We met Ian through his wife Sophia. Sophia and I work as real estate agents together and hit it off from the start. Luckily for us, our husbands also get along well, and we always enjoy lots of laughs when we get together.
Read on to hear about one British expat's experiences in Texas and beyond.
Q: Ian, where are you from originally?
I'm originally from Middlesbrough, England, about 43 miles north of York in North Yorkshire.
Do you still have family there? Do you get back to Middlesbrough regularly?
I no longer have any family in Middlesbrough. I have friends there, but I knew when I left in 2010 that I would never go back.
Q: HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU FIRST LEFT YOUR HOME COUNTRY AND WHERE DID YOU GO?
I was just ten years old, and we visited West Berlin, West Germany.
So if you were in West Berlin, you were obviously there before the wall came down in 1989. I know you were young, but do you remember what the atmosphere was like at that time? Were you there to visit family, or were you just on holiday?
It was a family visit. My uncle was on a two-year tour of Berlin with the British Army and my cousin had just been born. The atmosphere was claustrophobic – whether this was because it was particularly hot (it was in August) or the psychological effect of being surrounded I’m not sure. Most of the West Berliners were very nice but there were the odd ones (usually older) who were openly hostile. Perhaps they would have preferred Soviet soldiers to the British, French, and American soldiers that occupied West Berlin.
Q: Besides the United States and West Germany, where else have you traveled?
I have also been to East Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Belgium, Romania, Thailand, India, United Arab Emirates, Monaco, Mexico, Jamaica, and the Bahamas.
You've traveled extensively! If you could live in any of those countries, without concern for money or work, where would you live?
Probably France, because I love the history, the architecture, and the food. I love pretty much any food served up there.
Oooo, yes! We need to all go out to Etoile Cuisine et Bar in Houston for some escargots de bourgogne and coq au vin!
Q: What are your favorite "hidden gem" cities in the UK?
Two old medieval towns come to mind - Middleham and Richmond in North Yorkshire. Both have medieval castles. Middleham was owned by Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England, and was built entirely for military purposes. Richmond was also of military persuasion (both cities were built to prevent the Scots from invading Yorkshire) but Richmond was also a small market town. Richmond also has The Green Howards Museum, which is the Army regiment that recruited in Middlesbrough historically.
Q: So What brought you to the United States?
Marriage. My wife Sophia already lived in Cypress, TX, when I emigrated.
Have you lived in other states as well?
Yes, we have also lived in Georgia because of my work.
(An added note from Sophia: A little more on our background... Ian and I worked at the same company. He was in the London office and I was in the Houston office. I got to travel to England in April 2008 for my first time. We hit it off talking about so many various things. When I returned back home I sent him and a coworker a picture I took of us three and that led into more conversations. We decided to try the long distance thing. Finally in August 2008 he came over for a visit... first time to the states and Texas! My family held a good ole BBQ for him and we visited outside of the Houston area while he was here. After trips back and forth to see each other, January 2010 he proposed, we did the whole fiancé visa thing and he moved over October 2010 and we were married. Here we are 12 years later, so many moves, but happy as can be!)
Q: When you first arrived in the US, were there things that caused some culture shock for you?
The driving is appalling!
That it is!
Q: When family and friends come visit you here in Texas, what is your favorite restaurant to take them to?
Monty’s Lighthouse in Conroe. They are right on the water on Lake Conroe, and I'm a big fan of their crawfish.
Thank you so much, Ian, for taking the time to answer my questions!
I hope this interview has been both enjoyable and informational. I love talking to travelers, so if you would also like to be interviewed, please reach out via email.
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