This blog began in October 2011 when we emigrated from the UK to the US. Initially intended as a means of keeping family and friends up-to-date with our adventures, it quickly acquired a much larger following. Each month, around 300 people from around the world visit the blog, and I have made new friends through sharing our experiences of being an English family making sense of our new lives in the States.
This blog has been about the novelties and cultural shocks of living in the US: the complicated bureaucracies of renting an apartment and getting a driving license; the significance of cops carrying guns (even the Environmental Police are armed); the quality and the cost of the health care systems; the up-beat child-focused education systems; the frequency of elections and the overwhelming enthusiasm for an active democracy. I have also written about the crazy changes in weather which brought us snowstorms, Hurricane Sandy and the polar vortex, and the experience of living in a city under lockdown while the police hunted down Tsarnaev, the so-called 'Boston Bomber'.
The plan had been to live here for a year or two, to have a few adventures and new experiences, and to then return home to our more familiar lives in the UK. But plans change and we like it here.
|Museum day at Maria L. Baldwin school|
|Maya as Abigail M. Alcott|
And I've been fortunate enough to be part of several interesting writing communities here in New England, as well as having the opportunity to develop my virtual community of writers through my work with Cafe Aphra. I also write a fortnightly column for the local homeless newspaper, Spare Change News, and I help manage a local community meal each week. I have made lasting friendships with a diversity of wonderful people, completed my first novel, plunged midway into my second, and acquired a new library of books (mainly from skip-dipping and perusing the give-aways people leave in local 'free libraries').
But, in terms of this blog, it's time to move on. We're not newcomers, off-comers (to borrow from Cumbrian English), or outsiders these days, and the cultural shocks now work in reverse: when I visited the UK two weeks ago, I felt more like a foreigner than I do here in North America. We've made the decision to stay, to put down roots, to see what happens next. We'll be moving into a new house in Vermont at the end of May, and I've decided to move the blog too. Please visit us at http://fowlerfamilyparryinvermont.blogspot.com/. I'll be writing about our new lives at the foot of Mount Mansfield, about life in a small Vermont community, and about settling down, growing-up and keeping chickens.
And thank you for visiting this blog, and for reading these posts. Not only have I loved writing them, but I've taken real joy in hearing what y'all think.