Friday, 9 November 2012

Today Is A Milestone

A year a go I remember waking up before anyone should be allowed, crawling out with my heafty suitcase and waiting outside a Premier Inn for a bus to take me to terminal 4 at Heathrow Airport in what felt the dead of night. I was standing on the edge of my new life, to find my way, to become more me and face life thousands of miles away from my homeland. I only now remember how cold it was and how nervous I was about facing security once I landed in the US and handed over my papers. Before I knew I was up in the air, served three meals, watched countless films and looked out upon the ocean and lakes we flew over. By mid afternoon US time I'd landed in my new home - Michigan. 

A year here has taught me not only a lot about the US but about how I see myself as British, England, how people see immigration and Detroit itself. People often remarked about the horrors i'd see in Detroit - they tend to forget it was home to Motown and the auto-industry. Granted we live outside city limits, we're in what you'd call suburbia. But suburbia in the US is huge, it goes on for miles, and miles and even further then that. I love that Detroit is on the verge of really becoming itself again, people have tried to knock it for so long but there's a new passion and drive going around. 

To be an educating person I thought i'd share some things you might not now about Detroit - things that happened here FIRST;
  • The worlds first urban free way - the Davidson opened in 1942
  • Operating traffic lights at the junction of Woodward and Garriot, although manually operated in 1915
  • To hold a state fair
  • Pave a whole mile of concrete street on Woodward between 6 and 7 mile back in 1909.
  • Provide milk in a paper carton provided in 1930 by Pur-Pak.
  • Experience the delight of an ice cream soda and coffee brewed by an automatic machine.
  • Develop the first carbonated soft drink in 1866 by the pharmacist James Vernor who invented Vernor's Ginger Ale.
Interesting huh?!

Move away from home and you'll soon learn who your friends are. Out of sight, out of the country is often certainly out of mind in many cases. Which is a shame, because people say things like they'll keep in touch but they never do. I've lost a good friend, well someone I thought was a friend who just dropped all contact with me since leaving. In a way that makes you appreciate those who have stayed in touch even more. 

Slowly my words and how I say them and spell them are slowly turning more and more American. I think that's down to running and using ebay every week to sell items and my need to spell things the American way. Colour is now pretty much always color and I just accept that spell checker wants to change all my '"s" to "z". But a "z" will always be a zed, not a zee. Ever. Mostly I interchange words all the time, me and Joe will have conversations and inter-use American and English all the time - it makes us quirky like that. And I like it. 

Sometimes I feel like I haven't seen enough of the US, people see more in a week on road-trips then I have in a year. But I have to make myself remember that living and visiting is different. Your not here to visit on a whirlwind that i'm experiencing beyond that and seeing the real America. I use to always wonder why American's never tended to go aboard, but now I see why - the countries so huge there's enough to spend a lifetime traveling around. People often get surprised to see I moved here from the UK and they'll admit they haven't even left the state so perhaps only seeing Chicago, Pittsburgh, around some of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan isn't a bad thing - then again i'm not interested in really seeing New York. Next on the list is Washington DC hopefully next year. 

But there is a side to America you don't often get to see as a holiday maker. It only really came to me during the election - the huge amount of racism still around. Obama wins and twitter turns into a race-fest, people proclaiming a true vote is only a write vote. Or just basically the humiliation that comes from Donald Trump's twitter page. But it's not just about race - it's been the whole debates regarding rape, healthcare and women. Sometimes America feels the land of opportunity only to those with money, or white.

So here's to another year, my second thanks giving, my second Christmas, even more Taco Bells, Jets pizzas, crazy coloring in soda, wondering why Michigan lefts make any sense and hunting out HP sauce. 


  1. Happy anniversary for you and America! Cannot believe its been a year!

    Elspeth xx

  2. Wow a year already, here's to the next!

  3. Wow how fast a year comes round. Happy 1 year in America :-) xx

  4. I can't believe it's been a year you've been in America x

  5. Doesn't time fly! This is such a lovely post, especially the way you talk about the differences between living and experiencing America, because I do think some people forget that when deciding to start a whirlwind life abroad. I always go away and think: I'd love to live here, but obviously living and visiting is such a different thing (: Hope you have many more happy years there too! xx

  6. WOW, happy year versairy! What a brave thing you did! Id love to live in America, although now I have a cat, that's not so easy to arrange! xxx

  7. congrats on a year in the States, I bet it was hard to narrow down your observations from the last year! For me Australia is such a lucky country but I look around and gay marriage is illegal, people still hold sexist views and I just cant help but think we can be soooo much more, I guess every country still has alot of growing to do.

  8. Happy U.S.Anniversary! This is a very insightful post, it must have been slightly terrifying to move all that way. I hope you still think it's the best decision you ever made =D xx

  9. Happy U.S Anniversary!!!

  10. congratulations on your 1 year US anniversary, Rachael! I thought that map was hilarious! And I love that you're so reflective about your move and how that's changed your perspectives and your relationship!
    ♥ laura
    the blog of worldly delights
    the shop of worldly delights

  11. Great to hear you have settled and you enjoy life in the US. x

  12. This made me smile, and a little teary too.

  13. Wow what a milestone for both you and Joe, a whole year has gone by! You are such an inspiration and I will always admire your journey. You are right about the difference between visiting and living, you will see America, all of it, in time and it will be amazing xxx