As an American living and working in England, I get asked a lot of questions! Here are some common queries:
Q: So now that Brexit is done, will you be deported back to the US?
A: Not at all! In October 2019 my wife and I were granted permanent UK residency, which gives us both the freedom to work in any UK job without restrictions or a work permit.
Q: What do you think of Brexit?
A: The first rule of Brexit is that you never talk about Brexit! But I'm glad it's finally done.
Q: So what part of the states are you from?
A: A southern state called North Carolina, which is slightly bigger than England. It's about a 9 hour car journey below New York city, and about a 12 hour car journey above Miami, Florida. The US is huge!
Q: What kind of US accent do you have?
A: Don't be silly. Americans don't have accents :-)
Q: Why did you move to England?
A: When I was living in the US I was always told that the US has the best culture in the world, the best food in the world, and the best technology in the world. When I first visited Europe in 2011, I instantly realised that there are a lot of amazing countries out there with delicious food, a friendly culture and incredible technology.
Q: Did you vote for Trump?
A: No, I moved to England before Trump was elected and I'm unable to vote in US elections since I do not have a US residence.
Q: What do you think of Trump?
A: I think he's crazy!
Q: Does Trump wear a wig? Or is that golden plume actually his real hair?
A: Oh, goodness. I have no idea. Both maybe?
Q: Will Trump run for president again?
A: I don't think so because if he did run again, he would first have to win a majority of 50 state primaries in order to be the Republican nominee. And his ego can’t risk losing in most states before he’s even the nominee. But that doesn’t mean his son or daughter won’t run for president!
Q: Is it true that Trump's favourite food is McDonald's and that the Secret Service regularly bought him Big Macs and greasy fries when he was president?
A: This is 100% true, but please, no more Trump questions!
Q: Do you miss anything about the US?
A: Yes, Mexican food. I could eat authentic Mexican food all day, everyday. However, I still continue make incredible homemade tacos y salsa!
Q: Which countries have you visited?
Republic of Ireland
I am very sad that Portugal was the last country I visited just weeks before the lockdown started in March 2020. I hope to visit many more countries (or even the same countries!) in 2022.
Q: Is it true that Americans only take 2 weeks of holiday per year?
A: Absolutely. Most Americans only take two 7 day holidays per year. And some Americans only take 1 week of holiday per year! Americans also tend to come to work even when they're ill. It's a sign of weakness to not go to work and vomit in your desk drawer.
Q: Why do Americans talk so loud?
A: Americans are taught to speak loudly to show that they are confident. I much prefer the normal speaking volume in England :-)
Q: Do you visit the US often?
A: No, I have not visited the US since I moved to England in 2014. I planned to visit the US in 2020 to experience some reverse culture shock, but 2020 was a bad year. And 2021 isn't looking much better!
Q: What’s better, the NHS or the US private healthcare model?
A: I'm asked this question a lot! But the answer is a bit long. Without a doubt the NHS is a superior system. In the US, private healthcare is paid for via subsidised health insurance that's typically purchased through one’s employer as a 'benefit'. However, there is no standard coverage for everyone and premiums vary greatly- sometimes inferior coverage costs more. The typical monthly premium for a family of 4 is easily £1,000, which still includes an excess (called a ‘deductible’ in the US) for each visit to the GP, A&E, appointment with a consultant, blood test, scan or hospital admission. The typical maximum yearly excess is about £3,000, but £7,000+ is becoming more common as a way to lower monthly premiums. So, if you become ill or need an operation you’ll need some cash to pay the excess, pay the excess in monthly installments, or apply for a loan at the hospital (yes, hospitals are lenders in the US!). And if you fail to pay your installments or hospital loan on time, the delinquency will be placed on your credit report and your ability to get a car loan, credit card, or mortgage will be diminished (or even become impossible).
Lastly, since most Americans have health insurance through their employer, many Americans with long-term health conditions get stuck in jobs/careers that they dislike if they are unable to find a new job with comparable health insurance. God bless the NHS!
Q: But if the NHS was privatized there wouldn't be any more waiting lists for treatments and operations!
A: Unfortunately, this is not true. Privatizing the NHS will not solve the GP, consultant and nurse shortages. Even if the NHS went private tomorrow, it will take years to develop incentives to train and recruit new healthcare staff. The US also suffers from the same staff shortages as the UK and the wait to see a consultant or have elective surgery in the US is often 4-6 months.
Copyright 2011-2021 Seth Palmer