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Written by Megan Wadsworth. 25 comments Posted in:

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My life wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. I wasn’t at all sure I was the marrying kind. And then I met Him. The One.  Just so happened that The One was English and lived in London. It was fast and serious and before I knew it I was dropping out of New York University where I was enrolled in as a mature (read ‘old’) student and applying for a student visa in the UK instead.  I’m not sure I would have acted so rashly had I not just witnessed the Twin Towers come down. But they did, and I did. My apartment was sublet and I was all packed up and on a plane three weeks later to the day. I would be back only to say my goodbyes and give up my rent subsidised apartment for good after that.  My years in the Big Apple came to end and my expat life began.

I had been to London once before and, I must admit, was unimpressed. It was beautiful but too big. I couldn’t get a feel for the place at all. On top of that it was rainy and cold in July and we were kicked out of the pub at 11pm. Official closing time. Eight years and two children later I have come to the realisation that eleven is plenty late and that London, as the rest of England, is made up of a series of villages all with their own distinct identity. When I was pregnant with my first-born we traded city life for a fixer-up house with a big beautiful garden in the ’burbs. I live a very normal life in a very different place. Ampthill in Bedfordshire is an old, moderately sized market town full of antique shops and hairdressers.  Ampthill Park is full of joggers running past the cross that marks the place where Catherine of Aragon was imprisoned by Henry VIII. In typical English fashion the ancient and the modern co-exist in perfect harmony, a fact which never ceases to surprise or excite me.  I hope I always remain a bit of a tourist in that way.

This random place I’ve ended up is my true home. I would have never imagined myself in the UK but I suppose that’s what creating a family will do. Home is wherever they are. In spite of this, I will never entirely belong to England. I will never be English nor will I ever be that loud, brash American girl I was when I moved here. I miss her sometimes but I let her out at parties every once in a while (and when dealing with inept customer service people). Not to say all American’s are loud and brash but, let’s be honest, a good number of us are. And we have to be — there are a lot of us trying to have our say and make our stamp on the world. This is the American way. We take the pursuit of happiness quite seriously. With it also comes a friendliness and openness that I love and find overwhelmingly refreshing when I visit.  So, nothing at all wrong with loud and brash but it’s a different, in many ways quieter, lifestyle over here. The opportunity and/or necessity for brashness just doesn’t come up. I think it has done me some good. I’m more open to different ways of life and opposing opinions than I used to be. I keep my mouth shut a lot more. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

Having said that, this will be a forum to offer my opinion because I suppose, at the end of the day, I just can’t help myself. I go into it knowing that just because I write it doesn’t make it true. It just makes it me.  Living over here has been a revelation. My opinions on everything from international politics to healthcare, to home births to being green, on therapy and countless other things have changed or have been challenged since being here.  I tend to float somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic, not fixed in one mind-set or the other. I like it here. I think it makes me rational. I’ll let you be the judge.

25 Responses

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  1. Carolynn Esposito

    Meg
    I love your blog! You write so well. I can really relate to your view of the world. It really changes when you stepped out of the US. love to you & Paul & the kids!

    August 28, 2009 at 2:42 pm
  2. Jo Killingley

    I love the ‘open, wear your heart on your sleeve’ type of brash american way! Or is it just honest? It is just not British that is for sure!
    I think I have met your alter ‘New York’ ego at one of our parties, I liked her too!

    Looking forward to the next installment!

    August 28, 2009 at 2:47 pm
  3. Louise Witheat

    Whow, I can’t wait to read more!!! Insightful, concise and poetic (yes I did write poetic). Tell me more, Tell me more…….. (in the style of the Pink Ladies!)

    Oh, and my copy reading experience can’t help but pick up that you need a ‘to’ after the ‘I tend’, at the start of the 4th from last sentance. X

    August 28, 2009 at 2:56 pm
  4. Mark Lindsey

    Lovely.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:42 pm
  5. Pete Smith

    If there truly is a writing gene in this family, it obvioulsy resides in you. Well done! Give us more. As a blogger myself, I know that blogging whims can’t be dictated. That said, we Americans would be interested in hearing about your experiences with National Health. Whenever the spirit moves you.
    Cheers (as they say over there).

    August 28, 2009 at 5:49 pm
  6. Patty Hirsch

    loves it! keep it coming!

    August 28, 2009 at 6:02 pm
  7. Pam Sarver

    OMG! Well done, beautiful daughter! I’m going to love love love this.

    August 28, 2009 at 7:31 pm
  8. Tammy Sarver

    Good blog, Megan. ‘The brash American girl’ made me giggle when I read it.

    August 28, 2009 at 11:41 pm
  9. Meredith

    Fantastic…very well done, I’m excited for your next entry!

    August 28, 2009 at 11:52 pm
  10. Audra O'Haire

    Very much enjoyed reading this Megan. Romantic yet down to earth and leaves us wanting more. xxxx

    August 29, 2009 at 12:22 am
  11. shannon

    hi meggo!! I can’t wait to keep reading…it’s so YOU!! Gimme more!

    xoxo + MISS YOU ALWAYS!!
    s

    August 29, 2009 at 1:58 am
  12. Lisa Klausman

    Megan, Really enjoyed this great perspective… many blessings with your wonderful family!
    Lisa Shackelford Klausman

    August 29, 2009 at 3:20 am
  13. Rachel M

    You have never stopped drinking at 11 o’clock…

    August 29, 2009 at 12:23 pm
  14. John Sarver

    English refined take: Brilliant, fantastic.
    American brash take: Freakin’ incredible!

    You are amazing, Megan!

    Love,

    Dad

    August 29, 2009 at 2:08 pm
  15. Jan H

    Hi Megan –
    I feel I’m a bit of an anglophile so will be very interested to learn about the “English way” from the inside.

    August 29, 2009 at 3:19 pm
  16. Cara Martin

    Interesting blog Megan! I look forward to reading more about your life in the UK. This from a rather introspective, not so brash, southern, american girl. Cheers!

    August 29, 2009 at 4:03 pm
  17. Paul

    Great writing Megan. I knew you had it in you. I’m looking forward to seeing this grow. Even having lived through all this experience with you its still interesting and enlightening to see it written in this way.
    Good Luck. Love P xxx

    August 30, 2009 at 10:37 am
  18. Stacy

    Megan,
    Very well put. I can’t wait to read more.
    Best wishes….Stacy

    August 30, 2009 at 4:50 pm
  19. Chad

    “Well, well, well…I always knew you could write, Scully.” – Fox Moulder

    August 31, 2009 at 4:43 pm
  20. Regina

    FANTASTIC!!! Love the tale of the journey that continues on everyday. Can’t wait to read more. You have found your passion!

    September 1, 2009 at 1:17 am
  21. Carol-Ann

    hi my lovely american – who will always stay true to herself – and so you should!!! this is fantastic – i really am so interested in what more you are going to write remember……. never say never!!!!! love you x

    September 1, 2009 at 8:06 pm
  22. Nikki

    Bloody love this. When’s the book coming out? Nxx

    September 10, 2009 at 2:56 pm
  23. Helen M

    Fantastoid. Thank you for this lovely excerpt from Megan life, looking forward to more of these. Hxxx

    September 15, 2009 at 10:15 am
  24. Melanie Gilbreath Ford

    Megan,
    Congrats to you and your wonderful life. You sound like you have found your happy place. I can’t wait to read more!

    September 17, 2009 at 2:15 am
  25. Ashley Medford Ivy

    Wonderful perspective – can’t wait to read more about your adventures across the pond!

    September 21, 2009 at 7:18 pm

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