Bloody Hell!: 10 Lessons Learned From England

View of the Conwy River from the castle in northern Wales

1. Northwestern England has but one season: rain. Every other week may see one day of sunshine, maybe two if you’re lucky. If it’s not raining, it’s cloudy. If it’s not cloudy, it’s windy. If it’s not windy, it’s probably raining. Mostly, however, it is a combination of all three.

2. I’ve become increasingly aware of the strength of my own accent. Most Americans I’ve encountered are from Colorado or Maryland, and their accents are far more neutral than my own. Case in point: in Conwy, Wales, last weekend, I was walking down a rather narrow winding staircase, and a voice behind me asked, “Are you from Ontario?” That gave me food for thought. This wasn’t the first time I was asked if I was from Canada either.

2a. When asked where I’m from, I usually say about two hours north of Chicago. If the person is familiar with the area, I shoot for Milwaukee. It’s usually a hit or miss. On the other hand, those who are familiar with Milwaukee often recognize it for rather creative reasons. One Australian in London told me he knew Milwaukee by the Bucks, and another Brit asked me if it was true that Milwaukee erected a statue dedicated to the Fonz.

And finally, after that Canada incident, it may be prudent for me to tell people I live near Canada—and with my accent, hell, I should just tell people I AM from Canada.

3. In reference to #2, the most obvious difference I’ve noticed between Americans and Brits are words for certain things. For instance (American-British): fries=chips, chips=crisps, cookies=biscuits, biscuits=scones, wallets (male and female)=purse (female), purse=handbag, cart=trolley, thank you=cheers/ta, lunch=dinner, dinner/supper=tea, and so on and so forth.

4. Sheep are the British equivalent of cows.

5. Most Brits can probably drink me under the table (and I thought I had a mild alcohol tolerance!).  And, I still don’t like the taste of beer, British or American.

6. The American influence over here is astonishing. I expected some here and there, especially in London, but it’s strong here even in little Lancaster. I’ve noticed it especially in music and fast food chains, especially KFC and Subway (I’m not even counting McDonalds—we all know that it’s eventually going to take over the world).

7. Hershey’s chocolate has absolutely nothing on British Cadbury chocolate.

8. If I actually spent the time to convert how much I’ve spent over here so far, I’d probably cry.

9. There is nothing more spectacular (so far) than standing on the top of a castle turret and staring out over the English (Welsh) countryside and letting your mind wander.

10. My British gal friends are a bad influence. They have me watching Desperate Housewives now, something I would never have done back home! 🙂

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