Hi, I am Molly and I blog over at The Move to America which is where I document life and all that I encounter as a new UK expat living in Ohio, USA.
I made the big move to be with my American husband, whom I was in a long distance relationship (LDR) for over 4 years.
My first encounter with funny Americanisms was through talking to my husband.
He would often have a turn of phrase that was most amusing to me (the same applies vice versa too)! Since I have been here in the U.S. (I arrived October 4th 2013) I have noticed a few more things that I have found either amusing or rather endearing.
The biggest Americanism I have encountered so far is the way the store clerks greet you.
No matter what kind of establishment you are in, you will be greeted as you walk through the door, and may even have a very polite conversation with them. This was something that most Brits will not be used to, and may even view with a reserved, slightly awkward suspicion – or is that just me? In order to overcome this reserve of mine, I threw myself into the polite chit-chat with whomever I encountered, and may have ended up over sharing – I am still learning! There does seem to be a pattern to the patter and I am now fully prepared to tell them my day is going well, I found everything I need, I do not need anything else, and no, I do not want to buy a half price chocolate bar or other such item that may be on sale that day. This is not exclusive to the U.S. as I had noticed this type of discussion happening more and more in stores in the UK just before I left – it does, however, come across as more genuine here.
Another thing I have noticed is the volume, variety and availability of fizzy drinks (pop).
I always knew my husband drank the most enormous amount of this sugary, highly coloured soft drink, but what I was not prepared for was almost literally being awash with the stuff! We have fizzy drinks in the UK, and I will admit, I am not a huge fan of them, so I may be slightly biased on this point. When out at a meal, we will order fizzy drinks, and as I merrily sip on my giant glass, my husband will down the whole lot before I have even reached a quarter of the way through mine. This is when the refills arrive (free refills as soon as you finish) and he drinks that too, and maybe another one. I can barely get through one glass, and never get mine refilled. Now, this may sound like a husband-ism rather than an Americanism, but it highlighted for me how huge the amount of pop is consumed, and indeed available, in the States. There is literally aisle upon aisle dedicated to the plethora of flavours and brands – that actually goes for most food items. The choice available has been mind boggling on some shopping trips – luckily I have a local by my side to see me through the miles of aisles!
One other thing I have encountered is getting asked to explain various British customs, traditions, Royal or Parliamentary history or Benny Hill
(for those of you not at a certain age, or never heard of him, he was a British comedian with the uniquely British saucy, seaside humour – think beautiful young women being chased around by an older man – my overriding memory of watching his shows). I really enjoy answering questions about my birth country, and find it interesting what the perceptions or misunderstandings of Britain are. One question I have been asked many times by people of a younger generation (usually store clerks) is ‘Is it different?’ – and when asked in what way it is different . . . I often wonder where to begin!
I love my new home and the people and customs I have encountered so far, so if you want to continue to find out what other things I experience, please feel free to visit my blog or find me on the following links. Thanks for reading!