Thursday, September 9, 2010

Like riding a bike

It's amazing what you fall back into as soon as you step foot in your native land isn't it?  People always remark that I've never picked up an American accent but my goodness I have adopted some of their ways - or at least according to my mother, who took offence at me complaining about English rainy weather. (To be fair to Americans here - they are usually the only ones in the UK not complaining about the weather.)

It was rather interesting however to notice how quickly I became re accustomed to:

- finding the @ key on an English keyboard. (It's swapped with the " key.)

- running out to bring the washing in when a dark cloud appeared.  (Actually, in many places in the USA you're not allowed to hang your washing out. And there's a petition to restore the American right to do so here. Only in America eh?)

- leaving the washing out in the rain because it would dry very quickly once the sun came out again. (This summer in Chicago was so humid that the washing would still be there now, trying to dry.)

- ironing a lot more. (The downside to line-drying.)

- driving at the speed of sound. (Or getting beeped at when I didn't.)

- other drivers letting me in when I wanted to change lanes/merge from elsewhere/get onto a main road. (I know this isn't true throughout the States, but in Chicago, other drivers would rather stick pins in their eyes than let you cut in in front of them. Even when the traffic is moving at a snail's pace. Grrr.)

- brilliant TV. (BBC America just doesn't cut it, I'm afraid.)

- not having to skimp with the Branston pickle. (I know where to buy it, but it's quite expensive.)

But now I'm back to sticking everything in the dryer and only watching the news on TV.


  1. Now to balance it out you need to write down everything that USA has going for it that we don't. :-)
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  2. I know where you're coming from....I enjoyed being generous with the Marmite while we were back, although for the first time really missed not having a tumble dryer!

  3. Sounds like you'll always have a foot in each country. Shame we can't create the perfect UK/USA hybrid!

  4. I end up just gorging on wine gums when I'm back home.

    Was catching up with a friend on skype recently. He commented that I hadn't lost my accent, but I now had a tendency for my voice to go a lot higher at the end of sentences, a bit like how a valley girl speaks. I'm convinced that was just the fault of a poor Skype line and / or him pulling my leg.

  5. My computer is all UK customised now so finding ",@, $,£ on a foreign keyboard is an adventure trip now!

  6. At least you didn't have to have a try with a French keyboard... You may remember me trying to contact you from one!

  7. That @/" key thing messed with me until I started buying Macs in the UK, which have a nice compromise in-between keyboard. The only thing really obviously missing is the hashtag which makes twitter a pain but maybe that's okay...

    We are so very adaptable, we long-term expats. I'm sure when I get back to the UK this weekend I'll be out of sorts for about a week just as I was when I got to the US three weeks ago. It fades ever so quickly after that. It's like trying to remember which hat to wear, at first it's tricky but after awhile you don't notice it anymore.

  8. I have decide that being American, I hate to drive in America. Flash lights and tailgat, get out of the fast lane and Just let me pass !!!
    I have to have chex mix original when I go to America and Have to have a good cup of tea when I get back to the UK.
    I am almost a hybrid.

  9. Maggie - doing that but it's a bigger project. (Wink)

    NVG - I realised yesterday that I can't even find my only jar of Marmite here. Argh!

    Thank you Angella!

    CL - my kids would have you believe they are it!

    awindram - or.. you could be a Geordie. Check out Lee Mack on YouTube, it's hilarious.

    Mum to KK - perhaps I should start thinking like a pirate!

    Iota - that was actually very funny to read. Especially as you gave up.

    NFAH - sometimes I think I'm going mad because I can't remember which is which. Just you wait.

    Ooh, so it was you the other day!

  10. Last commented directed to Mother Hen. Someone flashed me like that the other day because they couldn't see the teeny Smart Car in front of me doing about 20mph.

  11. OOOh - I know what you mean!
    I miss curries so so much, there are only 3 curry houses around here and they are DIRE.
    The whole thing about the washing is frankly, bizarre.
    I don't think North America are ever ever going to become eco friendly until they are wading knee deep in seawater.

  12. @Expat Mum. Very funny. Actually, I'm from Teesside so not far away from the land of Geordies, and as far as is concerned with most people outside of the North East, Geordies, Mackems and Teessiders all sound the same.

    I don't think it could have been my accent though, because I actually speak with far more of an RP accent and it's the friend I was talking with who has a strong North East accent. The Geordie accent (as demonstrated in your clip of Lee Mack) always seems to speed up at the end of a sentence when the pitch gets higher. The valley girl accents seems to slow down while the pitch rises. Maybe it's that speed that I've lost.

  13. This is so funny and true. I live just across the lake from you in Kalamazoo, MI. We're similar, just a few years behind:).

    Love the clothes-line observation. I love to hang my clothes to dry, but NO ONE in my neighborhood has a clothes line, and I know they're whispering about me when I hang my clothes out:).


  14. There's nothing like going home again! Amazing what little things we'll pick up from being in other cultures for a prolonged period of time. And it's not usually us who notice the slight changes, but our friends and family!

  15. I hate British driving, but it's the Americans who have the wrong keyboard. Obviously.

  16. Love this!! Am new to the UK and it's spot on.


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