This is me. Jessica Valentine. I have three kids. I am an American. I have lived within the UK for 7 years. And, it has not been easy. I married a Brit whom I met in NYC. We had some good times in Manhattan. I used to have shiny hair, I used to have a relaxed look on my face. Now, I always have a worried look on my face with wrinkles between my eyes, sort of like my dog Buddy. I referred myself to now looking like a deer with its head caught in a headlight.
I am an educated woman. Too many educational degrees under my belt that England doesn’t take seriously. I have struggled for 7 years here. It has been like living in a third world country for me (and excuse me if I offend, because I always do). I’ve had to dry my clothes in the smallest dryer outside in the barn, hang my laundry on the line, wash my clothes in the smallest washing machine, penny pinch, shop at charity shops because I have to not because I want to, be taxed on everything i.e. tv, cars, the Queen etc. The cost of living here is extortionate and because I have not been brought up here I know a different life. Although, it doesn’t help to have had strangers bad mouth me saying things like ‘All you Americans are the same’ as well as teachers say ‘you know how the Americans are’ (even though neither of those people have EVER even set soil in America. note: these comments were unprovoked!
Even though I have made a lot of friends here in St. Albans as well as Reading where I used to live I have found that people lose themselves after getting married and having children here. They don’t remember who they were before kids. But, then again… maybe they were the same before kids. Boring, dull, moody and drink too much. Yes, I like to drink my fair share, but I am not anxious or negative afterward. It is very difficult to raise a family when you’re not anywhere near your family. My family is speckled throughout the United States. And, yes at times it is very lonely. That is why I have my little man, Buddy!
I have had work jobs just to get by such as working at a gym, dog watching and blog writing that are a bit out of character. Don’t get me wrong, blog writing is what I am doing right now and many, many people do it. But, it requires a lot of time for very little money.
At the end of the day, I may be outspoken, opinionated, forward thinking… but what I am not is an asshole, unkind or unloving. I am a loyal, hard-working individual with many short term and long term goals and I have a vision for my family. I want my family to be happy. And as a family unit I think we would be very happy in a warmer climate by the beach.
I have had so many English people say rude things about Americans, I’ve had an English mother lash out at me in the Watford, Harlequin because she thought I cut the queue. You can read that story on my Hertfordshire Life Blog. I will save that for another book. But, I can assure the English readers this.. no matter what country you come from you WILL ALWAYS be accepted in America. And, no one would ever put you down or throw out slander to your face (or your back). It is not what America is about. But, for those English or even South African people who think they know so much about America (and have NEVER been there) you are greatly mistaken.
Do not judge someone unless you’ve walked in their shoes. And, lighten up! Life is too short to be so boring!
Likes: sun, beach, my children, my dog, love, good hair, sense of humour, confidence, grass in between my toes, fresh breath
Dislikes: ignorant people, mean people, bad skin, unkind gossiping, picking up other dog’s doo doo (but I would do if for my favourites), fake linoleum flooring in bare feet
Favourite Author: Charles Bukowski
If I were on a deserted island I would need: My black specs, lip balm, bananas, cold fresh water to drink, a man
Favourite Music: anything Bob Marley, Kings of Leon, U2, 80′s Brit, Indie
Jobs I’ve had: pizza maker, bartender, make- up artist, retail in clothing, merchandiser for magazines, wanna be DJ (yes, you can get paid to play CD’s at parties in NYC), a server Applebees (worst job ever), swim teacher, lifeguard, mortgage broker, beer tub girl, server, teacher, dog watcher, babysitter (I was the world’s worst babysitter I used to smoke loads of cigarettes before I had to get there), mowed lawns, writer, psychologist, mother (fo’ life)