Friday, 19 August 2011

Meet the expat: Spirrel Monkey

The lovely Lorna runs her Etsy shop Spirrel Monkey where she sells beautiful cushion covers, purses and fabric buttons amongst other things.

Lorna was kind enough to take the time to tell us a little about herself.

I’m originally from a town called Stevenage which is 30 miles north of London, it was the first New Town built after WW2. Although Stevenage Old Town has been there since the 1100’s. My family have lived there their entire lives as have my husband and I. That was until last year at the age of 28.

We now live in Up State New York near Albany. We got here in the summer when it was unbearably hot. I didn’t mind too much as it was nice to get a feel of having a holiday after the stress of moving. We also happened to experience the worst winter in 25 years! I never knew it could get so cold and snow could get so deep. Yet everyone got on with life, roads were cleared, paths salted, schools open (apart from the days we actually had blizzards). It put the British reaction to snow to shame.

I have a degree in Applied Art with a specialism in Textiles something I have been into since I was a child and I enjoy creating especially when it comes to fabrics. My career though since leaving university has not been in the textiles area, as any job will do when you leave uni. But coming here has given me that chance to finally just go for it and do what I love, being creative!

 My husband works for an American company and had been working in their London office for 4 years, before he got transferred to their New York Office. I am the trailing spouse.

Being away from the family and friends you’ve grown up with your entire life. It was very hard saying goodbye, and I feel like I’m missing out on lots of things such as, weddings, births, funerals and ill grandparents.

I also miss certain foods. I know you can get similar things here but it’s just not the same.  Also there is a language barrier, even though we both speak English. Sometimes I find myself talking to people and I realise I lost them 5 minutes ago because they can’t quite understand some of the words I’m using.

Being different, most people are interested in you as soon as they hear your accent especially here in the US. Everyone asked us what we thought of the royal wedding and had we met the Queen.

We also have the opportunity to explore a vast and diverse country. We have already taken a road trip down to Florida and it’s amazing to see such a difference in climate and culture from just going north to south. This summer we have more travel plans to visit Niagara Falls, Boston, Philadelphia and Montreal.

I think everyone should live in another country at some point in their life. It’s such an experience and you learn so much about another culture, another country and about yourself. I know I will go home one day with a different perspective of the world that I wouldn't have had if I hadn’t lived abroad.

Find Spirrel Monkey online:

Are you a soon-to-be, been-there-done-that or currently an expat? If you sell on Etsy come and join our team.

Post by: Jacqueline Fouche (Tangentine)


  1. Did they really ask you if you've met the Queen?! I know all about missing out on family milestones, I think being an expat is worth it though...

  2. Looove your shop, Lorna.. very fresh!

    Also agree with what you said about being able to see the world from a different perspective, something one wouldn't normally be able to do if not being an expat.

    Enjoy your time in the States!


  3. HI THERE1
    I've been to Stevenage several times (have an old friend who was from there-and we would go visit her Mum, and I remember one night (before cell phones) getting lost amidst all the roundabouts!!
    And she showed my the pub in the "old town" where they'd get to drink when they were underage!

    Anyway, beautiful shop!! I really love the Expat team BTW_so friendly.Cheers and welcome, MArilyn