Sunday, September 28, 2008

Brits on Tour

A while ago, Pam at asked how a couple of Brits from northern England ended up in Oklahoma. I did tell her I would post about it one day, so here it is. I warn you though, this is a long, and rambling story, so do yourself a favor and stop reading right now.

It all started back in 1994 when we went to stay with an old friend of ours in the San Fernando Valley, just outside of LA. Towards the end of our vacation, Mick was offered a job at the company our friend worked for, and we told them we’d give the offer some thought when we got home.

Arriving home, and staring at the prospect of another miserable English winter, all that California sunshine was very tempting. But we both had good jobs, nice cars, and our own home, so we had a lot to lose, did we want to throw it all away on a whim? I think the thing that really swung it for us was, we were both of an age where we thought if we don’t do it now, we never will. In the end, we decided I would take a two year leave of absence from work, we would rent out our house, and come over for a year, thereby minimizing our risks.

We lived in the SF Valley for a year, and though we enjoyed it, the pace of life was a bit hectic for a couple from a small rural village in England. So, when Mick was offered a job in northern California, in a lovely little main street town called Benicia, forty miles outside San Francisco, we decided to give it a whirl. We lived there for 4 years, and absolutely loved it. While we were there, just before my leave of absence was coming to an end, the Civil Service (luckily for me), decided to jettison some staff, and as they don't make people redundant, I ended up getting early retirement.

Then Mick was offered a job back in southern California, at a place called Oxnard, which is right on the Pacific Coast. We had both always wanted to live by the ocean, so we moved again. The company Mick worked for sponsored Mick for his green card, and eventually we both became permanent residents here.

After that we decided to sell our house back in England, and buy something in California. But house prices were so high there that we couldn’t bring ourselves to take out a massive mortgage on a property we didn’t even like. That’s when we started looking into relocating. We spent a long time researching a lot of different states, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma. But something kept steering us towards Oklahoma, and we moved here in May 2004.

We took a monumental risk moving here, we neither of us had a job, we had no home to go to, and we didn’t know a soul here. Anyway, it all worked out well in the end, and we are both so glad we moved. Sure, there are disadvantages to living out in the sticks, but in my opinion the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

So that’s it in a nutshell.

Toodle pip ‘til next time.


pamokc said...

A very interesting story indeed! My Yorkshire relatives will be with us this coming weekend for the wedding! Well, I think the b-i-l is from Lancashire, your part of the world, now living in Yorkshire. A favorite part of the world for me, and I've only been there 2-3 times. I suppose you're in the Oklahoma "lake district" now!

How far are you from Oologah, we get up to see an uncle there every great once in a while!

Raquel said...

Jan, you are brave beyond belief. Not sure I would go clear across the ocean like that. Much love, RaquelXO

Gill - That British Woman said...

great story.........I agree with it being a now or never thing, it was the same with us..............thanks for sharing..

pamokc said...

Hi Janet, thanks for stopping by today and commenting on Carolyn's book. She gave us an assignment to come to class with three unusual names of people we know -- names that would be good character names in a story. When this one particular man rattled off his list, I was like -- wait, I know one of those guys, he used to be married to my friend Jamie! (Who is linked on my blog page) I had forgotten all about the guy and his unusual name.

If you get the book, I hope you enjoy it, I always feel strange about recommending things in case people don't like the same things as me.... but readers are readers and know that every book is a gamble, eh?

Lakeland Jo said...

I really enjoyed reading the story- brilliant that you took some risks and did something different

Janet said...

Thanks Pam, I hope all goes well with your daughter's wedding.

I checked on mapquest and we are 70 miles from Oologah.

Thanks Raquel, but I guess we never know what we'll do until the opportunity arises.

Thanks Gill, you have obviously been in the same boat yourself.

Pam, that's interesting. I intended to read this book with or without your recommendation. Although I do like a good mystery, I read a wide variety of books, and as you say, everyone is a gamble.

Thanks Jo, up to that point I had always played things pretty safe, but this time I thought to hell with it.

Denise said...

Janet that was a wonderful story and it is always interesting to find out how other Brits made their way to America. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

Linda said...

Hi, I recently found your blog through Emiline (blog-networking?) and have been enjoying your writing. I was born & raised in the northeastern OK area and now live in central OK. How did you come to research Oklahoma among the other states, and why did it "win" you over?