Tag Archives: Ex-pat

T13: Meriland or Scotica?

I’ve been toying with the idea lately of creating my own country, as you do.  It would solve the many issues and concerns British ex-pats come up against and fill the country purgatory void.  That’s my word, btw, I coined it myself.  You’re neither here nor there, literally.  You live here, mourn there, but you don’t fit in there either — you’re stuck — in country purgatory.

It is essentially and amalgamation of both Britain and the United States.  It would also work for American ex-pats living in Britain.  Everyone’s welcome, even the odd Anglophile or two…

I haven’t decided on a name yet, but here is a list of things that are must-haves:

1.  The public transport will be phenomenal, and all the roads will be wide enough for anything that can tow a large boat.  There will be trains, tubes, buses, taxis, lots of big international airports, ferries, bike routes throughout and the speed limit will be 70 mph.  We’re still ironing out the details on which side of the road everyone should be driving on and which road signs will be the standardisation, but right now, that’s a mere technicality.  Time tables will be written in 24-hour clock.  Every street will have a side walk/pavement.  The roads will be striped in reflective paint and there will be Cat’s Eyes on the motorway/highway.  We’re still in session over the correct term there.  Also expect street lights everywhere, traffic lights at the higher elevation and, of course, roundabouts.  The railway system will rarely ever cross over onto the road, minimising the need for crossing lights and lengthy waits.  The underground tunnel linking Britain and the U.S. will finally be revealed after years of cloak and dagger behaviour, and of course, will be connected to Scotica (or is it Meriland?).  And, everything’s within walking distance.

2.  There will be bakeries, butchers, greengrocers, and fish mongers in every town.  Also expect corner shops, but it’s a toss up who gets there first, Walgreens will have competition.  Perhaps we can arrange a settlement where corner shops get one corner and Walgreens the adjacent?

3.  Petrol and Coke will both be measured and sold in litres and be lower than the average U.S. price, rather than the contrary.

4.  There will be authentic Mexican and Indian restaurants by the dozens.  You will also find Marie Callendar’s, DQ, Chip Shops, Turkish and Greek takeaways and Chinese/Cantonese places that serve all of your favourite dishes.  Also expect Outback Steakhouse, Panda Express and Macaroni Grill.  The bakeries we mentioned above will obviously include Greggs and the occasional Auld’s for those craving Fudge Doughnuts.  In fact, we’re in collaboration with Krispy Kreme’s to have both merge.

5.  Television will be crystal clear using the PAL format which boasts a 625-line, 50 field/25 frames a second, 50HZ system.  There will be no television licensing fee for the BBC.  You will have access to every channel and programme you’ve ever watched and it won’t matter that you don’t live in the right country.  Your DVDs will also play.

6.  You won’t be expected to write /100 on a cheque, and banks won’t take commission if you want to exchange currency.

7.  There will be architecture spanning hundreds of years:  Castles, cathedrals, monuments, statues and railways viaducts, etc.  There will also be breath-taking scenery, and ginormous mountain ranges.

8.  You can spell and pronounce things however you like.

9.  There will be no need for sprinklers, the grass will be green.  You can also control the rain.  Want some?  Press a button.  And — no-one will have allergies.

10.  Houses will be bigger, but not obnoxious.  Gardens will be a minimum of a third of an acre and you will have more than enough room for a whirly-gig or two.  There will be ample square footage in each room per home for more than just a bed, chest of drawers and a dresser.  There will be en suite bathrooms as standard, and every home will have a basement, functional attic and walk-in closets.  The attics are equipped for those of you who are closet model railway enthusiasts.  Electricity will be 220 watts, there’s much less power cuts that way (two per lifetime) — but, be sure to unplug everything at night.  Speaking of plugs, those will be standardised too.

11.  As well as all your favourite American stores, expect some British ones too.  Look out for Tesco (for your tiger bread), Woolworths, WHSmith, HMV, Boots, Marks & Spencer (M&S), French Connection, Superdrug, Primark, Next, Lakeland Catalogue stores and little local music shops that smell like old people and cigars.

12.  Chocolate will be much better.  You will have access to every chocolate, crisps and sweeties you want.  There will be real (Danish) bacon and both American and British sausages for whatever takes your fancy.  Cheese will be pasteurised at the lower, still acceptable European temperature and we will therefore be stocking all of your favourites.  Expect to see Red Leicester, Wensleydale, Cathederal and of course, Dairylea.  And what is cheese without Branston Pickle?  There will also be every Heinz product available, including soups, macaroni cheese, spaghetti and beanz.  You should also expect Irn Bru, Tizer, Lilt, Red Cola, Limeade, Ginger Beer, Ribena and Lucozade.

13.  Money, clothing and shoe sizes will be standardised.  We will move to American dress size numbers as British sizes are bigger numbers for the same size.  No-one wants to feel fat.  And shoes will move to British sizes.

So who’s with me here?

As always the list is constricted to thirteen things, if you’d like to see more additions to this new country, please leave a comment below for the town hall.

More Answers to the Burning Questions

I’m actually still thinking about some of the questions I’ve already answered, it’s amazing what else I’ve thought about since being asked. Here are some additional points.

Some other things that surprised me about the US:
Debit cards. Back in the UK, I was so used to having people at the till hold on to my card until after I had signed the receipt. They’d take it and compare both, boring holes in both with their laser beam eyes until they were satisfied it really was me. It’s nice that it’s quicker here, but disconcerting if anyone ever stole my cards. It would take much longer to sort out the mess.

The amount of different drive-thru facilities. I had never been to a drive-thru bank until stepping on to American soil. They built some in recent years though.

An American saying:
99% of the saying are the same, including ‘raining cats and dogs’, but there was one saying that totally caught me off guard and took a while to understand: Smacking someone upside the head. I just didn’t get it. What direction was upside? we’d say ‘on the side of.’

1. LceeL asked:
Although I know that Scotland is wetter, do you find similarities between the Highlands and Montana?
The air actually smells the same as it does in Scotland, and that’s kinda cool. As for where I lived, it was in a much more built-up area with a lot of housing and buildings (The Lowlands). My older brother actually lives on the Isle of Skye in the Highlands which is part of the Hebrides (heh-breh-dees). It’s really similar, I think.

2. Jameil asked:
Are you a U.S. citizen?
No, I am a Permanent Resident, or legal alien (ha!) which means I hold a Green Card. It’s a 10-year Green Card that expires when I turn 40 (the fee to renew is $290). It took a lot of time and money to get to this point: around $3000 I think. I stopped counting. Before we were married, I was on a visitors’ visa for a year (two separate fees). When I was making preparations for our wedding, we were also filing some paperwork too, so we hired a paralegal rather than a lawyer to save stress and money, even then, she charged us $800.

After we were married, I was issued a work permit and a social security number. The work permit was only good for a year, then I had to apply for a (conditional, due to 9/11 changes) Green Card. I also had my fingerprints taken. After two years, I then had to apply for the conditions to be removed and have my fingerprints retaken (all at my expense). After almost 4 years of marriage, I got my real Green Card. I could have applied for citizenship after two years but didn’t. I picked up the paperwork for citizenship the last time I was in a USCIS office over three years ago, but never applied. It cost over $400 then to apply. It has been something I have thought about a lot, I had decided against it as I felt like I would be abandoning my family by doing so (even though I can retain my British citizenship), so I’ve never been serious about it. I actually thought about going through with it last year, but as I was about to start the process, they increased the filing fees to $595. I can’t justify or afford that now.

3. If so, when did you gain citizenship and how?
After you file and pay the fee, you are interviewed and go through a series of questions to determine how much you know about US history and government. It is not multiple answer – argh! They also determine how well you can speak and read English. After that, you have to go to a court house and get sworn in by a judge on an alloted day.

4. How do you feel about the immigration debate?
As you can imagine, I have very strong feelings on this subject. I am flabbergasted by the amount of illegal immigrants who are gainfully employed (under the table) when so many others do it the legal way and feel almost punished for doing so. The process is not easy, and definitely not cheap, but it doesn’t make it right to come here essentially breaking the law and expect to stay because of longevity or family ties. I wish there was an easy remedy to the situation, but amnesty is definitely not the answer. It makes a mockery of those who have done so properly and through the right channels.

When I first arrived in California, no one would hire me because I didn’t possess a social security card, yet there were many around me who were being paid (tax-free too) by unethical companies. It’s a touchy but important subject for me.

5. Can you vote? Do you want to?
The only right I am not entitled to as a Permanent Resident is the right to vote. After being here through two other general elections, this is the first one where I would actually like the right to vote. It’s sad that more people don’t. I took the online survey to match me with a candidate. I answered as honestly as I could, and was matched 86% with Mitt Romney. Ironically, I liked his stand on immigration the most.

6. Who do you like in the current election?
I may step on some toes, but I can’t vote, right?

Hillary Clinton, I feel, has already been the President, because we all know who wears the pants in that family.

Barack Obama: Great public speaker, visionary and motivator. I haven’t really followed his policies enough to make an informed opinion though.

Ralph Nader: Was he in a coma or something? What a numpty.

John McCain: He just seems too old to me. Plus, I have watched quite a few pieces on him which have highlighted him flip-flopping, specifically within 8 minutes of saying something else. I don’t know if I trust him.

Mike Huckabee: His last name–it’s not very presidential, is it? When he talks I see Jimmy Stewart and can’t get past that.

7. Do you want more children?
Yes. When I was 21, I wanted four kids. I didn’t get married until I was 26-and-a-half and it took 2 years to conceive Ian, so I feel like I am really behind schedule, so-to-speak. When I was in labour with Cameron, I waited until I was dilated to a 7 till I asked for the epidural (don’t ask me why, I have no idea), thanks to that, it didn’t work properly and numbed my left leg only. I felt e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g and had chills thinking about it for the preceding eight months. It still gives me the heebies.

8. Did you think online dating was bizarre before you did it?
Yes, I thought it was kinda crazy. Thankfully, it was a little safer when I did it eight years ago, and I made sure I talked to his mother and sisters and brother before we ever met. What’s weird is, about five years ago, Bryan and I both filled out the personality profile on eHarmony for a joke and it didn’t match us. It essentially rejected me. It got my personally about 90% right though.

9. Do you want your kids to grow up in Scotland or do you want to live here forever? Will you move back one day?
That’s kinda of a difficult question to answer because I don’t do well with things unless I have some sort of deadline or goal to reach. The thought of dying and being buried here is so foreign to me. I am dreading the day I am in the States longer than I was in Scotland (25 years). I don’t know what will happen, but I don’t see them growing up in the UK though. I wish I could have the best of both worlds. I specifically feel bad for my Mum, her other grandkids are 4 hours away too. I think she should move to the Isle of Skye when my Gran passes.

10. Maria asked:
If you could have any eye or hair color, what would you have?
I kinda like having brown hair and blue eyes because it’s different here (but so common in the UK), but if I could choose, I’d have black hair and green eyes.

I’ll answer more questions Thursday!

Scrolling Saturdays – A Post From the Past

I feel like this is the only subject I have harped on about for the past few weeks, but some of my most favourite posts are the ones I am sharing. This is one of the other posts I was thinking of re-publishing last week. It was originally written 10 August 2005.

I miss Scotland, but I’d also miss the U.S. if I wasn’t here. I know this unequivocally because I’ve experienced it in the past. I spent a year-and-a-half in PA and went home to Scotland in late November 1997. It was a rough adjustment at first. It was also a rather interesting experience. Scotland is a *touch* greener than the east coast. ‘Why’ I hear you ask? Partly due to the 150 inches of precipitation per year we experience. I missed my family greatly, and I spent the first 4 days home telling them they “talked funny”, to be met with the “you sound like that too” defensive rebuttal. I was therefore grateful I had not lost my (alleged) accent.

I also had a greater appreciation for the old architecture in Scotland, and old things in general. I had someone in Pennsylvania tell me, “This house is a hundred years old …” I tried to look awe-struck, flabbergasted — anything really. But in reality, all I could think about was the protected tree outside my church in Scotland that had been around just as long. The irony of the story was the woman showing me her home was from Hull (England) originally. Interesting.

I had been living back in the U.K. for 2 years when I decided to come back to the States, just for 6 months though. I missed something, and I still have no idea what it was. Six-and-a-half years later (at the time), I am still here, my immediate family remaining in Scotland. I was talking online to my younger brother yesterday, a blessing in itself. It’s comforting to talk to him, even if the conversation is the demise of Scottish life with the infestation of neds (non-educated delinquents, aka chavs).

During our casually ramblings, my dear brother decides to flash miniature photographs of my hometown in the Messenger window. My reaction was a lot like it has been in the past when I have seen it in pictures. I felt strange, hollow almost. Something was missing from me for that small moment. And yet, a connection, a feeling of security swept over me. It’s something I know, recognise, identify with — whatever you want to call it.

My night dreams are still based in Scotland with America mixed in for good measure. Sometimes I feel like I am in a country purgatory, neither here nor there. It’s especially noticeable to me if I watch “The Weakest Link” on BBC America and try to answer British questions, only to realise I don’t remember anything, and am so behind the times – 6 years to be exact. So I take comfort in the fact that I have somewhat of a longevity here and watch “The Weakest Link” on GSN, and I am beaten down quickly as I come to the realisation that I don’t know as much as I thought I did. Maybe I should stick with “Jay Walking” on the Leno show. I know more than those people, especially politics and American history. But then again, they never show the smart people.

Anyway, maybe I wanted to point out to myself that it’s amazing the things we all take for granted. But I really endeavour not to. With everything. I promised myself when I got married that I would always tell my husband that I loved him at least once a day, and I have lived up to my own promise, 1826 days later. It’s not a hollow “I love you” that reverberates against tall buildings or sinks in shallow waters. I treasure him, he is precious to me.

So why the introspective comments and serious demeanour of this post? I feel the need to pay homage to life, give it the respect it deserves. And in doing so, proclaim that there is nothing more strengthening or humbling than being that of an ex-pat.

Thursday Thirteen Answers

Side note:
Well, I can sit back and breathe and say I am finally glad yesterday is over and done with. What a nightmare. I spent the majority of the day (until about 7 p.m.) with Cameron tattooed to my left hip, he felt awful all day long and I’m sure he was confused about what his little body was doing to him. The vomiting subsided the night before (thankfully), but he nursed a head and stomach ache from Haiti all day long. I know this because Bryan did too. He ended up taking Excedrin Migraine to finally stop the nonsense. On the upswing, the day took on a much brighter note when the FedEx man showed up with a package–the kind he had to punch those obnoxious 15+ numbers into his wee machine, smile and hand the box over. I say obnoxious because I once had to phone the FedEx 800-number to track a package and spent an annoying ten minutes on the phone talking to the automated robot machine trying in vain to sound like an American because it bloody couldn’t understand my accent. I was forwarded to a real person in the end. I suppose there’s a plus side in there somewhere.

Where was I? Oh yeah, FedEx man. I hadn’t showered, I was wearing a grey stretched-out-at-the-knees-from-all-the-bending pair of sweat pants, a pink t-shirt with no (obvious) bra, not a trace of makeup and my hair looked like I’d had a fight with a rabid dog in a wind tunnel and lost. Eye contact was minimal at best.

* * * * * *

The plan now, is to answer as many of your questions as I can and hit the thirteen. I’ll post more answers soon.

1. Laura asked:
Would you move back to Scotland if you could?
I’ve thought about this a lot, as has Bryan. Not any serious contemplation though. I would, but I would want to live somewhere a little less built-up, maybe in a small town (I highly doubt I’d move back to Greenock, there’s no point). As it happens, my husband’s employer has locations all over the UK and it is entirely possible to relocate. My biggest motivation to stay here is the paycheck. I know he’d be paid a lot less than he is right now and I’d be forced to work somewhere like Greggs (a bakery chain). And THAT would be so awful…

2. Mumof4 asked:
What is the question/comment about Scotland that you get over here that bugs you the most?
I haven’t really had any questions that bugged me, but one that always makes me laugh goes a bit like this:
“My family is from the Buchanan line from Edinburgh, do you know them?” Short of saying, “Well, Scotland (with the rest of the UK) is the size of Oregon with a population of 6,000,000–chances are, I don’t know them.” I usually just smile and say “No, sorry.”

I had one girl I worked with ask me if we celebrated Christmas in Scotland, I wasn’t really prepared for that one.

3. Steve asked:
When you make your trip to Scotland, will Cameron be treated to Gerber’s haggis? Surely that’s a more popular flavor over there than, say, spinach.
If they made Stovies flavoured food, I would totally buy it for him. Of course, I’d probably end eating it. Stovies = stew made from sausage meat and potatoes (with vegetables).

4. IfMomSaysOK asked:
What was one of our strange American sayings that gave you the most trouble when you first moved here?
Just one? I can’t just leave it at one, it’s not possible.

Jumper. Yet another word for sweater in the UK. I was told, “I love your jumper” by a friend in 90 degrees weather. I responded (incredulously), “I’m not wearing a jumper!” “Yes you are!” Turns out I didn’t know all the American words I thought I did. I haven’t said the word ‘pinafore’ in years now.

Fanny. I’d get so offended when someone used that word in front of me. I still can’t bring myself to call a Bum Bag a Fanny Pack. I can’t believe I even typed all that.

Addendum – years ago someone called me a fanny because they knew it would offend me, so in retaliation (because the word means nothing to me), I called them a douche bag. (Sorry I made you read that!)

There’s still words I don’t know the meaning of because they haven’t come up in every day life. Recently I had to ask (on the sly) what a swap meet was.

5-8. thesuburbanscrawl asked:
How much of the U.S. have you seen in the years you’ve been here? What are some of your favorite cities?
Apart from the places I have seen, I’ve been in most of the airports of the places I really want to see: Chicago, New York, Boston… But, I love San Francisco, San Jose, Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe (NV side). Las Vegas was pretty awesome too (in the non-American ‘awesome’ way). One of the coolest things I’ve done was standing in the Penn State stadium. It was ginormous. I’d love to visit the south too.

Other than family and friends, what do you miss the most about Scotland?
I miss the history behind the buildings; seeing old and new architecture blended together seamlessly, especially in Glasgow. I took it for granted. I also miss public transport and being able to walk anywhere within a reasonable amount of time (and also without the risk of killing myself). I miss talking as fast as I used to and rolling my Rs. I stopped because I got tired of hearing how ‘cute’ it was.I miss a decent curry and chip shops. Knowing the names of cuts of meat (because those are different too), British TV adverts and decent chocolate.

What assumptions did you make about the US before coming here, that ended up being totally wrong? What about the ones that ended up being totally right?
That’s a hard one and I’ve been thinking hard trying to remember that far back. I know this sounds strange, but I think one assumption I made was that there’d be less countryside than there is. Only being exposed to New York, Boston, Chicago and California (generally speaking) on TV, I assumed it was mostly all like that. I also assumed that food labelling wouldn’t be all that different. How wrong was I the first time I went to buy milk and stood staring at it wondering what on earth 1% milk was? What was the other 99%–water? Needless to say, I walked off with entirely the wrong thing (looking for ‘semi-skimmed’) and invariably poured Half n Half (single cream to you Brits) on my cereal the next morning. I can laugh now… I can’t think of any that I was right about, but if I do, I’ll post it later.

9. (the other) Laura asked:
Do you feel socialised medicine is as evil as most/all American’s do?
I wouldn’t say I think it’s evil, but it certainly has its flaws. The waiting lists for patients in the UK for routine surgeries is abhorrible. It’s also easier to see a specialist here without having to jump through all the red tape to get there. I prefer the preventive care here too, i.e. if my Mum was over here, she’d be screened for colon cancer because her mother developed it. I miss being able to walk into the doctor’s office and not having to pay him/her just to talk to them. I also miss not having to wait an hour+ (at times) to be taken back and seen.

10. Long Aye-Lander asked:
What kind of questions do Americans ask you when they hear your accent?
The #1 question is: “Are you from Ireland?”
I’ve thought about making a t-shirt on threadless.com that reads: “No. I’m not freakin Irish.”

I went and saw August Rush with friends a few months back. Friends who, by the way, have been around me for almost eighteen months now. At the end I remarked:
“I’m so glad that Jonathan Rhys Meyers was in that film and you could all hear an Irish accent!”
“Why? Is it different from yours?”
I was a little flabbergasted, but managed to squeak out, “Yeah, they talk funny.”

Another question is, “Is your husband from there too?” On just a few occasions I’ve responded, “Actually, if he was from there, I wouldn’t be here.” I find it interesting that some people seemed quite shocked that I would say that. Like a few other ex-pats that I’ve come across, I’m what you could call an ‘accidental’ ex-pat. I didn’t come here for a better life like the majority of immigrants, when it comes down to it, the UK and the US are really quite similar. Minus the culture shock!

11 & 12. GlassHalfFull asked:
Has it been hard to make new friends since you moved to Montana?
Yes and no. People are really nice here, but tend to keep to themselves. The biggest age range here are retirees, because quite frankly, it’s a great place to retire. It’s serene and beautiful. I know my neighbours to see, but they mostly keep to themselves. I think that’s another thing that surprised me about the States, people don’t just ‘pop over’ for no reason, to sit and chat or play board games together or something. It’s a way of life in the UK and it was a bit of a shocker when I got here and realised it just wasn’t something that was done all that often.

Other than church friends and people Bryan works with, my only other ‘friend’ is my Pampered Chef consultant. We’re both sarcastic INFJ’s so we hit it right off. And to think I only went to one party as a gesture for a friend. I’ve spent way too much money with her. I also ended up hosting a party and the kickback was awesome.

Do you feel comfortable identifying your religious affiliation/beliefs (you’ve mentioned church in your blog), or is that something that you prefer to keep private?
I’ve never really spoken about it at length or mentioned it in-depth, but we’re both LDS. My Mum and Gran and older brother all joined when I was 3. I haven’t always been what we call ‘active’ or practicing, but came back to it in my late teens. I’ve been to many other denominational churches and participated in services, but felt the most comfortable there. I wouldn’t say it defines who I am, but rather, refines. My friend count would be a lot less here in Montana were it not for those I associate with outside of Sunday services.

I think that’s another thing I like about the States, that there are so many people who are religious in their own right and believe in God. That’s really hard to find in Scotland. It’s also another assumption I made about America that I was totally wrong about. I thought there would be more agnostics and unbelievers.

13. Kathryn asked (and I’ll count this as one!):
Do you like haggis? Have you ever seen “So I Married An Axe Murderer”? And if yes, is Mike Meyers Scottish accent accurate?
Yes, yes and kinda. More than anything he got the culture down to a T.

I generally only ate haggis once a year on Burns’ Night (25 January). I didn’t learn until later on in life what was in it, but it didn’t change my opinion of it. It’s mostly oatmeal and spices. The ‘bag’ it is cooked in isn’t eaten, but is a way to cook its contents. My Mum used to fry it after parboiling it, because, you know that’s what we do best in Scotland, fry stuff!

I loved in the film where the piper was playing the Rod Stewart song, that totally cracked me up. I think the best fake Scottish accent out there is the woman who plays Professor McGonigle in Harry Potter, Maggie Smith. She’s actually English. When I first heard the girl that plays Cho Chang talk I almost teared up because I felt ‘normal’. Bless!

My 101

1. Firstly and rather boringly … the name’s Siobhán – pronounced “Shi-Vawn”.

2. It’s Irish. To all those who’ve made this weird comment, I say no, I don’t think it’s weird to have an Irish name and I’m Scottish. Bryan’s name is Scottish and he’s American. So there.

3. I was born (and raised) in Scotland.

4. With a view overlooking an immense river.

5. I still miss it a lot.

6. I’m an INFJ.

7. I’m also a permanent resident.

8. I moved to the States on 08 Dec 1999.

9. I was coming over for six months for a change of scenery|bit of a challenge|I was in a rut.

6. It’s been a long six months. It’s been nine years. (For those who couldn’t be naffed counting)

7. I’m completely average: 5’5”, American shoe size 7½ (British 5).

8. I was born 8 weeks early.

9. I think that’s the last time I was so early for anything.

10. I’m a middle child, two brothers, one with 6 years on one side and 12 on the other.

11. I met my husband online.

12. He’s a microbiologist. He blinded me with science.

13. A fortune teller (I did it for a laugh) once told me I was a late bloomer.

14. I think I’m just beginning to find myself.

15. I’ve changed my outward appearance drastically over the past three years.

16. Maybe she was right about that.

17. I can be far too accommodating and get walked on.

18. I’m pretty patient.

19. It takes a lot to get me annoyed. But when I am, stand back.

20. I correct peoples’ spelling all the time. Mostly mentally.

21. I’m spiritual.

22. I can be stubborn.

23. I’m sometimes fickle.

24. I’m opinionated when I’m passionate about something.

25. I’m really sarcastic.

26. I’m shy. Honest.

27. I care about what people think of me.

28. I’m very loyal to my friends.

29. I get hurt easily.

30. I have a big heart.

31. I’m sentimental. Or maybe just mental.

32. I notice peoples’ eyes first, even if I’m not talking to them.

33. I really love Spring: The cool air, the new life.

34. I love silver/white gold/platinum jewellery.

35. My wedding ring is yellow gold, I don’t remember why.

36. I love wearing men’s socks.

37. I have come to appreciate alone time.

38. I’m very tactile.

39. It’s one reason I love hugs.

40. I’m a very private person.

41. I don’t wear a watch.

42. I love to travel.

43. I love being around young kids. Especially tweenies.

44. I have a soft spot for marines.

45. I love to design|draw|paint|sketch.

46. I need to do more of it.

47. I also love to cook from scratch, I find it very therapeutic.  And rewarding.

48. Meatloaf is one of my fave dishes to make.

49. I used to be scared gas cookers/stoves would blow up on me.

50. I now own one and would never go back to electric.

51. Spiders never bothered me till I came to the U.S.

52. I have a really varied music taste.

53. From Snow Patrol, U2 and Stevie Wonder to Michael Bublé, Maroon 5 and Gwen Stefani.

54. And everything in-between. Except country.

55. My guilty pleasure is disco.

56. I’ve never tried illegal drugs.

57. The oldest guy I dated was 16 years older than me.

58. I have four knuckle lines on my left pinky for some strange reason.

59. I love slide puzzles and riddles.

60. I’m a huge cheese fan.

61. I love banana milkshakes.

62. I hate pretzels.

63. I love curry; and spicy food in general.

64. I’m not supposed to eat spicy food. I have IBS.

65. I like football. The British kind.

66. And snooker.

67. I’ve never been to Blackpool.

68. Or Disneyland, World or EuroDisney.

69. I enjoy going to the dentist.

70. I love Coconut & Lime Verbena and Mango Mandarin body creams from Bath and Body Works.

71. I love the smell of leather.  And walking into a bakery.  I also love the smell of a newly bathed baby.

72.  I love lists, as long as they aren’t ‘To-do’ lists.

73. I wore a school uniform for 13 years of my life.  Shirt, tie, blazer — the works.  All schools, public or not in the UK have uniforms.  Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t have to decide what to wear every day.

74.  I really enjoy reading.  But don’t do it nearly as often as I’d like.

75.  My favourite flowers are Calla Lillies and gerbera daisies.

76. I think I had A.D.D. as a child.  I’ll never know, no one ever bothered to find out the “why’s”.

77. I used to want to be a policewoman in the UK.  I was one inch too short and didn’t have perfect eyesight.  I’d never do it here, it’s far too dangerous.

78. I was constantly mistaken for a boy as a child|tween.

79. I still have self-esteem issues.

80. I love beating my husband at air hockey and pool.  We’re also competitive with iPod Touch games like Fifteen.

81. I enjoy teaching myself something new.  Even if it’s something like new a game.  Like Backgammon

82.  I’m not much of a feminist.  I like that women can go out there and accomplish their dreams, but I’d much rather stay home with my children.

83.  Ever since my husband and I got married, I’ve always worried.  If he goes somewhere without me, I worry.  If he’s over 15 minutes late getting home from work, I worry something awful has happened.  My fears were realised a few months before we were married when he came home early from work one day saying he’d slid on black ice, stopped to help others who had rear ended each other and had to jump the concrete median to avoid an on-coming fast car as it barrelled towards him.  It hit right where he’d been standing.  My worrying is completely justified.

84.  I can’t stand freezing cold weather.  I don’t like anything above 80ºF either.  I need to move to the west coast.

85.  I’m such a perfectionist, but not for everything.  I’d rather not attempt something monumental, in fear of failing.  I’m more content to not try and wonder.  I wish I could break myself of it.  The kids have slapped the perfectionist out of me when it comes to the house though.

86. I wish I could swim stronger for longer.  If I ever make it into a pool again.

87. It bothers me when people try to imitate my accent.

88. I don’t think it’s endearing.

89. Sometimes I think I should have been a teacher, or a hair dresser.

90. I’m easily excitable.

91. If I’m comfortable around you I’ll talk your ear off.

92. I think the Redwoods (Yosemite Park area) in California is a pretty spiritual place.

93. In my opinion the best fake (American) Scottish accent was Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland. (Don’t mention Groundskeeper Willie in my presence!) Maggie Smith does the best fake Scottish (she’s English) accent ever.

94. I taught myself basic and advanced HTML.

95. I like a clean house. Toddlers are not conducive to this idealism.

96. I love penguins and zoos in general. I could spend hours there.

97. I love making people laugh.

98. I learned conversational Italian in 5 months.

99. I’m somewhat of a recovering Internet addict, but still spend far too much time online.

100. I also watch far too many reality shows, even though I don’t like them.

101. I just read through this and realised I’m a freak no one will ever want to know.