Emigrating from England to America


Stunning English Coastline, picture by Frances.

Emigrating Details

I grew up in Dorset until the age of 10, I have so many memories of the New Forest, Durdle Door, Pool Harbor, Bournemouth Beach and many other places that we were taken too as children on so many occasions. I left behind a great friend from childhood who I never forgot and for which I am so grateful that because of Facebook that we met up about 10 years ago and we will always remain friends.

Due to work commitments my parents moved to the City of Birmingham which is the 2nd largest City in England.  The only way to see green hills or the countryside when we were there was to catch a bus to the Lickey Hills.  Ohhhh those were special trips for us.  People who live in Birmingham are called Brummies mainly because of the way they spoke.

Peter, my husband, was bought up in Stourbridge which is on the outskirts of Birmingham and although only 20 miles away he talks with a different accent to me and he is called a Yam Yam.  Peter  comes from what is called the Black Country.  I will write a little more at another time about Stourbridge.

I moved to Stourbridge and, after living there for 5 years, I met Peter.   I loved Stourbridge, but my heart will always belong to Dorset – even though people call me a Brummie now because of my accent. Peter on the other hand lived in Stourbridge in one of the small surrounding villages called Norton.  In Birmingham the pigeons make quiet a lot of mess and in Stourbridge they fly upside down, this gives you some idea of the differences in lifestyle ha ha!

I have put some pictures below of the places we lived and other places we like.  The Coastlines don’t look real do they?.  England is so beautiful and we miss it so much there are so many places to visit.  I will do another blog sometime on places that are great to visit when you go.  Some of the pictures below are from our children all grown up now and they all live in the south of England.



English Jurrasic Coast, by Frances


Southern Coastline, by Frances


Durdle Door, Dorset, picture by Sarah.


The Rotunda, Birmingham


The Slug, Birmingham


The Bull at the Bull Ring, Birmingham

We were married in 1994 and both of us had previous relationships, now as a new family we had the Brady Bunch between us with 6 children ranging from 2 – 15.  Both of us worked full-time and times were hard, but as a family , Christmas’s, Birthday’s and just everyday living was great fun in our house. We have so many memories of our times altogether. I won’t say it was easy all the time but certainly not boring.


Our Family just after we married

After 10 years of marriage and most of the children had gone on to pastures new, Peter was a nurse and we owned a business that had gone sour and left us with wondering what to do with the rest of our lives. We were both 45 and needed a solution and new plan for our life together.

It all started one day when Peter was at work, he had a friend who was leaving work and was headed for the USA to start living her dream.  She was a Nurse and was emigrating to America, America needed nurses so she decided to move there with her family.

The way that she did this was to register with an emigrating nursing agency, O’Grady Peyton Nursing Agency and they dealt with everything for her.  There is so much paperwork and steps to follow,  having someone guide you through all of that was just outstanding.  Peter said she seemed so happy that she was going and was skipping down the hallway on her way to her new life. He felt her joy and starting thinking about us.

Peter had spoken to this girl to find out what agency she had contacted and talked to me about it that weekend.  Rebecca our daughter was there that weekend and started telling all of her friends and was all excited of the thought we may be emigrating to America.

It was very funny to see Peter starting to have panic attacks saying, “stop we might not be going yet” that it was just a thought. Well he went to see the emigrating nursing agency O’Grady Peyton on a Thursday on his half day off .  He came home that afternoon saying “well, I signed up,” and “We are going to America.”  Trust me when I say this, it is very unlike Peter to make a decision so quickly.  I was really excited and so was Michael, Mark was under 21 so eligible to come with us, we called him and explained what we wanted to do andasked if he wanted to go too after he had left the Navy.   Mark was unsure but still included in the emigrating papers so that at least when the time came he could then make a decision. All paperwork was completed to start our journey.

The Decision to go to America

Some people just dream about coming to America but some take action.

We had so many hoops to get over first though.  The first one was for Peter to able to pass his NCLEX exam.  He passed first time after he studied for 4 months before he was put in for his test where he had to go to London.  We were so proud of him and the first hurdle was done.

It took us 2 years to jump through all the hoops that were put in front of us.  So many emigrating forms to fill out and a great deal of waiting and being very patient.  We had Embassy interviews to do, medical, fingerprints and police checks.  The agency took us through every step.  Mark actually decided not to come with us in the end and wanted to stay with friends in his local area when he came out of the Navy.

We started our emigrating procedure in January 2004 and we found out that we may be eventually emigrating in September 2006.  However, the date got pushed back to December 2006.

Death in the Family

In August 2006 we lost  our precious daughter Joanne aged 25.



Joanne was so beautiful and left behind a beautiful little boy Ryan.  This was obviously devastating for the whole family and we needed each others support so much during this very difficult time.  Ryan’s father Andrew had passed away a year before and his Grandmother had taken over the role of his Dad and took him to school and picked him up, having him after school until Joanne came home from work.  It made sense that he would come and see us but that he would have his home with them to keep some sort of normality in his life. He was so gorgeous it was hard not to have him all the time.

Emigrating – Yes or No?

So do you go? or do we stay?  All our savings now were gone as we had a funeral to pay for my Mom did help with this a little too.  This was even harder than deciding to go in the first place.  Our friends, family and children were very supportive and everyone said we should still go. Or, at least that’s what I remember those 3 months were very hazy to me.  We decided we would and December finally came around.  With us and a family who were still grieving,  good times were ahead of us and we carried on with our Dream of coming to America.

Emigrating to America Finally!

Coming to America

London, picture by Rebecca.

We left London on the 14th December 2006, the weather was just like the picture above, took by our Daughter Becky, all grey and dull, new sky’s were waiting for us in sunny California. with a one way ticket to Los Angeles, and a months wages each we started on our new journey.  What a buzz that was with mixed feelings that we would be missing our family but that we had new times ahead of us with so many new places to see and do.

When we arrived after an 11 hour flight we were kept at the airport for 5 hours to be given our Green Cards.  Yes it took that long.  We were so tired Michael was grumpy and we just wanted a bed to sleep in.

The Emigrating Agency had sent someone to come and pick us up and he waited patiently with a board with our names on it at the arrival lounge.  He took us straight to a hotel in Palmdale and the next morning he came and picked us up and took us to our new furnished apartment in Lancaster CA.  Lancaster is high dessert and a lot different from England in every way this was to be our first home.  What a feeling and what a fabulous furnished apartment they had waiting for us.

He came everyday for a week to drive us around to get everything we needed including taking us to the Social Security office.  All we had was our suitcases, no electrical items as they would not work in America from England.  We bought all the necessary items that we needed from Walmart including Bedding, Iron, Ironing board, kitchen utensils, etc. we couldn’t believe they had everything all under one roof.  Our one months wages was now two months as the exchange rate gave us double so we were able to buy everything we needed to survive.

Peter started his new job and we started our new life.  I got a job with Countrywide as a trainer after 3 months and I absolutely loved it.  The very first class I trained after 6 weeks of training bought me a Mountain Bike I just couldnt believe it.  In England we were lucky if trainers got flowers.  I was very emotional and would cry at the drop of a hat with still greiving and missing family my boss thought I was a bit unstable I’m sure.  I did get better after time.

After emigrating to America at the age of 14, Michael was Drum Major of the school band in his Senior year.  To see him march down the street in front of his band just made us cry, all the beautiful music and people clapping with so much patriotism was overwhelming.  Michael went off to college at the Institute of Arts in Santa Monica and graduated at 19 with his bachelors and he was Valedictorian.  5 years after us emigrating to America, Michael was on the stage at the Hilton Hotel in Hollywood giving his speech for Valedictorian.  We were so proud! He now works at the Asylum Studios in LA as an ADR (Automated dialogue Replacement) and Foley Engineer.  Now that is what dreams are made of!

All of our children have great careers and made us proud and cry, Rebecca when she was in her passing out parade for the Army.  Mark when he was at his passing out parade for the Navy,  Frances when she went to work on the Ships in the Mediterranean as a massage therapist, and Sarah when she graduated as a Teacher.  Many other times too during their careers they have made us so proud.  We could not have asked for a better family than we have.  We now have son in-laws, girlfriends and boyfriends to add to our family along with 6 grandchildren.  We are so blessed! We are a close knit family and keep in touch via face time regularly.  

Flights are more expensive now but we do still get to see family, they come here to the USA to see us and we go over there to England and spend quality time with them all.  Since arriving in America we have been home for holidays, two weddings and a funeral.  With many more visits to come I’m sure and, probably even more when we both retire.

Peter was transferred to Bakersfield where eventually we purchased our first home.  The house had the exact plans that were on our wall at home when we were just dreaming and we had a beautiful pool in the back garden.  A dream come true, we even owned the car we wanted to.

We are glad that we were brave enough to make the decision to Emigrate to America in the first place and now moved on to other dreams.  Our house is sold and now live full-time in our RV and intend to travel first of all California and then the rest of America.  

We follow our Dreams.  Do You?



  1. Liz oconnor says

    I love your blog it makes fantastic reading it’s great to hear all your story’s. I often speak about you to my friends and family you are my hero, you have followed your dreams I so pleased to be your friend loves you loads xxx