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My nearly 3 yr old son is car mad.  For Christmas he got a bunch of the Characters from Cars, his favorite movie. He was so excited. Played all day.

So it came time for bed. We went through the nightly routine. We head upstairs for bed and I notice he has his hand on his tummy. No matter what he keeps his hand on his tummy. Hmmm. So I go in for a feel, it doesn’t feel like tummy. 😉  Cheeky little monkey was trying to sneak Lightning McQueen into bed with him. This is a first.  “You cant take a car to bed” I tell him. He has a look on his face like he is in trouble, hands the car to me. I then burst out laughing. He is so funny, and so car mad.

His new thing is to lay on his back under his tricycle like a mechanic fixing a car. He uses a laundry clip as a spanner. He will spend a half hour fixing his car… uh bike this way.

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I have to admit that most of my adult life I have hated Christmas. It always felt like the world was rubbing my nose in the fact that I was single. I didn’t get married until I was I was 35, so I spent many years watching everyone else have “family fun” or telling me that I should be the one to work on Christmas eve  because they have family events and I don’t. So Christmas was never fun. It always felt to expensive. A bit depressing. In my entire adult life I only ever put up one tree, until I move to England.

Now my son is close to 3 and he has discovered Mimiss, that’s Christmas to the rest of us. He loves the Mimiss lights. He loves the Mimiss cards on the wall. He loves the Mimiss tree. The tree that I put whilst he was in nursery as fast as I could so he wouldn’t be into the ornaments. The tree that I threatened to take down if he so much touched, and he hasn’t touched it. He loves the tree. Wait until Christmas morning when he discovers presents. 🙂  Last year he just looked at us like we where crazy to destroy unwrap presents. He didn’t like it at all.

Okay, I get it now. I understand why everyone goes crazy over Christmas. To see it through your child’s eyes makes it fun.

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Happy Birthday to me.

What a birthday. My 2 1/2 yr old son woke me at 6am and promptly started throwing up all over the bed, and me. This went on for the next few hours as we finally fell asleep on the couch. Luckily, he woke a few hours later feeling much better. I, on the other hand, did not. As the day progressed I felt sicker and sicker. I even lost my voice. My sinuses are painful, my throat is sore and I have a tickily cough. What a way to turn another year older.

I am hoping that no one throw up tonight. I am hoping we all get well and are able to have a nice few days next week if the weather turns okay. It was lovely today, it would of been so nice to just have a wander around some National Trust site.

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Just to set the record straight for anyone who is wondering, Americans who live abroad are still Americans. We still care about America. We have the right to vote and we do. I am an American. I live abroad. I love my country and I vote.

I live my life, daily, as a living representative of America. Every time I open my mouth I am no longer a person, but the American. People don’t know my name but know me as the American lady. I am fully aware that I may be the only American the person standing in front of me has ever met, or possibly ever will meet. It was more intense when I first move abroad then it is now. Its still there. I speak, the response is always… you sound American.  Yes, I am an immigrant. I am a foreigner. I am American.

Because I am the living representative of America I have gotten the brunt of the anger from people. It has come as passive aggressive with under toned comments, or plain aggressive. I have had people glare, snarl and tell me to my face that they hate F-ing Americans. I have had people follow me, get excited, and tell me that they love Americans. It evens out. But the anger is there. America has lost its respect from the people who once held it in respect.  The world expects more from us, and frankly, so do I. More so now then ever. Fellow Americans, you may think it doesn’t matter what the world thinks about us, but it does. Very much so.

Right now I am feeling pretty blue about my homeland. This election is a pretty remarkable time. Its fantastic that a black man and a woman are running. Its fantastic that we have progressed. It looks fantastic on the surface. But what I am seeing from way over here, an ocean away isn’t so great. From what I am seeing and hearing are some pretty nasty comments, and disgusting lies.  This election is bringing out the lowest side of us. People are saying and doing things that they would never do. On forums or social sites, they are saying things they would never say to someones face. Its ugly. Its disgusting. Its un-American.

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Today we had a drive out to Little Morton Hall. Its a National Trust site and its not really all that far away. This hall is from 1510. Its all higgly piggly. Very cute and definitely what you think about when you are an American coming to the UK.  We climbed the stairs up to the top floors. They are the typical stairs for old mansions and castles. They just go round in a circle and are very narrow. How on earth the women made it up those stairs in the old days dressed in those huge skirts is beyond me. The stairs are so narrow that my feet didn’t fit on them. It was also the typical rope for a hand rail.

When you get to the top its an open hall. I think at one point it was the largest room in England, but by today’s standards its not very big. But its was so out of plumb that I was dizzy. None of the wall where straight. I actually felt like I was on a boat and I got seasick.

I think I might want to go back by myself and hang out a bit. I never get a feel for anything with kids in tow. I also have a feeling that its probably a haunted site. Really cool though.

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It was about 5 yrs ago about this time in Sept that I was heading home to California. I had been in England, staying with my then fiance, for 4 months. In that time we had gone from having met in person once, to having lived together for 4 months. We had traveled to Spain and gotten engaged. I remember feeling so extremely happy, as you should when you are newly engaged. I had a new diamond ring on my finger. It was all so very exciting.

I remember the night before I left. S came down the stairs and he was in tears. He said that it had just hit him, really hit him, that the next day I would be gone. We had no idea for how long. I had to get home and sell my condo, sort my life out there, get rid of everything and get a fiance visa to come back and get married.

The day I left, we stood in tears at the airport in Manchester. The thing I hated most about long distant relationships was saying goodbye, not knowing when you would see this person again. There is always that level of doubt that if a few to many months pass that they will have a change of heart. All your fears come to play. Its very painful, long distance relationships. They are really not very fun at all.

After really no sleep the night before, a 6 hour layover in Atlanta, and a long flight to Sacramento, I was home. I would like to say that the next 5 months before I moved to the UK flew by but they didnt. I had the stress of cleaning, painting, sorting and selling my condo. I had the heartache of being with my beloved step dad as he lost his battle with cancer. I had the blessing of being with him as he took his last breathe. It was a long and painful 5 months.

The one bright point was in November when S came to visit. We had a few days away from the cancer in Southern CA to get my visa, a few trips out but mostly it was a bit of a downer trip for S. We did have our fun moments though. It was also what seemed to be a start of a great friendship with him and my brother. Or as S says, his brother from another mother.

5 yrs on. So much has changed. Marriage, a son, ups and downs. I came to England all lovey with very rose colored glasses on. About a year in the rose color glasses did the typical expat thing and turned to grey. I think being pregnant really threw me into the greys. Pregnancy was mentally and physically hard. Being in a foreign country with no family was very hard. I didn’t really know people as I hadn’t been here all that long. It became easy to see the bad more then the good. Its also a pretty typical expat thing to do. There is a whole science to it.

So here I sit, 5 yrs on from leaving this land for the 1st time. I can not believe how fast it goes. I also am a bit shocked at the next stage of being an expat I seemed to hit. Acceptance. For the past year our lives have been geared towards moving. 2 weeks ago S got laid off from his job. Since then everything is up in the air. Strangely I have quickly become more comfortable with the idea of staying. A month ago I would of said NO WAY. Now, its a possibility. S seems to be more about moving then me. Its all a bit strange. Not sure what to make of it myself, but I am more of the school of if we do we do, if we don’t we don’t right now.  I just wonder what I will be doing in 5 more years and I think back to the day I left to change my entire life.

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Its been a week now since S got laid off from his job. Since then, everything is up in the air. We don’t know what we are going to do. Even the move is on hold for a bit. The exchange rate has dropped so much that we would end up losing nearly $20k with the drop. Not good.

We are looking at many options at the moment. Staying optimistic. We just don’t have a clear picture of where we are headed. I should be freaking out, but I am not. I am actually kinda excited that we have options again. It feels like everything was forced into a narrow tunnel for the last year. Now we can stop, reassess, and go forward with an open mind. Strange feeling, but sort of a relief.

So if anyone is wondering if we are still moving, we don’t know. I will let you know when we do.

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