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Vive la Difference (An English Woman’s Tongue in Cheek Slant on the USA)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Of course we all know about the language!

My purse is your wallet, your purse is my bag.
Your pants are my trousers, but my pants are your knickers.
My chips are your French Fries, but your chips are my crisps.
You say to-ma-to, we say to-mar-to, etc.

Everything is definitely bigger in America. You have Cheeto’s, we have Cheesy Wotsits, but your Cheeto’s are twice the size of my Wotsits!

And a self respecting English spider is about 2” across including the legs. I found this monster on the steps outside a restaurant we were visiting.

That is my iPhone beside it, showing the scale, both I and the spider survived the experience!

The British have always been noted for their inventions, but for sheer inventive genius, give me the Americans every time.

In the British Isles we have two ways of flushing a toilet. There is either a button on top of a cistern to push, or a lever on the side to operate. On rare occasions there is a Victorian survivor with a high cistern and a chain to pull. In the USA, every time I visited a rest room, I had to pass an intelligence test, (or throw a six when in Las Vegas), before I could flush and escape. Plumbing that comes up from the back of the seat, or sometimes sideways, buttons on the top, or the side, levers that went up, or down. The list was endless! On one occasion, I stood up and the toilet flushed itself, before I could pull my pants, or knickers up, frightening the hell out of me!

Then there’s the food. I was constantly wrong footed. If I ordered an appetizer, it would be huge, but when I didn’t the main course would be tiny! and the idea of boxing half of your meal up and taking it home for later, is an entirely alien concept to the British. Then, what’s with the cheese? It comes on everything!

You’re so polite! The only time I heard a horn honked in anger was in Boston, and I bet he wasn’t a native. People crossing the road have priority. Now there’s a novelty! You try that in London and the drivers will head straight for you, woe betide anyone stepping off the kerb in front of them! It’s ten points if you frighten someone or knock their hat off!

Tipping! Now there’s another alien concept for the British. In the UK, the price you see on the ticket is exactly what you pay, In the USA, one adds tax and a tip on top of the ticket price. I cannot image an Englishman in a pub, tipping the barman £1 every time he orders a pint of beer.

In spite of all of this, I thoroughly enjoyed my holiday in the USA, and hope to visit again next year. Everyone I met was polite, friendly and helpful.

Unlike the British who can be a surly lot!



Member Comments About This Blog Post:
GOANNA2 11/2/2013 10:02PM

    Thank you for sharing your insights into the ways
of the US. I had a big laugh as I thought about my
own experiences over there. Ww, I thought we had
huge spiders here in OZ, but I have never actually
seen one that big. Great blog. emoticon

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PCOH051610 10/27/2013 7:04AM

    Lovely blog! I'm Canadian so we are an odd mix of England and the U.S.

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NEW-CAZ 10/26/2013 2:45AM

    a wonderful blog, thank you for sharing Ev

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FITNHEALTHYKAL 10/22/2013 2:31PM

    Evelyn, I am laughing hysterically. Polite? I'm glad you saw that side. We have MANY cities with notoriously angry drivers (aka road rage). Very frightening.

Did you have a toilet with a flush pedal? One that has the seat covered with saran wrappish stuff and it automatically slides around for the next "sit"? And the automatic faucets that STILL confuzzle me on occasion or paper towel dispensers that do the same.

I hope next year you come to Washington D.C.!

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1SALMON1 10/20/2013 9:06PM

    Delicious writing! Thank you for sharing - you made me laugh. And I am very glad that during your visit you ran into the polite, friendly, and helpful locals - we have plenty of surly folks here too.

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ZANNACHAN 10/19/2013 11:00PM

    Love this blog! It reminds me of when we went to Scotland... they speak English there, but there were so many little things to trip you up! LOL.

At least it was a big spider. The big ones are are not the ones you worry about--it's the little ones that you need to worry about *grin*

The flushing toilers made me laugh, in particular, though. I remember the first time I went to a place that had the automatic facets in the bathroom, and I went to wash my hands and I couldn't figure out how to turn the water on. I waved my hands under the faucet, shifted around in front of the sink... I was pretty young at the time (12ish, I think) but I felt really silly... until I had to explain to a couple of adults who couldn't figure it out either.

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PATTYCAKE17 10/17/2013 1:36PM

    I totally enjoyed your blog!! emoticon for the kind, and sometimes funny words about your American travel experience. So glad you were able to take good memories home with you, except for the monster spider, of course!! I love to hear other peoples' travel experiences as I never travel anywhere, as its never been something I was inspired to do. I should put it on my BUCKET LIST!! lol emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BESSHAILE 10/17/2013 9:00AM

    I'm so glad you liked the US. I wish you could have come to my neck of the woods. Boy - I could have given you a tour by a native guide.

(p.s. I HATE tipping. Servers should be paid a living wage and we should know what we're spending when we look at the menu - not be math wizards)

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JUNEAU2010 10/16/2013 10:34PM

    A delightful blog, as always! I hope some day I can cross the pond!

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DANAPRIME 10/16/2013 9:15PM

    Glad you had a good trip!! Loved your blog!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!!!!!!!

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MRYTYLER 10/16/2013 1:00PM

    I have a feeling you would be great fun to travel with. So glad you got to experience the automatic flush. emoticon

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KENSHO 10/16/2013 12:19PM

    Love love love this blog. You made me giggle!

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YJNANA 10/16/2013 11:41AM

    Loved your post, and the comparisons. We have a Coach on the Soccer team from London, we can't get enough of hearing him Talk
He loves hearing the girls (12 to 14) giggle at him when he uses a different word for his girls. They egg him on to talk more and more. Just so they can enjoy his accent.

So I too, love to hear the differences :) tell us more.... tell us more. emoticon

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LOLABLACK69 10/16/2013 9:16AM

    emoticon Loved the blog!

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SUNNYBEACHGIRL 10/15/2013 11:35PM

    Planning a trip to the UK next year. I think I'll look on line for more translations. I love your blogs

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WATERONE 10/15/2013 7:17PM

    Loved your take on your trip. So funny. Glad you had fun. When I was in Great Britain many years ago, I didn't find people surly at all. Everyone was great and I hope I can come back.

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GARDENQE2 10/15/2013 6:41PM

    Fun observations!
I'm glad you had a good time!

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LETHA_ 10/15/2013 5:04PM

    Great post. Made me smile.

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FEISTYOWL 10/15/2013 3:17PM

    That was funny! I cannot believe you actually came close enough to that spider to lay your phone down!! I'm glad you had a good time here, and I really enjoyed your comparisons!

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ALIHIKES 10/15/2013 2:57PM

    LOVED your blog, thanks for posting! So many of the toilets are automatic flushers now (particularly in the big institutions where my work takes me) that I sometimes am sometimes in the stall wondering "why hasn't it flushed yet?" ummmm... maybe because I need to push the handle!

The food size comments are TOO TRUE!

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So very glad your visit to the USA was enjoyed, and left you wanting to visit again. Not sure what parts of the country you got to see... but that spider looked like something I would expect to see in the Southwest desert terrain, Nevada Arizona etc.
Thank you for liking my country. I rather like it myself. Would love to visit your country in real life and not just through the books I read,
Time to get back on the healthy life-style wagon and support your BLC team!!
I've been missing your blogs.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Audra

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MILLISMA 10/15/2013 2:34PM

    I just loved this blog and the comparisons!!!! I know what you mean about the differences in toilets in different countries. When we visited Australia, there were usually 2 buttons on the top depending on what you used it for. You've really made me smile today......thanks!!!

Mary Anne

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 10/15/2013 2:25PM

    Have to say this blog just made my day. If I'd been drinking something while reading this I'd have done a Kal. Love your take on America and the differences in language, toilets and food.

Thanks for sharing your observations.

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MEADSBAY 10/15/2013 2:20PM

    Whatever do you mean?
We all speak the Queen's (or is the King's?) English, don't we?
Where on earth did you see that spider?

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TRUCKERSMRS 10/15/2013 2:03PM

    Your blog is so much fun, and so true too.

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CHRISTASP 10/15/2013 1:01PM

    Great blog. I can relate, a lot!

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ZELLAZM 10/15/2013 12:06PM

    How fun, Evelyn...thanks for sharing your insights. It makes me feel good to know that you were treated well on your visit. And, as an American teaching English in Germany, I encounter lots of these differences as I deal with my colleagues! Your kerb is my curb, by the way! emoticon

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LOLATURTLE 10/15/2013 10:49AM

    Aw, lovely. I'm glad you had a good trip!

The thing about food made me giggle.... Eddie Izzard has a bit about the doggie bag thing that always makes me laugh so hard I cry. "You're gonna take that HOME??? eeeeeeeuuuuuchhhh!" hahahahahahaha.

My first ever trip outside of the USA was to England, Ireland, and Wales! I loved it. Though I was just 16 years old, with a big gaggle of 15-17 year olds, all girls, so we got a lot of attention from the local teen boys. We later came to find out that was because their concept of "American girls" came from movies. I think they expected us to fall out of our clothes & to the ground at a smile. They were quite disappointed with the reality of us. Hahahahaha!

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BONOLICIOUS2 10/15/2013 9:41AM

    Ummmmmm I don't think that spider is normal! I live in Maryland and I would have freaked out if I saw that! And I am jealous because I'd LOVE to visit Britain! Glad you had a fun trip!

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WHOVIANGIRL23 10/15/2013 8:42AM

    How funny. I would love to go on a British vacation and see what it's like.. I'm glad you survived your US experience!

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STFRENCH 10/15/2013 8:30AM

    emoticon Loved, loved, loved this blog bur EEEEEK at that big spider!! emoticon

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LINDAKAY228 10/15/2013 7:45AM

    Glad you enjoyed your visit here! I loved the blog!

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 10/15/2013 7:09AM

    Wonderful blog! You described the differences in such a funny way. I'm glad you enjoyed your vacation.

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IDICEM 10/15/2013 6:59AM

    Great post! So glad you enjoyed your visit here and want to return.

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PMRUNNER 10/15/2013 6:18AM

    I spent a gap year in Winchester and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in a well written and amusing blog!

Who was it who said that we are two people separated by a common language?

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BEANIES_MOM 10/15/2013 6:07AM

    Great blog!! I am glad you had a good visit to the states. emoticon for sharing.

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THE_SHAKESHAFT 10/15/2013 1:09AM

    Oh my that's a big spider!

Great to hear from you, Evelyn!

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SEAJESS 10/15/2013 12:52AM

    emoticon for an entertaining and observant blog! I love travel stories and travel precisely because of those differences. Your observations about American toilets were really funny! emoticon

When hubby and I were in London we were interested in the quality of British toilet paper. We encountered interesting varieties, including little waxy squares that looked as if they were for wrapping tiny sandwiches. I also loved that the Brits called a toilet a toilet. After all, we aren't truly looking to take a bath. emoticon

Where will you travel next?

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-THINQ- 10/15/2013 12:40AM

    Such a great post! I love the point of view that you brought with you; you sound even more nice and fun-loving than i thought before!

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SANDISOCAROLINA 10/15/2013 12:35AM

    Wonderful blog! So much fun to read your perspective. Hadn't really thought about it, but yes there is a lot of cheese on the food LOL. It's one of the things I've had to cut way back on, come to think of it! Hope you come back for another visit real soon.

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BEACHLVRMI 10/14/2013 11:39PM

    I LOVED reading this. I am so glad you had a good time while you were in the states. Didn't you know everything tastes better with cheese emoticon

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KATI5668 10/14/2013 11:10PM

    great!! I have a dear friend in Canada & even there we are exchanging meanings of words..but they do tend to draw their meanings from the Queen's English ..aye. But no where in the USofA can you find Fish & Chips as they have them Over There!

Loved everyword...great blog!!

emoticon emoticon

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MARYJEANSL 10/14/2013 11:02PM

  Well, I have to say that I have never heard an American use the word 'knickers.' Most of us would say 'underwear' or maybe 'panties.'

And I had to laugh at your take on the toilet flushing. I travelled extensively in Europe way, way back in 1983, including two weeks in England and Scotland, and one of my biggest surprises back then was the many, many strange ways toilets are (were) flushed over there, versus the only-one-way there was in the US. Obviously, long before automatic flushing toilets. I'll never forget one place in France where I searched all over the toilet and stall, looking for a way to flush and just couldn't find one. Finally I gave up, unlocked the stall door - and that was what flushed the toilet. So I guess, what goes around, comes around.

I'm glad you enjoyed your stay! Do come again. :-)

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FLAMENM 10/14/2013 10:30PM

    Glad you enjoyed your stay.

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FUNGIRL81005 10/14/2013 10:10PM

    emoticon I too loved the auto toilet flushing!! Too funny...My DH loved this hotel that has heated toilet seats......ya..they are pretty nice in cold mornings!!!
So happy you enjoyed the U.S.A. We love visitors..... i have never seen an old Victorian toilet...
Everything is better with cheese!!! and Tipping is a persons income. They earn a 1/4 oif their pay from hourly wage and the rest tips.....Yes most of us will tip a dollar on a 3dollar beer....Drinking can be SPENDY!!

Thanks for Sharing!!! Glad you had a great time!!

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PERFECTVELVET 10/14/2013 9:58PM

    That made me giggle. The two times I visited Britain, everyone was extremely helpful and kind. I've met my fair share of nice Americans and not-so-nice Americans. Thank you for sharing your experience!

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FANNISHMOM 10/14/2013 9:45PM

    Glad you enjoyed your vacation. I went to school up in Boston and so I have to tell you that there is a whole category of drivers from up there that are referred to as "Massholes." They are cranky and rude, but they can also be some of the best drivers you'll run across. I actually miss that because down in the D.C. area you get drivers who think they know what they are doing, but they don't. A little spot of rain or, heaven forbid, snow, and they are lost.


Comment edited on: 10/14/2013 9:46:06 PM

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MYTHMYTH 10/14/2013 9:12PM

    So glad that you had a good time visiting us.

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CHOCOHOLIC2276 10/14/2013 8:52PM

    I enjoyed this read it was awesome!!!

I got a first glimpse at life here through your eyes:) I'm glad you had a good experience-lol

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DR1939 10/14/2013 8:45PM

    We visited the UK many times and enjoy the differences. I'm so glad you had a good time. Please come again. We're a huge country with lots to see. Although the cities are enticing, the middle of the continent is absolutely gorgeous and almost vacant.

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