What it’s REALLY like across the pond

I haven’t posted anything for a long time.  Seriously, it’s been over a month!

I’m sure you’re [not] wondering why this is; well….life has been pretty ‘samey’ recently and there hasn’t been anything that has amused or pissed me off in a while.

Over a month actually.

Anyway, the other day I was asked a question that stunned me into silence so much that it inspired me to write this post.  The question I was asked was:

“Is Christmas day in the UK the same as it is in the US?”

I paused for a moment, blinked a few times, and then gave a polite and sensible reply.

Oh, wait, no I didn’t.

I was sarcastic, condescending and there was a lot of finger pointing and laughing. I won’t lie….I was a bit of a cunt about it.

But honestly, who thinks Christmas is on a different day in the UK!?

Anyway, this got me thinking about all the questions and conversations I’ve been in that highlight the misconceptions Americans have about the UK and Europe in general. I have already touched on some of these before, but they just won’t go away….like syphilis or any of the Kardashians1.

So, without further ado:

We all drink Tea in the UK

Actually….no.

Granted, tea IS a big deal in the UK but there are a lot of Brits that don’t like it, opting instead for coffee. We like to call those people ‘traitors’ or ‘weird’. In addition, Americans also don’t realise that we generally drink tea with milk.

“Oh. My. GAWD!  With milk??”

Yes, with milk.

They go on and on (and fucking on) about how much we drink tea in Britain, but have absolutely NO idea about the tea we actually drink.  I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been asked what flavour tea I drink.

“Fruit?”  No.

“Green?”  Still no.

“Camomile?”2  Nope.

“Earl Grey?”  Erm, some people do.

“So what do y’all drink then?”

Proper (black) tea…in a mug….with milk and sugar; very few people use the clichéd dainty little cup and saucer with the obligatory pinky finger sticking out.  Take note

America, a proper mug – sometimes with a crack in it – is the ONLY way to drink tea.

Oooh, I do fancy a cuppa right now.

Geographically confusing delights

English Muffins

In America they have ‘English Muffins’ which, aside from McDonalds, I have never seen in the UK ever.

Yes, I know the flag isn’t the English flag. More on that below….

Yet I get told that we all eat them in England because, well, it has England in the name.  It’s either English muffins or ‘tea and crumpets’.  Sorry to tell you this America, but we don’t all eat crumpets all the time with our tea.  If anything, it would be tea and toast.

Mmmm, tea and hot buttered toast….with either Marmite or a nice bitter marmalade.

But tea and crumpets?  Rarely.

Additionally, whilst I’m on the subject of geographically named sweet treats, they also have something over here called:

German Chocolate Cake

I’ve been to Germany several times and never seen this cake.  Do you want to know why?  Hmm?  Do you?  Well, here is what I found on Wikipedia:

‘German chocolate cake, originally German’s chocolate cake, is a layered chocolate cake from the United States filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. It owes its name to an English-American chocolate maker named Samuel German’

Interesting….considering I’ve been told, categorically, that it DOES come from Germany and I “don’t know what i’m talking about”, so it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy that:

a) I’m right, and

b) The people who told me that bullshit, read my blog.

Read it bitches…..read it all!

French Fries

I don’t even want to get started on this one.  Let’s just move on shall we?

Italian Wedding Soup. 

Yep, apparently that’s a thing here too.  I’m half Italian and I’ve been to real Italian weddings and I have NEVER seen this soup. How can this be? 

Oh hello Wikipedia!

Wedding soup or Italian wedding soup is an Italian-American soup consisting of green vegetables and meat. It is popular in the United States, where it is a staple in many Italian restaurants.

Honestly, I’m not sure why this is a) Italian and b) for weddings.  It’s a lovely soup, but at the end of the day it’s still a soup….and soup can be messy.  Adding any type of sloshy food to people in their smartest attire, and one big white dress, is a recipe for disaster (thinly stretched pun intended).

Belgian Waffles

Now THIS one is actually accurate.  This style of waffle IS Belgian; I’ve been to Belgium a lot and they’re exactly the same as the American ones.  Only, this time, the Americans just call them ‘Waffles’; no ‘Belgian’ in there whatsoever.  The ONE time it’s actually correct to name a food after a country and they don’t do it!

I despair, I really do.

(takes a moment to compose himself)

OK…moving on….

Paris is romantic

No it’s not.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it really isn’t. It’s grey, grimy, crap and in French.

It’s basically London with less friendly people…trust me!  The Hollywood held perception is that Paris is all cobble streets and baguettes, with accordion music faintly heard on the breeze, when in reality it’s a bustling city with the sound of constant droning traffic.

Oh, and it smells like toilet.  Not ‘Eau Du Toilette’…….an actual toilet.

Yes, it has the Eiffel Tower and yes the architecture is old and beautiful and it has museums and bridges and stuff, but that’s the case all over Europe.  Paris isn’t special in that respect.  Paris is, for want of a better word, a shithole.

Sorry France.3

London is all cobble streets and fog

I’ve touched on this before, but I’ve been asked this more than a handful of times.  Look at the description of Paris above and you’ve basically got London.  It’s pretty much the same, but not in French.  This is useful for understanding what’s being said about me by waiters and shop staff when I’m being overcharged for their lacklustre service.

The English all say things like ‘Tally ho’ , ‘Pip pip’ and ‘Guv’nor’

This is very true. Also, the French say “Sa·cré bleu!” a lot too, did you know that?

I’ve found that a lot of Americans say “Yee-Haw!!” and “Rootin’ Tootin’!!” all the time.

(rolls eyes until they hurt a bit)

British Food is terrible and bland

This is both wrong AND wrong.  In addition, it’s also wrong.

Firstly, it’s difficult to define ‘British food’ because Britain is actually made up of four countries/nations, each with their own foods and palettes.  I can’t speak for the other three countries, but I can speak for England.

Oh, did I mention that there is no understanding of the difference between England and Britain?  No?  Well, more of that in due course…

Anyway, back to the food.  There’s a belief that British food is bland and tasteless.  Ha ha ha ha WRONG!  Despite being a small(ish) island, Britain is located and influenced by all the European cuisine surrounding it, and it’s an international hub for commerce across the planet….so the food is AMAZING!  In fact there are more options and choices in the UK than I’ve found anywhere else, including the USA.

Aside from the traditional British foods like fish and chips, a full roast dinner, a proper ‘full English’ breakfast etc…we also have Indian, Italian, French, American (yes, we do burgers too), Greek, Turkish, Indian, Spanish, Japanese, African, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Polish, German, Blah, Blah, Blah……basically we have them ALL!

And yes, I meant to put ‘Indian’ in there more than once.  I LOVE Indian food and it has become the UK’s most favourite food!  Seriously, the national dish of the UK is Chicken tikka masala!

Mmmm, Chicken tikka masala….

And don’t even get me started on a good ol’ doner kebab!  It’s the most unhealthy and delicious food know to mankind.

Wait, no…that’s not right.  Let me try that again….

And don’t even get me started on a good ol’ doner kebab!  It’s the most unhealthy and delicious food know to drunk revellers outside the taxi rank after a night out on the piss.

No, it’s not a fucking ‘Gyro’

Now THAT’S British! (or Turkish actually)

America’s answer to post piss-up nosh?  McDonald’s.

Oh dear.

Europe is a country

Not only is this a belief (just like Africa), it’s surprising how many people I’ve spoken to who can’t point to Europe on a map, let alone the individual countries it consists of!

Besides, why bother learning about these countries when you can simply visit them at Epcot anyway?

(rolls eyes until they start bleeding slightly)

The UK, Great Britain and England are the same

I can understand why this is confusing, but even after I’ve explained it to one of my American friends, I can still see the lack of understanding behind their eyes.

Then again, it could be the huge doses of sugar and sodium in their diet.

(shrugs)

For clarity, here is a visual breakdown….

It’s like the United States, but with four states, not fifty.

Now, I’m sure this as clear as mud, but allow me to explain.

There are effectively four countries or ‘nations’ at play here.  England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.  The uncoloured area below Northern Ireland is, unsurprisingly, Southern Ireland (or ‘The Republic of Ireland’) and actually forms part of Europe.

Yes, they have Euros as currency.

Confused yet?

Well, the English occasionally refer to themselves as British, but the Scottish, Irish and Welsh don’t…..even though they are.  In the same way that people from Hawaii refuse to call themselves American…..even though they are.

So, when I’m told I have a British accent I do smile to myself as there is no such thing really….unless I include all four accents together:

“I say good sir, the laddie is just a wee bairn, to be sure, so it is boyo isn’t it?”

Hmmm….

And, whilst I’m on the subject of the the UK….here is how the Union Flag came to be:

This is why the flag in the muffin picture earlier was technically incorrect

We celebrate Thanksgiving and 4th July

I can’t begin to tell you how many times i’ve been asked if we celebrate these. Oh, wait….I already have!

And, for the record, we also have Hallowe’en4

However, we do not have the following holidays:

  • Labor Day (should be ‘Labour’, but hey, who am I to judge?)
  • Presidents Day
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Columbus Day

Take a moment and ask yourselves why this is.  If you can’t answer that question, feel free to ask me about it and see what kind of answer you get.

One of the UK holiday days I miss a lot is Boxing Day, which is the day after Christmas Day (still also the 25th December).  In the US a few have started calling it DAXMAS (Day After XMAS), but it’s not an official  holiday day and serves no purpose other than…well….it’s the day after Christmas.

For us Brits (all four nations), Boxing Day is another Christmas Day and I love it!

“Why is it called Boxing Day?”

Why thank you for stepping in Wikipedia!

All the presents. All the food. All the booze.

 

1 – It’s a reoccurring joke on here, but seriously….when are these harpies going to fuck off and leave us in peace?

2 – I have NO idea why the USA have added an ‘H’ to this word, considering the way they usually hack letters OUT of words.

3 – Not really.  I hate Paris.

4 – It actually originated in the UK!  You’re welcome.

Advertisements

Oh My Word! (Well, not anymore)

The other day I was talking to my family on Skype and I encountered a horrifying moment….I mean, more horrifying than having to speak to my family.

Am I right?  Huh?  Anyone?

Nope….not even a little bit

Ahem….moving on….

So anyway, we were chatting away and I had a moment where I nearly said ‘parking lot’ instead of ‘car park’. This was the first time my English brain didn’t automatically filter out the American version of a word. Usually I can separate all my Americanisms when I speak to friends and family back home, but this was the first time I slipped.

My heart sank.

Two years ago when I was about to move to the US, a lot of my friends mocked me, saying I would have an American accent within a year.

WRONG!

Although I did admit that I would no doubt take on American versions of words because, well, I wanted to be understood.

Use English words; get this look

This got me thinking about all the words and phrases I have actively adopted to be better understood in this land of burgers, guns, and self righteous entitlement. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of words and phrases that I’ve started using to blend in seamlessly with my surroundings.

Let’s start with the inspiration for this post:

Parking Lot – This has replaced Car Park and, frankly, I don’t care.  Both work.

Trunk, Hood and Fenders – These have replaced Boot, Bonnet and Wings respectively. To be honest, I miss the English versions of these words but if I were to use them here, most people would think I am talking about some weirdly dressed bird (aviary, not ovary)

Gas – This has replaced Petrol.  I stubbornly resisted this one for ages; plumping instead to use the word ‘fuel’ as some sort of workaround.  This was initially because Petrol is liquid and Gas is, well, gas…and that’s just stupid.  Then it occurred to me that, in the same way that Petrol is short for Petroleum, Gas is actually short for Gasoline and I’m actually stupid (short for Stupid Twat). However, ‘Gas’ is also used to describe farting which is incredibly confusing when someone announces they have gas.  That never happened with ‘Petrol’.  Not once.

Just saying.

Anyway, moving away from cars; let’s move to clothing…

Pants – This has replaced Trousers and is still as funny to me today as it was the first time I heard it being used on TV when I was a child.  I realise it’s short for ‘Pantaloons’, but that doesn’t make it any less funny, because the word ‘Pantaloons’ is simply farcical!

Pants has always been, and will always be, underwear…or English slang for ‘worthless’, ‘crap’ or just ‘a little bit wank’.

Mind you, if I say Trousers I AM understood in America, but then I’m mocked for being all hoity toity like I’m drinking tea and eating crumpets.  After all, isn’t that what all us Brits do all the time apparently? (rolls eyes)

Sneakers – This has replaced Trainers.  I hate this adjustment because not once, EVER, have I sneaked[1] anywhere in my sneakers…but I have trained in my trainers.  Still, I need to be understood, so sneakers it is.

He he he….’Pants’.  It still gets me.

Sweater – This has replaced Jumper.  To be fair, this isn’t a big deal.  Like a reverse example I gave for sneakers, I have sweated in a sweater but I’ve never jumped in a jumper…unless it has a high nylon content and I’ve touched something metal.

There are other clothing differences like ‘Suspenders’ which is the US word for the braces that hold up your ‘pants’ (snigger), whereas that word exclusively refers to ‘stockings and suspender belt’ in the UK and braces are those things used to straighten your teeth, but I haven’t adopted any of that shit because…seriously, who’s having conversations about suspenders, or braces, or pants.

He he, ‘Pants’.

Aaaaaaaanyway, here are some other words and phrases in no particular category…

Z – This has replaced Z.  Yes, I’m talking about the American way of pronouncing it as ‘Zee’ instead of ‘Zed’.  I do that now.  Deal with it.

At least now the alphabet song rhymes at the end.

Soda – This has replaced Soft Drink.  To be honest, I love this one!  If I were to say ‘soft drink’ I would be understood but I just love using the word ‘soda’.  That said, I won’t use it around my English friends as I don’t want to be accused of becoming a yank!

Limeys eh? Pff!

Elevator – This has replaced Lift…and my brain processes this one slightly different to the others.  This one I have to consciously think about because my brain still desperately wants to use the word ‘lift’.  In fact, I thanked someone for “holding the lift” for me yesterday. They smiled, but they also gave me that look.

Erm…..what?

Napkin – This has replaced Serviette.  The first time I ever visited America, my girlfriend and I went to a restaurant and I noticed my place at the table didn’t have a serviette, so I asked the waitress (sorry, ‘server’) for one. She looked puzzled for a moment and said “Yes, that’s me”. It was my turn to look at her puzzled before asking her again, “Have you got a serviette?”.

There was another pause.

“That’s me”, she repeated.

Er, what?

So I picked up my girlfriend’s serviette and held it up. “A serviette, do you have another one of these?” (shaking it passive aggressively in her face)

“Oh!”, she said, “You mean a napkin!  I thought you said ‘Have you got our server yet!'”

I’m pretty sure that sentence is grammatically incorrect, but nevertheless…now I use the word ‘napkin’.  It’s a little change that means I get to wipe my mouth when I get food everywhere.

I’m a messy eater.

Nom nom nom!

Vacation – This has replaced Holiday.  I knew this change was coming; it was inevitable. In America, the word ‘holiday’ refers to a national holiday like the 4th of July (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!), Thanksgiving (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!), Martin Luther King day (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!) and Labor day (no, we don’t celebrate that in the UK; stop asking!).

If you’re going away for a trip, then you need to use the word ‘vacation’ otherwise you simply aren’t understood….no matter how much context there is!

“My wife and I are going on holiday to Hawaii”

Whaaaa…?

Cellphone or Cell – This has replaced Mobile Phone, or Mobile. Now, this one is more of an issue with phonetics rather than not being understood. You see, Americans DO use the term ‘Mobile Phone’, but they pronounce ‘Mobile’ like it rhymes with ‘Noble’, and I REFUSE to pronounce it in the stupid way they say it.

Yes, I said it’s stupid. That’s because I have friends here who argue this with me and I like to get the final say.

Ha!

So now I say Cell, or Cellphone.

Get it?

Line – This has replaced Queue. When you’re waiting for your call to be answered by a call centre (center) and “your call is important to us”, you’re in a queue. When your printer has a lot of print jobs to process, it’s in a queue. When you’re stood at the post office behind everyone else, you’re in a line.

Wait, what?

I’ve tried addressing this with my American chums and, apparently, it’s because you are literally in a line. I suppose that makes sense as you’re also in a line when you’re dancing the conga at someone’s wedding. But on that occasion you’re not waiting to be served; you’re awkwardly holding the waist of some stranger in front of you as you shuffle along, kicking out your legs and clocking a child or two in the face.

Laundry – This has replaced Washing.  Now THIS is something I can get behind. I love using the word laundry as it specifically describes the act of washing one’s clothes

He he, ‘Pants’.

It makes no sense that we call it ‘washing’ in the UK, especially when it’s done at a Laundrette (or Laundromat in the US).  A clue is in the name LAUNDRette.

Groceries or Grocery Store – This has replaced Food Shop and Supermarket respectively.  Like ‘Laundry’, I love this change in my verbiage.  I’ve always disliked the fact that when someone in the UK says, “I’m going shopping”, it’s not clear if they’re buying food or a gimp swing.

This is usually remedied by the phrase, “I’m going to do a shop” which is exclusively supermarkety.

Now, moving away from English verbiage that has been replaced with their American counterparts, and onto phrases that have I have adopted and use regularly, much to my shame.

A.F. – This is an acronym (because America LOVES acronyms!) that literally means ‘As Fuck’.  For example, “It is hot A.F. today”, or, as I’ve heard some people say but I can’t bring myself to say it yet but i’m sure I will at some point in the future, “Bomb A.F.”.

This loosely translates to “My word, that was amazing”.

Hot Minute – This means “In a long time” or, as we Brits like to say, “In donkeys’ years”. Some drop the word hot and say “Yo dawg, I haven’t seen you in a minute”, but not me.  If the minute isn’t hot, it’s not worth mentioning…apparently.

Hot Mess – it’s the same as ‘Mess’, but hotter and used to describe someone rather than somewhere.  Allow me to elaborate….

If your bedroom is untidy, it’s not a hot mess…it’s just a mess.  However, if you’re drunk with vomit down your shirt, your trousers (he he, pants) around your ankles, pissing on your shoes whilst singing abusive songs at the clergy, you’re a hot mess.  In fact, you’re the hottest of messes….and you really shouldn’t be in church right now.

All Day, ErrDay – This literally translates to “All Day, Every Day‘, but is a little more ghetto and a lot fucking lazier.  That said, ever since Carl the sausage said it in Sausage Party, I’ve been loving this phrase and I use it….

….you guessed it….

….sometimes.

[1] Or ‘snuck’ as the Americans like to say.  It’s funny how ‘leaked’ isn’t ‘luck’, ‘peaked’ isn’t ‘puck’ and ‘freaked’ isn’t ‘fruck’….but hey, who am I to judge?

Oh, wait….

They’re taking the piss now

In true acronym form, there is a medical condition here in America called OAB.

For those of you unaware of what OAB stands for, or if you’re a fucking camel, OAB stands for Over Active Bladder.

Actually, the word ‘Overactive’ is not two words but I haven’t got the strength, the time or the energy to take the piss out of them for this.

Pun intended.

Anyway, OAB is a big thing here in America.  I’m sure it’s a big deal elsewhere in the world to those of us with the bladder of a 3 year old girl, but it seems to be a bigger problem here in America.

I can’t fathom why.

This is actually a ‘small’

Give America a little credit

1 year, 7 months and 26 days.

That’s all it took.

Just 604 measly days until some fucking fucker attempted to use my credit card.

Back in the UK I had held a credit card for over 22 years without any fraudulent activity at all and yet it seems that every American I have met has been the victim of credit card fraud.  I wonder why it happens here so often?

Very strange.

Oh, wait, my mistake, I’m talking total bollocks…it’s not strange at all.

As much as I love this country, they’re unbelievably lackadaisical about credit card security. They’re more careless than a micro-surgeon with Parkinsons; it’s ridiculous.

When I moved to America back in 2015, they were in the process of transitioning credit cards from the strip to the chip. This was for ‘added security’, and I so expected to be asked to enter my 4 digit PIN number[1] on every transaction.

Nope.

Apparently all that changed was that you now insert your card into the card reader at the front, instead of swiping it at the side.

Ooooh!

Basically, all it did was introduce Americans to another type of motion…..or ‘exercise’ as some of them call it.

And a lot of shops and stores don’t even use the chip reader because they don’t work or aren’t set up yet!

Not only are you not expected to enter your secret and secure 4 digit PIN, but more often than not you’re not even ask for a signature or proof of identity!

Petrol stations (Gas stations) vary in the way they take credit.  Some ask for a signature, some don’t; some ask for identification, most don’t. It’s a fucking minefield and thoroughly pisses me off when i’m not asked for ID.  I could be anyone!

It gets even worse at restaurants where the server takes your card away and you don’t see it for 5 minutes until they bring it back with a wad of receipts for you to sign. This, I discovered, is plenty of time for them to make a copy and charge it to some fucking clothing company in Beverly Hills to the tune of $650!

Wankers.

Back home in Blighty, the waiter or waitress (I really don’t like the term ‘server’) brings the credit card machine to your table and you enter your PIN number directly into it. The card never leaves your sight.

Not once.

Ever.

It’s such a simple thing and saves a shit-ton of paper.  Seriously, why am I given so many pieces of paper?  I always pause when trying to figure out which one i’m supposed to sign and which one i’m supposed to take home and wallpaper the house with.

And the scariest thing of all is that no-one in America seems surprised about credit card fraud; a compromised card over here is as common as rain in England…or drunken violence.

So now I had no choice but to cut up my existing card and wait for another to be delivered. Thankfully I have another credit card I can use until some bastard decides to help fund some Nigerian prince with it.

Debit cards, on the other hand, need a PIN number to be entered.

I give up.

[1] Yes, I know that PIN stands for ‘Personal Identification Number’, so saying “PIN number” is effectively saying “Personal Identification Number number”.

No swearing please

I’m in the gym again as my inability to put on socks without a run up is getting on my tits. 

My man tits. 

So,  anyway,  there’s a notice in here warning against swearing. We have to ‘be mindful and considerate to others’. 

Of all the places to ban swearing,  you’d think the last place would be a gym full of big ‘manly’ men and women. 

Fuck me,  what a pussy whipped bunch of cunts. 

This book is a crock of shit.

As I’ve said countless times, there are words here in America that don’t mean the same things as they do back in England.

For example, the word ‘Fanny‘ means ‘Bum‘ here in America, whereas in England it means ‘Vagina‘.

Say “Fanny Pack” in front of ANY Brit and watch them grin, ear to ear. To me, a packed fanny is something completely different, and usually the result of a good night.

And going off that, the word ‘Bum‘ in America means a homeless person, whereas in England we use the word ‘Tramp‘, which means ‘Slut‘ in the U.S.

It all gets a bit confusing,

Anyway, I saw this in a supermarket yesterday:

dumpmealsbook

Isn’t this what we all do, eventually?

Once I’d stopped laughing and shaking enough to take this photo, I wondered if maybe the word ‘Dump‘ isn’t used as an alternative to ‘Poo‘, both as a verb and a noun.

Nope.

The word ‘Dump‘ means the same in America as it does in England, so I can only assume – considering the full title – that this is a book of recipes than can be ‘dumped’ into a slow cooker (crock pot) and left to cook…with ‘5 Ingredients or Less!’

Either that, or it’s a book of recipes that make you shit yourself.

It’s a crap shoot.

I thought this was the land of the Free? 

In the UK there are sales and specials in the shops this time of year.  One of these specials is a 2 for 1 offer known as ‘Buy One,  Get one Free‘,  or BOGOF

This is a little tongue in cheek because the term “Bog off” is a playful version of “Fuck off“. Reserved for your kids pre-moving out age. 

Then “Fuck off”  is perfectly acceptable. 

Anyway,  in America they have the same offer,  but it’s called BOGO.

So you ‘Buy One,  Get One‘.  Isn’t that just ‘Buy one‘? 

I mean,  if I  buy a car,  I get a car. That’s what buying something is…isn’t it? 

So why leave out the word’ Free‘?  It’s not like America doesn’t like that word.  

Well,  except maybe ‘sugar-free’