I get asked these 3 a lot “Do you miss England?” “Is America all that different?” and “Do you love Harry Potter?”
The short answers are yes, yes and no. I will explain why:
First of all, as I said in a previous post, I miss many things: Marks and Sparks. Greggs. Sausage Rolls. The countryside. And of course, my friends. England is forever my first home. But do I miss the dreary and dismal winters? Drizzly summers? Chavs? The NHS? Incessant drinking culture? Expensive cost of living? Nope.
Second of all, America is very different. I could go on for ages about this, but I will list the first ones that pop into my head.
The humour– I recall my first year, perhaps my first week of University, in America in 2008, watching the US version of ‘The Office’ confused and bored out of my mind. In turn I wanted to teach British humour and made my room mate watch both ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ and an episode of the UK ‘The Office’. It was as different as night and day.
The spellings. On many essays have I been marked down for my grammar, spelling and use of ‘archaic’ language. Despite my swearing that in England we still use words like ‘whilst’, and after changing my Spellchecker on Word between the US and UK versions, I confused myself so profoundly that I still struggle to spell to this day. (And I haven’t been in uni for over a year.)
Foods- and portion sizes. At the risk of insulting my American friend’s palettes, all I am going to say here is that my very dear friend, from Armenia, another international student at BYU (who actually ended up being one of my bridesmaids), first bonded in our college cafeteria job over our disgust of American food. Most specifically the bread. If you have ever gone to Europe you will understand why.
The teeth. You can always discern a Brit from a Yank by those pearly (or not so pearly) whites. I have a funny story to tell here but can’t for fear that many of you British readers know who I would be talking about.
The stereotypes. They EXIST people! The Black Pride. The Asian pride. The Gangstas. The Cheerleaders. The Duck Dynasty people. The Cowboys. The Surfer dudes. Teens hanging out at the mall. And it’s hilarious! After growing up watching things like ‘Honey’, ‘You Got Served’, ‘Bring It On’, ‘Recess’, ‘Hey Arnold’ and all that, I now see that the media here plays on and perpetuates reality. Europeans should come on holiday just for the pure shock factor. It’s great. (Not trying to insult anyone here, just stating my observations.)
Lastly, I need to address my dislike of Harry Potter. I usually have to walk on eggshells about this. Not exaggerating. Understand, I have only ever read the first half of book one and I actually threw it down in disgust. JK Rowling, (at that point) was one of the worst writers ever to have been published. Perhaps I offend too many folk’s levels of readability, but I kid you not, what I read as a 12 year old girl was complete trollop. This came up in conversation with a lady I knew through church once in Oxford (before we moved to California). And do you know what she did? She not only un-friended me on Facebook, but stopped talking to me in person! She was so mortally offended. So curse me, and do your worst. But I won’t change my mind. Many say she wrote for the ‘Harry Potter/younger generation’, but hate to break it to you- I am the Harry Potter generation. Aka, if Harry was real, we’d have been in the same year at school. People tell me she improved with time, and I am yet to learn that for myself. Perhaps one day I’ll try her stuff again. But honestly, my stance on Harry Potter has provoked so much comedy and drama over the years, I’d hate to change it. If people read as much C.S. Lewis, Roald Dahl, Tolkien or Shakespeare as they do Harry Potter, the world would be a much more linguistically educated place.