Saturday, January 30, 2010

Reflections of a Brit In America

It has now been nearly 10 years since this Brit met Callie and decided to come to America
Some things seem second nature and normal, others still seem strange

1. Driving on the wrong side of the road
2. Driving an automatic car
3. Where we are the much slower pace of traffic and better mannered drivers
4. Not being able to walk to the local shops
5. The wonderful variety and color of the birds
6. Getting used to spelling things how they sound not how I was taught E.G. Color -- Colour and many many more examples.
7. Having a garden bigger than a postage stamp and using a tractor to mow the lawn
8. Collecting the mail from the end of the drive rather than mailman putting it through front door letter box
9. Big boys toys like quads, trucks, Snowmobiles and Motorbikes ( Last two I AM NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE we have democracy in this house and Callie and Zoe outvote me every time even when Zoe is at college )
10. College Tuition and the debts kids build up getting an education
11. Kids going to school at 7.00 AM that still blows me away
12. School Busses for most kids going to school
13. Calling things by different names ie washing up liquid ( Dishsoap) plus loads of others to numerious to mention
14. The price of Petrol whoops sorry Gas
14. The very different political system and how influenced politics is by big business
15. And last but not least the size of the country as demonstrated below

I am currently working on a new web project looking at events around the country and the vast differences when writing up these two events bought this home to me

Mount Dora Arts Festival
Mount Dora, Florida
February 6th to February 7th
Mount Dora Arts Festival

Mount Dora Arts Festival is one of the largest in the state with about 285 artists on location from all over the world attracting more than 300,000 visitors. The artists are selected by a panel of jurors from nearly 900 applicants. Wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen and sunglasses. There is a lot to see spread out all throughout the town.

Portland WinteRush
Fort Portland, Maine
February 13th
Portland WinteRush

Portland WinteRush, get out and enjoy winter featuring Maine Snow Sculpting Contest, Snow Plow Parade, State Street Extension Sledding Hill, Build Igloo Forts with Snowball Fights along the Bowling Green Path, Snow Painting and a Scavenger Hunt. Dress up warm and wear boots.


Jean said...

Ironic contrast there between those two events. *lol* I guess is does point out the size of this nation and its climate's diversity.

Funny how I don't even thing twice about any of those things on your list. Now I am....thanks. *G*

Donna said...

I'm still finding subtle differences between Canada and the US, I can only imagine how different things are from the UK!

(My new blog:

Breathe said...

Just going from Texas to Chicago was a culture shock, I can't begin to imagine coming in from a place where everyone drives the other way!

cdncowgirl said...

Just curious... what time do kids go to school in Britain?

Claire said...

"College Tuition and the debts kids build up getting an education"

that happens in the UK now as well, since grants were pretty much abolished and fees introduced.

Claire said...

Just curious... what time do kids go to school in Britain?"

08.30/0900 until about way anyone would start school at 07.30! even when I was at a private boarding school, lessons didn't start until 0900...

there's at least one secondary school (high school equivalent, i think) where the teenagers don't go in until 10.30 after scientific research on how much sleep that age group in fact needs... with beneficial results.

The People History said...

cdncowgirl When I was a kid school bell rang at 10 minutes to nine.

Take it from me having helped my oldest in University in England even without grants etc it is less than half price.

I think the big difference here is if kid chooses a College Out Of state the fees just blow me away.

If Zoe did not have and is keeping close to 4.0 GPA at school and in college, and is finishing one semester early her debt including accommodation would have been close to $100,000 that would be before she went for Masters or any further

After I wrote that list I thought of tons more differences including all Mobiles having a SIM card so you could change from one provider to another.

And one I miss a lot from England to living in Wisconsin no real Spring here. sort of drifts from winter to summer

The People History said...

One more comment

To go from Maine to Florida just get in your car and drive , that sort of blows me away when the temp here and now in Portland Maine is 21 and in Mount Dora Florida is 51

Of course it confuses me somewhat when here in WI it's currently 16 which is a fair few miles SOUTH of Maine.


Rising Rainbow said...

It's only to you, Steve, that we're driving on the wrong side of the road. To us, you're the one that's on the wrong side. Funny thing about perspectives.

I have to laugh when you mentioned calling things by different names. I have been told by my British friends I mustn't use a specific word because of what it means there. Who knew I was being sexually explicit? Certainly not me.

Then to top it off, the word verification says "chaste" It must be one of those days.

Thanks for the post.

cdncowgirl said...

You know I wasn't really thinking about school as I have no children. Then you posted the time and I realized that here (Saskatchewan, Canada) I started school at 8:55.
Also all last week I drove my niece & nephew to school which started at 8:50.

Michelle said...

I was with a Brit for many years and was always (and still am) amused by all those little things you mention, and more.

What a coincidence - the Mt. Dora festival you mentioned is right around the corner from me! Unfortunately, today is not a day for either sunscreen or sunglasses, cold and rainy!

John and Regina Zdravich said...

It is always neat to have a foreigners view of the differences between the US and other countries. We have friends and relatives in Europe - they have been here and we have been there. It is always fun to discuss these types of things....
Regarding the size of the country, when John's cousin from Germany first visited, he asked if we could drive to the Grand Canyon for the weekend (we live in Indiana).