From Halifax to London: Bluenose Girl
I’m originally from the small city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada and I am very proud of the place where I grew up, which has played a part in shaping who I am today and how I see the world. Currently I live in London, learning what makes this great city tick and making the most of having Europe at my doorstep.
1. Why did you move abroad?
I have always been fascinated by other countries and after travelling living abroad seemed like a way to take that to the next level and really get to know a country. Also living with all of mainland Europe just a couple hours away is a dream.
2. How do you make a living?
At the moment I am setting up my own business which I hope to launch in February (Bluenose Coffee). Very exciting times.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
I communicate with friends and family via Skype, phone, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you name it! That is the great thing about living abroad in this day and age, you are much more connected.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in London?
The history that surrounds me, it sparks my imagination. Also if I feel the urge to travel I just have to hope on the tube and head to a new part of London I haven’t been and explore.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in London?
It is a pretty intense fast paced life and can be very tiring, you have to remember to take time out and relax. The hardest thing I find to adjust to is the lack of personal space when out and about.
6. What do you miss most?
This can change but at the moment it is definitely Canadian customer service. In the UK they are not very good at it, and I found them down right unhelpful when things go wrong.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
I used social/group sites like meetup.com as well I socialized with my flatmates and workmates. I was also lucky enough to know some people in London but tried not to depend on that too much.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Driving on the left!
Also they are very polite so they don’t always say what they mean and you have to learn to read between the lines. As well you have to learn not to be too direct either when saying what you mean or they will think you rude.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
They have bad teeth. Which isn’t true but they don’t seem that keen on the dentist either.
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
The cost of living in London in particular is higher. I knew that moving here and was willing to make the trade off for all the benefits of living in London. I can’t really compare how I lived in Canada to how I live in London, it is a completely different lifestyle. One thing that is cheaper though is travel.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
- Try to be flexible, you will see more opportunities if you keep an open mind.
- Remember it takes time to build a new life, don’t expect it to happen over night.
- Your phone is your lifeline (from flat hunting, job hunting, to your social life) get a cheap pay as you go when you get to the UK and upgrade later. Or if you have a mobile that is compatible in the UK get it unlocked before you leave home and get a pay as you go SIM when you arrive.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I have blogged about major trips in the past and I thought it would be a good way to keep my friends and family up to date with my life in England and follow along on my adventure. The blog has changed a lot since 2007 and it’s now written for a much broader audience.
Michelle's blog, Bluenose Girl
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