OK, so hate is a strong word. When I say hate I don’t mean it, it’s more like the things I find different/that annoy me/that I miss about good old England! That’s a lot to fit into a title and hate is the opposite of love so we’re gonna go with it! So, me dearest American readers, please do not be offended or think that I hate this beautiful country of yours because I certainly do not! I LOVE it here! There are just some differences I find weird/difficult to get to grips with!
So, following on from the 5 Things I Love about being an Expat in America…Part 1 – here is the flip side…
1. The time difference.
Living 5 hours behind your friends and family can be tough. Technically they’re living in the future and you’re in the past (I know this isn’t true but sometimes it’s how it feels!) and giving them a quick FaceTime or Skype takes some planning! For a start when you get home from work they’re in bed and when you get up in the morning they’re already at work. At the weekend when you want to give them a quick call before you go somewhere they’re already out because it’s mid afternoon so there’s no way you can talk to them unless you put your plans on hold or make sure you’re home early enough to catch them before they go to bed. In a nutshell, the time difference is PANTS.
2. ‘I love your accent!’
I think Americans wish they were British, or at least talked like us! Just about everyday I get the question ‘Where are you from?’ my reply is then quickly followed with ‘I love your accent!’ During one trip to Starbucks I had the exact same conversation with 2 barista – the first took my order, asked where I was from, obviously said I love your accent and the usual how long have you been here, I want to go to England and then the shock appears on their face when they realise England is actually dull and rainy! Then I went to collect my coffee at the end of the bar and guess what conversation I had? Yep, once again I got where are you from, I LOVE YOUR ACCENT, how long have you been here and the shock when they realise England is actually dull, wet and rainy on most days. It just never ends!! Every American loves the little British accent that makes its way out of my mouth and I think wishes they could have it instead of their American one. In fact, whilst out perusing the shops of Marietta, we spotted this little beast for the fridge:
3. Having to go EVERYWHERE in a car.
I miss being able to step outside of my house and walk somewhere. To the shop, to the pub, to work, to see friends, everywhere I go in Atlanta, unless it’s the pool on my apartment complex (although some of our neighbours even drive there!), I have to take the car. There’s no way around it, Atlanta is not a city for walkers! The local supermarket is literally around the corner (well in American terms, it’s probably a couple of miles away!) but, with no pavements (sidewalks!) to use it’s a bit tricky to walk there, even if I wanted to! We used to stroll to our local pub back in Leeds, there’s no way we can do that here! For a start, we don’t really have one close by and yet again there’s the lack of sidewalk problem! This means there always has to be a Des, also known as a designated driver, and that person is quite often me! (I should point out that the German does take the role of Des sometimes, I’ll be in trouble if I don’t!) And if we decide not to have a Des, leave the car and get an Uber home we then have the hassle the next day of going to pick the car up! Ugh. The European in me wants to walk!!!
4. American humour.
Americans seem to have a different sense of humour to us Brits. They’re a pretty serious bunch and sometimes don’t appreciate it when you attempt to crack a stupid joke that usually involves you making fun of yourself. Here’s an example: So, when we moved into our apartment complex, the guy sorting out our lease was telling us how we can rent the clubhouse for parties and things. Now, we’d already told him we’d just moved over from England, he was aware of that, so I came out with the line ‘that might be hard with our non-existent friends?’ My attempt at making fun of myself didn’t go down well. He looked at me with a deadly serious face and moved straight on to the next point in the lease agreement. Whoops. Lesson learned there! The British humour definitely failed! When he told us our mailbox number was 69, both me and the German smiled at each other but realised we should keep that little comment to ourselves! Now, I’m not saying this is every American, I don’t want to fall out with you guys at all! It’s just a little observation I’ve made over the last 12 months!
5. A proper cup of tea!
Being a Brit, I can’t live without a proper cup of tea! It’s our staple drink, we drink it morning, noon and night (the German’s started doing that lately and realised it’s not helping him sleep and actually keeping him awake because of its caffeine content! numpty!) but it has to be just right! Before I arrived in the land of the free (America that is!) the German was already here and he’d stocked up on British Blend Tetley tea. My thought – Amazing! The boy has done good! However, once I got here and tasted the supposed ‘British Blend’ tea, I soon realised it wasn’t the real thing! I don’t know what was different but it just didn’t taste the same! Booo. All that has changed now though thanks to Pa Cook! Yep, before I waved goodbye to England again a few weeks ago, Pa Cook made sure there was a HUGE bag of proper tea in my suitcase! PG Tips to be precise and it is delicious! Thanks Pops! The German reckons there’s way too many tea bags and we’ll never get through them but I’m adamant we will and I’ll be bringing more back on my next trip home! We’ll see who’s right…
Are you an expat? What do you hate (I know, strong word but you know I don’t mean that!) about your new surroundings?