British expats in the U.S. fall into two tidy categories. There are people who moved here with an end date and never really considered permanently relocating. Then, there are the Brits who come to America without setting a timer. Some of these folks will, inevitably, fight to stay here for good. Read on to find out if you’re one of them.
Your accent has changed
Brits who let their native accent slide into a muddy mix of soft vowel sounds, overemphasized second syllables, and “d”s masquerading as “t”s are, in my wholly unqualified opinion, the group most likely to never return home. If they do, they’re in for a world of pain and mockery from friends and family who’ll say that they’ve “turned.”
You think and spell in American English
If you live somewhere long enough, you eventually start to think in the local language or dialect. This isn’t purely indoctrination. It signifies you not only accept but enjoy your new home. So, if the voice in your head has an American twang, watch out: you’re not going anywhere, sunshine. Add to the fact you rarely use the “u” key on your laptop anymore, and the “z” sees a lot more action than it once did, and you might as well stick a star-spangled banner on the side of your house and call it a day.
You bought a house here
Getting to grips with the property market is hard enough in your country of origin. But if you’re prepared to put in research, build a credit score from scratch, and spend the cash, you can buy a home in the U.S. Once you’ve done all this, you’ll likely be horrified at the very idea of leaving your precious, hard-fought-for roof and four walls. Hate to break it to you, British homeowners in the U.S., but you’re on track to be an expat for life.
You married an American
If you meet and make a life with a U.S. citizen, you’re probably going to stick around. That is unless you marry an Anglophile who’s desperate to settle on British soil. In which case, perhaps double check they didn’t just marry you for rights to settle in the U.K. Good luck with THAT conversation.
You have U.S.-born children
Once you start popping out tiny Americans, you might feel an overpowering urge to let them grow up in their own country. Also, if you’re anything like me, you’ll start to see your kids not only as the love and light of your life but also as a weird linguistics experiment. For this reason, you’ll want to stick around to see what kind of bizarre hybrid accent they acquire.
American issues concern you
If you’ve started to care more about what’s goes on in America than back home, there’s probably no turning back. Not sure if you qualify? Ask yourself if you’re more bothered about the upcoming British general election or the next presidential one. Also, whose face can you more easily picture, Ed Miliband’s or Hillary Clinton’s?
Britain feels like a foreign country
The moment the U.K. starts to feel less like a reliable and familiar pair of tracksuit bottoms and more like a suffocating, sequined Union Jack corset, you’ll have passed the point of no return. Perhaps these days casual swearing in your old local boozer makes you mildly uncomfortable. Or you find surly servers in restaurants horribly abrasive. And why when you’re mooching around the Gap on Oxford Street are the staff not demanding you have a good day? It’s just not right!
Brits seem unreasonably miserable
Does your people’s ingrained gloominess get you down where you once found it soothing? Do you recoil at the service industry’s poor people skills and yearn for fake toothy smiles? Yep, you’re an American now.
The Brits have stopped asking when you’re moving back
The point at which your friends and family accept you’re a lifer is the ultimate confirmation you’re never heading home. For they’re merely reflecting to you your own sense of happiness with your newfound homeland.
You like it better here
Be honest: are you happier here than you ever were in Britain? Do you still get a thrilling tingle in the pit of your stomach whenever you re-enter U.S. airspace? And do you shudder when you imagine being forced to return to the U.K. permanently? If your answered yes to all of these, you know what that means: You’re going to do whatever it takes to keep your American life.