Many people grow up and stay in the place they were born, marrying people from their home town. There’s nothing wrong with that. Being proud of where you’re from and dedicated to your hometown is something I admire.

The first time we met

That’s not the path I took when it came to choosing the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. We met at University. He was from 6000 miles away. From the first time I saw him smile, I loved him. Getting into a serious relationship when you’re just turned 19 and starting a degree in Science, is not perhaps what I’d planned. How could it ever last? But we went for it anyway. Knowing that by June the following year he’d be back at home in Arizona.

Living apart

They say long-distance relationships either make the heart grow fonder, or, out of sight out of mind. Luckily for us, we both decided we didn’t want to be apart. So we each lived in our own countries for the next year, speaking on the phone twice a week (there were no smart phones and only dial-up internet). I used my life savings to travel to see him. He proposed to me at the Grand Canyon the morning after my birthday.

That was the longest year of my life. We saw each other 4 times in a year, for one or two weeks. Visiting him over there really opened my eyes. When you marry someone, you take on all their quirky family ways. When they’re from a different country, with a different childhood, different schooling system and even different TV programmes, you have lots to learn! Phrases you say, vocab you use – there are so many ‘why do you say it like that?’ conversations!

Family traditions

You also adopt traditions. Today is Thanksgiving in the USA. As we’re in the UK, we celebrate it the Saturday after. We cook the recipes from his Mom & Grandma. Play games. Spend time with family. Then our tradition is to put up the Christmas tree the day after.

I’ve learned so much from him. I’m still learning. He still comes up with words I’ve never heard of after 20 years of marriage! His perspective is so different to mine, but we work together like a team.

My husband is an American. He’s a legal alien (an immigrant). He’s also worked hard and paid his taxes to the UK for the past 20 years. Life is fun with him!

What traditions do you have that may seem very different to others? What’s quirky about your family?