How to pretend you haven’t really emigrated at all

This is the counterbalance to yesterday’s post. Sometimes I feel a little ashamed of myself: perhaps I would have settled in better if I’d embraced all things American more wholeheartedly. But since a) I never wanted to move here in the first place and b) we’re going back in a year or two, I have been happily using modern technology to pretend that, essentially, I am still living in Britain.  Here are my top tips.

1) Tune-In Radio. I have this app on my iphone, and have developed the following habits: listening to the Archers whenever I want a 15 minute break from whatever I’m doing; cooking dinner to the accompaniment of Front Row or The Joy of Six; downloading the Adam and Joe podcast and snorting embarrassingly with giggles on my commute; and (this is the worst), recording The World at One to listen to it an hour later over breakfast. I have discovered NPR, before you say anything, but their breakfast news doesn’t really do it for me.

2) Netflix streaming. Sherlock, Robin Hood and That Mitchell and Webb Look have all provided instantly cheering immersions in a world of British accents. I have made a stab at getting into American TV, but the tendency to air everything I want to see at 7pm (clashing with cooking dinner, qv) is a bit annoying.

3) Skype. I actually prefer Skype calls to normal phone calls, though not the ones to my father who rarely manages to get both sound and visuals working at the same time. And my sister and I tend to miss each other by setting our status to Invisible an awful lot, to avoid Dad’s silent calls. Still.

4) Facebook. I am a long-time addict, but now I also use it to catch up with the British weather and eavesdrop on complaints about TV series I can’t watch and animated discussion of elections I’ve forgotten to register to vote in.

5) Mumsnet. It is slightly ludicrous to get all my pregnancy and baby information from a  site that assumes NHS pregnancy procedures and recommends stuff you can’t buy in America  (cloth nappies? Karri-Me slings?). But I love it. It endeared itself to me the most the other day after someone posted about using arnica tablets to deal with a Caesarian and before I’d even clicked on the title, 15 people had already scoffed at the idea.


About scepticalexpat

British 30something wannabe academic, moving to Chicago for three years in August 2010.
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10 Responses to How to pretend you haven’t really emigrated at all

  1. Jane says:

    And why does dad always make out like it’s some glitch on MY end? I never got him to admit that he had the same problem with you. tsk. Also, what if he reads this?? Oh well. So excited to see you next week! xxx

  2. AHLondon says:

    Save Mumsnet, that’s a pretty good expat tech want list. I have my iPod on KGSR Radio Austin. FB is fab for expats. I need to start friending my British friends so I can keep up after we go back home. Neither of my parents read my blog, so I could write with impunity. And I can’t wait to get in Netflix streaming land. I keep maxing out my macbook storage, which annoys me since so many are movies I won’t rewatch.

  3. Louise says:

    I just discovered your blog and love it.

    I’ve been in the US a while but am heading home in a year or two and now try to just pretend I’m already there. Netflix is great but I couldn’t live with The Box – if you understand bittorrents, or know someone who does, this is a great way to get all the UK TV shows just a few hours after they’ve aired in the UK.

    • Thank you!

      Yes, I’ve thought about getting something like that – at the moment I’m holding out without (on the basis that I probably don’t need more TV in my life), but might cave in at some point.

  4. Uly says:

    You can buy cloth diapers in the US, I used them myself. And you can buy slings in the US as well.

    • Thanks. I have found them available on some websites, but there is a different range (much less choice in the case of diapers/nappies) and they are more expensive in the US.

  5. Almost American says:

    I used cloth diapers for my kids in the US too – you’re right, they seem expensive, but given that I used them for 2 kids, passed some on to a friend for her kids, and am still using the rest as cleaning rags 8 years later, they were worth every penny. Actually, what was expensive was the covers. Only a few of the diapers I bought are actually rags at this point.
    Maybe you could get some diapers here (look for what they calll ‘chinese pre-fold diapers’ – they’re nice and thick and absorbent) and get someone in the UK to send you some covers? Then again, if you’re only going to have to ship them back to the UK in a year or two, just go with disposables for this baby, and focus your time/energy/money on finding a good baby carrier.

    • I think what we’re going to do is use disposables for the first few weeks, and then move over to cloth nappies, which we’ll either buy over here on the internet or get some cooperative British person to post over to us. We’ve already got four sample shaped nappies to try, after I did a lot of nerdish internet research! I can’t really understand why they’re more expensive over here, but since it’s only a one-time purchase it’s not so inconvenient to have them shipped out.

      As for the baby carrier, I am eyeing up a Moby in the baby shop round the corner that has a very enlightened returns policy if your baby hates it after a few days…

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