Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Decade as an Expat

Ten years ago today—on 28 February 2002—I gave up my apartment, quit my job, sold my car and climbed aboard a jet bound for England to marry a woman I had met six months earlier and had seen only a few times since.
Of all the hair-brained, impulsive and ill-advised adventures I had willingly jumped into, this one was by far the most extreme.  I had, in effect, made myself homeless, jobless and broke on the expectation that this woman (who, let’s face it, I hardly knew) would not grow tired of me in three weeks time and send me packing.
Despite the prospect of certain failure (if past performance is any indication of future outcomes) I remained confident that I was doing the right thing: ten years later, the jury is still out, but it’s looking pretty hopeful.
These past ten years have been an amazement, an education and a huge adventure.  I have seen and done things and gone places I could only have dreamed of when I was younger.  Even my everyday life is filled with experiences I would never have imagined just ten-and-a-half years ago.  Back then, one of the high points of my morning was driving south on Route 9 in Halfmoon on my way to work and seeing dawn break over the landfill (no, it really was pretty, with gulls wheeling and diving and the pipes belching fire from the top of the enormous mound in an attempt to siphon off the excess gasses); these days I ride a bus (in itself exotic) and cross rolling downs through twee villages and a scattering of thatched cottages; I don’t recall many thatched cottages on my way to work in Albany.
I have, in short, experienced much, learned much and regretted little, and it was all down to a whimsical trip to Ireland in August 2001.  I’m sure you all know about that because I’ve been banging on about it for ten years now.  Nor have I been shy about my plans to commemorate my Tin Jubilee Celebration by producing a book about that seminal event.  And now, at last, I have.
Postcards From Ireland
 is now on sale.  You can buy it at Amazon.comAmazon.UKKindle.comKindle.UKBarnes and Noble Nook or Smashwords.
Additionally, to help heighten the festivities, I am offering my first two books—Postcards From Across the Pond and the creatively titled More Postcards From Across the Pond—as 99-cent eBooks.  (This is a limited time offer, which means they will stay at that price until I can be arsed to change them back.)
And now I’m going to do something I expect you’ve never seen another writer do: I’m going to warn you off buying it.
If you are a fan of my first two books, then you will know they are books of hilarious essays about my life here in Britain.  And if you are expecting the third book to be a continuation of the first two, you would be mistaken.  It is not a collection of essays, but a linear narrative recounting my Ireland adventure from ten years ago.  This is not to say it isn’t funny; it is.  Even I had to laugh at my ten-year-old self when I was reminded of how hopelessly ill-prepared I was for a solo trip to Europe; in looking back, I am amazed I pulled it off without being killed or arrested.  But there is, in addition to the frivolity, a thread of romance, a revelation of my impressions about seeing my soon-to-be-wife for the first time and how I ended up in the very circumstances I had originally gone to Ireland to avoid.
So, if you’re looking for a book of essays, don’t buy it, but if you want a fun read about a clueless American let loose in Ireland, then you might enjoy it.  I hope you do, for I certainly enjoyed sharing the story with you, and finally getting the chronicle down fully and completely.
And someday, perhaps soon, I might decide if I made the right decision after all.


  1. And as someone who's already read it - I say go and buy it and read it!

  2. PS. You need a "Tweet this" widget! Don't be modest!

  3. Also as someone who has read it thoroughly, I can say to all, this is a great book and one you should certainly buy, as soon as possible.

    P.S. Look out for the surprise ending.

  4. Thanks Expat and Steve!

    And thanks for the heads up about the "Tweet This" button. It is supposed to be showing, it is showing on my other blogs and the settings are all the same, it just will not show on this one! :(

    1. Replying to myself...it has come to this ;) Seems I need to reset the template defaults. I think I'll wait a while for that; for now, I have a Share widget in the side bar at an appropriate level.

  5. I loved this book. I already told you that once I finished it I continued to think about the story--it really stayed with me. I'm repeating myself here for the benefit of other readers!

    1. Thanks Michelle, I'm really glad you enjoyed it.