My British Life in New York

British fashion editorial

Photo: Vogue China 2008

I’ve been an expat for quite a while now. To begin with, it was pretty difficult to get off the ground. I had to find a place to stay, I had to apply for credit cards for someone with no credit, meet new people so I wouldn’t be lonely, and so much more. But I made it through the harder times and am glad I didn’t give up becaue a lot of funny moments have come from it!

Fun post moment:

Here are some of my experiences as an expat that I still go through living in New York after all these years…

The most common things strangers say to me:

“It sounds so much better when you say it!”

“oh my God you sound so proper”***

“Say that again”

In a sandwich deli ordering a sandwich:

Me: “Can you put some butter on the bread please?”

Server: “Mustard?”

Me: “No – butter”

Server: “Mustard?”

Me: ‘BUTTER!”

Server: “Mustard?”

Most common question I’m asked in America:

“So what’s better? London or New York?”

In a diner ordering an omelette:

Me: “I’ll have an egg white omelette with tomatoes, onions and mushrooms”

Waitress: “Cheese?”

(Did I say cheese?)

The daily fight with my MAC desktop:

I write Favourite it autocorrects to Favorite

I write Jewellery it autocorrects to Jewelry

The list goes on and on and the same corrections hit to my iPhone – Arrrrghhhh!

Things I have to be very careful saying in America:

Fag = Means a cigarette to Brits but means something else here

Fanny = ok to say in the States but be careful if you say it in England

Terms I wrestle with changing or keeping the same on WDUGT:

Jumper = sweater

Trainers = sneakers

Pavement = sidewalk

Plimsolls = simple trainer like shoes (like Keds)

Jacket = blazer

Fringe = bangs

Trousers = pants

Again – the list is way longer than the above

. . .

***See my Snapchat (Karenbritchick) from last night to hear me rambling although I don’t think I sound proper at all.

Please add to the list if you’re an expat or simply don’t live in your country of origin!

13 comments

  1. Mariel says:

    Hi Karen!

    This post makes me laugh….jaja…I told you once I’m argentinean living in Spain, I’m living in Madrid for 8 years and still it’s fanny when people doesn’t understand me…..even using the same language!!!!

    I don’t know if you speak spanish, but in Argentina we pronounce th LL as a whistle, and always I ask for some Chicken (in spanish POLLO), or a street (in spanish CALLE) nobody understand me….They say….What!!!???!!!!

    And much more words that we use to use them in one sense and here in another. The same occur with words we have with italian origin, here it doesn’t exist….

    And yes, spanish adore the argentinean way to speak, they say that we have a sweeter tone….and they say “say it again”…

    I think we must learn to live with it to the point of not knowing almost what we are saying…;-)

    Bye!

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      I know it’s funny considering it’s the same language – that’s the part that gets me!

  2. Caroline Howden says:

    I have not been to America…yet, but im intrigued? They don’t put butter on their bread?

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      OMG LOLOL yes they do. the point was that the guy GENUINELY thought i was saying MUSTARD!

      • Caroline Howden says:

        Hmmmm *says out loud* “Butter”, “Mustard”, “Butter”…yep sounds like two different words to me 😉

  3. Diana says:

    I have always loved your accent but I think you know that! Ha! I’m sure I am one of the peeps who have said “Say it again” multiple times to you. 😉

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      Ahhh you get a pass

  4. Paula Modeste says:

    That iPhone autocorrect happens here in the UK ???? Whenever I visit the states, I always get into a thing with my name, Paula. In south London it’s pronounced Paw-lah but love it when Americans correct me and say, “oh you mean Pahlaa” Love it.

    “Mustard?” ????????

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      Yea your name takes on a whole different persona when you’re over here!

    • Karen Blanchard says:

      I could probably make that list way longer.

  5. Wilma says:

    In America – Is your hair real? Scotland – Ginger nut!
    I lived in NYC for a year and could add a lot to your list. Love NYC and miss it all the time, your blog give me the hit I need xx

  6. Sinead says:

    I was an expat for many years and could probably write a book length list. But as I know you follow me on IG (and thank you for that!) you can read about the main difference there. One thing I always felt when visiting London was that people heard my American accent and automatically assumed that I was unintelligent. This helped me to understand how Southerners probably feel when they visit the North. It was very instructive. (Funny thing is, Americans from everywhere always think that I have a “strange” accent. I probably do. It is an amalgam of Irish — from my mother — and English, and does not fall into the stereotype of what people expect to hear when a person of color speaks. That’s fine. I enjoy the element of surprise.)

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