Thursday 11 April 2013



I live in London and have called it home for some time now. I suppose by textbook definition I could call myself an ‘anglophile.’ For some reason even I can’t explain, I feel like I was meant to be living here over anywhere else (although the weather often calls this into question, or at least causes me to question my sanity). It might have something to do with the fact that I grew up with an English Mother – who of course emigrated to the States and has called that home for over 45 years. Maybe I’m trying to balance the universe?

When I first got here, there were of course the usual adjustments to shock the system. Note to Americans: there is not just one English accent. There are MANY; and once you start heading north - don't even get me started on Wales - good luck understanding half of them. Another thing that I’m sure is common knowledge by now, is that the language is different in many ways and the English will remind you of this every step of the way. For some reason they take joy in letting us yanks know that we have bastardized pretty much everything. But then again, isn’t that what children do to their parents? My friends, still to this day correct me, giggle at my pronunciation of aluminum (aluMINIum to them), and seem to every now and then suddenly remember I have an American accent. “You sound like such a Yank!” Well, yes, that’s because I AM, and I have no plans to start speaking like Madonna (although in her defense, a certain change in pronunciation is inevitable. But if you find an American saying tomato like the English, deport them. They’re not to be trusted).

Then there is the great difference between being English and being British; you will learn this as soon as you call the wrong person English (as most Americans do) or British for that matter (are you confused yet?). In short, most folks over here want to be deemed from the region of which they come: Wales, Scotland,  Northern Ireland or England (which of course all make up Great Britain). But a Scotsman or someone from Wales although British, is NOT English. So don't go confusing the two or you'll get a long winded tirade I assure you. Andy Murray in the early days of his career comes to mind, 'I am not English god d*mn it, I'm Scottish!!'. And they say the 'English' (or British) are innately reserved and polite.

I would say overall, all the little things you get used to and realize that at the end of the day we’re not so different, we just have different poisons if you will. Americans have their French fries and burgers, the English their fish and chips (or fry ups). Americans have their baseball and basketball, the English their football (that’s soccer to us). Americans have their upbeat ‘have a nice day’ attitude (the English will gladly point out that no race of people could be this happy in a sincere way) and the English pride themselves on mild cynicism with plenty of negativity thrown in – this is when some of the older generation will bring up the war of course.  Ah, got to love it.

Overall, I’d have to say my favorite thing about the British is their wit. And it is alive and well and one of the primary reasons I think I find it so comforting to be amongst them. I remember the moment that I realized that this was a people that was very comfortable taking the piss, as they say (translation = gentle mocking) out of just about anyone, esp. Americans (I secretly think it’s a sign of envy that the bastard child made good in life). But to my delight, what they enjoyed even better was when you hurled it right back at them. Of course you had to do it well to earn their respect, this was a sport after all. A utopia of sarcasm, I had died and gone to England. For example, when they accuse of being loud tacky Americans, take them down to the high street and point out the lovely English 'birds' hurling their dinner into the gutters after too many pints. So classy…if they say we’re all fat to the point of obscenity, point out their teeth, overall hygiene, and remind them that as a country they’re catching up damn fast…you see how it works. You’ll have friends in no time.

By the way, for those thin-skinned of you out there, I suggest a visit to Spain instead. 

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