Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 180

Flippin’ Nora!

I love that British phrase. I used it today, as in ‘Flippin’ Nora, it’s hot and I love it!’ (We’re hitting on 98 degrees this week and I’m having a hard time sweating it out by the pool 😉 )

A Brit and I were discussing how we come out with all these little colloquialisms / slang that leave our American friends totally flummoxed. Like what, exactly?

Well, like this:

A sample of British sayings….

Sod Off! – this is impolite and similar to ‘Get Knotted’ which = Piss Off or F*** Off! Brits have loads of sayings to tell people to go away, I feel!

Chuffed to Bits – one of my faves! It means very pleased with or very happy about something and is very similar to another British saying, “Pleased as Punch” (which I don’t use, but many do).

Really bloody happy!

Really bloody happy!

Nookie – or Having A Bit Of The Other – this is a covert phrase to let someone know you were ‘having it off’ with someone…..

Dog’s Bollocks – an elegant phrase that means something is ‘just super’ One of our favorite funny British sayings 😉

Just brilliant!

Just brilliant!

Dodgy – not to be trusted (usually applied to a secondhand car salesman). We an also get ‘dodgy’ kebabs (or kabobs) after a good booze up.

Oh, there are many, many more…see here for a ‘shed load’ more!

Are you a Mom or a Mum in the USA?

Parenting is different in the UK from the USA, that’s how I feel. I can’t quite put my finger on it. One UK mum crossed the Atlantic to embrace USA motherhood in true style.

This is Kate’s story

My name is Kate, my family and I have been residing here in the USA for the last 14 months. It all started in November 2011, when my husband was asked whether he would like to take up a job in the US office of his company here in Connecticut, after lots of tears from me (and my mum) we finally decided to make the move. I quit my job as a hydrographic surveyor and became a stay at home mummy to my toddler son and six months later we finally moved over after a very long and drawn out visa application process to Fairfield County, Connecticut in May 2012. Since the big move, our family has grown as our second son aka Baby American was born here in September 2012.

It was quite hard to settle here initially especially after giving birth with the constant feeding and nap times and having no car meant I was reliant on public transport and walking (there are a serious lack of pavements (or sidewalks) here and a lot of them are in poor condition so negotiating a pram on them could be interesting. However, in the last four months, I have taken the plunge and started to drive and not being tied down so much by feeding, I have finally started to meet lots more people. I have joined a local Moms’ Club and more recently I have become a co-organizer of the British Parents of Fairfield County meetup group – it is nice to meet other expats and children who are experiencing a similar situation to yourself and to enjoy a decent cuppa!

Kate on the coast

Kate on the coast

What do you enjoy most about living in the USA?

The thing I have most loved about living here is having the opportunity to explore and travel here. Although we have only been here for just over a year, we have explored most of Connecticut, been to New York several times, visited Washington DC, toured Rhode Island, seen Niagara Falls and Howes Caverns and spent a few days in Boston. I think we have tried to see as much as possible as we know that we are only staying in the States for two to three years so trying to make the most of our time here. I am already planning our next few trips away!

I also love being able to see my husband more, in the UK he spent 4-5 hours a day commuting to London, his total commute a day is now 30 minutes! A big difference and saving lots of pennies not having to spend money on a season rail ticket!

I love the seasons here – Spring had to be my favourite season so far – the blossoms were beautiful and loved seeing the return of the leaves to the trees. Living in New England, we also got to witness the beautiful autumn (fall) colours last year. The snow was beautiful although I got a bit annoyed with it by the end of the winter and I like the summer as the weather actually stays nice for longer than a few days. Thank goodness for air conditioning though otherwise I am not sure I would cope with the hot weather here!

Kate and her family

Kate and her family

What do you miss about the UK?

If I had been asked this about six months ago it would have probably been food-related, but generally if I fancy something British to eat I know where to source it – I can even buy British chocolate in a farmers’ market behind our house here! Of course, I miss my family and friends but Skype is brilliant and sometimes it doesn’t even feel like there is a whole ocean separating us! I also miss the simplicity of the NHS, the private medical system can be very complex here and trying to find a doctor that is covered by your insurance can be a complete headache. I definitely appreciate the NHS more now that I have lived in the US.

That's proper chocolate that is!

That’s proper chocolate that is!

What differences do you still encounter?

I still don’t get why Americans can’t buy a kettle and make instant coffee rather than buying it from Dunkin Donuts/Starbucks/Donut Delight! They could save so much money!

I live in a town where public transport is pretty good and you are able to walk most places but people still insist on driving everywhere.

My older boy would be off to full-time education in September if we were back in the UK, instead he has to wait another year to start kindergarten and we have to pay a fortune to send him to a pre-school for half days!

I am still not used to people being so outwardly friendly when we are out and about – I am someone who likes her own space and can find it quite intrusive when people want to strike up a conversation!

If you are pregnant, midwife-led care is not common here and you are usually looked after by an obstetrician. Postnatal care was very different from the UK too, in the UK you are expected to start moving around, getting your own breakfast and looking after your baby straightaway but in the US, you order a meal on the telephone and it is brought up to you within 30 minutes, if you wanted a nurse will come change your baby’s nappy (diaper) and if want a goodnight’s sleep the baby will be taken to the nursery and looked after. You are also expected to stay in hospital for at least two nights if you have had a natural birth and up to four nights after a Caesarian section, very different from NHS care where I gave birth and was discharged the same day!

A diaper or a nappy?

A diaper or a nappy?

The best thing about being a Brit in the USA?
Americans are always really interested about where we are from in the UK and lots of people comment that they love our accents.

What myths, stereotypes and preconceptions about the USA do you think do exist or are just a load of nonsense?!

One of the main myths is that all Americans are fat but whilst living here I haven’t come across that many really obese people. I always see lots of fit and healthy people and also see a lot more people out jogging here than the UK.

One preconception that definitely does exist is that most people have epidurals and c-sections than give birth naturally. I haven’t met many Americans here that gave birth naturally and without pain relief (gas and air is not available here in the US).

P.S you can read about my adventures at my blog!

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6 Responses to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 180

  1. Hi Kate,

    I was just in that same restaurant in Niagara last month. I will certainly be checking out your blog. My husband and I are considering a move to N.E. in the future. C-sections have become more common place in the last 15 years. I had my son naturally – all the way – simply because he was born so quickly the epidural had no time to take! And love, love, love Dairy Milk.


  2. Andy says:

    Well done on the colloquialisms. ‘Bollocks’ is probably the most versatile word in the English language and can be used in almost any situation over here because most people don’t know what it means. 🙂
    (The other one rhymes with ‘anchor’…)

  3. jacqueline moore says:

    Love to see the visit to Howe Caverns: more visitors should check out the little, not-so-famous places, and I remember going to Howe Caverns in 1968,,,. ohhh I’m old!

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