How it Began

Since 2003 my life has largely revolved around 3 things: acting, my boyfriend and Moving to London. Why London? It’s a great city and I fell in love with a British man who lives here. But before the permanent move, we agreed on a try-out period. A taster, if you will. So in October 2003 I left my swanky apartment near Washington, DC, my friends, my family, put my acting career on hold, put 95% of my worldly possessions in storage and the other 5% in suitcases and flew away. The taster that was supposed to last 6 months ended up being 9. Mostly good times were had and by the end we thought, “OK let’s do it.” I’ll move to London. Just one little thing stood in our way. A work visa.

As two university-educated (one from Cambridge, no less), resourceful adults we eventually worked it out. It only took 6 months, a couple thousand pounds in solicitor’s fees, a stint as a Crate & Barrel seasonal (great discounts!), and supreme patience. Visas came and went as I spent the months living with my parents back in Maryland. Meanwhile my boyfriend was all the way across the ocean. Finally, finally, in January 2004 all was ready. I sold nearly all of my stored stuff, packed the rest and flew away.

Fortunately all of that trouble came to some good. Soon after the move I was upgraded to fiancée and now I’m living happily in wedded bliss.

As romantic as I think the story is, my love life isn't the focus of this blog. It merely sets the scene, provides a context for what is to follow.

Now I’m here, living in the greatest metropolitan city in the world. Hooray!? As anyone who has moved to a foreign country will know, it’s a serious transition. Even though I’ve moved from one “English-speaking” country to another, it’s still completely different than life in America. It can be lonely and frustrating and sometimes it seems like I’ll always be an outsider. Desperate to fit in, adjust, understand how things work, be accepted, I’ve devoted a lot of time to making those things happen. When I first arrived, I would have been grateful to know another American in the same situation who could ease the pain – tell me what to expect, ways to meet people, how long I’d feel like a fish out of water etc. etc. Not only personally but professionally too. It’s a whole new acting community to break into, new ropes to learn, and contacts to make. And that’s why I’ve begun this blog: to share some of my experiences and offer a few shortcuts to any Americans settling in the UK, and specifically American actors who want to work in London.


AAGIL said…
Hi! I have just found your blog while doing a random search about Spotlight. This entry almost brought a tear to my eye. I moved to the UK in 2006 because I met and fell in love with a British singer. I was acting in the US before this but put my career on hold when I moved here so that I could get my bearings. I worked as an agent for a year and a half. I left there recently and am now trying to figure out the acting scene here. I have had a really difficult time adjusting here not helped by the fact that my husband tours about 7 months out of the year. Thank you for this post. It's nice to know that someone else understands. I have put a lot of effort into "fitting in" here but still don't feel like I have made the headway I would have liked. I am definitely going to read Watching the English!
Kosha Engler said…
Very happy to see that the blog has been of help to you. I think you'll love Watching the English. All the best,
Micah Orsetti said…
Thank you for sharing your experiences with us! I am planning to move to London in late August to begin my acting career. Unfortunately, visas are getting increasingly difficult to come by! Since most auditions and rehearsals are during the day, would it be wise to put my acting career on hold and simply get a job until I find my feet in the U.K.? I'm twenty-four, so I feel like I don't really have time to spare (you know how it is for women in the business!). I don't want to give up, I want to really pursue acting! By the time I move overseas I will have completed my Masters in Theatre, which may or may not mean anything to them over there. Any advice?

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