some!

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MissConductUS · 01/08/2018 21:29

Explain state/private unis... we only have one system here I think.

I'll have a go as I just went through the application process with DS.

Each state has a university system, usually many separate schools, that are all partially funded by the state for student who reside in that state. Out of state students can attend them but they pay an unsubsidized tuition rate.

Private colleges and universities get no funding from the state they are located in and tuition is the same no matter where the student lived with their family. Private universities that have large endowments can offer scholarship grants to attract students they particularly want, lowering the cost of attendance.

Subsidies for the state schools were cut back in most states during the great recession, so now a private college with a scholarship can be less expensive than a state school for some students.

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