Tag: American expat

Live Life Wherever You Are

Depending on who you ask, autumn is closer than you think.  While astronomers maintain that fall begins September 22, meteorologists say its tomorrow–the first day of September. I vote for the latter for a number of reasons. From fresher days to earlier nights, there is a newness out and about. Even if one isn’t fortunate enough to see it in the colour of bright leaves falling, it is in the air–the whiff of newness that begins with new beginnings. Back to school, back to work, back to life after a long summer holiday, old ways, whether local or global, seem a bit stale. Time to look ahead.

That’s me! After taking off a month or so, I am looking ahead to next week’s official return to my desk. In the meantime, I have a thing or two the say about life as an expat. In short,  Live Life Where You Are (as written about in latest Huff Post blog)…Seems like an obvious thing to do, doesn’t it? But living life to the fullest when transitioning to a new city, a new country, for example, isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

Undeniably, so much has been left behind both physically and mentally. At least that is the way I felt when I moved to London nearly twenty years ago, but holding close to my chest some savvy advice from my brother, a Retired US Airforce Chief Master Sergeant, who had already travelled the world, I got looking ahead fairly early on instead of always looking over my shoulder.

See the thing is: looking ahead doesn’t always mean forgetting the life lived previously, but it does mean adding to it and living life in the present.  Read more in the Huff Post about making a smooth transition from one country to another.

And follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Sonjalewis.com as I continue and complete my podcast series, You Inside and Out, dare to write more perceptive commentary and transition into a the next phase of living life to the fullest, right here in jolly old England.

Expat Goes North for Castle Scouting

Britain is known for its stupendous castles, the world over. From Windsor to Warwick Castle, such fortresses are still home to modern day royals, their kinsfolks and the likes. Thankfully, however, they make certain areas available to the rest of us at different times of the year.

Reflecting back to the late 90s when I first came to live in England, I made castle hopping, including a few palaces, a pastime of sorts. Not only was it great fun but also it was a rich historical expedition, if you will.

In those days, even if we did dine at Amberley Castle in Sussex quite often, I still couldn’t help wonder what it would be like to live in a castle, at least for a day or two. Fast forward to this past weekend and Paul and I flew to Northumberland to find out just that. Planning well in advance for a festive event in 2016, we made Langley Castle our home for the weekend. Well, sort of anyhow.

It so happens that we stayed in a more modern castle view room on the grounds of Langley with a view to reconnoitre the facility for our upcoming event. Not a problem at all because many castles have become seasoned hoteliers.

Langley is one of several of Britain’s castles that has done so, and like it, many castles have rooms available within the castle and extension rooms on the grounds, too.

So off to the grounds we went, admiring two extraordinary peacocks with coats fit for a king, and three or more attractive peahens. From this vantage point, we got a pretty good impression of the castle, even dinning there and admiring its 14th century décor, but when the manager gave us a guided tour, we were more than impressed, as we viewed the well appointment rooms in the castle, including those where events are held.

Has the scouting ended? Who is to say? Also, we did check out nearby Otterburn Castle. In meantime, we made a stop at Hadrian’s Wall, where we would surely do more than stop if we do celebrate in this area. And before returning to the airport in Newcastle on Sunday, we visited Alnwick Castle and Gardens.Splendid but it does not offer boarding. In fact, it wasn’t offering anything when we were there but the tourist season kicks off soon, if it already hasn’t.

And I am jolly glad it has with this inclement weather lingering around. Castle hopping might just be the thing to do.















Right time to be an American expat in London

On this side of the pond, everyone is talking about Usain Bolt, who won the 100 meters race last night in 9.63 seconds, and Jessica Ennis, the heptathlon champion;Mo Farah, winner of the 10,000 meter race; Andy Murray, the gold medallist of men’s tennis, etc. On the other side of the pond, I expect the nattering is well underway about Usain also, even if NBC didn’t show it live (excuse me!). His name has to be right up there with Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, Serena Williams, Gabby Douglas, and Sanya Richards-Ross.

Yes, now is the time to be a citizen of the world and ever so right to be an American expat in London. Lucky me!  I am beaming with pride. To have both my birth country and my adopted country in the top three slots of the medals table is more than any expat could expect. China is first, the US second and GB third. And to live in the great city where it is all unfolding is the icing on the cake.

I didn’t think it could get any better than the athletics of Saturday night (Jessica Ennis and Mo Farrah firing up the stadium for team GB) until I saw Sanya Richards-Ross take her Olympic 400 meters gold in Chanel earrings. Now I know, I was not supposed to be focusing on style when this 27-year-old woman was making history, winning her gold in 49.55 seconds to give the U.S. its first track and field gold of the 2012 Olympics. But I couldn’t help myself.

May the team get more! But in the meantime, I have to give Mrs Richards-Ross her props. The athletes all have their own style, some with colourful beards and others with tattoos covering their muscled arms, but Sanya, if you ask me, is a cut above the rest in the style department–jewelry, nails, make-up, hair, etc…

Enough said but since I’m on the subject of style, I’m going to have my say about Gabby Douglas. The girl’s pulled back hairstyle is fine people, nothing wrong with it. And anyhow, as Gabby has so much as said, what’s hair got to do with it? This 16-year-old has won two gold medals in three days for goodness sake.

Were it not for her, team USA would be lagging behind China big time. It’s enough that they are three gold medals ahead of us as of this posting. Let’s stay focused here.

Tomorrow, Paul and I are back at Olympic Park for our final event and looking forward to being there and getting there. Last time around we discovered the Javelin, a high-speed train, from King’s Cross.

One Olympic volunteer described it as being faster than Usain Bolt. Maybe…okay so it is but it is a machine you know. But one thing for sure is that when this London Olympics is all said and done, we’re likely to stop talking about the Javelin. For years to come, however, the world will go on and on about Usain Bolt.

Go Jamaica and Happy 50th Independence Day. As I said, now is the time to be a citizen of the world! And to be an American expat in London is just right.