Tim Speaks: his reflections on expat life after three years

Three years ago today we got on a plane and changed our lives. With six suitcases in tow, Tim and I headed for a country we’d never seen to start our first expat adventure together.

Reading this blog you always get my views, thoughts and opinions on expat life and the traveling we do. What you don’t hear often, or ever really, is Tim’s point of view. He’s the quiet type and likes to work behind the scenes to make our expat life as enjoyable as possible. But he’s the reason we’re here, so I thought I’d hearken back to my journalism days and do a little interview with him to celebrate three years abroad. Without further ado… here you go.

This isn’t your first expat experience, but what surprised you the most about living in England?

How quickly we adapt to our surroundings. Living off base helps drive changes like queuing and lack of small talk. [I’ve learned that] ‘Hiya’ isn’t an invitation to have a conversation.

What is your favorite part?

Seeing the history at every corner. Most towns have buildings, churches or cathedrals older than our country.

What do you miss most about the states?

The selection of hardware and tools that is provided at places like Home Depot or Lowes. They have hardware stores here, but it’s not the same.

What did you think you’d miss but don’t?

Certain fast foods and a big American style breakfast. I miss them but not enough to try to make it myself.

What was the hardest part about adjusting to life overseas?

I don’t think there was a lot as the UK is easy enough to adjust to. If anything it’s the driving with roundabouts and 60 MPH speed limits on single track roads.

How is living abroad as a married man different than when you were a single Marine in Japan?

You have to plan in advance what adventures to go on. [When you’re] single you only have to account for yourself and can go on a random trip with no plan in place.

What customs do they have in the UK/Europe that you wish they had back home?

Pubs. It is a center of a town where everyone gets to know each other. It always feels like a community. (Read more about why I love pub culture too here).

We’ve been to over 20 countries since we moved here. Which country has been your favorite to visit?

Poland! I didn’t have high expectations but the people and food are great. You feel relaxed and comfortable as soon as you get there.

Which city was your favorite?

Rome. Even though we’ve been there a lot, there’s always something new to see and the food is always amazing.

What attraction or place is a MUST see for people coming to England/the UK?

The Tower of London. There is so much history there and they present it in an entertaining way. It helps that it’s in the middle of London, so you can see other things [on your way] to and from the tower.

For those who are foodies like us, what has been your most memorable meal?

[We had a] coursed dinner [based] off the theme of a book in Budapest. (read more about that here).

What food/drink will you miss when we go back home?

Steak and ale pie with a pint. It may just be the pub culture here though, so it won’t be the same if I have it in the U.S.

We haven’t been able to leave the country since last fall, what is the #1 location on your list to see once we’re allowed to travel internationally again?

Really, anything. I just want [to get] off the island to see new places and cultures. But I really want to see Chernobyl. I want to see [more of] Eastern Europe and have always been intrigued by the history of that location.

Do you have any advice for those who want to become expats?

Be flexible. You are going to someone else’s country so you need to a dart to their customs and way of life. Don’t expect them to change for you.

And there you have it! Tim’s short and sweet answers. Were you surprised by his answers or did they sound surprisingly similar to what you think I’d write? (there’s a reason we work so well together).

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Dianna Hattori says:

    Loved the Tim interview. Always look forward to your blog.


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