Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 224

What the expats have to say about America

I hung out with a bunch of British and Aussie expats last night. It’s always interesting to get an insight into how different expats view their experiences and listen to their perspective of the U.S.

This is what it boils down to:

1. Question: ‘What do you love about living in America?’ Answer: ‘I love turning on red and dry cleaning’. Yes, turning on red is most excellent and, we decided, certainly increases traffic flow. Are we aware of which states and cities you are not allowed to turn on red? We most certainly are not! Dry cleaning….this phenomenonon must be something I have missed, since Daisy Dukes and bikinis don’t really warrant a dry clean. But I hear it is cheaper and faster and not a ‘luxury’ as we find it in the UK. Excellent news!

2. We don’t ‘get’ American football, but we like the atmosphere. Last night was the first night of the Ravens’ season and didn’t we know it by the amount of purple shirts and the smell of testosterone. And the whooping. Yes, we want to see a game, and we love that people love it so much, but we still don’t get the posturing and shoulder pads, and wonder why they don’t stop fannying about and just run with it or kick the bloomin’ ball.

That Ravens' purple is everywhere!

That Ravens’ purple is everywhere!

A testosterone-filled bar of football fans. So many screens in so many bars!

A testosterone-filled bar of football fans. So many screens in so many bars!

3. Food….a lot of time was spent talking about food and where to shop. We concluded that the UK was cheaper in the average supermarkets, certainly for fresh goods, but that we rather enjoyed the experience of ‘store’ shopping over here. But where, oh where, can one buy fresh fruit in Annapolis town? Nowhere, apparently.

4. Road names. Yes, we love American road names, particularly in this neck of the woods. They are amusing and charming.

Marvellous road names, like this...

Marvellous road names, like this…

....and this :)

….and this πŸ™‚

5. We still have trouble remembering to drive on the right, not on the left. This was proven to me by my Aussie friend as we pulled off a slip road from the freeway last night.

Me: ‘Other side…’
No reaction….
Me: ‘Other side…..OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD!’
Her: ‘Oh shit!!!’

And we don’t get involved in road rage, for fear the other person might have a gun…..

6. Some Americans get confused by our accents. UK peeps do get asked if they are from Australia and Aussies are often asked if they are from the UK. I’ve had the Aussie thing. It’s not a bother, only we do have very different accents to our ears, but obviously that’s not always distinguishable to the American ear. Interesting.

And, so, that concludes the panel of Aussie and British expats’ opinions of living in the USA today. πŸ™‚ Thanks for having us!

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11 Responses to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 224

  1. Jane says:

    Sorry for nearly killing you on the way home… Oops!

  2. Joan says:

    You should do a whole column on the Columbia street names. My favorite used to be “The Bowl” but now that I have gotten older, my favorite is “Liquid Laughter Lane.”

  3. EmmaK says:

    The only reason I don’t forget to drive on the right is because I only learnt to drive in the USA. There is a street near me called Mitten Lane and I so want to live there!

  4. annierie says:

    We had friends who lived on Deep Cup. Really!

    As for fruit in Annapolis, there are farmstands quite a few places. And, at least two farmer’s markets. Trader Joe’s. I’ll ask my sister in law this weekend where they get their fresh fruit and veggies. They live near Bay Ridge just south of the main part of Annapolis.

  5. I think the confusion over the accents comes from two things: 1.) In general the English accent we hear on TV here and in film is one of two or three accents including what I call the “BBC accent” (you know what I’m talking about) and perhaps the cockney accent (think Mary Poppins.) 2.) Most Americans, unless you’re an Anglophile, have no idea there are so many different accents in the UK so they are taken back when they hear one that doesn’t fit what I describe in #1.

    I’m glad you think food is cheaper in the UK because I have always thought so myself. And it’s a real shame that you can’t find fresh produce in any town in the U.S. Ridiculous!

  6. Marie says:

    Agree with food being cheaper in the UK in general, however, my last two shops here in UK – which I smugly considered to be ‘cheaper’ than my usual US shop – actually came to the same amount after I did a quick ‘currency converter’; most disappointing! Interesting about Americans not being able to recognise the difference UK/Aussie accents. I didn’t know until the other day that my two older girls can’t distinguish between the two either after being in the States for 5 years!!

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