St Patrick’s and paws

Apparently everyone in America is Irish. Everyone. Well what other reason would explain them all celebrating St Patrick’s day to such an extent? I went to school wearing normal clothes and not green. Little did I know that you have to wear green on St Patrick’s day or everyone wearing green is allowed to pinch you. luckily my parker jacket is a shade of dark green and so i just kept it on all day. Hamish was the worst off though, he was the only one in his class not wearing green and so he came back home looking pretty glum. He then discovered that he had a green stripe on his socks and so refused to take them off in fear that if he did he would be pinched by leprechauns. This got to the stage where he refused to take them off to get in the shower…

Our accents are still something of a novelty here, I suppose it’s not exactly usual to have Brits living in central Ohio but it does give us plenty to giggle about. You’d have thought the novelty would have worn off after living here for 7 months and yet only last week i was asked to say “charlie bit my finger”, I kid you not, and today a teacher at Lorna’s school, who was french, couldn’t place Lorna’s accent to such an extent that he told her that he had thought she had a mental disability. The whole concept of accent mockery comes from both sides now though, I went into Chipotle with mum over the weekend and so I ordered my food, as usual, in an american accent. She has not stopped taking the mickey of me since. In my defense there is a rather large piece of glass that you have to talk over (and i’m not the tallest of people) and trying to get anyone here to understand the word ‘tomato’ without the accent takes about 10 extra minutes and is not worth the hassle.

Today we added the last piece to our own little american dream and we bought a puppy! It’s Lorna’s 14th birthday in two days so as her present we got a dog. She is an eight week old, cream Shitzu and Maltese cross called Evie. She is so small I can pick her up in just one hand and I can hear her whimpering from her bed as I write this. Only within the last hour was she starting to be more comfortable with us, mum and I were playing with her on the landing rolling a ball at her and then watching as she jumped around chasing it across the floor. She still doesn’t really know how to run, she forgets to use her front legs and ends up pushing herself along the floor or pouncing everywhere. Evie is the last piece of the puzzle of living here, her presence proves to all of us that we’re here now, here to stay for a long while.  



I finally saw Gunther raise his little head yesterday from his little groundhog house at the end of my “back yard”. As he waddled – at speed – away from me I came to realise that it has been quite some time since I last posted on this little site of mine. So here I am. Back from my winter hibernation. Back once again to tell you the trials and tribulations of being a Brit abroad.

I’m going to try to recap the past few months in a few sentences. It has all been a bit of blur, the school play ended and was definitely my favourite thing i’ve done whilst living here. It was honestly the funniest experience, if the most tireing, of my life. We celebrated our first “Thanks giving”, well attempted to, it’s like christmas but without presants (family, fun and tonnes of turkey). Over the holidays all of the houses were covered in christmas lights. It was like living in that street from the ‘home alone’ films, quite cool. Coming home for christmas was so nice and reminded me just why I love Britain so much, even if it did rain 4 out of the 7 days I was there. When we returned back to Ohio it was like traveling back to the middle of siberia. The cold was real. really real. -40 degrees real. They called it the “Polar Vortex”, which sounds more like a power up on crash-bandicoot for PS2 than a weather system.

The amount of snow fall this year has been crazy, I didn’t have a full week of school this year until last week because of the adverse weather conditions. Each time the snow falls we have to shovel it off our drive way and pavement by ‘law’. Needless to say, I am now a shovelling expert. Well almost. It took mum and I 6 hours to remove it all one time. The next time we payed two of my friends to do it and they took 20 minutes… obviously they’ve been practicing since birth and they must have had better shovels. Apparently this has been abnormally snowy winter, I think I’ve heard the words “this winter’s unusually cold” over the past six weeks almost as much as i heard “Columbus has a super great zoo” in the run up to moving. However, the hellish weather is put to good use in the form of skiing. Ohio skiing is not much like any other skiing I’ve done, especially as ohio is notoriously flat. Our local ski resort is called “Mad River Mountain” which is odd as it is not particularly mad, there is no river and no mountain (it’s more of a glorified snowy bump). But it’s good for a day trip and is far better than the snow dome in Hemel, even if it’s not as steep.

Hamish is still up to his usual lady killing antics, mum caught him looking suspicious on the ipad the other day and asked him what he was up to. He wouldn’t explain and so mum took the tablet from him, when she opened it she saw a google image page full of BBQ’s, confused she looked at what had been looked up. In the search box it said “hot grils”, Hamish had attempted to google image “hot girls” but got the spelling quite wrong and was instead left with a page of fiery outdoor cookers. Valentines day over here was quite something else for him. He had to decorate a bag with valentines things on to collect all his cards in for school. Each child in his class then gave a card with sweets to everyone else. we found this all very weird as he returned home with a bag brim full of cards from both boys and girls. My notorious hatred for valentines day lived on as I dodged couples in the hallways, going to a mixed school has it’s perks but valentines isn’t one of them.

The novelty of going to an American school still hasn’t worn off yet. I still have to pinch myself to remind me that it’s all real, that I am in a lesson called “Algebra 2” not maths and that those jackets that “jocks” wear in films are real.  And although I wish I could be back home again with everyone I do really enjoy living here. The friends I’ve made here have really help me settle down and i know that I’ll keep them forever. I still continue to throughly embarrass myself on a daily basis, I don’t think that that will change anytime soon, but now that I’m back blogging you can all laugh at me from the other side of the atlantic again. 

Halfterm breakers

I understand that it has been a while, however, I decided to take my own ‘half term break’ from blogging. I have been super-busy since the last time I posted, but this means that I have so much more to tell you about life in the little bubble of New Albany, Ohio. It is like living in a little bubble away from the rest of civilisation. It’s really safe as everyone knows eachother here and no-one needs to travel more than 15 minuites for anything. The type of people that live here are similar to those in Harpenden; very middle class.

So, last Thursday was Halloween; a greatly anticipated event. Houses were prepared for days in advance with orange lights and grave-stones in their front gardens. However, on the eve of Halloween itself there was a storm, this mean that they had to move the time of trick-or-treat  forward an hour. Yes, they even plan the trick-or-treat hours in advance. Some other suburbs moved their trick-or-treat day altogether just to avoid the bad weather. Although, this meant that many kids went out on two nights rather than one thus accumulating huge amounts of candy. There were kids turning up at the door with bin bags full of the stuff. One place that Hamish visited even gave him two full size bars! Neverthless, the local dentist is trying to make good of the situation by offering kids money in exchange for their candy, 1lb=$1… Only in New Albany.

Now that Halloween is over it has presented us with a new issue: pumpkin disposal. Since the pumpkins are not carved in New Albany are they seen as a ‘Fall decoration’ or ‘Halloween decoration’? does this mean they stay on your doorstep until the christmas decorations go up? are they removed now? or are we supposed to make pumpkin pie with them – even though all of the pumpkin food was before Halloween? I am highly perplexed by this issue and if anyone would care to enlighten me on this protocol I would greatly appreciate it. Otherwise we could end up being that-house-with-the-mouldy-pumpkins-on-the-porch.

Diwali was this sunday and so we celebrated with food but no fireworks. Apparently New Albany doesn’t do fireworks. Quite why, I dont understand. We took part in all of the usual prayers and ceremonies. This included one, which Baa explained was to  ‘pray to the holy cow’ to which Hamish responded ‘do we prey for steak?’. There have been a number of great Hamishims lately; he was selected, as one of the second graders, to go to a meeting to discuss the interior for the new school building. He told the school official that he thought the design needed ‘oomph’. Which the official then proceded to use as the key term for the rest of the session… In other Hamish news, he was told by another girl that she likes him and was given a bracelt by her. This caused quite a traumatic journey home from school as he had to decide whether to persue the new girl or not. Don’t worry, he stuck with his girlfriend. In relation to the other sibling of mine, the Americans are effecting her and I fear for he accent. On saturday she was out for a mere 6 hours and returned with a full Ohio accent, using words such as ‘super great’ and ‘good gosh’. As I say, my worry is great.

New Albany is starting to settle down into wintermode. Our pool is now totally out of action until next spring and all of our irrigation pipes have gone through ‘winterisation’. Yes, this is a thing. The ‘pipes are blown’ so that no water is in them and so they can’t freeze and break. It’s cold. I’ve resorted to wearing a puffer jaket at the bus stop every morning, it’s not attractive.

I’ve almost taken to dressing like a typical New Albany girl what with the weather and my lazyness – PINK leggings/abercrombie jeans with an abercrombie or PINK top, a North face soft shell jaket/ green abercrombie coat, complete with either Uggs or Hunter boots. Yes, they wear wellies as a fashion item, idgi. This typical N’albs girl also drives her own Jeep, carrys a starbucks, owns a macbook and uses the word ‘literally’ twice per sentance; it’s too white for words! To be honest I just think the whole thing is quite funny, I’ll embrace it all anyway, besides uggs are like foot clouds and who wouldn’t want to drive a Jeep?!   

does this car run on milk?

I am home again and I have returned to winter. I think that Autumn must have been the weekend that I was away as I have returned to full scale winter weather. I have been home for three days and it has snowed on two of those. Snow in October, I kid you not. It was -1 at the bus stop yestarday, I was not amused. The clothes that people wear have not changed though, most of the guys in school are still wearing shorts(?!) and everyone just wears jumpers. How they manage to cope without coats I do not understand. 

The American sense of humour is very different to the British, as mum and I descovered in rather unusual circumstances today. So,  my plague/cough/general unwellness is still in full force so today mum and I finally managed to go to the doctors to try and fix me. Now, mum and I aren’t very good at being serious when we’re together at the best of times, but for some reason medical professionals seem to bring out an extremely odd side of us both. It all started with the manditory check up questions: do you smoke? drink? etc. to which I answered both and then she went ‘do you ever feel low, depressed, with feelings of suicide, cry?’ to which both mum and I looked at eachother raised our eyebrows and started laughing knowing full well that I haven’t been doing that well lately, the nurse gave us the oddest look and i responded ‘no, well at least not clinically’ mid-giggle (she wasn’t particularly impressed to say the least). She left pretty promptly after this, as mum and I tried to supress our laughter the doctor came in. He asked me about my brain stuff and how it had been since the operation and in a moment of awkward-confusion I responded ‘well, well not well, as well as you can be with a hole in your skull’. He gave me the oddest look and i collapsed in to laughter as did mum. He then proceded to check my breathing and half way through listening to my lungs he went ‘have you had ankle swelling with this cough?’. Now, i don’t know about you but my ankles don’t usually swell when i have a lung infection. lungs and ankles don’t really go hand in hand in my mind, but evidently they do in ohio. This only made mum giggle further and then it didn’t help that the next thing he said was ‘and have you any nodes?’. In the end came out with tears streaming down my face laughing at it all.   

Hamish has also been a treasure trove of class comments too. The other day he asked ‘mummy, did god actually save the Queen?’ which lead to a rather amusing conversation. Then yestarday when we were driving to the dance studio with my friend he asked ‘mummy, does this car run on milk?’. He’s a funny little chap. He’s got a girlfriend now, her name is Clair and he talks about her a lot. Mum finds this hole thing highly amusing, as does Lorna, as Hamish is 7 and has been in more relationships than I have and i’m 17. Hamish’s education is quite a bit different here too, today he was taught how to help a girl up from her seat, this was very sweet as he was paired with Clair. Although, when he got home he did ask ‘mummy, how come I had to help Clair up but she didn’t help me?’

42nd Street is still as fun as ever, being on the cast is so fun and I’m loving it just as much as I was at the start. Today, however, they gave us an assignment. They want us to write 5 post cards to people to personally invite them to come and see the show. Now, this is fine when you have local family and actual friends but when your family and friends are on a different contenant and all of your friends here are on the cast it does present some slight issues…

Speaking of home I’ve missed it a lot this week. I’ve missed my friends a lot, I haven’t seen them in such a long time and I don’t feel like I’m being the dependable friend that I should be as I’m not there when they need me.  I know that they’re only on the other end of the phone but it’s not the same when your not in the same room and you have to schedule calls between rehearsals. So much has changed at home since I left that I don’t really know what to expect when I go back. I’m so excited for Christmas now, to see everyone again, and the snow this week makes it feel so soon. Only 56 days, 23 hours and 36 minuites until hometime!

PSAT, Pumpkins and Paxo

It’s been a hectic week of Isla-ing around and so you’ve had to wait a while for this post, sorry, to make up for it I’m going to condense a whole week of antics into a bitesize chunk.

Monday commemorated 17 years of my existence on this planet which was very exciting, I got notes from home and birthday wishes from everyone. I got some cute birthday notes from my friends and a stream of pictures of Philip Schofield from Lucy (don’t ask). Although, much to my annoyance it was ‘Columbus day’ and so the postal service was out of action. After school My friends took me to Wendy’s for the first time which was yum although I felt like a complete fatty getting chips at 3pm. After rehearsal my family and I went out for dinner at this fondu place and I don’t think I’ve ever inhaled so much chocolate in one sitting.

On Wednesday I had to endure the PSAT, a formal exam taken in order to practice the question type of the SAT (big exam that determines your uni place). From taking this exam I learnt two things: a) Americans don’t do joined up handwriting b) that urban children don’t know what cows are. Let me explain; before the exam started they made us write a statement to say it was you/you weren’t cheating etc in ‘cursive’ (joined up handwriting) and the whole room threw a complete wobbly! Everyone here writes in print and so none of them could do it properly; I re-wrote the sentence in about 30seconds and it took everyone else about 5 miniutes! The test itself was really odd, it was part maths part english reading and grammar. There was this long reading bit about how urban children didn’t know what a cow looked like but knew what a giraffe was and another section about a man who fell in love with his translator. I don’t understand Americans.

Not only do people have orange vegetables on their door steps but they are also putting pumpkins in and on everything else. They are obsessed! I’ve seen pumpkin cakes, candles, breads, coffee, ‘candy’, donuts, chocolate, it’s in everything. The infuriating thing about the whole ordeal is that they don’t even taste of pumpkins! It is all winter spice without even a hint of the orange vegetable!

We were lucky enough to get a long weekend so we’ve spent the past few days in Florida. After living in America for a few months, being here makes more sense. For example I understand the shops better so the combination of outlet malls and lower taxes has meant this weekend has been a shopping frenzy. Orlando is a british tourist hotspot during October and the amount of British voices i’ve heard has been a relief, it also means that the British part of the ethnic aisle in Walmart is roughly 3 times the size of the one in Ohio. This managed to cause complete food madness this afternoon and resulted in us buying an abundance of British chocolate and two boxes of Paxo sage and onion stuffing which mum is planing to take back with us tomorrow (for the ‘2 roast chickens we’ll probably have before Christmas’)


Be careful what you wish for

This weekend we turned American and put vegetables on our doorstep. Yes, we have four rather lurid orange pumpkins sitting outside our front door to match the rest of the street. The Americans get really into the whole ‘Autumn’ thing here and the houses are dressed up for ‘fall’ almost as much as we would decorate ours for christmas. There are pumpkins and browny-red leaves hanging from everywhere. I don’t really understand why, but we decided to embrace it anyway.

So, this weekend I haven’t really done anything noteworthy to be honest. On friday we went out for dinner as a family then after My friends Hannah and Austin picked me up and we went to Ben’s house. We watched a film and just chilled in his basement. He has built a skate ramp in his basement. Like a mini half-pipe in his house. It was cool. I had a go and fell over about 7 times. I’m not the best at skateboarding, evidently.

Saturday was another day full of rehearsals. I seem to spend hours on end in that theatre at the moment. I’m not complaining, but it is long. I also seem to be frequenting starbucks far more than is healthy at the moment, mainly because it is so close to school (and I like chai a lot). I even went pre-rehearsal this weekend and somehow it resulted in 5 of us tap-dancing in the queue. Don’t ask…

After rehearsal I went and got Chipoltle with Sydney. If there is one thing that England is missing it’s Chipoltle. It’s sort of like really yummy healthy(ish) fresh mexican food, I think. St Albans needs one desparately. It does tacos and Burritos (which I have to pronouce ‘Buh-ree-doh’ or they don’t understand me) After that we got icecream then we just drove around for a bit. We went to Hannah’s got in her car and then drove a bit more. There’s not really that much to do here as you can guess.In the end we ended up at the local Kroger (supermarket) where we met pretty much everyone I knew. Yep, you heard right, the place to be at 10.30 on a saturday night in Ohio is the local supermarket carpark. This is a very cool place to live.      

Even though there isn’t loads to do here, I am enjoying the level of freedom compared to back home. Everyone I know lives really close by and everyone here drives, so getting around is incredibly easy and quick. It’s also safe as well and so Mum doesn’t have to worry quite as much as she did. Needless to say I like it a lot. Where we live is exactly the environment that I wanted to grow up in. Even Hamish is loving the freedom, he has a friend who lives right next door and they play at our house, his house, by the creek and at the park almost constantly.

It’s weird thinking that this time last year this was everything I wanted and now I’m living it. I turn 17 tomorrow and if you took me back a year and told me about what i’m doing now I never would have believed you. Yet here I am and believe it or not I actually love it. So here is to another year of surprises and making this one as good as the last.

Thursday’s Child

I’m still suffering from the after effects of Homecoming. I have a severely pained throat – which I blame entirely on screaming the lyrics to ‘wrecking ball’ and I’m still mentally scarred from the things that I whitnessed (too many hormones in one room). Although I did manage to significantly scare my family on saturday night. I popped home before the dance to change into my vans before the dance, I dont do heels – I can’t run, skip or walk in them, so I left my shoes on the kitchen floor. So, my mother comes home from dinner out with the family, sees my shoes and immediately assumes the worst; that I have taken my own life (I kid you not). She then proceeded to check every single room in the abode, with the whole family in tow, in fear I was hanging from a ceiling fan. I think the Americas have changed her more than they have changed me.

Rehearsals are still as fun as ever. I find myself counting down the hours to them everyday, it’s not like i’m keen or anything. The words that they use to describe stuff in drama are weird here too. For example; today the singing teacher told this guy that his character was more ‘Spunky’. I was taken completely by surprise and fell over in giggles. No-one else found this nearly as amusing as I did. Apparently this is normal vocabulary for Americans?! I’ve also been the subject of ridicule this week for calling the ‘back yard’ a ‘garden’. This Americans with their spangled phrases. Lessons in this country are equally as odd. For example; today I spent one and a half hours standing in a stream. I don’t really mind though. Appart from the fact that I was wearing size 7 wellies and had a coughing fit mid-stream which resulted in me almost falling on my bum. My illness/cold/flu/death bug has deeply effected my daily life this week. I’m almost 97% sure that I have the actual plague.

So tonight I descovered that improv is not my forte, sadly it was in front of an audience that I made this descovery. An audience that I don’t really whish to see again for a while, but apparently it’s ‘necessary’ that I return to school tomorrow morning. My drama class held our own improvisation show tonight (think, ‘who’s line is it anyway’ but less rude with questionable acting). In order to raise money for the trip to Scotland next summer. It was really fun and I had a nice evening – appart from when I was on stage trying my hardest not to cringe.

I spend my time here trying to accomplish small goals. For example; today marks 7 days without crying. An achievement which my mother and I celebrated this evening with Pizza and ice-cream. I know it’s only a small time but it’s the longest I’ve managed in the last two months. I have also reduced my netflix dependance 10 fold. I’m slowly getting there, as my Dad puts it ‘you dont eat the chocolate all in one go or you’ll be sick, so you have to take it one piece at a time’.