Very interesting question. I don’t feel many people wake up one day and say - I want to move to Stoke-on-Trent. I hear they are known for the Potteries. Oh and they have a football club too. No, it’s usually, I want to move to Spain for the weather and wine or I want to move to America - I hear New York is Amazing.
Well I married a local boy - actually man now and we had a choice to move to England last year. We could live anywhere in the country. We looked at London and soon realized we are not Russian Oligarchs so that wasn’t an option. Then we looked at Windsor, Oxford and what we found was beautiful towns with very teeny tiny homes you can fit in your pocket. I already had my life living in a New York City apartment I wasn’t doing that again. Oh and did I mention we have two dogs, two cats and a couple of kiddos too. It’s like a modern day Noah’s Ark.
So I bring the brilliant idea to my husband that we should look at Stoke. His family still lived in the area and our kids would be near cousins and we could find a home with character that we could all fit into at the same time.
We found our home - for an American a semi-detached was not familiar to me but I did fall in love with the house. Growing up in America everything was always bigger and you had way too many options. In England you go to the market and you get a soda or diet soda. In America you have cherry soda, mint soda, orange soda, soda with sprinkles, soda that gives you wings apparently. Needless to say by the time you get your drink you need a nap after having way to many choices to consider.
Ok, going back to how I got here. We found the house and we felt it would be lovely for our kids to grow up near family and really build their childhood memories in what I now know as “The Midlands”. Many Americans associate London as being the only city in England. But the amazing thing with Stoke is that its in the center of everything. It even looks like a human heart - that’s why I keep hearing Stoke is where the heart is.
Knowing this you might ask how is it going so far? I’m amazed by the people. In a good way. I am amazed that after living here for three months I had to have a major surgery - not on NHS as we had private insurance - but never the less I had to have it. All is well but it was a very tricky time. You know they say find the silver lining in each cloud. Apparently we did as a family. Being incredibly lucky to have family near to help with the kids and check in on me. I also found a family of friends. People that I just met and they all cane together for us. People from school would pop over to say hi, other shop keepers would check in and even do errands for my mum when she visited - I couldn’t drive and she is a New Yorker through and through - she walks or gets an Uber. But then it was the local community who helped us - businesses picking up and dropping off for us. And it’s been a few months since my surgery and I’m still in awe of the kindness. Don’t get me wrong, I have been called loud and on occasion reminded to wave when driving by a friend. Things in America that we normally don’t take the time to consider or even realise. Not sure if I will stop being Loud - it doesn’t help that my right ear is a bit dodgy as they say. But I guess god figured I needed to turn up the volume as I have something to say.
So moving to Stoke has been a wonderful reminder that people are kind, people are passionate and people here are incredibly talented. The creatives in this community with side hustles puts any city in America to shame. Stoke definitely has heart and love for who they are and what they do.
So thank you my fellow Potters and lovers of Oatcakes and a beautiful tea sets that are obviously fit for a Queen.
Keep sharing your beautiful heart #stokeiswheretheheartis