Dear Meghan (from one American expat to another)

Dear Meghan,

Hey girl, how’s it going? Congratulations on your soon-to-be wedding. I’ve seen one or two (millions of) articles on the matter. And I can imagine it’s quite overwhelming. Getting married is quite a big deal, but then it’s even more intimidating when you add moving to a new country to the mix. As a fellow Californian gal who fell in love with a British guy, I thought I would offer some tips to help with your transition into British life. Hope this helps!

1. Pretend you understand what they’re saying – For the first six months living in the UK, I only caught half of the conversations. Some accents are tougher than others. Some people don’t even open their mouths when they speak. Anyway, they get annoyed if you keep saying ‘pardon?’. So sometimes you just have to nod and pretend you’ve understood everything they’ve said.

2. Never accidentally says pants – You’re a well-traveled woman. You know that in the US, they call pants ‘trousers’. And British people have watched enough American television to know that that we call them pants. But if you accidentally call trousers ‘pants’ just one time, they will roll around on the floor laughing. Like it’s the funniest thing in the world. Like they will laugh so hard they will snort. Snort.

3. Always carry sunscreen – Not for you obviously. Being mixed race like me, you’re fine. But Harry. Harry is white AF. Even on a cloudy day, he will burn baby. My husband is also pale and interesting, so I totally get it.

4. Marmite – The British have a love-hate relationship with Marmite. They either love it or hate it. And if they love it, they bring it on their holidays (that’s vacations to you and me). And it’s actually really nice. Plus if you go somewhere warm and tropical, bugs are less likely to bite you if you’ve been eating Marmite. Fact.

5. Embrace your culture – When I first moved to the UK, almost 16 years ago, I tried to dial down my Californianisms. I tried not to make every sentence sound like a question. I stopped saying ‘you guys’ and ‘true dat’ and ‘hey sista friend’. But I started to feel less like me. So I’ve brought it all back, and feel better than ever. If someone doesn’t like your cute sayings, then tell them they can kiss you where the sun don’t shine.

Hope this helps. Good luck Meghan!


Elfa xx

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4 thoughts on “Dear Meghan (from one American expat to another)

  1. This is great! My daughter liked that someone who looks like her (orange skin, as my daughter describes herself) married a prince.

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