About Me

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20-something American girl from Suburban Maryland/DC and transplanted to England in Spring 2011. After surviving a trans-atlantic relationship, I married my British better half in April 2011 and followed him across the pond! Wedding planning, immigration issues, and adventures in expatriatism! This blog has got it all. Please comment! :-D

07 April 2012



Last night marked the first night of Passover.

Passover is a very important Jewish holiday that celebrates our Exodus from slavery in Egypt and gives thanks to God for protecting us from persecution then and always.  In recent years, Passover also reminds us to think about other people (Jews and non-Jews) who are still unable to celebrate freedom and encourages us to combat tyranny where we may find it.

President Obama gives us a shout out...

In brief . . . We were persecuted as slaves, now we're free, praise God, let's eat & drink!

Initially Kieran and I were going to have a quiet seder at home, but I started thinking about it and decided to invite our friends with young child.  Passover just doesn't seem as fun without a little one.  And I also didn't feel like "finding" the Afikoman that I hid myself.

It was a very successful and fun Seder!  Our (nearly) three-year-old guest was very active in the Seder which was so cute I could have vomited.  She raised her sippy cup of juice when we blessed the 4 cups of wine, she dipped her parsley in the salt water and ate it (then promptly spit it out and looked at us like we were crazy), she found the Afikoman (I still owe her a quid for that), and she "opened the door for Elijah" then stood out in the hallway looking for him.

Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday because it's a time to share a delicious meal with loved ones and tell the time-honored story of our people.  The smell of the sweet red wine and pickled horseraddish reminds me of all the different and memorable Seders I've been to over the years.  Having a little one at the Seder table this year got me thinking about future Seders--our own little ones at the table eating Matzah ball soup and reading the story of Passover.  Even though Kieran isn't Jewish, he has always supported and happily participated in my traditions.  We have decided not to raise future children in one particular religion, but I always envisioned giving these Jewish holiday memories to my children and offering them the opportunity to learn about it if they were interested.  It will likely be another 5-10 years before we're at that stage in our lives, but it makes me smile to think about it.

Four cups of wine and a three-course dinner (four courses if you eat Gefilte fish...nom nom nom)--that's the easy part of Passover. Now the challenging part begins.  I can't eat anything that resembles bread, pasta, or cake.  I can't eat anthing with yeast in it (yes this includes beer!) or any food item that has a "leavening agent" in it.  When our Jewish ancestors fled from slavery in Egypt, they left in such a hurry that they did not have time to let their bread rise.  We now commemorate this by abstaining from leavened bread and other products for the next week ahead.

In it's place, we have this...

It's only been a day and I'm already sick of you SOURCE
This is Matzah.  It's exactly what it looks like--a big tasteless cracker.  Make sure you eat this with laxatives because it tends to bind in your colon like cement.  No lie.  Eat at your own risk.

It's not all bad, we now have leftovers for the next few days like Thanksgiving's Jewish counterpart.

Wishing all my Jewish friends and family a very happy Passover and thanks to all the non-Jews who have participated in Seders with us (we love you for it!) !

Next year in Jerusalem!

<3  Amanda

02 April 2012

Springtime Changes!

Whoa, where did April come from?!
Springtime is certainly upon us and with it has brought some personal changes.

In January I started a new job which has kept me really really really busy with my 2-month-long induction. I've finally completed my official induction programme now which means I'm off on my own (eeek!).  This new job is really a much-needed career change for me which is already affecting my life in positive ways.  I'm really excited about it and can't wait to see where it takes me!

I've finally committed to kick-starting my personal fitness.  After avoiding anything sweat-inducing since our wedding, I eventually got tired of being tired and slightly blubbery and decided to take control.  I've set my sights on  Triathlon training.  Specifically I'm training for a Sprint Distance Triathlon in the fall which includes a 750m Swim, 20km (12.5 mi) Bike, and 5k (3.2 mi) Run.
I'm slightly scared shitless at the prospect of it, but I've been taking one thing at a time.  My first goal was to learn how to swim properly as my last swim lesson was at the age of 7 and therefore I still swim like a 7 year old (picture an injured fish...lifeguards don't know whether I'm joking or drowning). I just finished a 5 week swim lesson class and am feeling more confident!  Plus I met some seasoned triathletes willing to help me with my training!
Next thing is to get my bike in working order...starting with that flattened back tyre :-)
I'm hoping by posting this on a public forum, it will keep me honest.  I'll keep you guys posted on my training progress!  I've noticed that other bloggers are inspired by the Springtime weather and embarking on their own fitness goals--let's swap notes!

Yeahh...not quite there yet.  I'm working on it.  SOURCE

A week from today will be our first wedding anniversary!  I can't believe it.  Where has the time gone?  Don't worry I'll be posting a sufficiently sappy post next week to commemorate our milestone.  For now I'll just tease you with this-- I've purchased an anniversary gift for my hubby which either makes me the best wife ever or the worst (and slightly crazy).  I'll let you know next week when I get his reaction! :-)

This time next week I'll also be packing for a week-long visit to Maryland/D.C. and New York!  It's the first time I've been home since Thanksgiving.  Really looking forward to it, although my Canadian bestie won't be there :-(  Maryland has been on my mind ever since that Head & Shoulders Shampoo commercial featuring Michael Phelps launched.  Ahhh...the Olympics are a'comin'!

Bye for now!

18 January 2012

Hump Day History!

"Glory, glory, Man United . . . And the reds go marching on, on, on!" 

Last Saturday I was fortunate to experience my first professional football game, starring the hubby's favorite team.  We (I mean Kieran's mate who generously volunteered himself to drive) made the 5 hour trek to Manchester early in the morning and travelled back the same way late that night.  The whole thing was a bit of a blur, but overall a great experience.   Some interesting differences I noticed to American sporting events I've been to...

1) No booze allowed in the stadium.  WHAT.  How do you enjoy sports without a cheap plastic cup of Budweiser in your hand?

2) Due to issue #1 stated above, you're more likely to see fans holding cups of tea.

3) No vendors selling food, drink, or merchandise in the stands.  Oh well, I always found them distracting anyways.

4) Betting agents stationed outside the stadium door helping you empty your wallet in hopes of winning some bets on the sporting event.

5) So much singing!!  They had people selling Man United songbooks outside the stadium.  It was brilliant.

6) Not as much unnecessary merchandise (i.e. foam fingers, blow-up bats, beer hats/helmets) on sale.  

However, I did find the abundance of junk food and post-game traffic to be similar to what I'm used to!

In addition to the new cultural things I learned and experienced, I also found out that Manchester United's home stadium--Old Trafford--has an abundance of history, too.  Next month, Old Trafford will turn 102 years old.  However, the team itself goes even further back, to the 1870s!

Man United's story began in 1878 by employees of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company wishing to form a recreational football club.  Thus, New Heath LYR was started.  In 1902 the club was saved from near bankruptcy and re-named Manchester United Football Club.

The club has come back so many times from adversity and near destruction. It survived early financial problems and poor public opinion.  It was all but destroyed by German bombs in May 1941.  In 1958 a horrendous plane crashed killed most of their star players and critically injured the manager at the time.  You have to commend the spirit of the team and the fans that kept them going all these years.  

Like me, you might not be the biggest sports fan ever--but everyone can enjoy a good game atmosphere and an interesting back story helps, too!

The massive hot dog--an international sporting event tradition

Nothing is happening yet

Stretch it out, boys!

Goodnight, Old Trafford.  Thanks for a great day!

12 January 2012

Worthing News Flash

Here's what's happening in my neck of the woods...

I guess I can no longer complain that nothing interesting ever happens in Worthing, West Sussex--this morning they found a dead body near the pier!

My co-workers and I knew something was up when we heard the pier was roped off and cops were everywhere.  Not long after, the local paper (the Worthing Herald) reported that a 54 year old local man was found dead on the beach this morning between the pier and the lido.

Crazy stuff for an otherwise calm seaside town.  My heart goes out to the gentleman's family and friends.

Hope the news has some more cheerful things to report tomorrow.


11 January 2012

Hump Day History!

Show me the money!

11 January 1596 marked the first state lottery to be introduced in England. Lots were sold the the public at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.  The state-funded "national lottery" in England continued until 1826 when the government decided it was immoral and perpetuated poverty.  The state-franchised lottery we know today was established in the 1990s and although it was established by the government, it is privately operated by the Camelot Group.

What would you do if you won a chunk of the cash??

Top 5 things I would spend major lottery winnings on:

1.  Help our families pay off any debt/mortgages/student loans/medical bills
2.  Buy a few houses outright--a few in the US, UK, and in a few holiday destinations.  Rent out the properties when we're not living in them
3.  Quit our jobs and go on a holiday!
4.  Give our family and closest friends whatever money they needed
5.  Donate to charities that mean a lot to us and become more involved with charity efforts

The rest would go in the bank and we'd live on the interest and the money we get from renting out our properties.

Ahhh, that'd be the life.  It might help if we actually played the lottery. 
Until then, I'd better get some sleep for work tomorrow!