Knowing me, knowing you – aha!
America is missing something, and that thing is most excellent and needs to enjoyed.
That thing is Alan Partridge, aka Steve Coogan. America knows him for Philomena, but we Brits knew him a long time before that. Alpha Papa, the Alan Partridge movie, has just come out in the States and this is my piece about it.
Come on, America, feel the Alan Partridge love 😉
Jessica’s expat tale
One of the reasons that I love to write is because of my teachers at school who recognised my love of the written word and who told me to always write*, no matter what I was writing, and thus I do, and thus you are subjected to my passion for writing on pretty much a daily basis.
(*My word, did I actually take advice from teachers at school?! It appears so.)
One such teacher was Mr Charles, who was my First Year English teacher at Wellington School in Somerset. He was a bit of a cool dude, who also coached the cross-country team and athletics squad. I still have my English books, which I wrote in Mr Charles’ class, and they are full of creative stories, journals and poetry. The late, great Mr Charles was an inspiration to me.
Anyhow, Mr Charles’ daughter, Jessica, is also a British expat in the USA and we’ve been corresponding, reminiscing about school and her dad, and commenting on various aspects of living out here by the wonders of the Interweb. I asked Jessica to share her experiences in America-land, and this is the tale of her adventures so far.
All About Jess
I have been in the USA for 10 years. I amusingly live just outside the little town of Somerset in Wisconsin! I met my husband in Mexico while I was on vacation with my girlfriends on an island called Isla Mujeres, just off the coast of Cancun. Guy had sailed over with a friend of his that has a sail boat, from Key West, hit bad weather and had to come inland for a couple of days to ride out the storm. So it was obviously meant to be!
We did the long distance thing through the summer of 2003 and then both remortgaged our houses in early 2004 and spent 8 months travelling round Europe. We went the Olympics in Athens and caught several stages of the Tour De France, just to name a couple things. Came back to the US, spent the winter in the Florida Keys and then got married the following March!
As I mentioned we now live in WI, but I work in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul just over the border in Minnesota (just about half an hour away). Guy was born and bred in St.Paul then moved across the border about 20 years ago. I manage a spa and my husband works construction.
Guy built our house. We live on 5 acres which is nice as we have two border collies. We do not have any kids. I compete in agility with my dogs. So when I am not working, and it is not -20 outside, that is what I’m doing! I love the space that I get living in the States especially, I guess, because I live in the Upper Mid West. After living in London for 10 years previously it is fantastic to have room to move! I have not got used to the extreme cold here in the winters. Multiple sub zero days (that’s fahrenheit!) get old, and -40 is just down right silly! But I quite like the snow and have learnt to cross-country ski. The summers are glorious, long and hot. We have six months of winter and six months of summer here, with a couple of weeks, tops, of Fall and spring!
The people here in WI, MN are very family orientated. I was struck first by the amount of people who regularly go to church versus those of us in England who go for christenings, weddings and funerals, but otherwise don’t bother!
I have conversations with my mother a lot about people in the US, and I think the reason people from England have so many problems understanding some of the things that happen here is because they do not understand the diversity here. It goes from extreme far, religious right to far, far left, The pendulum swings much further than it does in England I think. Americans are also more insular, it is not unusual for someone not to have travelled outside of the continental US and they are brought up with the ingrained belief that America is the best country in the world. This belief, in its self puts us a little apart I think, as in England we seem to have an ingrained belief that everything is a bit shit, but one “mustn’t grumble” about it!
I obviously have American friends here, but I enjoy speaking with English people when I find them. It is true what they say about our ironic sense of humor!
To be honest I have been here for so long now that I don’t really remember food and stuff that I particularly miss apart from TWIGLETS and MARMITE!!!!!! I order Marmite from Amazon by the case, and my Mum sends me large bags of Twiglets every few months! I am also the product of my wonderful, English teacher father, and try to cling desperately to my English spelling and grammar! (Although my American spell check has annoyingly ‘corrected’ all the offending words.)
FOOTBALL will always be FOOTBALL, and American Football will always be silly. Cheerleaders are weird. American football is kinda crap rugby with silly padding, a ridiculously enormous team, and way too many stops in play. I quite like Ice Hockey though! 🙂
I love the word sneakers, it is one of my favorite Americanisms!
Oh, and the Brits do have a better selection of crisps!
My husband was really amused by the fact that not all English houses have a dishwasher, tumble dryer etc. It is such the norm here! And he also loved the fact that in England you can park on either side of the street! It really is the little things, isn’t it!
Yes, Jess, you are definitely the product of your father! The USA is lucky to have you 🙂 .