I have lived in the United States in the great midwest since 2003 and while I have become assimilated in many ways, some departments of my brain remain staunchly British.
You would think that living in a country which speaks the same language (ish) would be a piece of cake to move to. I watched every episode of Friends and hung into Carrie Bradshaw’s every word, so it should be easy, right? Not so much, there are lots of small things which are different, but not different enough to be immediately obvious.
I remember the occasion when I asked someone over the phone if they could put a catalogue in the post for me, after a few minutes of confusing confusion, I learnt that if you want something delivered to your door, it is ‘mail’. If you want it in the local newspaper, ask for it to be in the ‘post’. Lesson learned. I never did get the catalogue.
I am still getting things mixed up and some things I just can’t get the right way round! I need an American phrase book and soon!
Here are some tell tale signs that I am still a Brit.
1. I hang my washing on the line in the garden, held on with pegs. I use my dryer to dry less and less so I am grateful to the weather which is good for drying most of the year. Sadly I think that line drying is frowned upon over here…sorry neighbours.
2. I still call crisps crisps, not chips, because chips should be chunky and hot and covered in salt and vinegar, preferably in newspaper with fish.
3. I put the bins out not the trash, and they wait for the bin men to collect them in the bin lorry.
4. I giggle when someone says ‘I like your pants’ to me.
5. I get all excited when it is sunny, then complain that I am too hot!
6. I miss paper in A3, A4, A5 and A6 sizes.
7. I roll my eyes whenever people describe vaguely ok things as AWESOME (it is always in capitals). The Grand Canyon is AWESOME, my homemade cookies are not. Cute is another one, babies are cute, grown up shoes are not (hopefully).
8. I wash the dishes in a bowl and call the whole process ‘washing up’. When I clean clothes, that is ‘washing’. I would say the American use of ‘laundry’ is to be applauded in this instance, I mean just doing the ‘washing’. Washing what? Unfortunately I think washing up bowls are a big no no, like the washing line.
9. The space outside around my house is my garden not my yard. Here, people expect you to have a Versailles type arrangement or a veggie filled allotment if you say garden, but I think of a yard as a glum concrete area or part of a prison! Garden it is then.
10. I sometimes wish my mailbox was not on the outside of the house and that parcels were not left outside the door. Nothing has ever gone missing though and I don’t have to pick parcels up from the post office when I am not in, so I can’t complain. I wonder why letterboxes in the UK are holes in the front door and mailboxes here in the States are unsecured boxes sitting outside.
Maybe I should get writing that phrase book! Actually I am probably the worst person to take on such a project…
Do you find speaking the same language as other people a problem sometimes?!
Happy Mid Week!