This got me thinking about the differences in our lives on different sides of the Atlantic or across the pond, here are my thoughts:
Even though America evolved from Britain, we have different slants on the English language. Namely:
- We like to put the ‘u’ in words that Americans take out e.g. colour, flavour, and mum.
- We write dates different e.g. yesterday would be 03/04/11 over here and 04/03/11 in America.
- Over here bill means what you get at the end of a meal to tell you how much to pay, over the pond, it means paper money. We say biscuit, you say cookie. We say trainers, you say sneakers. We say holiday you say vacation.
- Our common phrases are different, I’ve picked out the one I have heard the most in each country:
- Have a nice day! (US)
- See you later! (UK)
- Elementary school
- Middle school / junior high
- High school
- College – where you major in a subject
- Pre-school / infants
- Primary school
- Secondary school, sometimes add sixth-form college
- University – where you read or study a subject
American high school is a huge part of film culture and I’m always amazed to see how big they are, how many extra-curricular activities are on offer and how seemingly segregated the groups are – cheerleader’s jocks, indie, geeks. It made me laugh!
Generally, schools here are smaller and less university like and they seem stricter. We also seem to have less defined cliques although my school did have an indie music group. We also usually have uniforms where as your public schools seems not to. I’m quite glad I had a uniform, I find it hard picking clothes for work now and I think I would have gone crazy having to do it at school as well!
I think we also had different words for the opposite sex – boys vs. guys, girls vs. chicks, fit vs. cute, fancy vs. crush. Still probably as hormonally charged though 🙂
Over here we can drink at 18, over there it’s 21. Sex is 16 here and 18 in America. We drive at 17, you drive at 16. We can all vote at 18 though J
We have football, you have soccer. You have American football, we have rugby. You have basketball, ice hockey and baseball, we have cricket, snooker and we both have golf. I’m sorry to say I’m not a fan of sport in either country!
One big difference is we call our British TV long-running programmes (or shoes in America) as a series whereas you call them seasons. Most British series run for under 13 episodes whereas American seasons run to up to 24 episodes. Phew.
I’m a big fan of American TV – mostly because the budgets are much bigger over there so the shows are more-like mini-films every week. We tend to have smaller teams on the programmes over here i.e. one writer writes a series or several whereas American shows have bigger teams, probably to keep up with the number of episodes.
My favourite US shows past and present are:
- Sex and the City
- Gilmore Girls
- Dawson’s Creek
- Gossip Girl
One of our TV channels shows Friends almost every day and has done for years. They are stopping this next year and I may get withdrawal symptoms!
Just to keep the balance, here are my favourite UK programmes past and present, check them out if you can:
- Doctor Who
- Gavin and Stacey
- Absolutely fabulous
- The Bill (why did they cancel this?!!
- Allo Allo – an oldie but hilarious and very un-politically correct.
- I heart costume dramas, my fave ones have been –
- Pride and Prejudice (BBC)
- North and South (BBC)
- Cranford (BBC)
- Jane Eyre (BBC)
- Downton Abby (ITV)
- Lost in Austen (ITV)
- I also watch the soaps Eastenders and Coronation Street. They annoy me a lot but it’s an ingrained habit, I’ve watched them for many years and it’s quite nice to flop in front of them in an evening and switch off from my own crazy life so I watch even crazier ones on TV!
- X Factor:
- Our biggest reality TV shows X Factor is heading to America soon to take on American Idol. I actually prefer American Idol because the judges on X Factor are mentors and compete with each other so it just ends up being bitchy and not about the contestants. They’re also given far less room to choose their songs and style and it all ends up being cheesy pop. Simon Cowell is also getting far too smug. However, it is addictive and I end up watching every year. You have been warned!
Food and drink
I am a big eater, I love my food! America is one of the best holiday destinations I’ve been to food wise because portions are big and yummy and drinks get refilled for free, which is very rare over here. It’s also usually great value. I did end up eating a lot of burgers though. I also like to eat big breakfast and at the weekend usually have an English breakfast (fried eggs, fired bread, bacon, baked beans) so I enjoyed the fact Americans also offer big, hot breakfasts like scrambled eggs and streaky bacon or pancakes.
I have visited America three times – twice to New York and once to Vegas and had a great time. If I ever left Britain I’d move to America. I’d have to bring chocolate with me though – sorry guys but your chocolate is not good, and of course, tea because you guys have way too much coffee for me, I hate the stuff 🙂
Have you noticed any differences since joining the blogging world? Did I miss any?