Monday, October 5, 2009

10 American Things I haven't Succumbed To

Mike and I over at Pond Parleys are discussing the things we've never embraced in our host countries. Funny how some things cause problems for me and others don't. Here are my bug bears:

1. Not saying “Please”.

2. Baseball caps on a bad hair day. My ears stick out and it looks generally, well, ridiculous. I also don’t do the pony tail so I basically have to make sure my hair is somewhat clean!

3. Green bean casserole at Thanksgiving. Green beans, canned onion rings smothered in canned mushroom soup, or something like that. Yuck!

4. Walking around with a pint size cup of coffee. Who needs that much caffeine?

5. Walking through my front door straight into the living room. I have three noisy kids. I need walls and doors as a buffer.

6. Wearing seasonal clothes. OK so not everyone does this, but I will never wear a leafy sweater in the autumn/fall, red and green at Xmas, or red hearts on Valentine’s Day. Unless it’s a school-enforced thing, and even then I won’t be happy.

7. (American) football. No clue. Nor do I enjoy the beer and cheesy nachos that seem to be de rigeur when viewing.

8. Interspersing my sentences with “I was like…” to describe my emotions.

9. Cutting all the food on my plate into bite size chunks then eating it with my fork. I always serve a knife and fork even when people claim not to need the knife. Ever seen someone trying to cut lettuce with a fork?

10. Maple syrup drenching everything on my breakfast plate. I don’t have a sweet tooth anyway but maple syrup touching my sausages? Yuck!

Have a look at Mike's too.


  1. 10 things well chosen - they're all horrible.

  2. Well done for being so stoic. The green bean 'casserole' sounds revolting...bleughhh!

    I also noticed when I worked for an American company that they would refer to someone in their presence as she or he. What's wrong with using their name? Very rude.

  3. Would like to taste the green bean stuff before I turn it down!
    I always read Pond Parleys, which I think is really good. However, I never know if I am supposed to comment or not, as I don't have any American connection.

  4. Not saying please is simply rude!

    I must admit I own a Minnesota Twins cap for just such a purpose.

    The casserole sounds vile.

    I always see this on American movies--do those people actually drink all that coffee or does it just somehow look 'cool'?!

    I love the open plan of American houses, but I love that I can close doors and trap heat (and silence) in my British house!

    Seasonal clothes!? hahahahah! Its the seasonal earrings that get me. Easter bunnies dangling from my ears is just not right.

    American football is beyond me as well. Cheesy nachos on the other hand... mmmm... drool.

    Unfortunately 'I was like...' is heard in the UK now as well. Sigh. No escaping it.

    I was born to eat with a knife and fork I think--once I learned this in the UK I have never gone back. It just feels... weird to not use a knife.

    I have converted all my step kids, their boyfriends, several neighbours, my husband and a couple of friends to the delightful concept of maple syrup on pancakes AND sausages!! Yum. Sorry.

    Good post!!

  5. Perfect. I totally agree with every single one of those. My husband puts syrup on his EGGS. ridiculous.

    I don't get the knife thing. I was told apparently it's rude to keep holding onto your knife during the meal. No idea.

    Because I am a nice polite young lady I will always be saying please.

  6. This is such a great post and a good idea - can I poach it for my blog? I'd love to recount the 10 things I haven't embraced in the UK. Although not sure I'll be able to limit myself to ten...

    PS. That knife and fork thing, it's catching on over here - sadly.

  7. I am with you on all of these except number four ( lets hear it for the vente cappucino) and the cheesy nachos ( when I can eat them anyway). I love maple syrup too but only pancakes ( but again- not at the moment- bahhh)

  8. I am with you on 80% of these! Don't Americanize too much!!

  9. I can't say a thing about any of these things, as I am Dutch and out of the picture, but we also eat with knife and fork and find the way Americans eat rather silly. There, I did have something to say after all.

  10. sadly enough I've succumb to quite a few of those things...and hence why I've packed on the pounds/stones!! LOL But I will not succumb to peanut butter on and WITH everything!!!

  11. OK,so I've succumbed to the baseball hat and pony tail thing, but I am still the only person I know who eats a BLT with a knife and fork! ;-)

  12. The bucket of cappuccino is catching on over here and driving me insane. I search around for the smallest coffee I can find. The trick is to always ask for SMALL and heaven forbid NOT REGULAR!!! Why has "normal" been replaced by regular. Why oh why!! (Sorry for the rant. :))

  13. Maggie - please comment whenever you have something to say. Pond Parleys isn't limited to expats - we're just talking about US/UK things. All are welcome.
    Helena - feel free!!
    Jane - Come ON? A BLT with cutlery? Actually they are on the big side aren't they?
    Hadriana - the Ball & Chain commented on that the other day when he was buying a kid's smoothie for the little guy. It was about 160z - an entire day's calories for a 6 year old.

  14. Given that most of those very large coffees are the vile flavourless American kind they probably don't have too much caffeine in them!

    I hate the green bean casserole with a passion. We thought we'd got around it by insisting on having Thanksgiving at our house, but my FIL will make some and bring it anyway. I have to put a tiny portion on my plate for politeness sake.

    I really don't understand why here in New England people design houses where the front door opens right into the living room - all that heat loss every time you open the front door in the winter!!

    Good list. I'm off to read Mike's now!

  15. Oh I'm so with you on 3 & 9!!

    But I have totally succumbed on 6 & 7, but do I get a pass as I work as a School Secretary for the State Champs 6 times running!

  16. The bucket of drink thing is silly, and what is sillier is the way that you can't choose between small, medium and large. It has to be tall, grande and venti - or whatever it is. Are people too proud to buy something small? Whatever happened to 'small is beautiful'?

    Do people use front doors? Where I am, everyone goes into their houses through the garage anyway.

  17. Love the post and agree with them all except number 7 - I have fallen in love with college football.

  18. What? No pumpkin sweaters either? LOL Great post!

  19. I could always manage a pint-sized cup of coffee!

  20. So there I was in my baseball cap, walking into the living room through the front door with my pint-sized cup of coffee and my dad was sitting on the couch watching The Bills playing The Patriots on the TV and my mom was in the kitchen making a green bean casserole and so I sat down at the table and I'm like, "Hey, I'm hungry!" and she's like "Hey, I'm busy!" and I'm like, "Well, I'm hungrier than you are busy!" so she makes me some French toast with bacon on the side and I put maple syrup all over it and cut it into little bits before eating it with my fork and when I get done I'm like, "Christmas season will be here soon, will you get my Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer sweater out of storage and wash it for me …. Please?"

    I may be an American, but I am nothing if not polite.

  21. "I was like" is a classic! I have Brazilian students that began learning English American-style so they have adopted all those niggly quirks heard in American television series and films (mainly the teen ones) I'm trying to wean them off of it all but it's very difficult and "I was like" and hearing every sentence in rising intonation style is very grating for a British ear... I'm sure you agree! haha X
    I'm moving apartments which is why I haven't been around... been without internet for 3 weeks... Arrrrrgggghhhhh!!!!

  22. Oh my gosh how cute are you! I'm Canadian but have caved into the giant cup of coffee! Love me some Starbucks or Tim Hortons!

  23. Oh the joys of Midwestern "adult" women's wear! All the snowmen and patched-on jack-o-lanterns one needs (on vests, no less!)! My mother, my aunts, and all other women I know LOVE these items. Don't know what it is. I best get out before the gene kicks in... (And I do have to say there is always green bean casserole at Thanksgiving dinner but I'm not sure anyone ever eats it...the dish is always still full at the end of the meal!)

  24. I adore this list - Such an insight - thank you!

  25. Hailing from Holland across the pond (now also American citizen) I loved this post, and could have written it myself.

    No green bean cassarole on my table and no seasonal clothes, and no twinkling battery operated Christmas tree EARRINGS!! either.

    And the knife and fork thing!

    Once you've been "programmed" in one culture, some habits and ideas just won't change, and others can't be adopted.

    However, living and traveling in foreign countries makes for much fun and even some tolerance, if you try ;)

    Miss Footloose
    Tales of the Globetrotting Life


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