Just Frances

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All entries tagged with “expat”

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    Third passport firsts - Aug 27th, 2016
    I received my new American passport yesterday. But despite this being my third passport, it will also mark several passport firsts in my life. But then, each of my passports have marked important “firsts” in my life! [more...]

    Juniper girls - Jul 16th, 2015
    Last night, I did something I (almost) never do: I enjoyed mid-week cocktails with “the girls”. Or rather, with a random group of girls, some of whom I had never before met. All thanks to an online voucher deal and Facebook. (See, the Interweb can be a very good thing!) [more...]

    An American flag in Scotland - Jul 4th, 2015
    Today is Independence Day in America; the day we stood up against The Crown to demand self-rule. As a proud American, this is a very important day for me. But as an expat American living in Scotland, it’s a little difficult to find a traditional Independence Day celebration, so I did something a little untraditional. [more...]

    ITP Awareness Month: A sister’s view - Sep 9th, 2014
    [Guest post] Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. Try saying that three times fast. No? Okay, how about we just call it ITP for short. But what is ITP, you ask? It is a disorder that makes people bruise easily and means that when they get your average, every day, run of the mill cold, they could end up in the hospital because their immune system isn't quite up to the task of fighting off the cold on its own due to their low platelet count. [more...]

    An unexpectedly sweet day - Apr 17th, 2014
    For the last few weeks, I have been struggling to overcome my desire to eat loads of candy and sweets as part of my Lenten sacrifice. If you’re a regular Just Frances reader—or if you know me at all—you will know that giving up sweeties is a fairly major undertaking. [more...]

    Just four years - Feb 15th, 2014
    Just Frances is four years old. Wow! Can you believe that I’ve been spewing this utter nonsense for that long? And if you thought I might be nearing the end of rubbish things to talk about, you’re wrong. (No apologies. If you don’t like it, you can just stop reading!) [more...]

    2013: A year in (distorted) review - Dec 31st, 2013
    As 2013 draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the year’s ups and downs. I’ve been thinking about the good points and the bad points and all of the points in between and I’ve been trying to think of how to recap the year. [more...]

    Under attack - Nov 12th, 2013
    Today has not been my best day. I knew it would be a hard one, as I was saying goodbye to my parents ahead of tomorrow’s return to Scotland, but I didn’t expect the day I had. [more...]

    The hard things - Nov 11th, 2013
    I'm packing my suitcases this evening for another return to Scotland. After two months in the Homeland, it's a bit hard to say goodbye again. But it would have been hard after two weeks or two years. It's hard because no matter how much I love Scotland and my life there, I love the Homeland and my wonderful family and friends. [more...]

    It’s finally here! - Nov 4th, 2013
    Excitedly, I have received my new UK visa today—meaning that I have all of the official bits of government-issued ID to allow me to return to Scotland to start my PhD programme. Yay!! [more...]

    A little closer - Nov 1st, 2013
    Today is November 1, which is the amended date for the start of my PhD programme in Scotland. Yet I am still in America. [more...]

    Signed, sealed, delivered - Oct 17th, 2013
    Today I sent off my visa application papers. A couple of days later than I’d hoped, but the delay meant that I had everything I wanted to include in the package. [more...]

    Home or away - Oct 2nd, 2013
    I’ve been here in the Homeland for nearly a month now, but I’m finding it hard to say that I’m “home”. It’s a confusing and unsettled part about being an expat: I am constantly torn between two homes and I never know which place to call home when I’m asked the question. [more...]

    Frustrations and silver linings - Oct 1st, 2013
    Today is October 1, which was my target date for beginning my PhD studies. Only I'm not in Scotland at the moment because I've not sorted out my visa. It's a little frustrating, but I have found several silver linings to it all, so that's OK I suppose. [more...]

    The ATAS hoop - Sep 12th, 2013
    Today I learned that I have another obstacle to manoeuvre around prior to applying for my new student visa. Apparently, because I will be in a computer-based programme, I have to apply for a certificate from the Academic Technology Approval Scheme. [more...]

    Hello, America - Sep 6th, 2013
    I am finally back in America after more than two years in Scotland—and after two emotionally draining days of international travel. I can't really say that I'm excited to be home yet because there are just too many uncertainties to face in the days ahead, but I know that I will enjoy my time here visiting with family and friends. [more...]

    Goodbye, Scotland - Sep 4th, 2013
    I’m on the train to England now and will be flying home to America tomorrow morning. It’s weird because part of me feels like I am only going away on a wee holiday, but the other part of me fears this may be forever. [more...]

    Empty fears - Sep 2nd, 2013
    My flat is now nearly empty. The only things that remain (other than the furnishings belonging to the property) are my (nearly) packed suitcases that I’m taking to America. And me. Yes, I have two more nights in this empty flat before I leave Scotland for what I hope will just be a few weeks’ time. [more...]

    Food, glorious food - Aug 31st, 2013
    I’m heading to the Homeland for a visit in a few days’ time and I’m already salivating at the thought of it. Actually, I’ve been salivating for quite some time. I’m just so very excited about all of the wonderful, amazing food I’ll be eating! (And also about visiting with all of my lovely family and friends that I’ll be eating with.) [more...]

    Non-goodbye goodbyes - Aug 28th, 2013
    Today was my last day of work. Only I'm technically still working for the organisation until Friday. Only I'm also planning on returning in a month's time. So I kind of said goodbye to my [former?] co-workers today. But it’s weird because it’s not really goodbye. [more...]

    Finding rainbows through the tears - Aug 26th, 2013
    I’m not a big fan of the rain but when the skies open up I do find myself looking—and hoping—for a rainbow. Rainbows make me smile; they make me happy; they warm my soul. So, I’ve decided that I will try something new by looking—and hoping—for a rainbow in my tears. You know, because tears are sort of like rain. [more...]

    Packing up—again! - Aug 18th, 2013
    I am packing my home yet again and it’s filling me with a sense of dread and panic. It shouldn’t be so difficult, but it is—in part because I don’t have a clear path in front of me; I don’t actually know what happens when I leave my flat. [more...]

    Love hesitates - Aug 10th, 2013
    She stood staring at the ticket in her hands, her mouth trembling as she tried not to cry. As she crept further along the security line, she focused her attentions to the terminal ahead. She was too afraid to look back, for if he was there watching her, she might run back into his arms. [more...]

    Please, ma’am, I want s’mores… - Aug 4th, 2013
    By the time I was six years old, I had consumed countless s’mores. They’ve been a part of my life for as far back as I can remember and I can’t really imagine having a campfire without them. But then, I am an American girl—born and bred! And, in America, we do love our s’mores! [more...]

    Post-phobia - Apr 10th, 2013
    For several weeks now, I have been afraid of the post. If I’m at home when it arrives, I dread walking over to pick it up. If I’ve been at work, I dread coming home and opening my door to see a pile of post waiting for me. [more...]

    Talkin’ tartan - Apr 6th, 2013
    Today is Tartan Day, a day when people around the world celebrate their Scottish heritage and ancestry. I’m not Scottish, but as Scotland is where my heart is happiest, I’m still going to acknowledge the day. [more...]

    Home is where…? - Mar 29th, 2013
    Home is a hard place for me to define; more so as I don’t know where I will be living over the next few months—and beyond. Frustratingly, it has been a difficult place for me to identify for much of my life because home for me is less of a physical place and more of an emotional place. [more...]

    Separated by a common language - Mar 4th, 2013
    It’s National Grammar Day in America, when grammarians will march forth on March 4th to spread the good word. (That’s good word, not well word.) And as a lingual hobbyist, I couldn’t resist the urge to join in. [more...]

    Choosing my own adventure - Feb 18th, 2013
    I’m not a big believer in predetermined destinies. I don’t believe that God has my entire life mapped out and that every little obstacle is a direct result of His work. Certainly, I believe in God and His son—my Saviour—Jesus Christ. [more...]

    Dear Old Frances - Jan 29th, 2013
    I’ve just complete another one of the Brooklyn Art Library's collaborative art projects, Letters From Your Childhood, so here I am sharing it with you. Yay! [more...]

    Stepping toward the future - Jan 15th, 2013
    Today was a busy and productive day, despite having nothing tangible to show for it. Still, I’ve taken steps toward tomorrow and that makes me a bit happy—if not slightly nervous and uncertain. [more...]

    Expiration loophole - Jan 11th, 2013
    Regular readers will know that I’ve been stressed and worried about my visa situation for a while now. And a select group of friends know that stressed and worried is an understatement. But, we’ll go with stressed and worried for the purpose of this story. [more...]

    And now we wait - Dec 19th, 2012
    I have finally managed to get all of my visa stuff sent off to the UK Border Agency. There was a bit of a hiccup in the process which means that I will have a bit of time to wring my fingers in worried anticipation whilst I wait to hear the outcome of my application. But at least it’s in progress now. [more...]

    Visa hiccups - Dec 8th, 2012
    It would seem that I am being challenged on my visa journey this time around. And it is so very frustrating! As you may know, I have been trying to switch my visa from a Tier 4 (Student) to a Tier 2 (General Work). But to do that, my employer needed to apply to the UKBA to become a sponsor. [more...]

    October: The missing month - Nov 14th, 2012
    I’ve thought long and hard about how to handle the month of October for my blog. You know, since I only posted twice before the site went down for essential maintenance. [more...]

    Forty-nine days - Sep 22nd, 2012
    My visa expires in 49 days. My employer is working on getting sponsorship approval for me so that I can apply for a new visa, but I don’t know if it will all happen before my current visa expires. I might be entitled to a two-month extension, giving me a bit of breathing room to apply for the work visa, but I’ve not heard back from the Home Office to confirm that. [more...]

    Packing up - Sep 10th, 2012
    I alluded to a big step toward a happier future the other day, but also said I wouldn’t share the big(ish) news just yet. Only I’ve changed my mind because I realised that the little steps needed for the big step are a bit more stressful than I thought, and writing about my stresses often helps to ease my mind. [more...]

    Boxes from home - Aug 30th, 2012
    I’ve written in the past about foods I miss from the Homeland, and I’ve shared tales of the amazing boxes I’ve received from family and friends back home. And, well, it’s time to tell those tales again! Only this time, the boxes have really stacked up! [more...]

    A year later - Aug 12th, 2012
    Today marks one year since I hit the reset button on my future. Yes, it’s been one year since I moved back to my beautiful, beloved Scotland. [more...]

    Patriotism abroad - Jul 4th, 2012
    Today is Independence Day in America. It is the day when the nation celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. As a proud American, this is one of my favourite holidays (tying with Thanksgiving). [more...]

    No more teachers; lots more books - May 7th, 2012
    Today was my last day of classes. And that means no more teachers. No more admissions-determined schedules. No more sitting through lectures and seminars. No more compulsory interaction with other students. [more...]

    Applying myself - Apr 11th, 2012
    With less than six weeks of classes left—and less than 20 weeks until my dissertation is due—it’s time to start thinking about the future again. And that means getting a job! [more...]

    Out of place - Mar 31st, 2012
    As I walked into town this afternoon, I noticed a dandelion growing in a wall along the pavement. It was sticking out brightly against the grey stone as if to say ‘Hello! I’m here! I belong!’ even though it wasn’t really meant to be there; even though it risked someone removing it or spraying it with deadly chemicals. [more...]

    Spring break - Mar 30th, 2012
    Well, as of 4:00 p.m. I am officially on spring break. Only, that really just means that I’m not going to classes for a week. And, actually, since there aren’t classes on Easter Monday, and I don’t have classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I’m really out of class for nearly two weeks. Yay! [more...]

    I [heart] root beer - Feb 27th, 2012
    I love root beer. I really, really do. It’s my fizzy soft drink of choice and I could drink barrels and barrels of the stuff. [more...]

    Free drugs - Feb 17th, 2012
    I’m not new to the Scottish National Health Services (NHS), having had my first experience with them about 10 years ago, but I guess that my American upbringing is just so overpowering that I’m still taken aback from time-to-time with the strangeness of socialised health care. [more...]

    Got milk? - Jan 17th, 2012
    If you’re American, you may not realise that milk is a very important part of British culture. From the 1946 School Milk Act (an addendum to the Education Act 1944) to Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher and from breast milk ice cream to the order in which one adds tea and milk to a mug, milk seems to be more than just another beverage. [more...]

    Home(ish) for Christmas - Dec 28th, 2011
    Well, I suppose now that Christmas is over, I should tell you a bit about my lovely Christmas weekend! And it really was a lovely weekend! I went through to Aberdour with my friend, Rebecca, to spend Christmas with her parents. [more...]

    Boxed in - Dec 2nd, 2011
    When I moved to Scotland in August, I sent a couple of large boxes by sea—hoping they’d arrive before Thanksgiving. They didn’t. But they did arrive today. (Yay!) [more...]

    A thankful weekend - Nov 27th, 2011
    Well, my Scottish Thanksgiving weekend has come to a close. Yes, the original planning process was difficult, and I found myself having to make do with all sorts of things to pull it off, but I think I can fairly call it a success. [more...]

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