Brits in the USA
I like reading other Brits’ views of the USA and Anthony Windram’s amusing views of his time in the USA always make me chuckle. Anthony writes for The Displaced Nation and often comments on his time out here with a very British viewpoint. It’s worth reading!
All about Anthony
I came out here because I married a New Yorker who had been living and working in London for several years. I guess that makes me a trailing spouse. If I’m honest, I’d never previously had any yearning to move to the States, but seemed like a diverting enough life opportunity when it was presented to me.
Now getting on for six years in the States. Initially I was on the east coast, Philadelphia and New York, but now I am in California where after several years I still haven’t got a tan. More can be discovered at my blog, Culturally Discombobulated.
How do you think parenting in the USA compares to parenting in the UK?
I’m very new to this parenting lark so I have little idea. Seems rather overwhelming which either side of the pond you’re on. I’ve just been concentrating on making sure the child isn’t encrusted in baby poop to note any cultural nuances.
What are the things about growing up in the USA that you fear for your kids, and what things are you glad they won’t experience in the UK?
That they’ll grow up not understanding the beauty of a good LBW, but on the plus side, they’ll have no idea who Keith Lemon is. Every cloud . . .
What is the best thing about being a Brit in the USA?
If I get something wrong or get my pronunciation of a word incorrect, I can just fob everyone else off and claim that it’s correct in Britain. Surprising how often it works.
What traditions and traits come are visible from each culture in your current lifestyle?
In terms of being more American, I’ve become a bit more demanding in terms of customer service. Not in an unpleasant way, you understand. I’m not an ogre when I’m in a store, but I’ve become use to a different standard of service since living in the US. Now when I’m back in the UK I get impatient with customer services in a way I never would before.
In what way do you think your life is different because you are in the USA, and how do you think it would compare if you were in the UK?
Not so much because of the US, but I certainly feel I’ve grown as a person in having lived abroad. I think it’s given me a broader perspective on the world, and hopefully made me less narrow-minded.
What are your favourite myths, stereotypes and misconceptions about the USA?
The one about Americans being such lousy world travelers. Ignoring, for a moment, the pitiful amount of vacation time the average American receives, it’s a continental country; if I drove from San Fran to New York it would be like driving from London to Bucharest. There’s so much to see just within the 50 states that it seems churlish in being snobbish about this.
Five things you miss about the UK?
Black pudding. Seriously, I miss black pudding over my family.
Shared pop culture knowledge. At times I’ve been in meetings or at dinner parties and you want to make an amusing reference and then you realize that nobody else in the room is going to get the reference to The Clangers or Kenneth Williams or Morecambe & Wise that you were planning on making.
Processed meat in some kind of pastry. They’re not so big on that here. You can end up missing a good pork pie or sausage roll.
Pervasiveness of history. Even in the smallest village you’ll find a church that’s hundred of years old. End up living in somewhere that’s full of strip malls built in the last ten years or so, you really miss that historical grounding.
The weather. Seriously, we complain about it, but it’s not bad. Four seasons of rather temperate weather – not too shabby at all.