Saturday, June 4, 2011

EUROPEAN MUSINGS: what I've learned about the English

The south of Spain is apparently full of relocated English people. English people get sick of the weather in England, and when they can, or when they retire, move to the South of Spain. It's sort of like American Retired people's Florida.

Between here, and my last helpxchange in France, I've been spending a lot of time with English people. Before i started traveling, I dreamed of spending time in England. But now I don't feel like I need to anymore. England and it's culture has come to me! Here are a few things about them that i've been discovering about this so similar but still foreign culture.

  1. They are self admittedly obsessed about weather. This is because the weather in England is crap they say. It's overcast/rainy about 75% of the time. So they are desperate to see good weather. If there is sun, they USE IT. Even if it's still cold , they tell me that if there is sun, people in England will be out sunning and wearing summer clothes Etc. My London friend makes fun of these types of people by calling them "all excited." They check the weather religiously in England i've been told, because if there is a sunny day in the forecast, you need to plan ahead to use it. Also, all good English people nearly always will have an umbrella, and a good rain jacket close by. Of course this all depends on the region, and city size, etc. But nearly all English people I met check weather forecasts frequently, and remark if it's good weather quite a lot.

  2. English people will say “cheers” when you give them something, like the pepper at the table, or a pair of gardening sheers. They will also say, “Oh, right” a lot when I would usually say “oh, cool.” Sometimes i'd even here them say, “Oh right, Cheers.”

  3. At dessert time, it is quite common to pour cream over a dessert. (apple crumble, lemon meringue, chocolate cake, etc). Apparently at restaurants in England you nearly always get a choice of cream, custard, or ice cream with a slice of dessert. In America, we only get Ice cream, right?

  4. English people do not really eat peanut butter. They thought it was strange that I enjoyed apples and bananas with peanut butter so much. They particularly think that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are weird. Instead, they eat cheese and pickle sandwiches...

  5. England (depending on the region) call meals differently. Lunch time = Dinner; Dinner time= Tea; Supper = a little snack before bed.

  6. There are so many more words than I knew that are different in England than in America that makes me or them say, “a what?” My favorites, though there are more.

    - pants: In England this only means underwear. In America, obviously, it means jeans/trousers.

    - fringe: In England this means bangs

    - quif: In England this is a hairstyle where you style your “fringe” in a bump

    - duvet: In England this is a comforter that goes on a bed. Now, In America we call the sheets that cover a comforter a duvet cover. I never thought about why, but now I know. My host Anne finds this quite weird

    - strimmer – weed wacker

    - the also have a different name for zuccini, but only for zuccini. The rest of the vegetables are the same.

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