Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Things I've had to Explain to my US Raised Son

So, the youngest (now 14, almost 6 feet and henceforth the new "Man-Child)" has been coming to England since he was born. He feels very comfortable here and it was because of his enthusiasm for our move that we actually made it. He is, however, a Yank when all is said and done. There is much work ahead for me - 

Doctor's "surgery" - Phoning around last week, desperately searching for an NHS doctor that would take us, I used "surgery" several times in my conversations. I couldn't figure out why the Man Child looked so alarmed until I put the phone down and he asked who needed surgery. In the US it's called the doctor's "office" and surgery is strictly reserved for the operating room. 

Cling film - This was a doubler so to speak. In the US the plastic wrapping for left over food is called "Saran wrap" or "plastic wrap". (I've just looked it up and the term "cling film" is included but I never heard that and we never said it.) The Man Child cottoned on to the new name pretty quickly, until I realised he was saying "Clean film". That would be because his dad (the Ball & Chain) has a sightly southern US accent and that's how "cling film" comes out. 

Bin sorting - Like many Brits, we have several bins for what used to be "trash". A smaller receptacle for food waste, a larger one for recycling and another for anything that doesn't go in those two. We have written, strict instructions about what goes in which bin and what happens if you get it wrong. (It looks like we don't get fined, but the bins don't get touched either.) I spent the first two weeks diving into bins to retrieve misplaced items. Plastic containers go in the recycling but not any plastic film, which must be removed and placed in the regular rubbish bin. No wet paper in the recycling - ("Yes, I know it will dry out but it clearly says No Wet Paper".) Impressing upon the Man-Child (and his father, I have to say) that just because you don't see the reason for a particular recycling classification, doesn't mean you can flout it. 

Wear clean socks & wash your feet - As I mentioned in my previous post (see below), it appears that the UK has gone shoe-less. The Man-Child is now instructed to take note of the state of his hosts' feet upon entering a house and offer to remove shoes if need be. If you've ever had a teenage son you'll know that socks on feet are not necessarily clean on, no matter what happens to be available in the sock drawer. Two more things come into play in our house - the fact that the MC is wearing sandals and no socks (thank goodness) at the moment, and his shower is so small that he can't physically bend down to wash his feet. The chances of a complete pong-out when he removes said sandals are very high. Everyone is on notice. 

You could write a book about all this stuff. Oh wait..............




14 comments:

  1. Had to smile at this post. I can so relate to the "you have to follow THEIR rules even if you think they're illogical" recycling experience. ;-D Part of the Man-Child's education is basic "company" manners teenagers have to master. The raising and education of our young is a process, not a point in time. Sounds like you're all settling in well, which is good to hear.

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    1. Fed him beans on toast next to his English raised 2nd cousin. Son was laughing at the cousin eating beans on toast with a knife and fork while trying to ram the entire slice (with beans) into his mouth at the same time.
      Me - Beans on toast is NOT finger food!

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  2. At least he has a rudimentary knowledge of life over there - I'd be COMPLETELY lost. So glad to hear you are all settling in!

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  3. Glad the family is *cottoning on* to the sometimes peculiar British ways!
    Maggie x

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    1. And some, I have to say, are very peculiar when you've been away for as long as I have. Will have to write about that. x

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  4. Oh god I would not have the patience to deal with that recycling system but it is great they are recycling food waste. So sorry you won't be here to enjoy the magnificence of the Trump reign!

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    1. I will experience Trump through my US bloggy friends like you and through my poli/journalist daughter in DC, don't you worry!

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  5. Calling the doctor's building the "surgery" never struck me as odd, until I moved to the US. It IS odd, though, isn't it?!

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    1. Given what it means, - definitely.

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  6. WHAT?!?!? You moved back?! How much did I miss?
    Also, blame the shoeless situation on the Brits' obsession with all things Scandi. You won't find anyone with shoes inside a house here. Kids (even teenagers) bring 'indoor' shoes to school and leave their 'outdoor' shoes in the cloakroom.

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    1. Ah, my friend, I have missed you. Yes, we took the leap and moved back a month ago. Youngest was between middle and high school so that was "the window".
      Let me know when you're next back in London. x

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  7. At the back of our International School 'Guide to Living in the UK' and the publication our expat club gives to newbies, there's an English glossary of terms ...... it's incredible the difference between 'all' the English dialects. Who knew you'd repatriate, and Man-Child would learn a new language LOL

    We were very used to indoor/outdoor shoes in Sydney but more so when we lived in Japan and it's now become a habit, tho teen stubbornly refuses to put shoes in the shoe cupboard downstairs and leaves them in her room!

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    1. I am going to buy myself a glam pair of fold-up shoes as I refuse to go barefoot in other people's houses (out of respect for them).

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