While I was enjoying a fulfilling personal and professional life in Washington DC, my then husband was offered the opportunity of a lifetime – a position with NBC’s London news bureau. His posting would begin a few days after we traveled to London. We had just exchanged on our first US home which we had rented until that time – an elegant town house in the heart of DC, complete with a real wood burning fireplace, a small yard allowing spontaneous BBQs and a garden with blossoms to die for magnolia tree. It was always buzzing with our friends and colleagues in the world of politics, media, lobbying, PR and advertising.
We arrived at Gatwick Airport rather naïve yet full of promise to begin a new life in London. With ten suitcases we alighted our estate car (station wagon) to our new temporary home – a Bloomsbury based hotel. Unbeknownst to us and after all our suitcases were unloaded, there had been a switch of temporary accommodation. Some welcome! Our very nice driver feeling sorry for us supplied us both bacon butties (sandwich of bacon between two slices of buttered bread + brown sauce). Our cabbie pulled up to what looked like an overgrown garden shed (actually offering shelter for the drivers of hansom cabs and hackney carriages (taxis) since 1875)… and returned with these yumdelicious treats!
I was considered an “Alien” upon my arrival to England and had to have on my person at all times a green ID card with my particulars registered with the Metropolitan Police. Having just arrived and with no firm employment, when asked what my status was, the card was stamped with “Housewife” – a hard pill for this East Coast commercial babe to swallow! The visit to the Alien Office and the alien photo likeness will always make me giggle!
Living abroad demands a deep deep sense of humour (and occasionally using a ‘u’ where you don’t have to), the willingness to transcend and the passionate desire for exploration. I have grown surprisingly both personally and professionally through my life in the UK and because of the stimulating experiences and wonderful people who continue to be part of it.
Perhaps one of the core reasons for my American and British nationality duality was to WILL the experiences and challenges to live on.