Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 629

Things about the USA that I won’t miss and things that America should adopt from the UK or just get rid of

America, USA, The U.S, Uncle Sam – I loves ya, you know I do, but having been here three years there are things I just have to let off steam about. You don’t have to change them or adopt these things, they are simply suggestions which might be helpful, you know. Whatevs, I won’t hold it against you if you simply dismiss it with a wave of your flag.

Just have a think about these things…..

We love ya, USA!

We love ya, USA!

Signage – where I live in Columbia, MD signage is shocking. Where am I going, what is down that road, where is such and such a place or village? I don’t know! Tell me, sign it, let me know, cos I might just visit and not need the Interweb or my GPS to get there. πŸ™‚ And I guarantee locals would find some of this info useful!

Toilet doors – what’s with these massive gaps where you can see someone having a poo? Not that I’m looking on purpose, you understand, but it’s hard not to see bits and bobs when there’s a two inch gap in front of your face. For all the primness and prudeness that is given towards nudity in the USA, apparently it’s okay to see someone having a quiet moment to themselves with their trousers down.



Undertaking – oh flipping heck, this is a nutty thing. Speeding up to undertake on the inside lane?! It’s dangerous, y’all! Stop it right now!

Roundabouts and indicators – it would be really cool if, when folks take their driving tests, they are taught about using indicators on roundabouts to let fellow drivers know where you intend to go. It’s super helpful! Try it!
An American roundabout (rotary)

An American roundabout (rotary)

Driving – in America (not all of it, I know!) folks love to get in their cars and drive. They drive everywhere. In Columbia, MD the public transport sucks, so moms are driving their kids everywhere all day every day and no one can be arsed to walk. You can go the bank and the store and post office, but be prepared to drive and even if you can walk the distance between those places, it appears everyone prefers to get in their cars. Green? Environmentally friendly? Healthy? Er, no, no and no.
This on yer telly!

This on yer telly!

Commercials on TV – so effing many of them! They just pop up – bang! You’re watching something and you’re about to find out who dunnit, and then there’s a Viagra advert that appears out of nowhere and tells you how to sort out that problem. And that’s at 4pm in the afternoon. Weird, and v v v annoying.
Do it!

Do it!

TVs in bars and restaurants – I get that there are sports bars and people want to watch the game when they’re having their burger, but why all the TVs – like 17 of them in one bar all showing something different. It’s an ADHD nightmare – ‘squirrel’! If I want a romantic meal with my other half, I don’t want his attention on the sports match above him. He might though, to be fair. And I suppose if you’re on a disastrous date, it’s potentially a good distraction. πŸ˜‰ But really, do we need more TVs shouting stuff at us in our lives?!
Long summer hols – hey, 10 weeks of summer hols – it’s enough to drive the parents crazy. I should know. Yes, summer camps are awesomeballs and I wish the UK had more of them to choose from, but with only 6 weeks of hols in the UK, it makes life easier (and cheaper) for working parents. In the UK they have half terms, which are a lovely little break for everyone (parents, teachers, kids) and gives us all a chance to recover. It also means we won’t want to ditch each other half way through the summer. I highly recommend them.
Everyone’s a winner – this is a school thing that really bugs me. Not true, not a good life lesson. People lose. People come last in life. Deal with it, kids.
Boxing Day – in the UK this is a day off, but not so in the USA and that’s basically crap. It should be. Just sayin’.
Soda obsession – one word, America: ENOUGH!Β Massive gurt cups of the stuff. Like massive gurt bigger than my head massive. I can’t take it anymore!!!
Loving ya, America-ca!

Loving ya, America-ca!

Don’t get me started on the poor vacation time folks get at work, the tipping even if there is bad service, and the shockingly crap maternity time off, cos that takes us down a political route and we know I’m far too fluffy for all that! So, there we have it – some bits and bobs to think about, Americaland. You know, put it in the pot, or at Congress or whatever. None of the above have had a serious impact on my life as an expat, but I think each one has made me consider alternative options that are possible for a better America. Be cool, Americanas. We’re still friends, right?! Course we are! Tis all just a chuckle and we each have our different quirks across the pond. Remember, one is not right and ine is not wring: they’re just different πŸ™‚ . And they make us who we are. This Brit will still be waving that Stars and Stripes flag come July 4th πŸ˜‰
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16 Responses to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 629

  1. Yes! Especially the long holidays–it’s much better to have breaks through the year so you don’t get so fried!!!

  2. Pingback: Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 629 | ukdesperatehousewifeusa

  3. I have a feeling you held back a bit. πŸ™‚ I have no argument with you on most of them.

    Claire, where did you live in England where they had clear signage? It certainly wasn’t East Anglia. I can attest to that.

    And some school districts are adopting full-year terms closer to British schedules with mixed results. There are advantages and disadvantages to having holidays when no one else is having them, and taking smaller holidays certainly does work out better for working parents.

    • I don’t know about signage in East Anglia cos I’m usually asleep when we drive thru there as its pretty far from us (and my in laws live there! πŸ˜‰ ).

      I’ll be interested to see about British schooling….!

      Sent from my iPhone

      • For England, that is a long journey, I am sure. And if you are behind caravans, forget it. πŸ™‚

        Oh, it’s the American school districts, but they run British-type schedules. My nieces in Georgia go to school year-round with an abbreviated summer holiday. To be honest, my sister-in-law hates it. She really doesn’t feel like she can establish a routine because it seems like once the girls are in a groove, a break comes up and throws everything off.

  4. andrea says:

    Sometimes I get oddly defensive when I read criticisms about the US but I agree with all of these! Why ARE there big gaps in the stall doors?!

  5. One more thing…did you read my post about tipping? I would hope it would answer your question about why we tip the way we do.

    • Yes πŸ™‚ I do get it, it was just weird adjusting to it!

      Sent from my iPhone

      • I get it. Nobody told me not to talk in lifts. When I did find out, I found it weird that there was this forced silence. That only made me want to talk even more and made the adjustment harder.

      • Oh haha! I’m going to try that when I get back! πŸ™‚

        Sent from my iPhone

      • Funny story. Here I was, 1992, 19-year-old young woman, just moved to England, first time in London. I got in a lift with a woman who had the most adorable pair of purple wedges on. The doors close, and I just exclaimed at American teenage volume, “Oh my God, where did you get those shoes!? They are amazing!” She just looked alarmed, inched against the wall, and eeked out, “Selfridges.” I got the hint that she didn’t want to talk to me, but I did not understand what I did. Needless to say, when she got to her floor, she broke land speed records. It wasn’t until I recounted the story at work that I learned the error of my ways.

      • Love it!

        Sent from my iPhone

  6. SJS says:

    You are so right! I get lost everytime I go to Columbia MD! Love your blog!

  7. Mark Gerrard says:

    The reason for undertaking is simple, people won’t get the hell out of the left or middle lanes when they are done overtaking! Especially once you leave NJ and get into PA, DE, MD and VA. If they won’t move over then I’ll undertake and either cut them off or give them the finger or both!!

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