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The Clueless American Arrives in England

September 8, 2011

There’s nothing that says “have a wonderful flight” quite like having three hyper-bitchy soccer moms seated behind you, saying “You know what I forgot to bring? Nutrasweet! Shoulda brought some of those Splenda packets, because water is just so bland.”

Then the plane prematurely ejaculated, which was even less exciting than I remember. We got all worked up, taxied to the runway, revved the engines to maximum warp…and traveled all of ten feet. The engines immediately died. At least, the warp engines did – we were able to limp back to the gate. The captain came on the loudspeaker announcing mysterious ‘technical difficulties’ and assuring us that we would all be provided with more information the moment he had it. An hour passes. Another announcement is made this time asking if two certain individuals are on board, named Nanjeet and Numari Mohamed. No explanation is given. I am absolutely mortified to admit that with those simple words, everyone on the plane immediately became racist. (Or had their heretofore hidden racist tendencies brought to the fore, is probably more accurate.) We all looked at each other in horror, everyone suspecting everyone else. Nothing more was said for another thirty minutes, after which the plane began its return to the runway. Soon after, with more a whimper than a bang, we took off.

Fast forward nine hours and I’m following Tweet, my fiancée, through Gatwick airport in London, my head feeling barely attached due to exhaustion and unable to concentrate on anything but following her rear end through the long corridors. We meet up with her parents and feel our first thrill of having come ‘home.’ Very few things in life are as satisfying as having your very own movie scene in which you run into the arms of people who are thrilled to tears to see you. Everyone should have a moment like that; it validates your entire existence and I feel incredibly blessed to have had it.

I have now spent thirty hours in England and I have learned the following:

-Roads sometimes have animals on them, and they are still alive. They have the right of way.
-There are forty ways to say ‘thank you’ and I can understand none of them.
-The road signs are designed to utterly baffle Americans, containing random colors and parentheses.
-If anyone suspects that you cannot understand their accent, they will deliberately make it stronger. Then laugh.
-The grocery stores have an AMAZING selection of food, almost none of which comes from England.
-Light switches can be buttons or pullstrings, and I cannot remember which is where.
-I am superb at locking myself into bathrooms.
-The shower is electric – you push a button to turn the water on. I did not realise this until standing naked under the shower head, completely puzzled.
-There is nothing better than having a family – in-law, outlaw or otherwise.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Val permalink
    October 6, 2011 11:52 pm

    I love reading about how Americans see us here in the UK, as I’m aware of how much there is that is (or seems) different to an American. Have you seen Trish’s blog Britrish? She writes about the differences also from an American point of view.

    If you ever find yourself in a rural area and away from any supermarkets, look out for local farmers markets – you’ll get a much better feel for the area you’re in, and its people.

    By the way – a couple of blogging tips: delete the previous ‘Hello World’ post, you don’t need it! And, when you’ve written a few more posts, put an ‘archive’ widget in your side panel so that people can find your earlier posts easily. 🙂

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