My first week in the USA has come and gone and I’ve been settling in nicely. It’s alternated between boiling hot and rainy so that’s made it pretty humid. Kim bought us a house at Coventry by the lake and we’re lucky because there are no main roads near by so the cats are safe roaming about. Also there are no pavements – now you might think this is a bad thing but in the winter by law you have to shovel your driveway and pavements (or sidewalks) within a certain time so we get out of doing that.
The houses are all different looking compared to the UK where usually the houses are built in clusters so they tend to match their neighbours and there isn’t a lot of brick like in the UK, it’s mostly vinyl siding. We’re 3 minutes walk from Coventry Lake and you can see it from the end of our garden (or yard).
The area is really green and there’s small bits of forest either side of our little neighbourhood. As a teenager I used to have a job at a tropical garden center in Norfolk which I absolutely loved (actually I think if the pay was better I’d still be working there!), a lot of the plants that are popular here I recognise from the garden center. There are lots of hostas and we have some of these already in our garden.
There are also orange day lilies absolutely everywhere (also in our garden)
Kim’s working as usual and I’m waiting to take an awful exam which I do not feel confident about at all and am pretty sure I’ll need to retake but until then I’m without a job and not searching until I know if I’ve passed or failed so I’ve been watching a LOT of TV which I don’t usually do. In fact my friends in England liked to make fun of me because for the last few years in England I didn’t actually bother having a TV. Kim is addicted to terrible TV shows so we had to have one here but luckily she owns a smart TV and we got the Amazon Fire TV with Alexa and it works great. People in the USA pay a lot for their cable TV (think $200+ a month) which I wasn’t happy about so instead we’ve set up Hulu and Netflix and it costs a fraction of the price. There’s also some live TV apps which work great and I can connect the TV to my laptop so we’re saving a lot of money that way, also I get to annoy Alexa.
So I haven’t been too bored whilst Kim works, also when it’s nice out I’ve enjoyed walking around the neighbourhood and seeing all the wildlife. The other day I almost walked into this lovely deer in sight of our driveway then to my horror realised my iPhone had decided to turn itself off when I went to take a photo of her. Luckily she was very polite and waited for my iPhone to restart itself so I could take my photo then tripped prettily off into the woods.
I also saw a groundhog on the neighbours lawn the first morning I was here. We have a bird feeder that’s attracted a lot of blue jays, sparrows and cardinals – I think it would attract more if it wasn’t for our resident squirrels who are very sweet but figured out how to open the bird feeder faster than I did then they proceed to dump all the bird seed and meal worms out onto the floor so they can sort through to get their favourite bits. So we need to invest in a squirrel proof bird feeder which we haven’t got round to yet.
In the mean time we have a lot of our own wildlife though, the house has a lot of little cubbyholes and viewing points that the cats love.
I got my social security number through in the mail which is the equivalent to the national insurance number in the UK. I got treated to a trip to the DMV (like the DVLA) where there was a very long wait but I got told I can use my international drivers permit for a year which is great as I’ll have to retake my driving test and I don’t really want to just yet!
I did buy a little car with the money I’d saved up from my job in England, most people seem to buy their cars on finance here but as I don’t exist on credit reports here and I’m not working yet that wouldn’t be an option so I needed to look for something outright. This was made all the more difficult as the Americans favour very large cars, very very large! And I just wanted a small European car, so I found a few I liked online and settled on a little red Fiat 500 2012 which I bought from a dodgy car dealer guy from Kosovo who did not stop talking. Still, I like it and it drives great. I had to buy it in Kim’s name because I have no Connecticut state ID or drivers licence or insurance. Although, strangely Kim added the car to her insurance and her insurance went down. That would never happen in England, you might expect a discount for a multi car policy but she’s actually paying less insurance now with my car added to her policy than she was for her own which I think is mad. To continue the theme of Goldie my previous car we’ve called this one Ruby. I had to get a satnav (GPS) though or else I won’t know where anything is! Funnily enough my sister Bronte leases a Fiat 500 in blue so we are car sisters, much like in life her model is younger and better looking than mine haha. Fuel is ridiculously cheap compared to England, to fill up my car with petrol from almost empty cost $23, which is about £17.60 which wouldn’t even give me half a tank in England!
Our neighbours have been very friendly so far, there are a few differences though, everyone here is completely obsessed with the American flag and have it plastered all over their gardens, houses, cars etc. It’s actually illegal to burn a flag here, which is fair enough I suppose but if you’ve gone to the trouble of buying a flag to burn surely you’re just burning your own flag that you’ve bought which is your own problem isn’t it? The previous owners of our house left an American flag on our shed (see the middle photo) which so far I’ve kept up there because it makes me laugh.
Another difference is that no one has a letterbox fixed into their front doors, they have mailboxes. Ours is across the street (outside our neighbour Darlene’s house, Darlene is very friendly and enjoys walking about in her nightdress and going on the trampoline with kittens… yes really) and you collect your mail from it, if you want to post a letter you don’t need to find a mailbox, you just stick your letter in the mailbox and put the little flag up and the mail carrier picks it up for you – which I think is very convenient. The United States Postal Service has proved to be every bit as incompetent as Royal Mail though when it managed to deliver 2 of the new address postcards we sent out back to ourselves… great. But I do like the mailboxes and lots of people decorate them. We got a decal sticker with our last name on it which I put on the box a bit wonky but I think the effort is still there. This is also a frequent occurrence in people’s front gardens… I just find it weird though.
So all in all it’s gone fine. Everything is still a bit of a novelty like going to the grocery store. Kim’s been helpful as always to me adjusting by pointing out little tips (“That’s margarine, it’s like butter”… err yeah… thanks for that).
We usually try and do something on Kim’s days off, we went blueberry picking the other day which was fun. Blueberries are widely grown in New England so that was tasty.
But when it’s hot we try not to over do it.
Kim’s Auntie Debbie came to visit us out in the boonies (Auntie Debbie taught me that word, it’s what UK people would say is ‘out in the sticks’, it’s USA war slang for boondocks from when they fought the Philippines) and bought us a nice ice cream cake. I haven’t tried ice cream cake before so that was exciting (as all cake is). All in all a good start.