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From Ireland to England to the USA: Have Goslings, Must Travel

10 February, 2014 09:54  Erin Erin

Have Goslings must travel My name is Clare, I am nearly 32 years old.  I was born in Northern Ireland, but moved to England when I was 7, and lived there till 2012.  I met my husband in France in 2001, we married in 2004.  Oliver was born 2006, Isaac came along in 2008 and we finished off with Sebastian in 2011.  We have been living in South Carolina since September 2012.

1. Why did you move abroad?
My husband works in the automotive industry.  In 2011 he was asked if he would be interested in an international assignment.  Sebastian was 3 months old at the time, so we had to say no.  A year later they asked him again.  We were interested, depending on location.  They gave us 3 locations, and we decided on South Carolina.

2. How do you make a living?
At present I do not work.  I have been studying with the Open University since 2007.  I am working towards a Bachelors of Science.  I have one large module and 2 smaller modules to complete, which I hope to have done by this time next year.  I am very fortunate that the Open University has allowed me to carry on my studies from across the pond.  I am looking forward to finally having a degree.  Between studying and looking after 3 very messy and disorganized boys, I enjoy reading, gardening, travelling, and generally having a good time!

3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
Thank goodness for the internet!  I message my mum on Facebook quite regularly, or we communicate by text.  We always Skype on birthdays.  I am not a great fan of Skype, I like to make too many stupid faces when I am talking to people on the phone! I chat to my dad about twice a month, usually by phone.  We Skype with my husbands family, again normally on birthdays or if they haven't chatted for a while.  I keep in touch with my friends through Facebook.

4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in South Carolina?
This is such a beautiful undiscovered state.  The big open spaces, the friendly people.  The scenery is pretty special.  Just a drive up the interstate, and I can see the mountains. I love that we have been able to travel and see a small part of this vast country.

My not-so-secret love affair is with the sport here.  I have always liked sport, but here it is different.  The rivalries are friendly, the seasons short.  I have fallen in love with NASCAR…..

5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in South Carolina?
The driving leaves a lot to be desired at times.  The history of the state is a bit shady in places too.....

6. What do you miss most?
I miss my family.  I miss weird things, normally food related.   Weetabix, squash (juice that you dilute, a little like kool aid), proper bacon, I don't like the streaky stuff. Being able to send a package and it not costing a small fortune. I miss baby/toddler groups, and not being able to walk to the shop. The beach.  We are 4 hours from it where we are in South Carolina.  In  England we were less than a mile, though you are never further than 72 miles from the sea in England.

7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
We were lucky, some of my husbands work colleagues came here before we did, so we have struck up a good friendship with them and some of their friends.  I joined Meetups.com, and made a few good friends there.  I have met some people through the kids school, but not many due to car pool (in England we would wait on the playground for the kids and invariably get talking).
 
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
Everyone is always on their phone. In traffic, driving, in parks, waiting rooms, you name it they are on the phone!  

Their love of sweet tea.  To me, it should be warm with milk!

9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
Probably that few Americans hold passports. The majority of the people that I have met have travelled, and most have been to Europe.  Thing is, this county is so vast with such different areas, lands and culture, that you almost don't need to leave to see the world.

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?
This is tricky.  When we arrived, we had 10 suitcases, and another 7 boxes arrive air freight, so we had to buy everything.  A lot of the furniture can be expensive, thank goodness for Ikea!  Electrical goods and toys are definitely cheaper.  Eating out is cheaper.  Food is comparable.  Fresh meat and produce can be more expensive in the supermarket, so we have indulged in a warehouse store card.  This saves us money, as we are able to buy in bulk.  Convenience food is cheaper. Things like cable and mobile phone contracts are more expensive, but this could be because we have no credit rating.  Utilities are about the same. Clothing is cheaper.

11. What advice would you give other expats?
Embrace the country you are living in, and the one you came from.  Remember where you came from.  Enjoy yourself, you only live once!

12. When and why did you start your blog? Have Goslings must travel
I began my blog back in June 2012, when my husband was nearly finished negotiating terms with his company.  At that time, we had hardly told anyone.  I started it to help friends and family keep in touch with what we are doing.  It also became my outlet for me to vent, moan and get really excited!!!

Blog Link Clare's blog, Have Goslings, Must Travel

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