Friday, October 30, 2009

Just Juls

I'm just Juls. I'm not one label, I encompass a lot of different things:

I am an expat.

I am an American in England.

I am a person who stutters.

I am a married woman.

I am 25.

I am a girl, or am I a woman now?

I can be over sensitive.

I am assertive.

I am neither an introvert nor an extrovert.

I am a dreamer.

I am a do-er.

I am me.

Like it or lump it, that's who I am.

I find it difficult to categorize myself anymore, and to be honest I don't want to. I don't want to be the person who is 100 different things in a day. I am just me, it's taken me 25 years to learn that but there you go. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Explaining the UK

I found this on Almost American's Blog. I thought my US friends/family may find it useful! ;)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

This Land is My Land

This land is my land, this land is your land.'s not my land at all.

One of my reverse expat Facebook Friends (reverse expat meaning she's a Brit in the USA) sent me this great link: She's Not From Yorkshire. I'm always amazed when I suddenly remember that I'm NOT the only American in the UK. Granted, I'm not one for a huge circle of American friends who live in the UK. If I wanted all American friends, I would have stayed in America.

But, sometimes, it's good to remember you're not alone in moaning about the little things that get you annoyed as an American in the UK. Namely: visa costs, citizenship costs, how useless the American Embassy is, and complaining about how no one ever publicly complains.

The other weekend I went to visit an old High School classmate who lives in London. I was extremely surprised when I turned up at her flat (which is amazing!) and heard all the American and Canadian accents around me. For a minute, if you transported the flat to say New York State, you wouldn't have known the difference. Well, except that the kettle plugged in. It felt REALLY strange that my husband was the one with the weird accent. Usually, I'm the one that everyone does a double take with.

It's funny, in McGuire Land (as I like the McGuire Programme support network), that's something EVERYONE picks up on, my accent. I guess, before I was in control of my speech, I would say so very little that no one could pinpoint where I was from. Now, after a few words almost everyone can guess...or get it close. I have been mistaken for Canadian a few times (which is a weird kind of compliment for an American Expat from the south).*

With all this globalization, American expats can now get Oreos in Sainsbury's (white chocolate covered nonetheless) and I've even found Reeses Peanut Butter cups (made in the US, not in Canada!) in the local newsagent (note: I did not say convenience store). And, in the past few years (even since I've moved here) Halloween has become a proper holiday with decorations and parties galore. I can even go to Cyber Candy in London and get candy corn! But, however small the world becomes, no one will ever understand why a girl from Florida is OVER Worked, UNDER Paid, and OVER HERE. I guess that's just life for you.

* I must say that my family is originally from New Jersey and I grew up in Florida, so no I don't have a Southern accent.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


There are days when I miss my mom so much it's palpable. Those days were constant four years ago, when her passing was still fresh like the autumn breeze. Back then everything would remind me of her, a song on the radio, the smell of cigarette smoke, looking into someone's sea-green coloured eyes as I passed them on the street.

Now, however, the loss is like a bit of scar tissue. The wound is still visible in some lights, but for the most part, the pain doesn't effect me as much. It's like a dull ache you learn to live with, it's not fun or pleasant, but you know what it is and that it will always be there.

When it comes to my speech and what the McGuire Programme has helped me to achieve (because as much as I support the programme, I have put the effort in) over the past four month, I can't help but think of my mom. She's the voice in my head constantly telling me to do more, be better, work harder. She's where I get my sense of commitment from, my sense of dedication and hard work. She was a fighter and I think I have that same fight in me. Although I'm not sure if I could ever be as strong has she was, as assertive, as self-confident.

I wonder what she would have said, what she would have thought. Often times, on a bad day, I want to call her and moan about how hard it is or how difficult I'm find it. On the good days, I want to call her and tell her how well I'm doing (how many people I introduced myself to on contacts, how well the session I ran at support group went). If there are two regrets I have in all of this, it's that 1) I wish I'd done it sooner in life (not massively sooner but at least 2 years sooner) and 2) that she was here to see it. But I guess she is somehow.

On that note, I post this link as I kind of public disclosure. It's not perfect, but it's huge step in my recovery.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Feeling Autumnal

So it's Sunday, it's October, the weather is getting colder and the clocks are going back soon to give us another hour in bed and another hour of darkness. It's also the time for crunching on fallen leaves, drinking hot chocolate and almost time for the seasonal flavours in Starbucks. I love this time of year!

It's about the newness of winter approaching. Summer is gone (whatever that is in this country) and winter is on it's way. My travels to and from London for McGuire related festivities are now being done in the dark. I'm finding London contacts especially difficult in the dark, who wants to be stopped by people in the dark? But it's a challenge nonetheless. Speaking of contacts, I missed this past session because I was so tired I literally couldn't have stayed up for the journey there and back (I was asleep by 8:30pm). Also, Pete was given the festive boot by his company (aka the crap kingdom) on Thursday as well. So now he is out of work.

The prospect of Pete being out of work would have scared my sh*tless a few months ago, but with the newness of winter approaching, I think we both know it's for the best. Although, this throws a major wrench (or spanner) in the works for things like a car and a place of our own. Oh one said it was easy.

All in all, I'm feeling very autumnal myself. Trying to get rid of all the dead leaves in my system (negative thoughts, paranoia, unneeded stress) and focus on being generally a lot cooler and chilled. It's difficult for me, being under the cloud of out of control stammering for so long and the iceberg of negative crap that it entails. But, although I'm still really transitional, I think I'm on the way up.

Now...if only Starbucks would bring out their gingerbread latte already...

PS I am also making an effort to get back into reading. (Reading none McGuire stuff, because, well I have a life outside McGuire...of course I do...)

Pete bought me this book a few months ago, after we saw it in HMV and a resisted the urge to buy it for myself:Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I've only just started it, but it's just what I need. A classic tale with added gore, just in time of Halloween.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

I've been MIA: McGuire-ing in Action

I keep resurrecting this blog, and then forgetting to post on it!

Things have been really good in the time in between posts. I'm progressing well with the McGuire Programme. I went to my second course in Norwich at the beginning of September, and the month since has been a whirlwind. The Monday after the Norwich course, I disclosed to the Admin girls at my work (they work on another floor) and then to Slimming World the following day (big room with lots of voice projection opportunities). Both were excitingly fearful scenarios which I think went down well. Not that a lot has changed, the girls at work do talk to me more (always good), and I've been given a new job role in work. I'm doing a few days as a PA and a few days in my current role.

Last weekend I went on a challenging Grad Weekend in Milton Keynes, which was a lot of fun and challenging as well. I did some good challenges and worked on parts of the technique that I hadn't worked on before. Namely Hit & Hold...which I'm finding really useful!

This week/coming week will also, hopefully, bring some exciting news...but I'll wait until it's official before I say anything...

I'm also thinking of joining Toastmasters International...just need a car to get to the meetings though. So that's my next mission: save for a car!!!