I can speak American, but I am still learning how to speak English

Whenever I go somewhere to do anything official or business related, I always take a native Brit with me because it is impossible and embarrassing trying to communicate a lot of the time.

I have been here for five years or so, and I know how to use most of the words. Eggplant=aubergine, zucchini=courgette, I want=please may I have etc.

But sometimes I still get really baffled at not being understood.

When my mother visited England the last time she tried to order water in a restaurant. “Wader” she said. excuse me? “Wadter“. Pardon? “Water!” Me: oh, she just wants a wowta! Oh, you wanted a wowta! OK!  Le Sigh.

I was at a pub a while ago and without thinking, I went to the bar and ordered a diet soda. We worked on this for three minutes. “We only have regular sodah. I don’t think there is diet sodah. Do you mean slimline?”

Me: ???

Barmaid: ???

Then I realize my mistake. OH. Right! I want a Diet…(think of the word think of the word) soft drink? Pepsi? Coke? haha? Being a Brit in customer service the bitch just rolls her eyes, gives me three cubes and takes my money without another word. I die a little inside.

I was at a Slimming World meeting the other day. Obviously I have my best Brit friend with me to translate. We were discussing things to put on our food. I suggest Hot Sauce. Out of 30 people, not one had a single clue what I was saying. Hot Sauce. HotSauce. HotSauce.  Nope. My friend is already laughing at my foolishness.

“She means   Hoot      susse!” (laughter) “oh, she was saying HAWTSAASS!” (laughter) Fine, that was funny.

Sometimes, phrases get in the way. I was watching TV with some Brits when I saw a haggard looking lady and said “Wow! She looks like she was ridden hard and put away wet!”

These people knew me and could not believe what their little British ears had just heard, coming out of my mouth. Then they started to giggle, then guffaw and then were rolling as I continued to say “What? What? What’s so funny?”

“ALL I MEANT WAS that she looked like a lot of hard road! WHAT? Why are you laughing at meeee?”

I finally got them to understand that she looked old before her time, or had had a rough day. I have never lived this down.

These same people watched me walk into the room with a drink in each hand, one to serve, one for me, and I innocently said ” Look! I am double fisting!” I thought I was making a joke. In Englaland, I was making a FAR DIFFERENT joke than the one I had intended.  Hilarity ensued.

I never use fisting in any way anymore. Even if it only means that you have a drink in each hand. Dirty minded bastards.

I am tempted to suspect that I am being deliberately misunderstood, now that I know the local sense of humour, but I am sure the majority of the time I am just baffling people. I know this because my best friend sometimes says words to me that I just do not get.  After three repeats I sometimes say…..can you spell that? Then we laugh at how a simple word can confuse us both.

The interesting part is that my closest friends and family have evolved to speak American rather than correct me or ask questions. They know how I use the word Pants. They sometimes text me to see if they can come round for a soda. I find it flattering. I have asked them to stop me when I say Pants because I really should not be allowed to go on this way.

Can you imagine when my teen-age daughter brings a boy over and I casually say  “I like your Pants!” GAH!

Don’t get me started on voice recognition systems at call centers. (see this video) or my experience talking to the Scots.

Have you ever had any problems in translation with different countries or parts of the same country? I’d love to hear about it!

*updated*

I was reminded of this happening to me. Where the toilet became an issue. It still is.

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I cannot believe that the Brits cannot Do Ice. New, updated Ice Issues; it’s poisonous.

I really need some Americans to chime in on this because I cannot, will not, do NOT get the Ice problem in the UK.

I have complained, at length, about the lack of the ice in the UK here. (worth a read, one of my better posts)

But now, i have discovered a new reason why there is such a lack of frozen water on this side of the pond.

Apparently it is poisonous.

If you make ice in Englandland, it suddenly turns into poison. And this is America’s fault.  (of course it is.)

OK, fine. But in America, we have a lot of ice. Every where you go, there will be ice. A lot of it. All frozen and full of goodness. Sometimes, people touch and interact with ice. I have never known a single person to DIE from ICE in America, where the ‘poisonous ice’ comes from.

I tried to buy a bag of ice from my local shop the other day. They were sold out. SOLD OUT OF ICE. Can you imagine? What this tells me is that the Brits do really, actually, love ice and want some, poisonous or not.

Listen to me. Ice is not dangerous. Ice is not expensive. Ice is not a problem. It is just frozen water and it is totally fine.

I guess I will just keep repeating this every summer until I die from lack of frozen, poisonous water.

Oh England. Stay classy y’all. I’ll hang in here wit’cha with my warm beverages.

I have been talking to someone in Scotland and I am exhausted.

If your business phone call starts out with “Wow. I am an an American and you are WELL Scottish so lets both just talk R E A L slow…” you know that you are in trouble.

OO Uoo hoose OOO Noom’er?

HUH? nope. lets try for some consonants.

O O O Uooo Hoose a Coosmor Ommer?

Yes, i know, you Brits can probably translate that easily. I am a massive fan of Scotland and their rugby team, but MAN, talking to the Scots is hard work!

OH… a customer number…right. Ok, its (american number speak)

Joost, is it:  OOO? Oo, Oh, Uh, Oh OO?

Not at all. I will go real slow ok? (OOOKay) 8675309

So thats OOO, sex, OO feva threed OOO none?

Uh, i think so. And we were just getting started. After about an hour and a half on the phone we had become fast friends and managed to work everything out but now i need A NAP because i have talked to the Scots. No wonder the Romans just built a wall and gave up!

 

PS, if you are a girl or a fan of men in general, go up and click that link to Scottish rugby. Try not to drool.

Two Things that I find Hilarious about the British

You guys. There are so many things that I laugh about here. The Brits are Funny. In ways that they can not seem to see. Here is a short list.

They Love A Sing-Song.

America might have a bit of karaoke, but they have NOTHING on the Brits. These folks love a sing-song like the sun loves the morning. Get a few of them together, and they will *sing for all of the life*!  Really these folks will sing for anything, and when they do they are hilarious. Wanna sing Happy Birthday? Fine. Wanna sing ancient pirate songs? Fine.  Wanna sing England/Wales/Scotland hymns? Yep. Would you like to sing a negro spiritual?  OH WAIT that is your national anthem for ‘football’?

“swing LOW sweet CHARIOT comin’ for to carry ME HOME!”

As an American, i can only be confused at this. That is putting it nicely. REALLY? SWEETCHAROIT? oh, just wow. Lawd.

They Do Pantomime

If you are like me, you have no idea that this is a thing at all. I had never even heard the word ‘pantomime’ before i moved to the UK. They love this stuff. I am, even 5 years in, unable to find the words to even tell folks in the US what this is.  I guess it is where b-listers dress in drag and the audience participation is a bit ‘rocky-horror’

Little StormBringer had a school assembly the other day and we were encouraged to BOO the ‘baddie’ and CHEER for the other side. It is all so insane. But fun and also funny. I might one day see a proper Panto. I might one day get Cricket as well. (not gonna happen)

The Brits are hilarious. Every day, all of the time. I love it here. I may not get everything that they do, (no, do NOT look up dogging y’all) but I get to have a chuckle once in a while at their foolishness.

Did I miss anything? What do you find funny about Brits or Americans?

Eight more weeks of this torture? Are American or UK School Holidays Better?

I have been reading lots of lovely blogs about how happy the US moms are that it is finally summer and the kids are out. I am a little bit jealous. I have eight more weeks left in my sentence.

Every year, like the rest of the mums, I start out organized, ready and super excited for the new year. Supplies are stockpiled, uniforms are bought, homework areas are designated. All goes well for most of the year.

Then May hits, and my internal school clock begins to wind down. I feel like it should be the end of the year. Wrap things up, last tests, field trips, movie days. I begin to be DONE with school.

I’ve said before that (in my limited experience) the schools in the UK are better by far. I do like the longer year in theory, because we get the six-weeks on, one week off deal and LOTS of time for x-mas and Easter. But man, it is barely June and I am SO DONE with school.

I am tired of homework. I am tired of uniforms. I am tired of hair and nails and shoes and socks. I am tired of homework. I am tired of school bags, PE kits, special projects, school lunches and signing things. I am DONE with homework, and I am so very, very DONE with school.

By this time of the year, I am no longer able to care if they even have homework. How am I supposed to look for it, help them with it, keep track of it, and get it signed and sent in when I do not even look in their backpacks anymore?

I.cannot.do.anymore.homework.

I have been reduced to saying ” hey, does anyone have any homework” about twice a week. That is my level of commitment to my kids all-important education in June.

This morning The White Rose came downstairs in two very different socks. I rolled my eyes and told her that I know that there are many clean, matching pairs in her room. Ya know, the ones that are part of her required uniform. She shrugged, I shrugged, and out the door she went.

I have 2 field trips, one week long school activity, two sports days an an assembly/play to go to. I want to bang my head on the walls at the thought of this. In the beginning of the year I take pictures and attend everything with a tear in my eye. In the summer? I am just so over it all.

What? Oh your teacher wants yogurt pots and boxes brought in? OK, good luck finding it, bagging it up and remembering it because it is fucking June and I cannot anymore with this shit.

I have until July 26th. JULY. July TWENTY SIXTH OMG.

I will have to find some reserve energy from somewhere inside and carry on for the EIGHT WEEKS of this crap that I have left. I know that in September I will be fired up and eagerly awaiting the fun and learning we have in store. September will see me promise to be the perfect example of a helpful mother of two school age kids.

How do the British parents keep this up for 11 months of the year? How do you guys do this?? Tell me!! It is insane. Probably way better for the kids, but after 24+ years of my own US schooling, I am so not feeling the love.

Which way would you prefer? More breaks or a longer summer? Tell me if you have any tips or if you would be willing to help my darlings with homework for the rest of the year!