Friday, May 21, 2010

Expat Experiences: UK - Melissa

Who are you?
Melissa Richards-Stoey

Melissa Richards-Stoey.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved to England in 1988 as a member of the U.S. Air Force. I joined the military with the intention of travelling and I chose England as my first choice for duty station. I had been an Anglophile since the age of 13 so going to England had always been a dream of mine.

What challenges did you face during the move?

I didn't know a single soul, not even another American. I was supposed to be picked up at Gatwick by a bus that would take me to RAF Chicksands where I was to be stationed. The bus never showed, so there I was in an airport in a new country with no idea of how to get to where I needed to go. All I could think to do was jump in a cab. Sixty pounds later I arrived at my new home. On the very first weekend there, I met a Scottish man at our NCO club and we hit it off instantly. Ten months later we were married. If it weren't for him, I think I would have had a lot more challenges than I did. He made it easy to get to know the culture and make friends.

Can you tell us something about your property?

I rented two different flats while living in England and the rental process was as simple as it is in the U.S. Back then I think I paid something like £400 - £600 a month. Property in the U.K. tended to be quite a bit smaller than what we are used to in America, although that has begun to change in the last ten years or so...


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