Vera Snelling and her young family “crossed the pond” in 1999 for what they thought would be a temporary job assignment in Findlay, Ohio. 18 years later the Snelling family has raised three children and established a full and happy life in the Flag City while maintaining their British roots. Originally from St. Bees, England and very much a people person, Vera attributes her success in navigating the move to “talking to everyone!” and joining organizations such as Mothers & More. Vera shares her experiences living as a British expatriate in Findlay, Ohio.
Biggest difference between Findlay and home: “Findlay seemed like such a small town in comparison to London. The first things I noticed were that people drove everywhere, portions were large, and drive-thrus were everywhere. I had a hard time finding fresh organic food which was so easily accessible in the U.K. Over the years I have watched Findlay change quite a bit. It is more culturally diverse now, has more unique restaurants, and opportunities to appreciate the arts and theater.”
Favorite Findlay spots: “Some of my favorite restaurants in town are The Bistro on Main, Rossilli’s, and Punjabi Kitchen. As Brits we were especially excited about Punjabi Kitchen opening because curry is the most popular food in England. It’s like a taste of home here in Findlay. I also enjoy supporting local small businesses; RooBarb Studio and Rieck’s Gallery are my go-to shops for gift giving.”
Favorite place/activity with the kids: “My husband loved to play soccer. He’s a fanatic. We had our kids involved in local soccer activities with the Hancock Soccer Association before they were in kindergarten. It was a fun activity for our entire family.”
A cultural tradition you enjoy from England: “An English cup of tea! My mother still brings me my favorite teas from England when she visits. I’ve taught my kids to love tea, too. We all start our day with a traditional cup. And it’s not Christmas without Christmas crackers! Crackers are short cardboard tubes wrapped in colorful paper. There is normally a cracker next to each plate on the Christmas dinner table. When the crackers are pulled – with a bang! – a colorful party hat, a toy or gift, and a festive joke falls out!”
An American tradition you enjoy: “Thanksgiving was so foreign to us when we arrived in the U.S. Now it is a treasured holiday. Over the years we have been invited into the homes of various friends.”
Best parenting advice: “Read to your children every day. This teaches them to appreciate literature and enjoy books. Always find humor in everything your kids do, the good and the bad. Travel with your family. Don’t let the difficulty of travelling with young children outweigh the adventure of experiencing new places and cultures.”