Hi, I’m Kit and I blog over at What a Peach! I’m a fellow ex-pat, but from America, and I moved here with my family when I was just turning 16. When Emma suggested a guest post, I thought a swap of interviews would be fun. Emma gave me some great questions and I had lots of fun trying to reflect on my life now.
When you first came to the UK, what did you feel was your biggest adjustment and is it still a big part of your life now? How do you know identify yourself nationality-wise?
When I moved here, I had just completed my Freshman year at a really fantastic high school where the students all wanted to learn. We came here and none of the schools knew what to do with me. I was at an awkward age for the education system and I was slotted in with a year group that was really below me but would mean I would be better prepared for taking my GCSEs. The way of learning was very different (we were very specifically learning for a test and no one seemed that interested in learning just for the sake of it) and we were treated like children. The school I had just left had treated us all as adults with respect and so I was quite taken aback by calling people ‘miss’ and ‘sir’. I have no problem with respect at all, I always have respected my teachers, but it just felt really false to me. I guess it’s still a little bit apart of my life because my schooling has affected my future, I think overall in a positive way though my gaps on both American and English history (they are taught at different stages in both countries which means I managed to miss out on quite a lot) are quite shocking!
How is day to day life similar to Oregon (bar getting up for the daily school/work grind)?I don’t think I can say my life now is really at all like my life in Oregon. Partly because I moved here when I was just turning 16, so in Oregon I was a kid- babysitting, doing a lot of dance classes, hanging out with my friends at the mall, working hard at school… Now I’m 28 and I work full time (6 days a week actually!). I work in the arts, so still have my links to the dance world, still hang out with friends- just not at the mall! I’m still really close to my parents, they’re my friends, so I talk to them most days by phone or email so that link hasn’t been lost (they’re only 2 hours away anyway). But I do sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I had stayed in Oregon.
What are your most favourite and least favourite aspects of London?I love London so so much. I think it is just such a fantastic city for culture (I’m a big theatre goer), it’s great for getting lost in and I love feeling like I’m in the centre of it all. I really enjoy wandering around Barbican or the South Bank if I’m at a loose end. One of my favourite views in London is about 3/4 of the way across Waterloo Bridge. To the left is the OXO Towet and The Gherkin, to the right the London Eye, Southbank Centre and Parliament.
I’m not always a fan of the people- it’s really easy to get grumpy and caught up in the rush of it all and my family have noticed that I can take on these traits, so I perhaps need to work on being nicer myself! There’s all the pushing and shoving you get on your commute which is not pleasant.
What aspect of reading keeps you going back for more, especially the books that you re-read and want to delve into them in for more indepth reading?
I’ve always loved reading and was a big writer when I was younger too. I like interesting characters and situations that I can either relate to or that feel so different they provide an escape and a sense of ‘ooh, that’s new’. I’m a big screen head and so have found that a lot of the books that I enjoy feel quite cinematic. They have rich, lush descriptions, clear dialogue and are written beautifully but in an accesible way so that it’s easy to read and get really involved in the story. Some of my favourite authors currently are Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro and Sarah Waters. I got really into Daphne Du Maurier for a bit as I loved the gothic and fantastical routes her stories take. I also keep meaning to read the new Mark Haddon as I loved his previous two books- he really seemed to understand the characters- and I’ve just got into John Green as well.
Re-reading books can be really comforting and exciting. When I re-read a book, it’s interesting to see how my memories have altered the plot, but I love coming across favourite lines. Books I’ve enjoyed re-reading are: Pride and Prejudice (maybe a bit of a cliche?), Cold Comfort Farm, I Capture the Castle and all my old illustrated children’s books when I’m back home and pulling through boxes!
Finally, Chocolate or Vanilla, and why?
A bit of both really! I have a dangerously greedy sweet tooth and generally will eat pretty much anything! I love really dark (85%) chocolate as well as super cheap milk chocolate. Love both flavours when choosing ice cream and same for cake too! I don’t think I could choose…