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The Weather in the USA Might be Hot, But That's Cool For This Brit Expat!

Aug 16, 2008
My husband and I, and two cats, moved from the UK to the USA in January 1990 after he accepted a job transfer with his company. We have raised two children, lived in both rental and owned accommodation, moved house several times, gone through the Virginia state school system from kindergarten to college applications and have traveled a fair amount within the USA.

Looking back on the company-provided orientation session we sat through all those years ago, I do not think it prepared us at all for the practicalities of living here, nor for the cultural differences. Since this is an incredibly diverse country in every sense of the word, guidebooks gave only a very general sense of living here so I thought I would provide a taste of day-to-day living from my own experiences as an expatriate Brit transplanted to Northern Virginia

When asked for their main reason for enjoying living in this area, my fellow Northern European expats invariably declare, "the weather". When asked for a negative, dealing with the medical system is pretty high up on everyone's list.

I will deal here with the positive. Coming from the British Isles, I have to confess that the weather is a big factor for our continuing to live here. While July and August are very hot and humid (air-conditioning is a must) and the winter is very cold and dry, the Spring and Fall are beautiful times to be here.

We truly enjoy the amount of sunshine we see year round and we lead a very different lifestyle because of it. Our community provides facilities for its residents - six outdoor swimming pools, outdoor tennis courts and basketball courts as well as walking trails. There are three major outdoor concert/theatre venues within relatively easy reach. There are also lots of free concerts, sponsored by the various communities and towns, throughout the summer where local musicians play on the equivalent of the village green.

Being able to sit outside in late October/early November when the early morning frost gives way to a warm and sunny 70 degree Fahrenheit day is still a treat. We also of course pay to have our air-conditioning/heating units serviced twice a year; we had to have a whole-house humidifier fitted to try and save our solid wood furniture which dislikes the intense dry atmosphere of winter, as does our skin; and an electronic air purifier is our attempt to provide a safe haven from the intensely high pollen levels which exist outside for several months of the year.

But, hey, given the above, there is no question, most Brits would happily swap the grey days of a UK winter and the monotonous regularity of soggy summers for the warmth of the US sunshine! So for any Americans daring to spend their vacation in the good old British Isles, be tolerant and sympathetic towards the Brits even as you sit shivering in 'Ye Olde Tea Shoppe' - you will be experiencing their British Summer, and it can only get colder!
About the Author
Anna Hall has lived in the US for almost 20 years. She is writing a book on her experiences, which she feels will offer an insider guide to life in the US as an expatriate. Like to contribute to her survey for the book? Visit: http://www.livingandworkinginAmerica.com
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