So as I celebrate the first anniversary of becoming an American this week, here is a sometimes irreverent look at the things I have gained by moving to the USA and Okieland in particular.
Cowboy hats and boots are now just a part of my wardrobe. I can go out in a Cowboy hat here and nobody will assume I am a) at a hen-night (bachelorette party), b) gay or c) attending a fancy dress party. And I love Cowboy boots, not only are some gorgeous but they're also comfortable and practical.
I have the right to shoot someone if they enter my home illegally and uninvited. I can even say to them "C'mon make my day" in my best Clint voice as I shoot them and not get into trouble, because it's known as the 'make my day' law - bizarre but oddly comforting. Now if I just knew how to shoot the gun.....
I can go off and leave my home unlocked and more than likely it will remain unharmed even a week later, probably in part due to the above! Despite this being truly smalltown USA I won't ever try this.
I could park my car, leave it running with the keys in the ignition and pop into a store and nobody would touch it. But again old habits die hard, so I lock it everytime and continue to be amazed at the madness of the locals who do this.
It's nice to have complete strangers greet me and smile as I go about my day. There's none of this standing 2 feet away from someone and pretending they're not there, as seen on the London Underground for example. I have no doubt at all that if I needed help here, someone would always offer it quickly.
Complete strangers call me "M'am" regularly, in fact daily. I think the only person a Brit would address as "M'am" is the Queen.
Country music is a whole new appreciation for me. Before I moved you really only heard the classic country artists occasionally on Brit radio, like Dolly and Kenny. But I have noticed now when I listen online that many of the newer acts like Sugarland, Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum are heard over there. I now really enjoy country music mainly thanks to Brad Paisley.
I could go out locally any night and enjoy a plate of Calf Fries otherwise known as Bulls testacles, however I think hell will freeze over first.
As opposed to England where you have to ask for ice in a drink, over here I have to ask for "easy easy ice" just to ensure I have any actual drink in my cup. And let's not even go there on how many times I've been a victim of the dreaded 'ice slide' and ended up with it all in my lap.
I am often in contact with 'real' men in big cowboy hats, tall boots, driving huge trucks, calling me "M'am", who know how to shoot a gun, and it's ACTUALLY my life not just a Mills & Boon Western romance.
The Hubster can pretty much fix anything or do anything around the home and vehicles himself, there's no need to have a plumber, electrician, mechanic etc come in and do it for us. Men here are impressively self sufficient.
Body weight - sadly what I have lost I have gained again, in part due to the excellent Mexican cuisine in our area. If only one meal a day was compulsory Calf Fries, all my weight issues would be a thing of the past.
New Mexico as a bordering state - the 'Land of Enchantment' has me completely won over. In fact I am already planning our retirement to Taos, just don't tell the Hubster.
I can say outrageous things and get away with it, because a British accent just makes everything sound better - apparently.
I can drive on the wrong side of the road and people just think it's funny.
Blue skies for probably about 90% of the year.
ABSOLUTELY NO TRAFFIC, or at least nothing that anyone who has ever driven on the M25 in rush-hour would consider traffic.
Four cats, I may have left one behind but over here I seem to keep acquiring more.
Access to mainly clean toilets everywhere. I love that just about any store, or garage (gas station), or institution I enter will have a public loo and it's usually alot cleaner than those back home.
A happy content life with the man of my dreams.