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Welcome to my blog!  I really appreciate you dropping in.  I thought I’d get started by introducing myself.

My name is Michelle and as you’ve already gathered I’m an American Expat now living in England.  I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and attended Dominican University just outside of the city.

CUL Graduation
I graduated with a Master’s in Communities, Organisations and Social Change.

In my last year, I knew that I wanted to continue my education and get a Master’s Degree.  I thought about staying in Chicago to do that, but I also thought about going abroad.

I never studied abroad and the more I looked into their programs I decided to apply to a few schools in England.  I was so amazed when the three schools I applied too all said yes!  I had to then decide which school I was going to go to.  I originally didn’t have any intention of actually living in England long-term.  I thought I would study then work for a year or two and then go back.  So, with this in mind, I decided to attend City University London.  I figured if I was going to be in England short-term that I should live in the capital.

Come September 2009 I packed up my stuff and headed to England to find a place to live.  I was hoping to stay in London but quickly realised there was no way I could afford it unless I was going to stay in some pretty rough areas and I knew my mother would die if she knew where I was living. Luckily, a year earlier I met some English people doing a work program in the states and we became friends.  We had stayed in touch (he actually picked me up from the airport) and when I told him of my housing dilemma he told me that there was a spare room in his house.  His mum had a spare room she was willing to let out for only £350pm inclusive of bills and food!  It was too good to pass up.  So instead of staying in the capital I moved to Berkshire and took the train in to attend my classes.

First Date
Our 1 year anniversary at the same restaurant and table where we had our first date.

Just before Christmas that year I decided to meet some new people so had a go on online dating.  I had one date which was fun but definitely saw him as a friend.  The day after Christmas I flew back to the states to visit my family, as I was incredibly homesick.  While I was at home I started talking to this new guy.  I thought he was cute, and I really enjoyed our conversation.

When I returned to the UK after the New Year I text him to let him know I was back in the country and hopefully we could meet soon.  We had arranged to go out on Sunday (I returned on a Friday) as I had my first day of work the following day.  We sent texts back and forth on Saturday and I asked if he wanted to go for lunch as I was on break.  He had said that he had just eaten but asked if we could go for dinner.

engagement photo
Our engagement photos (we were such babies!)

I was very excited about meeting him and when he picked me up that evening it was instant butterflies.  It went as well as any first date could.  When I got home that night, I messaged my friends back in the states and said ‘I just met my husband’.

It was an amazing whirlwind and seven months later Chris and I got engaged.  A year after that we got married. It is crazy to think how quickly things moved, but it is true when you know, you know.

i do
August 27th, 2011 we say ‘I DO’

In the years that followed we bought a house in Surrey, had our first child, fell pregnant with our second, moved to the Midlands, had our second child and changed jobs five times between us!  We also travelled back to the States, Canada, St. Lucia, France, Ireland, Wales, Hong Kong, Belgium, Italy, and a night stay in Amsterdam (due to a horrendous flight home from Hong Kong).

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My kids are your typical 4 and 2-year-olds.  Olivia is legit a mini version of me!  She confuses old pictures of me for her all the time.  She is like me in more than just looks and that is petrifying, I’m dreading her teenage years.  My son, Henry, is an absolute beast!  He is in the 99.9th percentile for height and weight and often gets mistaken for Olivia’s twin.  He loves typical boy things, trains, cars, dinosaurs, but he does enjoy dressing up as a princess and pushing babies around in a pram.  Both of them could win a food eating challenge as long as it was for pasta, chicken nuggets, chips, sausages or cake.  If I put anything that resembles a vegetable on their plate their whole meal is ruined!

We’ve been through a lot together and I don’t think I could love my family any more than I do.  I really enjoy my life here, even though I get asked several times ‘why do you want to live here?’. (I’ll explain why I want to live here later).  I’m truly living my best life here and I know that this is the best place to raise my children.

I hope you enjoy the ramblings of my expat life, arguments with my children on how to pronounce certain words, finding and loving yourself, beauty tips, living with a chronic illness and everything in between because I have a lot to talk about!

I’d love to know what kind of blogs you enjoy reading.  Why do you follow certain blogs?  What do you hope to gain or learn from them?  Let me know in the comments or let’s connect on social!

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