England, Europe, Expat Living, London

Expat Living: Emma Creese in London England

January 4, 2017
Emma Creese in London England - Wedding Photo

Emma Creese in London England 

Meet Emma Creese, the most recent expat to be featured in our ever popular expat living series. Emma hails from New Zealand and has called England home for almost a decade.

Recommended reading: For even more insight into expat living on London, read these interview with German born Laura Martin.

Expat Living: Emma Creese in London England

Emma Creese in London England - Wedding Photo
I’m Emma and I live in London, one of my favourite cities in the world, where I blog about my adventures as a long-term expat. Blog posts are decidedly like my life in London with a mixture of local adventure, exotic travel experiences, foodie fun, expat musings, and a weekly round-up of my favourite things. 

Where are you from?

Growing up, I lived in different parts of New Zealand and tend to call Wellington home.

Where are you living now and how long have you been there? Do you plan on staying?

I’ve been living in London for almost 10 years now. Although we frequently travel, we’ve no plans at the moment to move our home base out of the United Kingdom (UK).

Did you move there alone or with family, friends, a significant other or even a pet?

I moved to London on my own, only really knowing one person. Although in a bizarre turn of events, shortly after my arrival, I woke in a central London hostel room with three former schoolmates who’d all simultaneously made the same decision to travel in the UK. 

Since settling in London, I’ve managed to collect a cat and a husband who (luckily) put up with all of my bad habits.

What brought you to your new home? Tell us your story.

Emma Creese in London England - Boat
I first came to the UK while on a two year break from pursuing a degree in architecture. The much younger me couldn’t justify studying a field in which I didn’t have any experience. While there, I met my husband and never returned, much to the bittersweet delight of my family.

What do you do work wise? Is finding work in your city easy? What are the visa requirements like?

I work in an office which isn’t very exciting, hence the blogging at night. London is very much a city where you have to push your boundaries and learn to be a little bit cheeky. My current role is the result of making friends in the profession, rather than networking contacts. Nowadays getting a visa (even as a commonwealth citizen) is getting harder and more expensive.

How do you “blend in” and be accepted by locals?

My accent is incredibly British, strange considering I never intended to lose my soft Kiwi twang. This has led to some hilarious questions, as once a disbelieving colleague demanded I prove I was actually from New Zealand. Bereft of any passport he was only satisfied after he quizzed me on my rugby allegiances. I’m not sure if this really has helped me be accepted by locals, as often I still find myself pointing out that I’m from New Zealand to explain why I don’t get certain references to British pop culture.

How did you make friends? Are you friends with locals or with other expats?

Emma Creese in London England - Restaurant
This may sound a little cringeworthy, but I’ve made most of my friends through the internet and blogging. My friends are a mixture of expats and Brits and we all share a love of travel and a severe addiction to social media. The travel blogging ‘scene’ is really friendly in London, with a lot of us meeting up outside the organised events. I’ve even travelled to Morocco, Hungary, and America with friends I met via the internet, not to mention the other friends who I’ve sipped coffee with when I’ve travelled to their towns.

What has been the most shocking thing you learned about the local culture?

Taking accent out of the equation, life has been “sweet as” for the most part. Yet, there are a few oddball American words us Kiwis have adopted which perplex the English. I guess it’s because of all the Hollywood blockbusters we watch? 

Take into consideration pants. To me, Dan Carter and President Obama pants are anything from jeans, to Corduroys, to Capris, and to the British, they are underwear. This has led to quite embarrassing situations where I’ve told stories about a walk through the bush when I realized that I’d torn a hole in my pants, another time when I accidentally dyed them in the wash, or even a time I had a pair of pants come off the washing line, only to settle in my neighbour’s garden.

To say my colleagues were rolling on the floor laughing is an understatement. This had to change.

Did you have to learn a language? What learning methods do you recommend?

When I first came to the UK, I struggled during the first few months because Kiwi-English is fairly unlike British-English. For example, my boss convinced me into saying “tehn” instead of “tin” (ten) and “sehvhen” instead of “sivin” (seven).

It’s funny because unlike a lot of my Kiwi mates who’ve been here much longer that me, I’ve mostly lost my “Nuu Zulund iccint” (New Zealand accent). It’s gotten to the point that when I say I’m a foreigner, that I confuse people. They look astonished and mentally review every word I’ve said, trying to pick out the ones that didn’t quite sound right.

Maybe my English hubby, cat, and colleagues are rubbing off on me on an unconscious level?

I was also mentally prepared for it to take a while to attune my ear to the many variations of English accents. For example, a “Geordie lilt” is quite different to a “West Country twang” but you get there eventually. I always take my hat off to people who move to countries that speak another language, as it must be such a challenge to not only get used to a new place, but be unable to communicate. It must be frustrating to say the least.

What do you love the most about your new home?

Emma Creese in London England - Sports
The fruit and vegetables for sure. I’ve become a great deal healthier since I moved here. Outdoor activities like surfing, hiking, or just chilling on the beach have also helped from a health perspective. 

What do you “hate” the most about your new home?

I struggled to make friends when I first came here due to a combination of wanting to hang out with my husband and the fact that people at my office never socialised outside of work. Breaking into established English friendship circles is tough as they tend to hang out with old school friends and colleagues. Yet once you’re in, you’re there for life. Since I began blogging, I’ve also met some of the most wonderful friends (who are stuck with me for the rest of their lives).

Emma’s Favourite Things in London

Coffee shop?

This is impossible to answer, as I’ve at least half a dozen favourites depending on the day, my mood, and their level of cake stock.

Book shop?

Daunt Books, with their old fashioned charm.

Market?

Maltby Street Market, a somewhat hidden spot for foodie spot, and perfect for catching up with friends.

Other speciality shop?

Fortnum & Mason,  part posh tourist icon and part gastronomy heaven, simply can’t be beat.

Nightlife spot?

The Zetter Townhouse in Clerkenwell for their cocktails with a side of surreal.

Things to do?

Simply wandering. London is one of the best cities in the world for getting lost in, as you never know what you’ll discover.

Weird and offbeat attraction?

It has to be the Sewing Machine Museum. No question!

Get Social With Emma

  1. Blog:  www.adventuresofalondonkiwi.com
  2. Facebook:  www.facebook.com/adventuresofalondonkiwi
  3. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/londonkiwiemma/
  4. Twitter: www.twitter.com/londonkiwiemma

Expat Living Information

Did you like this interview with Emma Creese in London England? Then check out these interviews with people like Kenden Alfond in Battambang CambodiaMelanie Haynes in Copenhagen Denmark, and Jason Mueller in Playa Jaco Costa Rica

Or browse through our expat living archives for more interviews and tips on expat life in Berlin

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