Expat Musings

Expat to Expat Q&A August!

Well hello hello hello my wonderful little kumquats, and welcome to the August edition of Expat to Expat Q&A with Bailie and I. Whoopie! This month we are chatting about the very basic day-to-day running of life abroad.  After this month, we will be asking one question each that are a bit broader and more open-ended.

On your mark, get set go!

August Questions:

1. What is your favorite food store in your city and why?  Oh, this depends on what kind of food we are looking for.  But our day-to-day shop we head out to the big store of Tescos.  This place has it all.  From kettles to cucumbers, tea towels to risotto, we typically find all of our shopping there.  We’ve been trying to use our pantry lately, meaning less shopping trips and using our dry goods, pasta, sauces, etc.  If we are looking for a yummy dessert treat, we will head to M&S or Morrisons.

A picnic with goodies from Morrisons….

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2. For your answer to number 1 is it ok to buy the store brand items or do you pay extra for a name brand? I’ve found that the Tesco brand is pretty good generic/store brands.  But even when I was in America I bought generic brands over name-brands…expect for things like soda.  No generic soda ever tastes like Diet Coke, you know what I mean?

3. What do you think is the best way to get about your city? i.e. bus, bike, car, etc  We are very lucky that we live fairly close to town center, so if we need to we can easily walk to a movie theater, department stores, grocery stores plus all the specialty shops on the high street, in about 15 minutes. For days when we do a big shop, we will typically drive around town.  And for my daily commute, I have a 40 minute bus ride which allows me to read or catch up on Twitter.

And on the bus, you get to see little jelly beans like this guy….

2012-10-23 17.20.06_EDIT

4. Which store do you turn to for basics like toilet paper or cleaning supplies? This is going to sound very American of me, and for that I apologize… but for those kind of basics, we make it out to Costco. Yup. Costco.  I hate, really hate, running out of dish soap, laundry detergent, toilet paper, cleaning supplies…so we stock up a Costco are we are set for 6-9 months.


5. Where do you think is the best place in your city to get a cup of coffee (or beverage you prefer) and catch up with friends? Well, this is embarrassing… but I actually haven’t made any in real life friends yet.  {Trust me, it’s on my things to do.} But if I did have friends {how pathetic does that sound?} I would meet them in town at Cafe Nero or yes… eve  Starbucks, to snag a latte and maybe even snap a sefie.

 Plus these questions from Emma, at Adventures of a London Kiwi:

1. What was your “eureka, I’m practically a native” moment? I work in Chester, England which is always teaming with tourists no matter the time of year, season or weather. I think one of my eureka moments was when I gave a tourist a direction to a spot in town.  Sounds small and silly, but it meant that I knew where I was and where they were asking to go.  {BIG thoughts there, right?}

2. Does your real accent get in the way? My American phrases and sayings are still lost in translation.  When I am at work, I will make comments that are 100% American, that are lost on my British co-workers… and vice versa.  Now, to give you an idea of what I mean here is a comprehensive list of lost in translations between US English and Queen’s English.


Now, let’s link up fellow expats! Can’t wait to read everyone’s answers!



Now, I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to a lovely travel lovin’ sponsor, Brittany Ruth from The Rococo Roamer!


Brittany Ruth Rococo


new pic

Blog // Bloglovin // Twitter // Google +

Brittany Ruth began The Rococo Roamer to keep friends and family in touch while she moved overseas to Germany as a newlywed. Quickly she discovered that she really enjoyed blogging and began to incorporate posts about her love for antique and flea market traveling all around Europe. She also throws in some DIY projects and DIY inspiration. She has a passion for travel and plans to visit as many countries in Europe as she can. She loves to help others plan their trips and discover new places. She is also working full-time while in Germany and attending grad school. She has the cutest French Bulldog on the planet named Louis, that does the funniest things. He is a mini monster! Stop by her blog and say “Hello!”

Want to get to know this travel loving lady a little bit better? Check out these delish {no kidding, her photography is AMAZING} posts:

Now, if you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

 A superpower I would love to have off of the top of my head would be to materialize from one place to another.  I do a lot of traveling. A lot.  I try to go to a new country every month.  But traveling isn’t as glamorous as it sounds..  Trains and car rides can be sweaty and never ending and planes can be downright claustrophobic.  If I could materialize from one destination to another then that would save me from a lot of jet lag and messy hair.  But I have to be careful what I wish for because I know that half the fun is getting there!

I love Brittany’s super power, what about you? I bet any expat out there would pick something similar to avoid claustrophobic planes! Make sure to hop over and say hello!!


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  • Love the little British/US words you put on here! I still have moments of not understanding Hubby and vice versa! A recemt one another American pointed out to me was we use ‘chuffed’ for really happy!

    So glad the Q & A is back!

    • Hi Molly! I am so glad that you joined us… and that the linkup is back! Hooray!! And I was happy to be able to use the US to British English differences, they are small differences but there for sure!

  • I am sure I have said this about a millions time but so so jealous of your Costco!

    • Haha! I love that I have a Costco so close to me! I can actually get American products like peanut butter or cereal. Small things = BIG difference

      • Okay now I’m jealous too. Thats pretty sweet! Can you get baking soda/bicarbinate soda then in bulk? Because there are things like that, honey, coconut oil, and peanut butter that I really could use in much bigger ‘american’ sizes and in bulk than the small tiny tiny jars they come in here in the UK. Honestly I have a huge collection of empty jars from those things (saving it for a Christmas DIY) because we can go through it as a family of four so fast!

        • Yes on all counts!! Costco is my true haven here! Huge tub of honey,peanut butter…even American brownie mix! {So good!} My coworkers give me a hard time, but it’s the only place I can find most of my American brands that I love. It’s a lifesaver!

          • That is so awesome. I just did a quick search and realised we have on on the other side of Bristol. It would be an hour and a half by train and bus, but maybe I can order things online cheaper than what we are getting now. x

  • Aww, if I lived near you, I’d grab a latte with you! We’re on the East Coast though. 🙁

    • Ugh… I wish we were closer! I feel like I am the only blogger in North Wales sometimes…

  • Mary-Sweet Bookshelf

    I’m new to your blog and this link up! I’m Mary @ My Life in Scotland. I’ve been living {and blogging} in Scotland for 5 yrs. It is always fun to meet other expats!

    • Hi Mary! I am so glad that you found our linkup! We have one once a month, on the 15th, where expats answer the same set of questions. Always fun to learn a bit from each other!

  • Aww, Belinda I wish we lived closed! I know how you feel though. I have made one friend and thats because we are the two ‘americans’ in the village and our sons consequently were are in the same class at school. We meet up maybe once a month. But it can be hard to make friends as an adult, especially that I am not working out of the house right now. I know you are working right now but that can be just as hard too. I was working in a salon and all the girls there were much younger than me and weren’t really the ones to meet up outside of work for a coffee date. I think being an expat can just make things a little harder.

  • Ha. I was totally going to do this, and then realised I would suck – I haven’t had coffee in a restaurant yet, let alone with friends, I still don’t know where to buy basics, and I don’t speak German often enough to find out if I have an accent that gets in the way 😉

  • Ahhh that chart could not be any more true!! I got a bit pink in the face after using pants quite a bit and people making fun of me. No one told me it was underwear! I’m super jealous of your costco, I haven’t ever seen one up here. I also wish we lived closer and could share our love of coffee together. If you fancy a trip to yorkshire, I’m here!

    • adventuresofalondonkiwi

      I have had SUCH a problem with ‘pants’ you wouldn’t believe!

      • Pants still gets me. And Belinda with these little houses I don’t know how people stock up at places like Costco, maybe thats why we don’t have one! haha

        • You are probably right!! I have to be very creative with storing my Costco haul 90% of the time! 😉

    • My coworkers love to correct me when I make basic mix ups like that. It is so hard to change your vocabulary after years of learning it another way. Alas…chalk it up to the expat experience I guess. Yorkshire is on my list, if/when I make it there I will give you a shout. {And I could bring goodies from Costco!}

  • Chantal

    When I lived in London, I had some American slang moments too. Mostly to do with pants/trousers. Yikes.

    • Yup, that’s happened to me all the time… I feel like an idiot most of the times when it comes to phrases lost in translation. Such a learning curve! 😉

  • adventuresofalondonkiwi

    I’m adoring the British – American thing.. I’ve had to do the same as we Kiwis seem to have some really random Americanisms, plus our own delightful phrases to translate across to English (though I’ve never heard a Brit say muffler – they would be too busy giggling!).
    I’m absoloutely the same with the ‘essentials’; handwash, toilet roll etc. My husband thinks it’s a little mad, but then again I don’t think he ever had to live in a flat with monsters who used everthing and left you short!
    I totally sympathise with the ‘real life friends’ thing – the industry I work in is a bit ‘wide-boy’ so making friends was a little hard when all you do is sort out the problems you make. I’ve been here a long while, but London can be pretty tough to make friends if you don’t already know people. My blog & twitter have actually been a godsend for making friends with really interesting people.
    If you’re ever in London…! Also, there is a great ‘Ladies in Blogging’ networking group once a month if you’re here.

    • Emma I totally agree with you about Twitter and Blogging being a lifesaver socially…. sometimes I don’t know what I would do without it. I work at a small company, so meeting new people is really tough for me. I don’t really write about it too much on my blog because it sort of bums me out. But, I need to keep on trying… we will see. I wish there was a meetup group closer to me, but good to keep in mind if I am in London! 🙂

  • Polly

    The fact that there are Costcos abroad has just blown my mind.

    • I was really surprised too! The best part, they stock American brands. Can someone say Jiffy Peanut Butter?

      • Polly

        Words cannot express my jealousy! How are the prices?

  • From Casinos To Castles

    SO SO JEALOUS that you have a Costco! 🙂

    • It is my favorite part of living where we do…Access to Costco. I am a very lucky expat!

  • Casey

    Can I just say that perhaps my favorite thing about this whole post is that the UK calls a cupcake, “fairy cake.” That might be the best thing I’ve heard all day! 🙂

    • and Christmas lights are called fairy lights 🙂

      • Casey

        That’s it… I’m packing up and moving to the UK just so I can say everything with the word “fairy” in front of it! 🙂 Seriously, I’m going to start using the term fairy cake and fairy lights in my daily vocabulary!

  • oh I’m sorry you don’t yet have friends in town! but you will 🙂 and in the meantime you have us!

    also, true confession: if I did a huge shop at my local Sainsbury’s and couldn’t face the bus home, I’d take a cab.

    (side note: “doing a shop” is definitely only a British expression, right? We don’t say that in America? most pretentious question ever but I honestly can’t remember – I just wrote it!)

    • I totally say it but most my friends in Sweden are either British or lived in England for long amounts of time so I am not sure either!

    • Betsy… you are so sweet!! It’s so tough making friends as adults, but you are right… my wonderful blogging relationships have helped fill my heart!

      And I think “doing a shop” is a British term… My coworkers will say “Off to do my weekly shop…” So funny! 🙂

  • agirlfromoz

    I’m laughing at the words list. I *still* have problems with pants (trousers), and chips (crisps). I did learn pretty quickly to use ‘flip flops’ rather than the Aussie alternative…

  • Hi! Thanks for hosting this link, I love ‘meeting’ fellow expats. I’ve gone the other way from you (England to Canada) but have an equal love of Costco and I’ve experienced that whole crazy ‘lost in translation’ thing in the opposite way. It’s a pity I didn’t have that list at the beginning of my journey! Maybe language should be a theme one week?

  • NOTHING can compare to a Diet Coke, and I could not live without Costco. 🙂

  • Asia Reynolds

    Wow that’s a lot of getting used to, I’d be so lost for so long lls

  • AHHH that picture made me giggle!! so many hilarious phrases in the british language 😛 and of course i love The Doctor at the bottom ^____^ *Allons-y!*

  • Dee

    I love the words list! Haha. I’m a Filipina living in Singapore and we use American English in the Philippines vs British English in Singapore so I can relate to this list.

    • Happyeverafter_Bride

      I am the same as you Dee where we get used to American TV in Malaysia and then I moved to Australia where it’s British English, so I know both lists and then some.

  • I love the British list!! I’m moving to England in a month and this was super helpful!!

  • Cornelia

    Does it count as being an expat if you’re in a state that is as foreign to you as an actual foreign country? Kidding (sort of) – I just moved to Texas and am still getting used to “fire pump” instead of “fire hydrant” and how insular/very culturally different it is here from the East!

  • Anytime a tourist in my village asks me for directions I jump for joy!

  • Lisa@ Meanderings

    Great answers! I’m going to study the British words too – I work with a British teaching center and the books have excercises with British phrases…It cracks me up these cultural differences!