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Tish Davidson
11-25-2006, 05:39 AM
I have a character who lives in a small town in Kent. He inherits a house from a distant relative in suburban New Jersey and visits the US for the first time. What habits, activities, or situations that Americans take for granted as "normal" or "usual" would this native Englishman find striking, amusing, apalling, confusing or disgusting? I'm looking for things that most Americans wouldn't think twice about but that a non-native would find worth writing home about.

smallthunder
11-25-2006, 05:53 AM
I am not 100 percent sure that a Brit would find it odd, but many non-Americans find it strange that we "must" eat turkey on Thanksgiving -- that is, a fowl that nobody seems to like enough to buy at any other time of the year. And the whole thing with cranberry sauce -- again, no one really seems to like it -- no one seems to buy cranberries to eat (by themselves! no less) at any other time of the year, yet it is a "must-have" at Thanksgiving.

veinglory
11-25-2006, 06:40 AM
ole idea of thanksgiving is far more odd than eating turkey on it. 'Hey, lets celebrate being saved by the natives just before we like totally stole the country from them...' to give a glib rendition, along with 'celebrating' memorial day and the relentlessly positive take on every holiday. But on a more trivial note here is some stuff I blogged just after moving here

-------------
I walk into a outlet that sells guns and has an in-store taxidermist, but can't get a 9-inch Nails CD because "it's satanic." So I can get a weapon, kill something and bring it in here to be immortalised but the management find a music CD too scary to stock?
------------------
All in all it's bizarre how similar most English speaking countries are. I pack my bags, move in and start work. But it's the little differences I notice, at least at the beginning. Here are my 10 little things Americans do that are odd--well, at least to my eyes. Meant merely as a observation of quirks--hand, feeding, bite etc. Of course I have only lived in one small town for less than a week--your mileage may vary.

1) Drinking tomato juice. Heat it up and call it a soup already.
2) Heathrow prints the boarding time on your boarding pass--Newark prints the departure time. Meaning that is you turn up at that time you get to wave the plane goodbye but not much more.
3) Imperial units rule. Miles, quarts and as far as I know pecks. No wonder they lost the Mars Lander.
4) No big hanging lights in the middle of the bedroom or living room. So if you are fool enough to rent an unfurnished apartment, books must be read in the bathroom.
5) The prices don't include tax. I mean what would be the point of having a ticket price that was actually what you want the customer to pay?
6) Pennies and dollar notes are taking over the world. Now I understand why most of the Western world moved to one and two dollar coins. I have a roll of notes that make me look like a highroller but will barely cover the cost of a sandwich and coffee. And of course the bills are just a little bit longer than Brit notes, rendering my wallet obsolete.
7) The money is all the same size and colour making it easy to give a $100 tip not the dollar you intended.
8) What's with tipping anyway-why not just pay a decent minimum wage? On the up side I am getting pretty good at mentally multiplying by 0.2.
9) I love that everyone in shops says please, thank-you and you're welcome--but most of them are staring into the middle distance as they do it. It may just be the 100 degree temperatures but it's a bit like buying groceries from pod people. Of course if I would doing that job I probably wouldn't manage to say it at all....
10) The only people who know about bus stops and services are bus drivers and people waiting at bus stops. Most people seem surprised at the very thought of using a bus. Bus drivers, however, are very helpful. So far most of the people at the bus stop have been lovely but not English speaking. Amazing what can be done with gestures.

Just to show I am not a trivia-obsessed grinch--apartment lovely, people friendly, cost of living low... life much better now I have the internet again--roll on cable. I only get chanel 18 at the moment and the appeal is wearing thin.

Carmy
11-25-2006, 08:01 AM
I came to Calgary, Canada from Britain. There are many differences but I'm darned if I can think of more than one right now. If I think of otheres, I'll come back.

I lived in many areas of Britain before I came here, so I was suspicious of 'friendly strangers' at first. In this city, people talk to you. At the bus stop, in a line up (queue) anywhere, the person next to you will start a conversation. Quite often, others around will join in so waiting around at banks or stores is not boring. People who pass you on the street will often smile and say 'Hi' or wish you a 'good day'.

Carmy
11-25-2006, 08:03 AM
BTW, although I mentioned Canada specifically, I've travelled through the US several times and found the same friendliness there.

Rabe
11-25-2006, 10:11 AM
8) What's with tipping anyway-why not just pay a decent minimum wage? On the up side I am getting pretty good at mentally multiplying by 0.2.

To show appreciation to a service industry person for providing you with adequate to great service. Depending on the size of the tip, of course.

There are other factors (mostly in my case) which includes if it's a place where a family member works (cause I don't want to appear to be the 'cheap' one in the family when I make twice what he does!)

Or to show my complete lack of appreciation for being ignored for an hour and then getting attitude when I mention such. I've only NOT tipped a waiter/waitress deliberately two or three times in my life and every time the service was so horrible not only did I NOT tip, but I have not returned to that place again (and in the case of one restaurant, I refuse to go to ANY store in that chain!)

BTW...many service personal over here can get away with being paid less than the minimum wage because of the 'tip income' they are supposed to earn. Back when I worked a slot attendant job (where I sat up watching people with no lives playing a small bank of slot machines from 10pm to 6am) I was automatically taxed for $40 a week in tips, whether I earned that much in tips or not. Of course, if I earned more than that in tips (I laugh I do!) then I got taxed on that as well.

So, yeah, tips are a good thing and can really help me determine the quality of a restaurant. Such as one place in New York (no I shall not *cough*phebes*cough* mention the name of the *cough*phebes*cough* place *cough*phebes*cough*!) where I shall not go back to when the waitress demaned more in tips because we had not given her enough - two years in a stinking row! That was quite enough of that thank you.

Sorry...I'm ranting so I don't stare at blank screen.

Rabe...

waylander
11-25-2006, 02:19 PM
Yeah tipping is a big thing. We don't tip many people and I find it difficult when I'm in the US to get used to it. I'm just back from a visit to the US so here are a few thoughts.
The TV ads are very different. US ads are very direct and in your face,
The way people eat is different. We use knife in our right hand, fork in our left simultaneously. Most US people don't and they stare when we do it.
Big advertising boards all over the place, particularly along major roads, we have far fewer.
The TV news has far less foreign news than ours, same with the newsapapers.

electric.avenue
11-25-2006, 05:00 PM
One thing I noticed when visiting the US: people rarely walk, and will always take the car, even if only going a short distance. There seems to be some sort of stigma in North America attached to going by foot. I live in the UK, and it is common for people to walk short distances, and people don't usually bother to go by car if it is only a fifteen or twenty minute walk. For this sort of distance you would only get the car out if a) you had mobility problems b) had something heavy to carry.

In North America people euphemistically talk about going to "the bathroom" or "the restroom", whereas in the UK, the bathroom is the room with the bath in it, and a restroom doesn't exist. In that respect people, (in Europe, and Japan), can be quite blunt about where they are going, and even about what they are going to do when they get there!

lmcguire
11-25-2006, 10:01 PM
One thing I noticed when visiting the US: people rarely walk, and will always take the car, even if only going a short distance. There seems to be some sort of stigma in North America attached to going by foot.
Have you seen the movie L.A. Story? (I think that's it - Steve Martin gets in the car in front of his house and with the door open and one leg hanging out, drives to his next door neighbor's house - 30 feet away. :roll:)

There's no stigma associated with walking - at least not where I am (suburb, not a big city) - it's just that we like our cars and are obsessive about the abstracts we associate with said cars. Cars are for getting somewhere, walking is for enjoyment or exercise or the dog... FWIW, I think part of it comes from this business of cities separating commercial and residential so much - it would take hours to walk anywhere other than another person's house from my house... (which stems from another difference - we like our space here...)

However, I suspect this is becoming more regional (i.e. walking places is becoming more common in some areas where more cities are trying to build areas they refer to as "down town" where you would ride public transport or drive and park somewhere (around the edges of said area) and then walk around "down town", like in the old days (don't know if their idea of the old days is correct, but that seems to be what they're going for)).

When I talk to friends who live in and visit New York City or Washington, D.C., walking and using public transport are fairly common, but when you get outside said big cities, there's rarely decent public transport and things are too far away from where you live to walk there.

(Just in case you need an American reaction to the things your character finds surprising.)

Liz

greglondon
11-25-2006, 10:16 PM
we have bacon strips cooked crispy.

We call it a "fanny pack".

We consider anything before 1776 to be "ancient history".

Nicholas S.H.J.M Woodhouse
11-25-2006, 11:43 PM
the word fanny means bottom in America, I think. Its not that in Britain. Its a lady's, uh, flower...

Cathy C
11-26-2006, 12:25 AM
I don't have personal experience, having never been to England, but as I understand it, there are a few things that Brits who have visited here found odd/amusing:

1. Kraft Easy Cheese (the near-liquid cheese product in the aerosol can.) Apparently, the concept of non-block cheese is strange. However, several Brit friends got addicted to the stuff while here and now can't find it back home. :tongue

2. Americans wear their shoes indoors all the time (regardless of weather) and then shampoo/steam clean the rugs once or twice a year. Hardly anybody owns galoshes or changes into slippers at the front door or owns any for guests.

3. The sheer SIZE of the average American house, and how many things we own. Even a starter home (for young couples/first-time homeowners) in America is just under 140 square meters (1,500 square feet), and an "average" home is over 186 square meters (about 2,000 square feet.)

4. Americans use detergent for EVERY load of wash. A friend of mine house swapped with a family in London and had never heard of the concept of an "eco-ball." After a week of using one with less than satisfactory results on cleaning, she called home and had her sister ship a bottle of liquid detergent.

Just a few things I've heard commented on. :)

britwrit
11-26-2006, 12:43 AM
I'm from New Jersey and while I've never been to Kent, I've lived in London for a long time. Off the top of my head, some things would be:

1. Flags. You can see an American flag hanging on almost every block in my old hometown, something you don't see in England unless it's World Cup time.

2. God. A lot more Americans go to church regularly than the English and in northern New Jersey, at least, usually means Catholic (with a sprinkling of various Protestant denominations). Americans are also more prone to talk about Him in conversation.

3. Beer. Most American beer is cold, watery and tasteless but it's amazingly cheap, especially compared to what you see over here. Not only can you buy enough to get thoroughly pissed, you'll ALSO have enough left over to wash your car with.

4. Food. I hate to add to the "All Americans are morbidly obese" stereotype but you get a lot more food for your money in the states. Portions in restaurants are bigger and with the weaker dollar, the sky's the limit. Stacks of waffles. Enough steak to feed a family of four. Hamburgers bigger than your skull. You name it, you can get it.

5. Public transportation in New Jersey isn't bad for the states - there's good bus service connecting most towns - but yeah, the days of walking everywhere are long gone.

veinglory
11-26-2006, 12:53 AM
Oh yes, portion size. I got a huge salad and was very happy with my meal, then realised we hadn't even started eating dinner yet. And calling the main course an entree--which means appetiser.

waylander
11-26-2006, 03:49 AM
3. Beer. Most American beer is cold, watery and tasteless but it's amazingly cheap, especially compared to what you see over here. Not only can you buy enough to get thoroughly pissed, you'll ALSO have enough left over to wash your car with.

I certainly agree about the cold thing. But if you're comparing prices in bars, in my recent experience American beer is the same/more expensive (or maybe that was just the bar at WFC)

5KidsMom
11-26-2006, 03:54 AM
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Brits have peanut butter, and they have jelly (jam), but they would never dream of putting them together.

veinglory
11-26-2006, 04:16 AM
I noticed the flag thing and mentioned it, my American friend denied it. So as we drive back from lunch I said 'flag' every time I saw an American flag. She got tired of it before I did (more than one a second LOL)

Perks
11-26-2006, 04:27 AM
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Brits have peanut butter, and they have jelly (jam), but they would never dream of putting them together.Really? That's very funny!

I do know that the concept of a stovetop kettle (which most Americans consider standard) is laughably antiquated to an Englishman (one of them anyway.) I was asked if we'd cottoned on the the notion of indoor plumbing and that contraption called 'the wheel' yet. Apparently, you're nobody if you ain't got an electric kettle.

Which I now do. It's terrific. And they're much cheaper in the UK. I paid $70 for mine and endured another lecture.

Cathy C
11-26-2006, 04:49 AM
I do know that the concept of a stovetop kettle (which most Americans consider standard) is laughably antiquated

I'd presume that we Americans still buy the stovetop ones because it's used so seldom. We're more coffee drinkers than tea drinkers, as a whole. I don't think you'll probably find the sheer quantity of coffee-brewing/steaming/pressing appliances that are common here, in the UK.

Perks
11-26-2006, 04:54 AM
Pssst, Cathy - don't defend it. It only gets them riled up.

Nicholas S.H.J.M Woodhouse
11-26-2006, 05:02 AM
(must retain stiff upper lip. its all we have.)

Perks
11-26-2006, 06:20 AM
Well if that's all there is, I'd have to venture that Americans are better kissers. But I do agree with the slippers in the house thing - and slippers for guests? Yay!

pdr
11-27-2006, 03:42 PM
Culture shock! America was more foreign than France.

Size of everything. The bags of sugar, the houses, the vastness of the country. The big roads and cars. Everything was so darned large.

Winter cold! Sub zero temperatures are an appalling shock to the system.

Inside heat. The temps in houses in winter was so hot and uncomfortable. You had to put on thermal underwear, and lots of warm clothes to go out but inside it was 80 F. I kept my heating down to a reasonable 60F and visitors always asked if the furnace had broken down.

Darned tipping!

Getting to used to watching people eat using only a fork and using it, as my mother would have said, 'like a shovel'. Having been used to formal European style eating I found American eating habits very sloppy. Oh and the habit of lime or lemon or orange gelatine 'salads' on the same plate as one's meat! I'd never met gelatine salads like these before.

smallthunder
11-27-2006, 05:25 PM
we have bacon strips cooked crispy.


Oh, yes! My husband is forever complaining about American bacon -- naturally fattier/less meaty, he says, and then cooked to an unfortunate degree of crispness.

He loves nothing more than a good ole British "fry up" (isn't that what it's called?) for breakfast.

As an American, by the way, I found the "fried slice" (greasy fried piece of toast) a very odd addition to the morning menu.

waylander
11-27-2006, 06:33 PM
He loves nothing more than a good ole British "fry up" (isn't that what it's called?) for breakfast.

As an American, by the way, I found the "fried slice" (greasy fried piece of toast) a very odd addition to the morning menu.

The 'full English' - sausages, bacon, eggs, fried slice, grilled tomato, and mushrooms maybe (add black and white pudding in Ireland). Accompanied by toast and marmalade.

The fried slice is not toasted though, just bread fried crisp.

smallthunder
11-27-2006, 08:18 PM
The fried slice is not toasted though, just bread fried crisp.

Ah, yes ... one of the more unpleasant of my honeymoon memories ... biting into the 'fried slice' and feeling/tasting the oil oooooooze out ... yuck!

pdr
11-28-2006, 07:35 AM
Do you mean fried bread? Never heard of a fried slice or a slice.

And if it oozed fat it wasn't cooked properly. Fried bread, as my Yorkshire Grandmother made it, is untoasted bread fried in a very hot, cast iron, thick based skillet with a knob of butter added to pan after the bread has been turned once.

smallthunder
11-28-2006, 07:06 PM
Yup, apparently a "fried slice" is fried bread (not toast, as I originally thought). I had it in St. Ives -- maybe the Yorkshire version is superior? I know that almost nothing on earth beats a real Yorkshire pudding with gravy, that's for sure!

Time to return to the topic at hand, however ...

Since we're talking food/restaurants, some other differences are semantic -- such as "take-out" versus "take-away" -- and others legal -- hours and liscensing for serving alcohol, and allowing kids in the pub area up to a certain time.

waylander
11-28-2006, 07:11 PM
Since we're talking food/restaurants, some other differences are semantic -- such as "take-out" versus "take-away" -- and others legal -- hours and liscensing for serving alcohol, and allowing kids in the pub area up to a certain time.

And licensing age. Over here you can buy alcohol at 18 (and functionally younger than that)

Birol
11-28-2006, 07:22 PM
and others legal -- hours and liscensing for serving alcohol, and allowing kids in the pub area up to a certain time.

In the States, whether or not kids are allowed in the pub/tavern/bar depends on the state laws. I was born in Indiana, but raised in Illinois. As an adolescent in Illinois, I could follow my parents into a liquor store/bar/tavern/what have you or even go in on my own, even if I wasn't legally allowed to purchase said alcoholic beverages. When we returned to Indiana to visit family, I was not allowed inside at all, even in the company of my parent or legal guardian.

I'm not certain if Indiana laws have changed or not.

TsukiRyoko
11-28-2006, 07:38 PM
Getting to used to watching people eat using only a fork and using it, as my mother would have said, 'like a shovel'. Having been used to formal European style eating I found American eating habits very sloppy. Oh and the habit of lime or lemon or orange gelatine 'salads' on the same plate as one's meat! I'd never met gelatine salads like these before. While we are pretty sloppy, our main concern is less dishes to clean. Why use a knife and a fork when the fork itself can be a multitasker? WHy use two plates when you can fit everything on one plate by simply cramming everything else to the edge of the plate? :D

*Thinks back on eating habits* God, I'm a pig....

Elektra
11-29-2006, 03:53 AM
One thing that I've noticed from reading is that British pizzas seem to be personal-sized, so that each person gets their own (though I may be wrong, and British people just order a whole lot of pizzas at once)--I like to imagine a family of Brits coming here for vacation, ordering a pizza each for themselves, and being surprised when they get a feast fit for 20 people.

Oh, and I've heard several Brits remark on how work-driven Americans tend to be...

Soccer Mom
11-29-2006, 06:57 AM
Ice is not considered a luxury in the States. We can't live with out it. Every drink must be either piping hot or contain ice.

Garbage disposals.

Basements

veinglory
11-29-2006, 07:00 AM
Heating everywhere. At my first US job I watch from my office window as office workers ran from heated cars to heated offices in T-shirts, while it snowed.

smallthunder
11-29-2006, 07:06 AM
Odd bits of Americana, according to him, include:

-- drive-through fast-food restaurants

-- drive-through banks

-- cable TV choices, and not having to pay the "tv tax"

-- dipping cookies in milk (? not done in England?)

Thought Leadership
11-29-2006, 08:51 AM
Have a close look at the way most americans cut and eat meat, they hold the fork in a strange way...similar to holding a cello fiddle rather than a pen. Plus Coke (wet stuff) for breakfast

veinglory
11-29-2006, 08:55 AM
Also donuts for breakfast

Tish Davidson
11-29-2006, 09:10 AM
veinglory, you're making me self-conscious. I was counting flags on the way to the grocery store today. There really are a ton of them and I live in an area that is generally considered liberal and anti-war

Nicholas S.H.J.M Woodhouse
11-29-2006, 09:15 AM
drive-through banks

-- dipping cookies in milk (? not done in England?)


you have drive-through banks?? doesn't that make it a little easy to rob? cookies in milk?! i've got to remember that for my next shopping trip.

you all seem to be driving on the 'wrong'/other side of the road too.

ritinrider
11-29-2006, 10:16 AM
I don't know if this will help, but we had an exchange student from Belgium a few years ago. These are some of the things that confused or amazed him:

The huge selection of foods available at the grocery store

Using something like Miracle Whip (sorry, don't know how to describe it without using brand name) instead of Mayonaise

The sugar-free sweetner in the pink packages - he was addicted to them

The idea of lamb fries (or mountain oysters)

waylander
11-29-2006, 01:22 PM
One thing that I've noticed from reading is that British pizzas seem to be personal-sized, so that each person gets their own (though I may be wrong, and British people just order a whole lot of pizzas at once)--I like to imagine a family of Brits coming here for vacation, ordering a pizza each for themselves, and being surprised when they get a feast fit for 20 people.

Oh, and I've heard several Brits remark on how work-driven Americans tend to be...

You can order pizzas in different sizes and select your topping over here. So yes, people would order a whole one (maybe 9 inches) and personalise the topping.
And yes, we get a lot more paid holiday time than the average US worker. I get over 6 weeks plus public holidays.

Mac H.
11-29-2006, 01:52 PM
Most of mine (American Habits surprising to an Aussie) have already been mentioned, but anyway ..

1. Flags. (I've never even seen a flag for sale here)
2. Guns. (At least in Colerado)
3. Registration Papers in the car.
This one was a big 'What the Heck?' Here we just have a Rego Sticker you peel off the rego paper and stick in the corner of the windscreen. Why would they insist that you keep the papers themselves cluttering up the glove box? People can check if the car is registered even if the car is parked on the side of the road.

4. Seat belts.
Putting on a seatbelt was so automatic it was totally bizarre sitting in a cab and not being able to find the seat belt. It really makes you feel insecure. Also, any parent who drive around with their kids not wearing seatbelts would be considered barely above a child molester here ... but it was so common in the USA.

5. Cabs
Also cabs couldn't cope with me sitting in the front passenger seat, which is quite common here.

6. Prices not including Tax
What is the point of this? The amount you'd pay would be different to the amount displayed on the board. It also meant that you'd have to keep lots of loose change because the prices would be round numbers, but the amount you'd pay wouldn't be.

7. Dimes
I felt so stupid having to ask someone how much a dime is worth. Here's a tip, USA ... write the value of the coin ON THE COIN. A 'dime' is a name. Not an amount.

8. No ceiling lights
Already been mentioned, but I was so used to built-in ceiling lights I kept getting confused.

9. The range of accents
I honestly couldn't understand some people. I was told it was a 'minimum wage accent' that caused me the most trouble.

10. Middle Initials ... and 'Junior'
It was in the USA, that I found people seriously calling themselves things like 'William T. Jones, Junior'.

11. "Sir"
I never got used to people seriously using the term 'Sir'.
Here you'd only use it to mock someone, or just in fun.

12. Fit ... or Fat
It seemed that either Americans were obese or very fit ... with not many people in between. I'm sure I'm wrong, but it seemed that way.

13. Begging
I wasn't used to seeing people actually begging.

14. Being local ..
It was odd going to a town and meeting so many people who had never actually left the town .. or at least never left that state. And didn't want to, either.

15. Newspaper vending machines
This was very odd. At the place I worked, everyone had to lock their toolboxes to ensure that no co-worker stole things. But with the newspaper vending machines, everyone put in their coins, opened the lid and took out ONE newspaper. They then closed the lid and let someone else put in the coins to get out a second newspaper.

When I asked locals about it, they seemed aghast at the idea that anyone would EVER prop open the lid so everyone could get papers for free. It was accepted that you'd have to lock your car .. even if you were driving it in case someone tried to steal it, but they agreed that no-one would ever prop open the lid to make the newspapers free.

They introduced them here once (at my local railway station) .. and I never saw the machine without the lid propped open. The machine lasted a week before being withdrawn. Ironically, simply having the same newspapers available on a pile on the table with an 'honesty' jar had almost no thefts.

One thing I really liked (which is kinda sad) ... the food. Loved the big servings. Loved what the big servings were made of.

Mac

TsukiRyoko
11-29-2006, 04:05 PM
15. Newspaper vending machines
This was very odd. At the place I worked, everyone had to lock their toolboxes to ensure that no co-worker stole things. But with the newspaper vending machines, everyone put in their coins, opened the lid and took out ONE newspaper. They then closed the lid and let someone else put in the coins to get out a second newspaper.

When I asked locals about it, they seemed aghast at the idea that anyone would EVER prop open the lid so everyone could get papers for free. It was accepted that you'd have to lock your car .. even if you were driving it in case someone tried to steal it, but they agreed that no-one would ever prop open the lid to make the newspapers free.

They introduced them here once (at my local railway station) .. and I never saw the machine without the lid propped open. The machine lasted a week before being withdrawn. Ironically, simply having the same newspapers available on a pile on the table with an 'honesty' jar had almost no thefts.

Despite being born and raised AMerican, I see the nonense behind this one as well. I am always sure to prop the lid of these venders with a brick or a branch or something. Whenever I have pocket change, I slip it in there as well. On more than one occasion, I've gotten caught by the pigs doing that. You'd be surprised just how far one cop is willing to go to stop people from getting free papers....

Rolling Thunder
11-29-2006, 04:37 PM
Despite being born and raised AMerican, I see the nonense behind this one as well. I am always sure to prop the lid of these venders with a brick or a branch or something. Whenever I have pocket change, I slip it in there as well. On more than one occasion, I've gotten caught by the pigs doing that. You'd be surprised just how far one cop is willing to go to stop people from getting free papers....

Sorry, Tsuki. You deserve what you get. Remember, some of your fellow writers earn their living writing columns for newspapers. Free and stolen are very different words.

Cath
11-29-2006, 05:23 PM
One I don't believe I've seen - the amount and quality of stuff that gets chucked out. Seriously - there on garbage day, or when anyone is moving house there's a guy in my area who drives around in a truck picking up all the stuff that's good enough to sell - which is quite a bit.

Also lack of recycling facilities, but that might just be where I live.

three seven
11-29-2006, 06:03 PM
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Brits have peanut butter, and they have jelly (jam), but they would never dream of putting them together.This is simply untrue.

TsukiRyoko
11-29-2006, 06:10 PM
Sorry, Tsuki. You deserve what you get. Remember, some of your fellow writers earn their living writing columns for newspapers. Free and stolen are very different words. While I did take this into consideration, I do it mainly out of concern for the amount of practically penniless people around here. The area I live in is notorious for it's amount of homeless people. There are more people without homes or jobs above minimum wage in this area than I've ever seen anywhere else
(and forsome reason, they keep having more and more kids! It's common to see someone walking down the street with all 6 kids or more). The way I see it, the least they can have is the luxury of a free newspaper.

But then, that's just me. :Shrug:

aruna
11-29-2006, 06:54 PM
One I don't believe I've seen - the amount and quality of stuff that gets chucked out. Seriously .

Yes, seriously, this is what shocked me the most... people eating just a little food, and then throwing out the rest. The people I stayed with used to stock their fridge brimfull, and then one day just chuck out stuff they no longer wanted or had gone bad. Oh, and the size of refridgerators - HUGE beasts!
Washing machines you load from the top. And most homes have a spin dryer. British homes are so small that very seldom is there room for a washing machine AND a dryer. Mostly, you have to choose between a dryer or a dishwasher - when looking for a flat in England last year I found that there was seldom room for both (I came from Germany, where houses are bigger and have more mod cons).

What I found convenient in the US were the little squares where you could park in the middle and you have los of shops , post office, and such around the square. It's very difficult to find parking places in Britain.

The cheese mostly wasn't real cheese.

People were extremely friendly, at least in some parts of the country. In Cambridge, Mass, it struck me that walking down the street almost everyone who passed by smiled and greeted me. I'd never experienced that before.

In New York OTOH, fear of robbery. The people I stayed with there had about ten locks and chains on their appartment doors, plus elevator locks and several more locks on the front doors to the building. And lots more I can't think of right now.

waylander
11-29-2006, 07:20 PM
Oh! And your petrol (gasoline) is really cheap

aruna
11-29-2006, 07:28 PM
The big one, of course, coming from the UK, would be driving on the "wrong" side of the road. Although people know this in advance, when they actually start driving it can be very confusing.

veinglory
11-29-2006, 07:33 PM
I'd forgot all about how the cab drivers freak out when you sit in the fornt passenger seat. For a while i felt very odd sitting in the back--like having a chauffeur LOL

Lissa
11-29-2006, 07:36 PM
I've been told that it is not possible to get a decent cup of tea here.

Birol
11-29-2006, 08:00 PM
While I did take this into consideration, I do it mainly out of concern for the amount of practically penniless people around here. The area I live in is notorious for it's amount of homeless people. There are more people without homes or jobs above minimum wage in this area than I've ever seen anywhere else
(and forsome reason, they keep having more and more kids! It's common to see someone walking down the street with all 6 kids or more). The way I see it, the least they can have is the luxury of a free newspaper.

But then, that's just me. :Shrug:

So you steal money from others, who might just be making ends meet, to help the less fortunate? There's other ways to do that. If you feel free papers are that important, pay for several and lay them on top of the machine.

Thought Leadership
11-29-2006, 08:23 PM
I have been in N.A. for 30+ years, like having choice of milk or cream in those little containers where you peel off the top and pour. Several years ago I went back to UK, first time. Nearly died when asked to pay for the cream container! 5p each as I recall, they said it was stop hobos from taking them home!

aruna
11-29-2006, 09:15 PM
I have been in N.A. for 30+ years, like having choice of milk or cream in those little containers where you peel off the top and pour. Several years ago I went back to UK, first time. Nearly died when asked to pay for the cream container! 5p each as I recall, they said it was stop hobos from taking them home!

I've never had to pay for them. Nowhere. Not in UK or anywhere else.

Tish Davidson
11-29-2006, 10:50 PM
6. Prices not including Tax
What is the point of this? The amount you'd pay would be different to the amount displayed on the board. It also meant that you'd have to keep lots of loose change because the prices would be round numbers, but the amount you'd pay wouldn't be.

The philosophy behind adding the tax separately is that citizens should be able to see exactly how much of their money is going to the government instead of having the government's share rolled into the price.

veinglory
11-29-2006, 11:35 PM
I think the philosphy is simply for the product to look cheaper and help make the sale. Most people know how to understand a percentage when told it once, c.f. a dozen times a day. The shops tried 'tax excluded price' thing NZ when GST was first leveed but finally angry customers convinced them to make it easier for us to arrive at the till with sufficient money, or even correct change. Because tax is taken at multple stages it would be an under-estimate anyway.

MattW
11-29-2006, 11:56 PM
People were extremely friendly, at least in some parts of the country. In Cambridge, Mass, it struck me that walking down the street almost everyone who passed by smiled and greeted me. I'd never experienced that before.It's not true everywhere. I saw another poster mention it, and thought it odd anyone thinking that most Americans are friendly. Made me wonder where you all have been visiting!

Where I am from - NY/NJ area, people do not greet each other on the street, nor do they speak to strangers unless absolutely necessary.

When I've visited other parts of the US, it actually bothered me how openly nice some people were. It felt false that they could be so cheerful and nice.

veinglory
11-30-2006, 12:02 AM
I first lived in Peoria IL, and was very suspicious at first at how people would speak to me in the street. Most were friendly but a few would also make rude or lewd comments. Maybe it's a small town thing?

MidnightMuse
11-30-2006, 12:13 AM
I haven't traveled out of the US except regular trips to Canada and one ill-fated Mexico venture.

And I have no knowledge of the East Coast.

But I can attest to the friendly outlook of we here in Seattle, voted the most polite city over and over. We do look strangers in the eye as we pass on the sidewalks, say Hello, nod, whatever. We stop and offer directions when we see people reading a map, and make a point of smiling whenever we make eye contact with another human being.

Some people get really freaked out by that :Shrug:

Elektra
11-30-2006, 01:25 AM
I've noticed lately that people here (down South) will say the stupidest things to complete strangers. For example, the other day I was looking in the candy aisle at Wal-Mart, and some random guy just said, without stopping his cart, "You don't need that candy, girl." Or today when I was leaving school, a security officer faux-commanded me to smile. WTF?

Tish Davidson
11-30-2006, 01:27 AM
I think the philosphy is simply for the product to look cheaper and help make the sale. Most people know how to understand a percentage when told it once, c.f. a dozen times a day. The shops tried 'tax excluded price' thing NZ when GST was first leveed but finally angry customers convinced them to make it easier for us to arrive at the till with sufficient money, or even correct change. Because tax is taken at multple stages it would be an under-estimate anyway.

That would make sense if sales tax were federal and uniform across the country, but since it is a state tax and varies considerably by state and since some cities/counties also add a sales tax, breaking it out from the total price seems approrpiate.

veinglory
11-30-2006, 01:32 AM
I thought of a new one. I am not totally sure of the UK, but in NZ pushing a switch down turns a light on, here it turns it off. When I first moved here I would often switch the light off, take two steps into the room and then stand there for a while thinking 'what the hell?'

Rolling Thunder
11-30-2006, 01:49 AM
While I did take this into consideration, I do it mainly out of concern for the amount of practically penniless people around here. The area I live in is notorious for it's amount of homeless people. There are more people without homes or jobs above minimum wage in this area than I've ever seen anywhere else
(and forsome reason, they keep having more and more kids! It's common to see someone walking down the street with all 6 kids or more). The way I see it, the least they can have is the luxury of a free newspaper.

But then, that's just me. :Shrug:

Well, it sounds like your heart is in the right place but if it means you getting into trouble I think it's best to drop by a shelter or mail one a few bucks. Even a dollar or two is always appreciated. I just don't like to hear a young person running afoul of the law. You have a lot of life in front of you and some mistakes older people have made in the past can be good advice.:)

MidnightMuse
11-30-2006, 02:03 AM
I thought of a new one. I am not totally sure of the UK, but in NZ pushing a switch down turns a light on, here it turns it off. When I first moved here I would often switch the light off, take two steps into the room and then stand there for a while thinking 'what the hell?'

:roll: I had no idea flipping a switch UP would turn off a light - unless it's a room with two switches at either end, like my kitchen. But still . . . :roll:

smallthunder
11-30-2006, 04:58 AM
you have drive-through banks?? doesn't that make it a little easy to rob? cookies in milk?! i've got to remember that for my next shopping trip.

you all seem to be driving on the 'wrong'/other side of the road too.

Actually, trying to rob a bank via the drive-through window would be extremely difficult to pull off successfully -- what are you going to do? pull out a gun and threaten to blow the head off of the intercom mic? reveal that you're wired to an explosive, and threaten to blow yourself and your car up while everyone in the bank exits from the other side of the building?

As for dunking cookies in milk -- I cannot understand the attraction of dry/non-chewy cookies unless we're talking milk-dunking action.

Cath
11-30-2006, 05:29 AM
Oh dog - yes, I'd forgotten about the drive through banks, guess I've been over here so long that it's become second nature. Never mind the drive through pharmacies.

Still trying to figure out how the drive through pizza place works tho.

LloydBrown
11-30-2006, 06:04 AM
They have drive through wedding chapels in Las Vegas.

Now California, THAT's a strange country.

lmcguire
11-30-2006, 06:18 AM
Now California, THAT's a strange country.

:roll:

Liz

Mom'sWrite
11-30-2006, 07:15 AM
Actually, trying to rob a bank via the drive-through window would be extremely difficult to pull off successfully -- what are you going to do? pull out a gun and threaten to blow the head off of the intercom mic? reveal that you're wired to an explosive, and threaten to blow yourself and your car up while everyone in the bank exits from the other side of the building?



This is not to say that drive-through bank robbing has never been attempted by a few bright bulbs. About every six months I see an article in the paper of yet another failed attempt at it.

I remember one guy sent his threatening note to the teller via one of those pneumatic tubes then waited patiently in his car while she called the police. He figured she just stepped away to get him his cash. It's particularly sad when the criminal elements sinks to such laziness.

TsukiRyoko
11-30-2006, 07:25 AM
They have drive through wedding chapels in Las Vegas.

Now California, THAT's a strange country. thats nothing compared to the drive in funeral homes

sammyig
11-30-2006, 09:04 PM
In Louisiana, there are drive through alcoholic daquri shops.

kazrahtenango
12-02-2006, 01:25 AM
I had a conversation recently with an English and an American woman about the differences in our pronunciation (I'm an Aussie), and the American lady was telling us how various words "should be" said, and I replied, 'Umm, well, actually, that lady is from England, so technically, hers is the right way." And the American woman stared at me blankly.

I'm sure that the American lady (and she was very friendly) was not representative of the whole US population, but her attitude did (just a teeny bit) reflect how the rest of the world perceives the US. I don't wish to offend anyone. I'm just making an observation, but I venture to suggest that the flag thing, and the pledging, and the not reporting anyone else's news but your own, and the never leaving could all contribute to that.

That would be a really cute and quirky thing if you had the same influence as, say, Belgium. But you also run the world.

Perks
12-02-2006, 01:34 AM
<sigh> I know. I had a fellow American grouse to me that JK Rowling oughtn't to use all those English words in Harry Potter. To which I replied, "But... but... she's English. The story takes place in England. And all the characters are British."

She came back with, "Yeah, I know, but nobody knows what she's talking about."

I nearly grabbed my passport and ran.

Rolling Thunder
12-02-2006, 01:43 AM
But you also run the world.

Pfffft. Get your facts straight. The United States Government runs the world, not the american people.:)

Sassenach
12-02-2006, 01:47 AM
I had a conversation recently with an English and an American woman about the differences in our pronunciation (I'm an Aussie), and the American lady was telling us how various words "should be" said, and I replied, 'Umm, well, actually, that lady is from England, so technically, hers is the right way." And the American woman stared at me blankly.

I'm sure that the American lady (and she was very friendly) was not representative of the whole US population, but her attitude did (just a teeny bit) reflect how the rest of the world perceives the US. I don't wish to offend anyone. I'm just making an observation, but I venture to suggest that the flag thing, and the pledging, and the not reporting anyone else's news but your own, and the never leaving could all contribute to that.

That would be a really cute and quirky thing if you had the same influence as, say, Belgium. But you also run the world.

I don't wish to offend you, but your example is ridiculous. One American does something stupid and you extrapolate to have her represent 300 million people.

LloydBrown
12-02-2006, 02:02 AM
I don't wish to offend you, but your example is ridiculous. One American does something stupid and you extrapolate to have her represent 300 million people.

Did you miss the part of the quote you copied where she said that her example was not representative of the whole American people? Or that the person acted *exactly* according to the world stereotype of American people?

Sassenach
12-02-2006, 02:14 AM
Now I feel like Emily Litella.

"Never mind."

kazrahtenango
12-02-2006, 05:03 AM
It's not just the government. Consider this - 80% of television programs shown here in Australia (not including the news) are from the US. 10% is from the UK, and our 10% includes things like - Australian Idol, Australian Big Brother, Australian Celebrity Survivor.
You guys make great television! I love Sopranos and Deadwood and Firefly etc. All great stuff.
I've also seen the future through your Star Trek so I know the United Federation of Planets will be based in San Francisco and all the good aliens will speak in an American accent.

But it's depressing for Australian writers to know we'd probably make a better living collecting aluminium cans (that would be aluminium with two I's) than trying to reflect our culture.

So I guess what I'm saying is that most of the things you do don't surprise us at all, because we live with Americans in the corner of our loungerooms all night every night.

Although can someone explain to me what half and half is? I see it in recipes. Half of what?

Kentuk
12-02-2006, 07:18 AM
Half and half is cream for people raised on 2% milk and don't really like the taste of coffee.

lmcguire
12-02-2006, 07:23 AM
Although can someone explain to me what half and half is? I see it in recipes. Half of what?
Half cream and half milk (equal parts, hence half). You buy it for recipes or to put it in your hot beverage of choice...

Liz

Tish Davidson
12-02-2006, 07:24 AM
Half and half is cream for people raised on 2% milk and don't really like the taste of coffee.

And now there is even a fat-free version of half and half that I've yet to figure out - half chemicals-half milk perhaps?

Silver King
12-02-2006, 07:45 AM
Kaz, please don't believe what you see on television as being representative of everything that's American.

It reminds me of when Mr. Irving died recently, and the media in the US portrayed him as everything that's "Aussie." He was merely a tiny sliver, barely recognizable, of an entire nation. He certainly wasn't representative of everything that's Australian, right?

Tish Davidson
12-02-2006, 07:51 AM
The US is big - four time zones big excluding Alaska and Hawaii. Most of the time even Americans can't agree on what is typically American.

pdr
12-02-2006, 03:13 PM
those bloody light switches! Only in North America would it be assumed that in the dark it's natural to flap your hand up and not down. Like the old dial telephones and dialling 999 in an emergency.

Most of the time even Americans can't agree on what is typically American.
Ah, but the rest of the world can!

aruna
12-02-2006, 03:27 PM
those bloody light switches! Only in North America would it be assumed that in the dark it's natural to flap your hand up and not down. Like the old dial telephones and dialling 999 in an emergency.

Most of the time even Americans can't agree on what is typically American.
Ah, but the rest of the world can!

Funny, I never noticed that.

One question: which way do windows open in the US, in or out? In Germany, they open in, towards the room. In Britain, they open out. I never noticed this till recently. What's it like across the ocean?

Silver King
12-02-2006, 05:06 PM
[quote=arunaWhat's it like across the ocean?[/quote]
My windows open upward. VERY confusing to the rest of the world.;)

wordmonkey
12-02-2006, 05:14 PM
Pancakes.
Not just on Pancake Day, but every morning. And they are more like giant Scotch Pancakes than Pancake Pancakes.

Maple Syrup.
On everything!!! I can see it on the Pancakes (I even like that mix of the salty butter and the sweet syrup), but on sausage, eggs and bacon too?

Bacon.
My Mom would cut off and toss the bits they fry and eat here.

Wrong side of the road.
Is easy. Wrong side of the car is the hard part.

Tips.
Where I'm from you tip for good service. Where I'm from service with a snarl gets you bubkiss.

The written language.
I soon discovered that if I thought like a your average fairly literate nine-year-old, I could master the American bastardisation of the language. A little research and I discovered that a great many changes had been made to the language just to make it not English English. Which sums up a great deal of this country.

Say something.
This gets really old. "You're from England? Gee that's so cool! Say something." How about, "Bugger off and get me my burger, I'm hungry and not here to entertain you with my dialect"?

Accents.
I don't have an accent. YOU all have accents.

London.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I don't live near London. I don't care that you have heard of London and not Sheffield, they are not close.

The House of Commons.
Yes, it is funny watching these stiffs in suits acting like a bunch of apes on Speed, but the system is more honest than what you have here. And that "It might not be perfect, but it's the best there is," ISN'T.

The Royal Family.
We look on them more like communal pets. Some people behave like they are the bonbon eating lap-dog pets, others like they keep leaving a turd on the carpet everytime you go out shopping. Most are content to pat them on the head and ignore them. However, as heads-of-state, I think I'll take them over a functional retard elected, as far as I can see, because too many people want to have someone in that position who isn't smarter than they are.

Middlemen.
Napoleon once called Britain a nation of Shopkeepers. If that is the case, the US is a nation of middlemen. I have a theory that the red stripes on "Ol' Glory" do not represent some of the original thirteen colonies/states, but rather the red-tape that holds this country together.

Beer.
Available to buy at the gas/petrol stations. WTF?

Drive-Thru Liquor Stores.
HELLO???? How is THAT a good idea?

Mobile Phones in the Car.
Being illegal to use but ever increasing cup holders for buckets of scalding hot coffee. In an emergency, which do you think you'll be more likely to drop in your lap so as to grab the wheel?

Radio Stations.
That have only seveteen songs, three of which are Hootie and the Blowfish played repeated throughout the day

Roadkill.
Jumping Jimminy Cheese-box!!! Some mornings, driving from my rural home down into the city, it's like a drive-thru butcher's shop (I don't think they have those - yet). Animals seem to be primed to explode on impact. Bugs however, they can crack your windshield and keep on flying.

Weather.
Over here they have WEATHER! And it amazes me that the leading power in the free world can be brought to a grinding halt by an inch of snow. EVERY YEAR! How many times does this winter thing need to happen before you get it?

And despite what you might think, I do actually kinda like it here.

aruna
12-02-2006, 05:15 PM
My windows open upward. VERY confusing to the rest of the world.;)

Oh, we have those in Guyana!

mooncars
12-02-2006, 05:24 PM
I have to slip my supply of Revels into the US with the aid of my Brit friends. Sorry, I still pull faces at black pudding.

Lolly
12-02-2006, 05:31 PM
I'm originally from Dallas, but now I live in York, England with my British husband. Here's some observations.


1. The first thing that hit me when I moved here was how small everything is. Everything is so much smaller--the cars, the houses, etc. On the flip side, I had British friends visit me in the US and the first thing they always commented on was how big everything was.


Speaking of small houses, the lack of appliances really struck me, too. Most houses don't have automatic dishwashers or dryers because there's simply no space. When you've been raised for most of your life in a house that had those things, it takes some getting used to.

2. Bathrooms with no toilets. Our current house has an integrated bathroom, but our first house had a separate bathroom/water closet. That took some getting used to, also.

4. My husband said to include how much cheaper things are in the States. In fact, once we were at a social gathering, and this gentleman was exclaiming. "They have these huge stores in the US called Super-WalMarts! Everything is so cheap there! We always bring back a suitcase of full of goods when we go on holiday there."


My husband also said that there seems to be way more restaurants in America, and conversely, fewer pubs or bars.


5. How different American sports are. He was blown away when I explained the concept of overtime to him, because many British sports are happy with games ending in a tie.

6. The biggie, of course: driving on the other side of the road. And that Americans drive everywhere.

For me, I was blown away with how prevalent walking is here. A while back the local rambler's club put an advertisement in a store window: "People wanted for short walks of 3-6 miles." I actually took a picture of that and sent it back to my friends and family.


7. How you can park at virtually any business in America, and for free. One of the biggest things I've had to get used to is the lack of parking here in Britain. Space is at such a premium, that all the buildings are crowded together and there's no parking lots. You have to crowd into city lots that charge.


8. Drive-through everywhere. My mother-in-law came to visit us in the States, and she couldn't believe it. "Drive-thru post offices? Who ever thought of that idea?"


9. Lack of religion. Being from the Bible Belt, I was stunned to get over here and find that most people don't go to church. Where I come from, everybody goes to church, or at least it seems that way. Conversely, my husband was struck by how much religion permeates everything in America, i.e. culture, politics, etc. I remember one time we were sitting in a cafe in the States, and two ladies sitting behind us were practically having a Bible study at their table. My husband couldn't believe that religion is so openly expressed there.


10. My husband said the lack of take-away food places. Yes, we have drive-thru in the US, but it seems more prevalent here in the UK. A lot of sit-down restaurants here also have a take-away service. Oh, and lack of ethnic food. Texas, of course, has a lot of Mexican food, but my husband said he missed all the Indian food, which is much more common here.

Rolling Thunder
12-02-2006, 05:44 PM
Funny, I never noticed that.

One question: which way do windows open in the US, in or out? In Germany, they open in, towards the room. In Britain, they open out. I never noticed this till recently. What's it like across the ocean?

Well, it depends on where you live in the US. Casement windows (such as your style) generally open out. But the most popular windows in some areas open neither in nor out, but slide up and down. If both sashes move they are called 'double hung' if only one; single hung. Usually, new double hung windows have a catch system so they can be tilted in to the room for easy cleaning. The insect screen is mounted outside in its own track so it doesn't need to be removed while this chore is being done.

Perks
12-02-2006, 07:51 PM
And despite what you might think, I do actually kinda like it here.Well, that's a... relief. Hate to see your ranting when you were generally displeased. lol!

Oh - and maple syrup on everything is a travesty. You'll find that with other condiments too, but I can't be sure if it's an American thing or not. Some peope will put catsup on everything, including eggs and filet mignon. Then there's hot sauce. Same deal. I love my hot sauce, but I do have my limits.

veinglory
12-02-2006, 09:17 PM
Kaz, please don't believe what you see on television as being representative of everything that's American.


I think you may be missing Kas's point--which is that our own national creative media is swamped and largely eliminated by cheaper sales to us as a secondary market, largely from the US. So the vaste majority of our clothing, music, TV etc is American and most of the rest is British. The remaining sliver is typically not enough for our local creative professionals to make a living wage--and I mean even the very best of them.

This point was in response to the statement that the US being a world power was only a feature of the US government not it's people. i.e. the US's economic clought means it's businesses and creative people also, perhaps without the slightest intention, invade other nations. American dominsnce is all encompassing and overt foreign policy is only a tiny part of it.

There are of course ways to respond. For example in NZ for the last few Christmases 8-9 of the top ten chart songs have been Kiwi made after a large government-backed push to support the local industry--complete with boosting the awards show, May as NZ music month and a T-shirt that everyone in the country seemed to be wearing for a while. US trend such as hip hop are adatped and changed in polynesia to reflect our lives and our traditions.

Large, wealthy countries cannot help being culturally Imperialistic, but small vibrant countries should be able to hold their own.

Unique
12-02-2006, 09:56 PM
:e2cat:Now you've made me curious, veinglory....

What does rap sound like with an Aussie or NZ accent?

Are AU & NZ accents even similar? I can't recall ever
speaking to anyone from NZ in 'real life'.

veinglory
12-02-2006, 10:02 PM
Unique, if you like hip hop I would encourage you to try 'King Kapisi' he has 3 albums out. I think the only one to make the US charts was some years ago 'OMC' with 'How Bizarre' which was Americanised for the purpose -- it referrs to driving down the 'freeway' etc.

I though of a new one that got me in both the UK and US as a Kiwi. In New Zealand all door was open outwards for fire safety--I stood in stores unable to get out, looking like a complete idiot until it occured to me to 'pull' -- d'oh.

Lolly
12-03-2006, 01:19 AM
Pancakes.
Not just on Pancake Day, but every morning. And they are more like giant Scotch Pancakes than Pancake Pancakes.


There's a company in London that imports food from around the world, including the US. I remember their blurb for pancake mix. "For real pancakes, not crepes." I laughed, because that did take getting used to, ordering pancakes and getting something the size of my palm.




Wrong side of the road.
Is easy. Wrong side of the car is the hard part.


I still occasionally try to get in the wrong side of the car here.



Tips.
Where I'm from you tip for good service. Where I'm from service with a snarl gets you bubkiss.


What's that? I asked my husband, but he didn't know.



The written language.
I soon discovered that if I thought like a your average fairly literate nine-year-old, I could master the American bastardisation of the language. A little research and I discovered that a great many changes had been made to the language just to make it not English English. Which sums up a great deal of this country.


They say that the victors get to write the history. Guess that applies to the language, too. :D



Say something.
This gets really old. "You're from England? Gee that's so cool! Say something." How about, "Bugger off and get me my burger, I'm hungry and not here to entertain you with my dialect"?


It gets old for me, too. "Oh, you're American!" "Really? You could tell? I thought I sounded Norwegian." Actually, I've had people ask if I'm from Canada, Australia, and Ireland, so I guess I don't sound American, after all.



Accents.
I don't have an accent. YOU all have accents.


I've lived here for nearly three years, and I still can't understand people half the time. I especially dread phone calls. Some poor soul will call from another part of the country and start babbling away, and I'll just stand there. "Uh, sounds good to me," having no clue what they just said.



London.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I don't live near London. I don't care that you have heard of London and not Sheffield, they are not close.


And I'm not a redneck Bush-loving hick. Sounds like we suffer from the same problem.



The House of Commons.
Yes, it is funny watching these stiffs in suits acting like a bunch of apes on Speed, but the system is more honest than what you have here.


Unless you belong to the Labor Party.



The Royal Family.
We look on them more like communal pets. Some people behave like they are the bonbon eating lap-dog pets, others like they keep leaving a turd on the carpet everytime you go out shopping. Most are content to pat them on the head and ignore them. However, as heads-of-state, I think I'll take them over a functional retard elected, as far as I can see, because too many people want to have someone in that position who isn't smarter than they are.


My husband has about the same feeling for the Labor Party. The angriest I've ever seen him get was last year after they won the election.



Middlemen.
Napoleon once called Britain a nation of Shopkeepers. If that is the case, the US is a nation of middlemen. I have a theory that the red stripes on "Ol' Glory" do not represent some of the original thirteen colonies/states, but rather the red-tape that holds this country together.


My husband feels the same way about the bureaucracy here.



Roadkill.
Jumping Jimminy Cheese-box!!! Some mornings, driving from my rural home down into the city, it's like a drive-thru butcher's shop (I don't think they have those - yet). Animals seem to be primed to explode on impact. Bugs however, they can crack your windshield and keep on flying.


I used to live and work in a smaller town in the US. I remember once my supervisor had a deer charge her car and crash through the passenger window while she was driving. She had a hard time trying to explain that to the insurance company.




Weather.
Over here they have WEATHER! And it amazes me that the leading power in the free world can be brought to a grinding halt by an inch of snow. EVERY YEAR! How many times does this winter thing need to happen before you get it?


That's interesting. My husband says the same thing about England, at least here in York. That's why he badly wants to move to Texas or Florida.



And despite what you might think, I do actually kinda like it here.


Then you and my husband will have something to talk about. :) As I said, he desperately wants to move to the US. If Labor wins yet again next year, he may run screaming all the way across the ocean.

aruna
12-03-2006, 09:46 AM
I've lived here for nearly three years, and I still can't understand people half the time. I especially dread phone calls. Some poor soul will call from another part of the country and start babbling away, and I'll just stand there. "Uh, sounds good to me," having no clue what they just said.


Yes, yes, yes! They have people in callcentres from - I don;t know. The last village in Northumberland, and they spout something you can't understand a word of. Awful!










That's interesting. My husband says the same thing about England, at least here in York. That's why he badly wants to move to Texas or Florida.





Then you and my husband will have something to talk about. :) As I said, he desperately wants to move to the US. If Labor wins yet again next year, he may run screaming all the way across the ocean.

When I moved to England, I had the England of my youth and my imagination in mind, a kind of fairyland. It was a huge disappointment, I feel that the country is going to the hogs, no kidding. I moved back to germany last month. It;s too cold here (give me Florida or California every time) but there's a feeling of having solid ground under my feet.

britwrit
12-03-2006, 05:38 PM
Yeah, having people ask if you're from London 20 times a day must be pretty tiring. An even weirder thing is that I have an English friend (who's black) who lived in Saint Louis for a while. The people there - of every ethnic background - just couldn't get over the fact that he had an English accent. Sometimes people would literally come running and crowd around him just to hear him speak. Being Black AND British was a concept they just couldn't get their heads around.

Oh, and feel better. For every person who asks you if you're from London, Americans over here get to hear about how someone's sister just took a trip to New York.

smallthunder
12-03-2006, 09:49 PM
Weather.
Over here they have WEATHER! And it amazes me that the leading power in the free world can be brought to a grinding halt by an inch of snow. EVERY YEAR! How many times does this winter thing need to happen before you get it?


Oh, I HEAR you, Brother! Yes! Amen!

(US government worker who appreciates 'snow days' off like any normal person would, but can't get over the fact that they happen sooooo often)

WildScribe
12-03-2006, 10:22 PM
When in England, you tend to wait for your bill, then ask for it when you are ready. I think a lot of Brits probably find us very abrupt since our wait staff tends to bring the check when you've finished eating. In fact, I would think a lot of Brits just tend to find us abrupt.

Sassenach
12-03-2006, 11:44 PM
Yeah, having people ask if you're from London 20 times a day must be pretty tiring. An even weirder thing is that I have an English friend (who's black) who lived in Saint Louis for a while. The people there - of every ethnic background - just couldn't get over the fact that he had an English accent. Sometimes people would literally come running and crowd around him just to hear him speak. Being Black AND British was a concept they just couldn't get their heads around.

Oh, and feel better. For every person who asks you if you're from London, Americans over here get to hear about how someone's sister just took a trip to New York.


If I had a dollar for every British person who claimed "I thought California was warm in the summer!" I'd have a bunch of dollars. Apparently Southern AND Northern California was "a concept they just couldn't get their heads around."

Perks
12-04-2006, 12:02 AM
I think the size of the U.S. baffles many. I know technically we're the same country, but being from DC, I was surprised at the difference in attitudes between my home and southern California. And even NC, where I am now has lots of 'cultural' quirks from DC.

I can only imagine the shock between opposite sides of the Atlantic. I think it's all quite fun. Sign me up and god bless the differences. I'd have to become a mass murderer just to relieve the boredom if there weren't things to gawk and giggle at.

Tish Davidson
12-04-2006, 12:23 AM
I think the size of the U.S. baffles many. I know technically we're the same country, but being from DC, I was surprised at the difference in attitudes between my home and southern California. And even NC, where I am now has lots of 'cultural' quirks from DC.

We moved from New Jersey to California I felt for many weeks like a foreigner and it was frustrating and depressing. (I'm a native born East Coast American). But over time I've come to appreciate that one of the strengths of the US is that people living in such different environments with different cultural and economic concerns can still live under one government. Some days it amazes me that New York Cityn and Second Mesa, AZ are on the same planet, let alone the same country.

Birol
12-04-2006, 12:31 AM
If I had a dollar for every British person who claimed "I thought California was warm in the summer!" I'd have a bunch of dollars. Apparently Southern AND Northern California was "a concept they just couldn't get their heads around."

There are Americans who have problems with this concept. We are, as Perks points out, an incredibly large and diverse country.

Perks
12-04-2006, 12:33 AM
I had a friend once tell me, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." Lol!

MadScientistMatt
12-04-2006, 12:37 AM
I'd presume that we Americans still buy the stovetop ones because it's used so seldom. We're more coffee drinkers than tea drinkers, as a whole. I don't think you'll probably find the sheer quantity of coffee-brewing/steaming/pressing appliances that are common here, in the UK.

I'd say in the South, we drink more tea than coffee... but unlike in the UK, if you ask for tea here, you're likely to get it in a fairly large glass (probably around 500 ml), with lots of sugar and ice. We call it "sweet tea." Usually you have go to a Chinese restaurant if you want traditional tea in a restaurant... and even then, you have to specify "hot tea!"

(Apologies if someone already mentioned this.)

Perks
12-04-2006, 12:42 AM
Lol! I live in that hinterworld where you have to specify "sweet" or "unsweetened" everywhere you go, if you're an iced tea drinker. (Which I'm not.) Fifty miles south and they'll look at you funny if you want plain tea. A little further north of me and you'll get the hairy eyeball and a stack of sugar packs if you're looking for sweet.

MadScientistMatt
12-04-2006, 12:51 AM
8. No ceiling lights
Already been mentioned, but I was so used to built-in ceiling lights I kept getting confused.

I wonder if that's a regional thing. Where I live, most people have ceiling lights, often attached to a ceiling fan as well.


Funny, I never noticed that.

One question: which way do windows open in the US, in or out? In Germany, they open in, towards the room. In Britain, they open out. I never noticed this till recently. What's it like across the ocean?

The most common one I've seen is a window divided into two halves. It opens by lifting the lower half in a sliding track. Some can open outward, but that's pretty rare (at least where I live). And a few windows can open either way - out or up. I haven't seen many that open inward.

Sassenach
12-04-2006, 12:51 AM
It's easier for people to see the world in stereotypes. I've found this to be a habit that spans the globe, and is not restricted to Americans.

When I lived in Central America, I frequently heard the assumption that all Americans are "rich." When I was back in the States, visiting, I was asked if there were roads or running water in Costa Rica. {If they knew where Costa Rica was. Not an island, not Puerto Rico, and not South America. Saying it was between Panama and Nicaragua was useless, since most people didn't know where they are. I'd say "go to Mexico and keep going south."}

There's the stereotype that everyone is Southern California is a blonde surfer, when the reality is that the majority of Southern Californians are Hispanic or Asian.

I've been asked "are you from New York?" dozens of times. That's code for "I think you're Jewish, therefore you must be from New York." Because all American Jews are from New York, right?

Most people live in their own little worlds, wherever they are.

Perks
12-04-2006, 12:56 AM
And sometimes it's completely random. Once in a shoe store, without my having said a word, a salesman asked me what country I was from. I answered, "I was born in Oklahoma. It's sort of a different country."

Sandi LeFaucheur
12-04-2006, 02:57 AM
The height of Americans.

English people are becoming taller now, but we've suffered because of the wars and the generally poorer nutrition. English people are, on the whole, shorter than Americans.

One child in America once pointed to my father and said, "Look, Dad...a midget!" My father is 5' 3".

Sandi LeFaucheur
12-04-2006, 03:18 AM
Oh! I've thought of two more! One good, one not so good.

Good: Flyscreens on window. What a concept. In England, we just "throw ope our casements wide" and let the insects just flood right in. This is especially good fun in August/September--when jam-making time coincides with the time that wasps are at their peak and at their boldest. And painting a room is such fun when you have to keep picking crane flies out of the drying paint.

And not so good: English documentaries are sometimes overdubbed into American. Why? English people can understand American television. I'm sure that Americans can understand English accents, too. I can't think of any examples off the top of my head (as I have a notorious memory for names and titles), but I've definitely seen this happen. It's quite odd, because you'll have an American overdub the narration offscreen, but then when a British person is interviewed onscreen, lo and behold, the Americans (it would seem) must all be saying "Eh? What's he saying? I don't understand." I'm sure the average American is much more able to cope with a non-American accent than the networks seem to believe.

Perks
12-04-2006, 03:39 AM
I'm making a dish with bacon in it tonight and I keep thinking about this thread. There have been several comments about the difference in it here and there and now I'm completely curious about English bacon.

WildScribe
12-04-2006, 03:45 AM
There are Americans who have problems with this concept. We are, as Perks points out, an incredibly large and diverse country.

ME: I'm from California.
Person: Oh! Like San Diego?
M: No.
P: LA?
M: No.
P: San Francisco!
M: I'm from Petaluma, and I live in Gilroy, now.
P: ...oh... is that near San Francisco?

veinglory
12-04-2006, 03:47 AM
I pine, absolute pine, yearn and long for British bacon on a bap with some brie and real butter [drooool] which is always cut and fresh and kept in the fridge, then fried. When did the US decide to shave fat-free bacon in meagre strips and dry it so it keeps for millenia without refrigeration? Have they forgotten what oit is meant to taste like?

Perks
12-04-2006, 03:55 AM
I'm gonna have to google a picture. I just can't imagine what's so different. :)

I found this (http://www.dittmers.com/images/smkmeats/bacon_s.jpg), which looks the same as American bacon and this (http://www.electricscotland.net/canada/pics/trees%20005-1.jpg), which looks very meaty.

Sandi LeFaucheur
12-04-2006, 05:34 AM
And English bacon often has rind on it, too. And is never, ever, ever, flavoured with maple! In the pictures you showed, Perks, one is side bacon (the streaky) and the other is back bacon (the meatier).

Perks
12-04-2006, 05:37 AM
And English bacon often has rind on it, too. Please tell me that doesn't mean 'skin'. You English and your euphemisms. An orange has a rind. A melon has a rind. A slaughtered pig has leathery skin, scalded bald. Aaaaagaggghhhhh!

veinglory
12-04-2006, 05:39 AM
From what I've opbserved it is just that the Brits almost always use fresh bacon which needs to be kept in the fridge and is thick and squishy and shaped like part of a pig. The Americans almost always use dried bacon which is crispy, precooked and a sort of flat uniform shape. Both the pictures you show look like normal raw bacon.

Rolling Thunder
12-04-2006, 06:20 AM
From what I've opbserved it is just that the Brits almost always use fresh bacon which needs to be kept in the fridge and is thick and squishy and shaped like part of a pig. The Americans almost always use dried bacon which is crispy, precooked and a sort of flat uniform shape. Both the pictures you show look like normal raw bacon.

Precooked bacon? Ye god. I buy fresh, sliced to order, bacon at the local independent grocery store as I prefer thick sliced as well. For something special the local farmer's market sells fresh made scrapple, sausage and even hot dogs (the ones with apple chunks in them are incredible).

ETA: Just for fun, I'll post the link to their ad http://www.karnsfoods.com/weeklyad1.asp

veinglory
12-04-2006, 06:31 AM
I can't even find fresh bacon in this Indiana town surrounded by pig farms. And I mean after scouring 3 supermarkets.

And rind is a perfectly correct term. Did you know that spotted pigs sell for less because people see the spots and assume the meat is moldy--you have to pay extra to have those ones skinned.

What most people now don't know about animals... sigh. Between taking the skin off poultry and breding lean pigs I think some people should be allowed to eat animals. The flavor is in the fat and the skin.

Perks
12-04-2006, 06:33 AM
Aggh! I knew it. You freaks! Don't eat skin! It's weird. It's wrong. It's sinister.

I want nothing to do to with pig rinds. I don't eat rinds. Ever.

Rolling Thunder
12-04-2006, 06:35 AM
Aggh! I knew it. You freaks! Don't eat skin! It's weird. It's wrong. It's sinister.

I want nothing to do to with pig rinds. I don't eat rinds. Ever.

Oh, come on! Rinds are the BEST when cooked fresh off the pig at butchering time.

veinglory
12-04-2006, 06:36 AM
Hmmm, crackling.

Perks
12-04-2006, 06:37 AM
Stooooooop! Make it stop. No skin... the horror... the horror.

Does saying 'rinds' make you sleep any easier?

veinglory
12-04-2006, 06:40 AM
Does saying 'pork' rather than pig? If you're going to kill it everything should be eaten from snout to trotters. Have you had good crackling? I think when you take off the skin and fat you may as well eat a non-sentient eggplant, it'll taste the same with gravy.

Rolling Thunder
12-04-2006, 06:46 AM
Does saying 'pork' rather than pig? If you're going to kill it everything should be eaten from snout to trotters. Have you had good crackling? I think when you take off the skin and fat you may as well eat a non-sentient eggplant, it'll taste the same with gravy.

Yeah, everything gets used. I'm not big on snout or feet though. Pig stomach is great but it's named that because you use the stomach lining to stuff sausage, potatos and onions in.

Sweet bread o pig? Uh uh. Once was enough.

ETA: I guess I should have mentioned that the odd bits are used to make scrapple, a PA Dutch staple.

Perks
12-04-2006, 06:49 AM
Sneer all you want. I'll eat the meat and leave the insulation and the shingles for you people.

limitedtimeauthor
12-04-2006, 07:10 AM
What about the architecture? In European countries (I've never been to England, but in other countries) most of their buildings are soooo old, and they still use them. (The idea of English banks not having drive-throughs made me think of this. They probably don't have drive throughs because the walls are four-foot thick stone! ;))

In the States, most of our old buildings are vacant and pretty wretched looking, with the exception of course of those undergoing restoration (since it's cool now to live in lofts converted from old warehouses). But in the relative smallness of European countries, they use what they have. It really is kind of cool to live in a building with a centuries-old history, but it sure can leave a lot to be desired in the way of American conveniences.

Oh, and someone already mentioned the thing about "bathrooms." I don't know about England, but in some countries, they have a tiny little room with just a toilet in it, and a separate room with a bath, sink and mirror. Weird!

Oh, and about tipping! In France, in a fancy restaurant, they used to have an attendant in the public restroom and you were supposed to tip her! Then again, I guess it was a pretty clean bathroom. Wish they would do that at McDonalds. That'd be a tip I wouldn't gripe about.

limitedtimeauthor
12-04-2006, 07:15 AM
Wow. Sorry. I didn't realize everyone had moved on to eating pigs.

We use the skins for footballs, don't we? LOL.

Perks
12-04-2006, 07:20 AM
Nah, it was just me. Let the Yank-bashing continue...

Sassenach
12-04-2006, 09:20 AM
ME: I'm from California.
Person: Oh! Like San Diego?
M: No.
P: LA?
M: No.
P: San Francisco!
M: I'm from Petaluma, and I live in Gilroy, now.
P: ...oh... is that near San Francisco?

Doesn't almost everyone give their home in relation to the nearest metro area?

After someone asked "San Diego", the simplest thing to do would have been to say "Northern California."

Miss
12-04-2006, 09:31 AM
I thought of a new one. I am not totally sure of the UK, but in NZ pushing a switch down turns a light on, here it turns it off. When I first moved here I would often switch the light off, take two steps into the room and then stand there for a while thinking 'what the hell?'

The same thing happened when I came from the USA to New Zealand. I thought my house had no electricity and was perplexed when the water heater failed to heat with the switch up!

Not sure about England, but here in NZ, I find that almost nobody has central heat. A lot of people just put more clothes on in the house when it gets cold.

I also know very few people who have a coffee maker that "drips" like Americans do. The rich people I know have espresso machines, but just make coffee with a coffee press.

aruna
12-04-2006, 09:55 AM
Oh, and about tipping! In France, in a fancy restaurant, they used to have an attendant in the public restroom and you were supposed to tip her! Then again, I guess it was a pretty clean bathroom. Wish they would do that at McDonalds. That'd be a tip I wouldn't gripe about.

The have bathroomtipping quite often inEurope, for instance at restuarants onthe Autobahn in Germany.

I see things have switched a bit to Americans moving to Britain. I found several things in Britain weird and antiquated when I moved there from Germany.For instance, most of the bathrooms,even in new and modernhouses, stil have two separate taps for hot and cold. I detest those! And even the showres have separate taps, thought the water does mix eventually. That was one typicall British habit Iloathed, I pulled out all the taps inmy home and replaced them with mixers.

Also: carpets in the bathrooms and toilets!!!!! I couldn't believe that.

I also found it funny that really style-conscious, upper class Brits hate double glazing. they prefer single pane old fashioned glass because it's more traditional. I found that weird. It wastes so much energy, and it's so draughty! In Germany double glazing is standard, even renovated very old houses. You can get it to look very "traditional" if that's what you want.

Elektra
12-04-2006, 01:23 PM
And not so good: English documentaries are sometimes overdubbed into American. Why? English people can understand American television. I'm sure that Americans can understand English accents, too. I can't think of any examples off the top of my head (as I have a notorious memory for names and titles), but I've definitely seen this happen. It's quite odd, because you'll have an American overdub the narration offscreen, but then when a British person is interviewed onscreen, lo and behold, the Americans (it would seem) must all be saying "Eh? What's he saying? I don't understand." I'm sure the average American is much more able to cope with a non-American accent than the networks seem to believe.

Actually, a lot of Americans have serious trouble with British accents, especially on film. I think because it's so fluctuating, if that makes sense. We're used to flat sounds.

waylander
12-04-2006, 02:13 PM
Not sure about England, but here in NZ, I find that almost nobody has central heat. A lot of people just put more clothes on in the house when it gets cold.

Most houses here now have central heating, certainly every newly built house does. Given how much energy costs have gone up people really ought to wear more clothes indoors.

The butcher in my village cures his own bacon. I now find it difficult to eat the supermarket stuff. The US bacon I've seen looks more like Parma ham.
Actually a butcher's shops seems like something that is only found in the older US cities.

aruna
12-04-2006, 04:56 PM
Most houses here now have central heating, certainly every newly built house does. Given how much energy costs have gone up people really ought to wear more clothes indoors.



Double glazing, double glazing, double glazing: repeat one hundred times. Houses here are SO much better insulated than in England; I feel they are made of cardboard there! And even those wonderful fireplaces - they waste so much heat.

Sandi LeFaucheur
12-04-2006, 05:21 PM
Double glazing, double glazing, double glazing: repeat one hundred times. Houses here are SO much better insulated than in England; I feel they are made of cardboard there! And even those wonderful fireplaces - they waste so much heat.

Yes, they're better insulated, but I'm sitting here in my house in Orangeville, Canada, freezing to death, wishing I lived in an English house with doors and gas fires, so I could at least keep one room warm! (My house is brick on the bottom floor and plastic siding on the top floor, that bangs and creaks and groans like a house of horrors in the wind. And Orangeville is always windy.)

Another thing that's different in England is there aren't light switches as such in the bathroom. The switch is either outside the door, or if it's inside, it's a pull cord. I guess it's because the voltage is so much higher that they don't want people with wet hands touching the light switch.) And English bathrooms always (well, usually) have a little heater high up on the wall (again, with a pull cord) so you can get it up to about 112 degreees in there inside a minute and a half. Bliss. Toasty.

And the walls in English houses are solid (which means it's murder putting up curtain rails or pictures) and not hollow like over here. (I suppose that's because they have to be stuffed with insulation over here.)

At least North Americans are finally cottoning on to fridge/freezers with the freezer at the bottom (hello, cold air sinks) and front-loading washers. Since I moved over here and had a top loading washer, my clothes have worn out much quicker. It must be the agitator; everything gets wrapped around it.

Sandi LeFaucheur
12-04-2006, 05:27 PM
Oops, just thought of another one. This is one where US/Canada is much, much better than the UK. (Heave a sigh of relief, those who thought we were Yank-bashing! :) )

Over here you can drink water from the bathroom. In England (generally) only the kitchen tap is on the mains. The water in the bathroom--both hot and cold--comes from a large cistern in the roof. (Something to do with a law about having water for sanitation, should the water go off. No-one thought about drinking water.) Obviously, as the cistern is emptied, it refills again, but these cisterns don't usually have tops on them, so all manner of things can fall in. Spiders, insects, dead pigeons. Funnily, you clean your teeth with bathroom water, you just don't swallow it. Oh well, have to eat a peck of dirt before you die, I guess.

Dollywagon
12-04-2006, 11:43 PM
Manuals v automatics?

Sandi LeFaucheur
12-05-2006, 02:42 AM
Manuals v automatics?

Yeah, that's true. I feel so sorry for Americans who land at Heathrow, rent a car--manual, unless they thought to specify otherwise--and are straight away faced with roundabouts and then the M4! I know one chap who drove around the airport, took the car back, and took the train. True

I insist on a manual. I've had one automatic and hated it. Car salesmen in Canada nearly fall over because I ask for a manual. I guess they figure that little ladies don't drive them. Snort.

Tish Davidson
12-05-2006, 06:49 AM
Precooked bacon? Ye god. I buy fresh, sliced to order, bacon at the local independent grocery store as I prefer thick sliced as well. For something special the local farmer's market sells fresh made scrapple, sausage and even hot dogs (the ones with apple chunks in them are incredible).

ETA: Just for fun, I'll post the link to their ad http://www.karnsfoods.com/weeklyad1.asp


Mmmm scrapple. Now that's something my Pennsylvania Dutch soul misses in California.

Tish Davidson
12-05-2006, 06:57 AM
the supermarket stuff. The US bacon I've seen looks more like Parma ham.
Actually a butcher's shops seems like something that is only found in the older US cities.

I live in a "newer" city in California that just celebrated its 50th anniversary. The only butcher shops we have are halal ones to serve the observant Muslim population and one that serves mainly Mexican and Central American immigrants and seems to specialize in goat.

Evaine
12-05-2006, 09:40 PM
The water in my bathroom is drinking water. I've never heard that you weren't supposed to drink water in the bathroom.

The only house I've lived in that had eccentric plumbing in any way was the first of a group of three houses that clubbed together to put themselves on the mains, many years ago. So the water pressure at the front of house 1 was very strong, and then the pipes went round to houses 2 and 3, ending up at the back of house one where the water just about dripped out of the tap.

Dollywagon
12-05-2006, 11:06 PM
I can drink water from any tap in my place, but it comes direct from a well and into the house system without going through a header tank. I think it would be different if I had a heating system that required a water tank, but since I had a combination boiler installed it doesn't matter.

C.bronco
12-05-2006, 11:38 PM
In response to the original post, I live in sub-urban New Jersey and can help you out since you are being specific, because suburban NJ is nothing like a mid-western suburb. We are spoiled because we are very close to NY, NY, and have access to authentic cuisines from all cultures.
NJ is very diverse culturally. People here don't really say "fogeddaboudit."
Classic NJ cusine?: The Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese on a Hard Roll, available at any diner (best with ketchup- yum). I grew up in CT, and there people called taylor ham pork roll, but no one really ate it.
When I moved to NJ, I found "jug-handles" odd. Instead of being able to turn left at a traffic light, you have to turn right and loop around to the traffic light to make a u-turn or left turn. You'd encounter those mostly on major routes or highways.
NJ residents spend an insane amount of time trying to make their lawns as green and trimmed as golf course greens. Landscaping is proliferating in the Garden State.
Traffic is horrible. It takes me 45 minutes to an hour to get to work in the morning, and I live 12 miles away from work.
You can't smoke in bars or restaurants in NJ or New York, don't know about other states.
I could go on and on.

C.bronco
12-05-2006, 11:40 PM
Oh, there are butcher shops around here. There's one in my town that's great.

Dollywagon
12-05-2006, 11:59 PM
Roundabouts ... You don't have roundabouts ... or at least I'm told?

These are traffic island 'roundabouts' as opposed to 'carousels.'

Oh and the gun thing gets me.
I had a neighbour who was texan and working over here in England. It was in a small village.
He turned up one night and asked if I could get him a gun!?!***

When I asked him why he wanted one, he replied "for self-protection."
I told him to use his fists like a proper bloke and had no intention of landing myself in nick cos he was playing silly so-and-so's.

The worrying thing was that I often wondered why he thought I, in particular, could lay my hands on one:D

MadScientistMatt
12-06-2006, 05:33 AM
Roundabouts ... You don't have roundabouts ... or at least I'm told?

These are traffic island 'roundabouts' as opposed to 'carousels.'

We do have a few of them, but they're exceedingly rare.

Kentuk
12-06-2006, 05:37 AM
Roundabouts seem to be a Jersey thing, they built a bunch of them back in the thirties and have been stuck with them ever since.

L M Ashton
12-06-2006, 07:40 AM
We have traffic circles in Edmonton, Alberta, as well. Also in Sri Lanka, although that has nothing to do with the original question.

And, um, I've owned and/or driven many manual transmission cars in Canada. They're not that uncommon.

MattW
12-06-2006, 07:45 AM
Roundabouts seem to be a Jersey thing, they built a bunch of them back in the thirties and have been stuck with them ever since.They've taken out a few here and there, but we still got em.

And they mostly suck during peak volume periods.

pdr
12-06-2006, 08:37 AM
This thread's grown since last I saw it!

Can't drink tap water in England? No, that's France, especially Paris, where you don't drink the tap water. In England, at least when I last renovated an old house there, the header tank in the attic is only for the hot water. And these days they all have covers on them.

I did chuckle over the American reaction to a separate room for the loo. It's really useful. Just imagine Dad's in the bath and the kids want to go to the loo. And for us rural types, a separate loo by the back door is great when you're all mucky from farming or gardening, or the kids want to rush in to the loo and have grubby feet. It's a climate thing isn't it? In NZ we can get outside every day of the year and spend more time out than in. It's a bloody nuisance having to wash off feet, or toss off shoes to go inside to the bathroom when you can have a loo by the back door.

Bacon. Ah good home cured bacon. You can still get it in NZ and the UK.

Coffee plungers and percolator are preferred over drip coffee. It's to do with speed in the morning with the plunger and the French method of the correct temperature of the water on the coffee beans in the percolator. I have to say I do prefer European coffee making to American but some of the nicest coffee I ever had was in Canada where the old percolator sat on a wood burning kitchen range and the temperature was perfect for a good cup of aromatic and not stridently bitter coffee.

And if you want to tread lightly and kindly on this poor planet of ours then you'll wear wool socks and a sweater in the house in winter, ride a bike or walk for short trips, only buy, cook and eat what you need and use every scrap of every thing, even the pig's head! One thing I did notice last year when I went from a short stay in the UK to an even shorter one in America was that recycling and separating rubbish were not done in Montana but were in Lincolnshire.

aruna
12-06-2006, 09:19 AM
One thing I did notice last year when I went from a short stay in the UK to an even shorter one in America was that recycling and separating rubbish were not done in Montana but were in Lincolnshire.

I don't know about Lincolnshire but even the little efforts made in East Sussex are nothing compared to what's done in Germany. When I first moved to Britain I was totally horrified by the throw-away culture there.

aruna
12-06-2006, 09:20 AM
Roundabouts seem to be a Jersey thing, they built a bunch of them back in the thirties and have been stuck with them ever since.

Roundabouts are great,. They are now starting to introduce them in Germany.

Sandi LeFaucheur
12-06-2006, 02:54 PM
Roundabouts are great,. They are now starting to introduce them in Germany.

Although they take some getting used to, they are much safer than stop signs. I read an article once in Ontario Good Roads that pointed out there are something like 32 possible points of contact on two roads that intersect with stop signs, but only 4 with a roundabout. Mind, the Elephant and Castle roundbout in South London and the "Magic Roundabout" in Swindon terrify me.

Sandi LeFaucheur
12-06-2006, 02:59 PM
Re: cold water tanks http://www.diydoctor.org.uk/projects/cold_water%20tanks%20etc..htm If yuu follow the pipes on the diagram, you'll see that the water goes not only to the hot water heater, but to every other tap--both hot and cold--in the house, other than the kitchen.

It seems that there are regulations now saying the tank has to be closed. I wonder when those were put into force? Probably within the last 50 years, I'd think. (Which is another difference--in North America, a Victorian house is considered old, in England, it's practically a new-build! :) )

I think it was dollywagon (I'll go back and check) who said she had a combo boiler and no cold tank. Our last house had a combo boiler and no cold tank. Oh how I loved that boiler! Constant hot water! No immersion heater! The only downside was that the hot water ran all through the radiators before it got to the kitchen tap, which meant in the summer, the radiators were warm. I shouldn't think this was standard; the bloke we bought the house from was dreadful at any type of diy!

aruna
12-06-2006, 03:10 PM
Although they take some getting used to, they are much safer than stop signs. I read an article once in Ontario Good Roads that pointed out there are something like 32 possible points of contact on two roads that intersect with stop signs, but only 4 with a roundabout. Mind, the Elephant and Castle roundbout in South London and the "Magic Roundabout" in Swindon terrify me.

Yes, safety is the reason they are being introduced here (germany).
I like them because if you don;t know which is the correct exit you just keep driving round and round and round! For someone who loses her way often this is a great benefit! You can alsoe easily just turn back the way you came at the next one if you lose your way!

Sandi LeFaucheur
12-06-2006, 03:23 PM
Yes, safety is the reason they are being introduced here (germany).
I like them because if you don;t know which is the correct exit you just keep driving round and round and round! For someone who loses her way often this is a great benefit! You can alsoe easily just turn back the way you came at the next one if you lose your way!

Yes, I've spun round and round roundabouts quite happily for hours.

Sassenach
12-06-2006, 08:53 PM
Traffic roundabouts are common in Central America.

Many flats in San Francisco have the toilet in a separate room from the shower/bath.

I use a coffee plunger all the time, as do millions of Americans.

Manual transmission cars are still driven in the US, though I believe most, if not all, rental cars are automatic.

Recycling varies by area. Some places do a great deal.

My point: [again] Stop extrapolating from your limited experience.

veinglory
12-06-2006, 09:00 PM
Um, well... you could say that about any generalisation but many of them still remain, in general, true. I have live in three American towns over almost a decade and in none of them found the toilet separate, a stick shift car available in the used car lots or a decent cup of coffee to be found anywhere. Bearing in mind that this thread is actually about the experiences a foreign character might have first moving to the US--how on earth are our experiences on moving to the US not relevant? Yes, if you search long and hard you will find exceptions to anything--that doesn't mean there isn't a general pattern or a typical different many foreigners will encounter. Nor is this a 'bash the US' thread. It just obviously struck a cord will us many ex-pats who, if we didn't have a certain appreciation for the star spangled land, would probably not be ***** living here.

Sassenach
12-06-2006, 10:23 PM
vein:::

If you go to San Francisco, you'll find all of those things. In fact, that where the "gourmet coffee" revolution began, with Alfred Peet and his first store in Berkeley.

I have to disagree with you about the coffee thing. In the last decade or so, the quality of coffee has increased dramatically all over the country.

As for stick shifts, they're not very popular in the US, and are a very small part of the market. I assume that most car rental companies have very little call for them.

I've never gotten the mystique of stick shifts. Perhaps if one is driving a powerful car on the open road--but if you're driving in a congested city [expecially one with hills], they're a PITA.

ETA: I don't consider this an anti-USA thread.

WildScribe
12-06-2006, 10:30 PM
Sass, since the novel takes place in New Jersey, the comments on California are not really relevant. (And I say this as a happy and proud Californian.)

On stick shifts: they are more popular with small, zippy cars, cars that can be converted to racers (like Civics) and sports cars. My own car is a manual, as is my husband's truck. It did, however, take me a little searching to find a used Civic that was manual. They do, however, exist in the US. Hope I've helped.

Dollywagon
12-06-2006, 10:42 PM
Well, I've never been to the US, my suggestions relate directly from Americans I have met over here.
Most are suprised at roundabouts (my Texan neighbour had never negotiated one) and all the ones I have met are surprised at how many manual cars there are over here, although automatics are becoming more popular.
I'm presuming the reverse would apply if I visited the US?

C.bronco
12-06-2006, 10:45 PM
I mentioned "jug-handles" which are different than roundabouts. A jug-handle is almost like a small exit which loops you around so that you are perpendicular to the road and can then cross at a light.

My first three cars were stick shifts (and I'm not that old). The stop and go traffic in NJ made me a convert to automatic.

Dollywagon
12-06-2006, 11:14 PM
Ah, I must have got it wrong then. Sorry OP, forget my suggestions, apparently things are pretty much the same here as there.

Sassenach
12-06-2006, 11:30 PM
Sass, since the novel takes place in New Jersey, the comments on California are not really relevant. (And I say this as a happy and proud Californian.)



Got it. The thread has gone fairly far afield of the original query.

pdr
12-07-2006, 03:58 AM
Sandi. We must have had something special in our little village because only the hot water went into the attic tank. I had to d.i.y. with a plumber to take out lead pipes which is how I know. Also we had an Aga which did hot water and radiators so perhaps that made it all different!

Sass, genuinely without wanting to bash, may I simply state that the US uses up one third of the world's resources and has the biggest rubbish disposal problem, per head of population, in the world. These are figures you can check.

This is a thread about how a non-American would react to coming to America. It is valid then to state that the sheer waste of so much, (food, energy, natural resources,) the lack of recycling, and the constant urge to spend money buying new unnecessary things, for example, to throw out last month's old fashioned clothes, or buy a new car rather than fix the old ARE things that strike a newcomer.

Of course there are people who don't do this, but the first impression from TV ads, looking at the neighbours, especially in New Jersey, is what hits a newcomer before they adjust.

And many of the people in the rest of the world only see that Americans gobble up so many resources, waste so much food, when their people never have enough to eat, and send their rubbish, both ordinary and nuclear, across the sea in ships to little Pacific islands or other poverty stricken countries to dump it.

Rolling Thunder
12-07-2006, 04:02 AM
All I can say is, "Wait until China gets a full head of steam going. The world ain't seen nuttin', yet."

endless rewrite
12-07-2006, 04:40 AM
A difference I have noticed is an over defensive reaction to noted differences.

That and the never ending TV (medical ones!) adverts and the waste - oh paper plates for pudding to save on washing up, I was so shocked at that, the air conditioning, BIG gas guzling cars and all that packaging for junk food/takeaway. Friendly staff in the service industries, clean wide pavements (probably the lack of people walking) and people genuinely curious about your home and pleased that you are visting and enjoying their country. I found the pride people had in their surroundings refreshing, a lack of cynicism which makes the British often snide sense of humour fall flat or be taken literally. I went from being considered almost amusing on a good day to being considered quite rude and odd.

When I was much younger I lived in Boston and went to university there for a while. I started off in a dorm and was taken aback at shower time. I would wander in with my soap and shampoo and the American girls had these plastic baskets full of all sorts of potions and lotions. In England it is unusual enough to see students shower without it being such an event. Gradually I realized/snooped/saw that most of the plastic baskets contained these 'douche' products which seemed a little excessive even more so when my friend and I investigated said products at the chemist. I am sure I was considered vile and grubby with my solitary soap but what I found REALLY odd was that the majority of women I saw leaving public toilets did NOT wash their hands after! Though I may not have douched inbetween meals and said toilet instead of 'bathroom' which was considered awfully uncouth, at least I washed my hands. This is something I have observed on my visits since. However I know all Aw members are typing with clean fingers (and everything else).

Disclaimer: I am sure everyone always washes their hands in SF.

K1P1
12-07-2006, 04:44 AM
Perhaps the surprising thing one would notice on coming to the US for the first time is how inconsistent the issues are that keep cropping up in thread.

Some cities and counties have recycling programs and strict limits on the amount of waste a household can produce each week. Others don't have any. Subsidized recycling programs are rare, which means that not everything that can be recycled is recycled--only the items there's a market for. For example, where I am, only type 1 and 2 plastics are turned in for recycling. In other places, no plastics are recycled. In some places, all the different types of plastics, colors of glass, and types of cans must be separated. Where I am, they are all "comingled" and sorted out at the recycling center. Last I heard, in NYC, people had to remove all the paper labels from their glass before recycling--think of the waste of water! On the other hand, is it worse to burn it off, in terms of air pollution and use of fossil fuels?


I should think that the fact that there's no central control over these things would strike a first-time visitor. Not the fact of no control, just the major variations.

Some areas (North Carolina, for example) have plenty of roundabouts (but we call them traffic circles). There aren't many in Virginia, but there's one right here in the small town where I live. Half of the light switches in my house are upside down, so that the light turns on when they're down. Of course a bunch have two switches on the circuit, so you never know which way to turn them. I've never thought it was a big deal--you just turn the switch to the other position.

Oh, and in NJ and one other state (Oregon?) it's illegal to pump your own gas, but in all the other states self-service gas is now the norm.

Recipes call for measures rather than weights.

People use checks, credit and debit cards for everything - most people don't carry much cash anymore.

Somebody bags your groceries for you in the grocery store, and the store provides your choice of paper or plastic bags.

aruna
12-07-2006, 09:31 AM
Somebody bags your groceries for you in the grocery store, and the store provides your choice of paper or plastic bags.

In British supermarkets they also bag for you, but youdonltget a choice - just plastic.

However, both Tesco and Sainsburys have now introduced a "bag for life" which you reuse again and again. Tesco gives you points for it. But hardly anybody does it - they just take the plastic bags provided free.

That used to make me fret no end when I first arrived ffom Germany - the way people just grabbed new bags for their shopping, only to be used once and thrown away. In Germany, nobody bags for you and you don't get free bags. OK, having a bagger would be nice but the free bag thing is ridiculous. Once you get it into your head that you take your own bag or basket it really isn't a problem at all.

Or else, (in Germany) you get a free cardboard box from the ones the supermarket has thrown out.

aruna
12-07-2006, 10:34 AM
While we're on the subject:

In the UK (annually)...




* more than 10 billion carrier bags are produced;
* if laid end-to-end, these would stretch to the moon and back five times;
* 80% of shoppers put everything into free carrier bags at the supermarket; and
* 100,000 tonnes of plastic bags are thrown away – that’s the same weight as 70,000 cars!


The US situation: http://www.reusablebags.com/news.php?id=7

Dollywagon
12-07-2006, 11:19 AM
I don't know about other supermarkets but here (Scotland) Tesco now will take all makes of plastic carriers back. The best bit is with the delivery service, they bring your stuff and you can give all your carriers back to the driver to take away and recycle. Great idea. Although a lot of mine get used as rubbish bags rather than going out and buying the purpose made black rubbish bags.
At the end of the day though the amount of carriers used is dependant on how many customers there are, which aren't indefinite.

aruna
12-07-2006, 11:41 AM
I don't know about other supermarkets but here (Scotland) Tesco now will take all makes of plastic carriers back.

Yes, they do so here as well. But who bothers?

Ireland started charging customers a 10c tax on plastic bags - and since then their use has gone down 95%! I don;t know why the UK doesn't do this.

Dollywagon
12-07-2006, 11:48 AM
I bother!

I think you are quite correct about charging for them though, it would reduce consumption, but like I say that consumption is not infinite.
Thing is, if taxes were increased on all products that could be recycled then the same could be said. But then you would be looking at goods such as mobile (cell) phones, fuel duties etc which the majority of people do not want.

My point is, that when it comes to recycling, carrier bags are actually small potatoes, but it does make people feel as if they are contributing. If we got down to the real nitty gritty of where wastage was highest it would involve altering the habits of most people and they don't want to know that.

Dininishing resources are always somebody elses fault/problem.

aruna
12-07-2006, 12:12 PM
I bother!



Dininishing resources are always somebody elses fault/problem.

Veryv much so, and I plesd guilty as well! I owuld hate to stop driving, and as a dedicated traveller (mostly by plane) I have done my bit to contribute to the problem. However, even these smnall things likenot using carrier bags is important; because it's a mind-set of indifference I see here,. and once that is broken people do start clearing up their lives all-round. I see this happening in Germany, where they wouldn't use plastic bags even if they were free (Wal-Mart tried it - customers refused to use them!) A conscience has developed here, and once you have that it;s hard to break.

Dollywagon
12-07-2006, 12:41 PM
There is no doubt that the smaller efforts do much to contribute, and I'm in full agreement that it's the mind-set that needs to be changed. I think a lot of the problems in the UK are because the government manage these things badly i.e. high taxes that are meant to discourage waste and encourage recycling, are seen to be wasted and not put into environmental development. Therefore people see this type of thing as a 'con.'
Which, in fairness, in the tax sense, it probably is, so gives everybody a nice cop-out.

At the end of the day though, I do see a huge problem with diminishing resources and pollution. Somebody earlier mentioned that China is the up and coming polluter. No argument there. But, it is the west that has encouraged this. We want cheap, convenient, plentiful goods - China provides them. Ultimately the west is still the cause of the problem.

Just from a personal point of view I don't believe recycling will reduce the effects in the way in needs to, what needs to happen is that consumption must fall and the drop would reduce the need for recycling. Then again, that has economic/lifestyle implications that the western world would find it hard to consider. None of us are big on abstinence.

FergieC
12-07-2006, 01:51 PM
I came to Calgary, Canada from Britain. There are many differences but I'm darned if I can think of more than one right now.

Sorry, going a long way back in the thread here, but I just wanted to second the friendliness of Calgarians, and Canadians in general.

I went out with a guy in Calgary for a while and one time, he was having a conversation with a friend about what the best chat up lines were. When I came up, he said, 'ah, you're a girl, what's the best chat up line?'

I said it was 'can I buy you a drink?' and both he and his mate (metal heads, early 20s) looked utterly bemused, and said, 'but that's what any guy at a bar would say to any women, especially one he doesn't know.'

It was at that point I realised that all those men at bars were just being friendly, not sleazy. If a guy you don't know in Britain offers you a drink, you run a mile unless you want to be pestered for sex for the rest of the night! Also, if you've never been in a bar before in Calgary, it seems quite common for the barmaid to offer you a shot as a welcome. It's basically rude not to talk to the people around you in Canada, whereas in Britain, if you do you're considered a bit mental.

{{{{Canada}}}}}

aruna
12-07-2006, 03:28 PM
{{{{Canada}}}}}

I heart Canada too! Thats sounds so nice, and tallies with other things I've heard.

Perks
12-07-2006, 04:58 PM
vein:::
I have to disagree with you about the coffee thing. In the last decade or so, the quality of coffee has increased dramatically all over the country.
Lol! You can't disagree about what good coffee is. It's like trying to argue which color is the best in the Crayola box. Surely, this comes down to personal taste and acclimation. My mother-in-law, god love her, thought that instant coffee was just great. If she were looking for a "decent cup", that's what she'd be after. I thought I'd expire trying to adjust to German coffee (I switched to tea.) It's all a matter of what you're used to.

Tish Davidson
12-07-2006, 07:41 PM
All the supermarkets in my town in California have bins where you can bring back plastic bags and recycle them, and they are often full. I use some bags for cleaning up after the dogs and the rest get recycled. What really bugs me is that we have the New York Times delivered and year-round it comes in a plastic bag, even though it doesn't rain here from May through September. What a waste. The local newspaper only bags its home delivery papers when rain is in the forecast. These plastic newspaper bags can also be recycled at the supermarket bin.

smallthunder
12-07-2006, 10:13 PM
What really bugs me is that we have the New York Times delivered and year-round it comes in a plastic bag, even though it doesn't rain here from May through September. What a waste. The local newspaper only bags its home delivery papers when rain is in the forecast. These plastic newspaper bags can also be recycled at the supermarket bin.

Remember, that environmentally correct slogan is: Reduce, RE-USE, Recyle and Replace.

Those newpaper plastic bags are great for dog owners -- perfect for picking up/disposing of dog poo. I had a friend who used to keep hers and then regularly pass a bundle of them to me (I have two dogs). It was great! Thoughtful, and environmentally wise.

You might want to pass yours along to a dog-owning friend, too.

Dollywagon
12-07-2006, 11:18 PM
Ooooh WELL!!!

If we are onto the ultimate in recycling AND dog poo, beat this.

I feed my dog goat food (he can't take the processed meat or kibble) it's all grain, so a) doesn't smell, and b) the birds just pick it up and off it goes ....

Sandi LeFaucheur
12-08-2006, 03:20 AM
...and since we are now completely off topic, here's a fact about England that will surprise Americans. For its land area, England has more tornadoes annually (33) than any other place on earth. That shocked me!

(There was a tornado in London today http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2491853,00.html )

lynneguist
12-08-2006, 05:34 AM
People interested in this thread might also be interested in:

http://separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogspot.com

WildScribe
12-08-2006, 05:42 AM
...and since we are now completely off topic, here's a fact about England that will surprise Americans. For its land area, England has more tornadoes annually (33) than any other place on earth. That shocked me!

(There was a tornado in London today http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2491853,00.html )

WTF!?!?!

Do most Brits know about this? I have done a lot of reading on England, but I've never heard of a twister in that country. Amazing what you don't know, eh?

Dollywagon
12-08-2006, 10:56 AM
Ahh, but usually I think you will find they are smaller.

I lost part of my rendering this summer to a little mini one. Nice calm day and suddenly all hell broke lose. When I ran outside, I found that stuff had been thrown all over the place and a large block of concrete (don't know where it came from) had hit the side wall and knocked the rendering off. I also lost a large sweeping brush ... never saw it again.

I've seen quite a few when at the open air antique fairs in Lincolnshire. Again, these were in the summer. One the other year wiped out quite a few stalls and it was amazing to see the stuff rolling around up near the clouds.

Tish Davidson
12-08-2006, 11:27 AM
WTF!?!?!

Do most Brits know about this? I have done a lot of reading on England, but I've never heard of a twister in that country. Amazing what you don't know, eh?

I've never seen a tornado show up in British fiction, either, although they show up fairly often in American fiction set in the Midwest and South.

Tish Davidson
12-08-2006, 11:28 AM
Ahh, but usually I think you will find they are smaller.

I lost part of my rendering this summer to a little mini one. Nice calm day and suddenly all hell broke lose. When I ran outside, I found that stuff had been thrown all over the place and a large block of concrete (don't know where it came from) had hit the side wall and knocked the rendering off.


Please, what is a rendering?

Dollywagon
12-08-2006, 01:41 PM
Sorry, Trish.

Erm, somebody help me out with another word ... it's the concrete skimming over brick work.

Ah yes, the other word around here is 'harled.'

PastMidnight
12-16-2006, 05:56 PM
English documentaries are sometimes overdubbed into American. Why? English people can understand American television. I'm sure that Americans can understand English accents, too. I can't think of any examples off the top of my head (as I have a notorious memory for names and titles), but I've definitely seen this happen. It's quite odd, because you'll have an American overdub the narration offscreen, but then when a British person is interviewed onscreen, lo and behold, the Americans (it would seem) must all be saying "Eh? What's he saying? I don't understand." I'm sure the average American is much more able to cope with a non-American accent than the networks seem to believe.

This is funny, because I notice this in reverse, with American documentaries dubbed over by a British narrator. One that springs to mind that we watch quite often in our home is Mythbusters. They've redone the narration at some cost just to change 'gas' to 'petrol' and call the men 'lads'? As someone has already pointed out, there is enough American TV broadcast here in UK that the average person would be able to translate 'gas' on their own.

Rolling Thunder
12-16-2006, 06:20 PM
Sorry, Trish.

Erm, somebody help me out with another word ... it's the concrete skimming over brick work.

Ah yes, the other word around here is 'harled.'

Known in my part of the US as; parging or stucco.

Language is so kewl.

arrowqueen
12-17-2006, 01:33 AM
Isn't it! I was fascinated to see the word 'parging' being used in modern America, since I think it must originate from 'pargetting' - which was at its most popular in 16th century England. Apparently 'parge' is a mixture of sand, lime and hair.

http://www.buildingconservation.com/articles/pargeting/pargeting.htm

Namatu
12-17-2006, 05:40 AM
Pants. In the U.S., pants means slacks, jeans, what have you. In the UK/Europe, pants means underpants. Hee. My European friends make allowances for me. LOL.

CDs I've gotten in the UK/Europe don't have all that annoying packaging on it. Less waste!

I was visiting a friend in London who had called another friend to meet up with us. She said the line was "engaged." I didn't know that meant it was busy.

Crime. It seems to me that there's more crime in the U.S. I was once engaged in a one-upmanship with a friend in Sweden about crime. She'd mention horrible things that happened in Sweden, and I'd counter with horrible things in Detroit. But Detroit is just one city, and Sweden is a whole country, so I think I won, though I'm sure she'd protest. It's *Detroit*. (Yeah, there are nicer areas, but if you go down there after business hours, it's mostly deserted, nicely complementing the abandoned buildings that look all bombed out.)

Perks
12-17-2006, 06:21 AM
CDs I've gotten in the UK/Europe don't have all that annoying packaging on it. Less waste!

That's it. I'm moving. I pledge allegiance to reliable electricity and internet and cds you can get into without treading the brink of a stroke. That's all I need in this world.

Tish Davidson
12-17-2006, 11:29 PM
Isn't it! I was fascinated to see the word 'parging' being used in modern America, since I think it must originate from 'pargetting' - which was at its most popular in 16th century England. Apparently 'parge' is a mixture of sand, lime and hair.

http://www.buildingconservation.com/articles/pargeting/pargeting.htm

When my father sold his house built in 1890 this autumn, the real estate agent included in the listing information that it had a parged basement. The basement floor had been paved in concrete about 10 years ago, but the walls have a sort of hard white plaster-ish stuff on them that she said was parging. It was the first time I had ever heard the word.