Thursday, 24 March 2011

United States of England


I have been abroad twice in my lifetime.


The first time was for the obligatory school trip to France when I was about 14.  We got on a coach before the sun came up, went over to Calais on the ferry and did our best not to succumb to seasickness (some more easily than others), spent an hour with a group of French school kids who spoke as little of our language as we did theirs, went round a hypermarket where we were instructed to buy some typically French food (I brought chocolate) and then came home again.  It was a very long, pointless day.  The only thing I learned was that French chocolate was yummy.



The only other time I left England was to go to Corfu for a week with an old boyfriend.  I was so unaccustomed to the heat that I was struck down with heat stroke on the third day and spent the rest of the holiday in bed.

However, neither of these experiences have put me off going abroad again.  There are two places that I am determined to visit, and both of them are in America.


For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to go to Disney World.  Yeah, there's EuroDisney in France, but over here it's considered to be Disney World's unsophisticated, halfwit brother.  I want the real deal.  I want to stand outside Cinderella's castle, wearing a pair of Mickey Mouse ears and getting a hug from Winnie the Pooh before screaming my socks on on Space Mountain.  That would just be heaven on a stick for me.


The other place I long to go to is New York.
  • I want to pay my respects at the site of the World Trade Centre.
  • I want to go to Madison Square Gardens, Liberty Island and Central Park.
  • I want to dance on the giant keyboard in F.A.O. Schwarz.
  • I want to see a show on Broadway.
  • I want to see the jumbo screen in Times Square.
  • I want to have a hot dog from one of those stands that stand on the corner of the street like you see in the movies.
(I would have quite liked to go to Sunnydale too, but seeing as it turned out to be a gate to Hell and it blew up, that's not going to happen.)


(That, and it was a fictional place to begin with.)

Images of America were a big influence throughout my childhood and teenage years, as it was for a lot of people of my generation.  I grew up watching programmes like "The Kids from Fame", "Blossom", "Beverley Hills 90210", "Saved By The Bell" and "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air".  We were led to believe that Americans fell into two categories: they were either beautiful, slim and wealthy, with big cars, walk-in-wardrobes and ridiculously white teeth, or they were drug dealers who roamed around in gangs, carrying guns and selling drugs.  Don't you just love stereotypes?

Of course, I don't believe in all that nonsense.  From what I gather, the biggest difference between us and them are words.  We are two countries divided by the same language.  What Americans call jello, the English call jelly.  What Americans call jelly, the English call jam.  Sidewalk = Pavement.  Crossing guard = Lollipop Man/Lady.  Apartment = Flat.  Sneakers = Trainers.  Eraser = Rubber.  Etcetera, etcetera.

(Oh, and we pronounce herbs Herbs, because it has an H in the front!)

Anyway, the point of this blog is that 99% of the followers of this blog are American, and I wanted to ask my American friends how they perceived England and the English.  I'm genuinely curious to know what you think of us.  So, if you don't mind, could you tell me...

1.  What are the most common stereotypes of the English?
(For example, a common misconception over here is that Americans are either obese or addicted to plastic surgery, and they all have access to guns.  Again, I know this is nonsense, but this is what some of my lesser intelligent countrymen/women would believe.  Idiots.)

2.  What have you heard or do you believe about England as a country?
(And please don't bother with the obvious one:  Yes, it rains here.  A lot.  The English truly are obsessed with the weather.  It's very, very boring.)


3.  What do you think about our royal family?
(Because I can tell you, most of us don't really give a damn about them in all honesty.  Half of us won't bother watching the upcoming royal wedding.)

4.  Without Googling it, do you know who our Prime Minister is?
(Americans seem to be much more into government and politics than we are.)

5.  Who is your favourite English (or British) band/singer?
(My favourite band is Def Leppard, but a majority of music I listen to is by American artists.)

6.  Have you heard of any of these people (again, please don't Google them first)?

Jordan/Katie Price
Kerry Katona
Jade Goody


Cheryl Cole
Boris Johnson

Stephen Fry














7.  Do you have a favourite word or phrase that you've only heard used by an English person?  And are you sure you know what it means?
(This may seem like a strange thing to ask, so I'll explain...  I'm a massive Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, and some of the words Spike used would never be allowed on English television before nine o'clock in the evening because they're too naughty.  It made me wonder if the writers of the show knew what the words really meant.)

8.  Would you like to visit England?  If so, where and why?


Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer them.  I'm hoping to get responses from lots of different bloggers and do a follow up to this post at a later date.  And if there's something else you want to tell or ask me about your thoughts of England or the English, please let me know.

I just looked out of the window.  It's not raining.  I think I'm in shock.

(Click here for Part 2... please?)

5 people love me ♥ Add a comment...:

PBJdreamer said... [Reply to comment]

wow what a post!

1. What are the most common stereotypes of the English?

Bad Teeth

Drink too much

Bad tasting food

Snobbish

Chip on their shoulder about Americans

2. What have you heard or do you believe about England as a country?

Great Health Care

Small!! compared to US

GREAT humor in TV shows and commercials

3. What do you think about our royal family?

don't care a hoot

4. Without Googling it, do you know who our Prime Minister is?
(Americans seem to be much more into government and politics than we are.)
David Cameron


5. Who is your favourite English (or British) band/singer?

THE BEATLES


6. Have you heard of any of these people (again, please don't Google them first.)
Jordan/Katie Price
Kerry Katona
Cheryl Cole
Jade Goody
Boris Johnson
Jedward
Stephen Fry

not that I think of off hand

7. Do you have a favourite word or phrase that you've only heard used by an English person? And are you sure you know what it means?

Mind if we pop round?

It means to stop by for a visit


8. Would you like to visit England? If so, where and why?

This whole thing was easy for me because I used to live in the UK.

On Isle of Man.

My friends all had crooked bad teeth (exaggerating a bit here)

they always "pop round"

I had FABULOUS health care when I lived there from the NHS

I hated the food, over cooked and over sauced.

I missed Mexican food and Sushi.

Also the people were not friendly like I was used to here in the Midwest of America.

ALSO everyone said "Americar" instead of America!


that is all

A said... [Reply to comment]

@PBJdreamer
And the reward for the fastest ever comment goes too... :)

Thanks for your thoughts
x

PAMO said... [Reply to comment]

A great post A! I'll give it a shot.

1. (A large percentage of Americans are obese sad to say. Here in TN, it's something like 60%!)

For the English- the most common stereotype is snobbish. (You know, whatever that means!)

2. I've always imagined England as being formal, beautiful, proper. I imagine lush green fields and small, poorly paved lanes. Quaint.
Oh- and sheep, I see lots of sheep.

3. Americans are obsessed with the Royal family. Not all of us are obsessed- but we hear about them often. Lady Diana is up there with Elvis (almost). I still remember hearing about her death- it was shocking.

4. David Cameron. We hear a lot about English politics.

5. Beatles and Rolling Stones. There are so many great musicians who come from England!

6. Stephen Fry

7. Shag... to screw.

8. Yes! London for sure.

We are obsessed with the weather here too.

Ruth said... [Reply to comment]

I am a little slow but this sounded fun.

1.  What are the most common stereotypes of the English?
Stiff upper lib, Frumpy, and talk funny.


2.  What have you heard or do you believe about England as a country?
Heard plenty, I had an honorary English Uncle that taught me what is really amazing is how similar we are to each other.

3.  What do you think about our royal family?
As little as possible. I see tabloid headlines and feel thankful that nobody watches me so closely.


4.  Without Googling it, do you know who our Prime Minister is?
Nope...I wouldn’t know most people in American government either. I am horrible with names.


5.  Who is your favourite English (or British) band/singer?
The Beatles are a name I can remember but I like other bands that have come from England. Love the accent.

6.  Have you heard of any of these people (again, please don't Google them first)?
Recognize a few of the faces but again I am doing good to remember my children’s name.

7.  Do you have a favourite word or phrase that you've only heard used by an English person?  And are you sure you know what it means?
Jolly Good. It sounds like such a happy way to agree. I do believe the writers know exactly what they are writing and enjoying every minute of it.

8.  Would you like to visit England?  If so, where and why?
Yes, all of it. I would love to spend 2-6 months exploring the cities, the small towns, talking to people everywhere and take pictures of everything. I really want a picture of Big Ben. London Bridge has already been shipped here but I doubt they will send Big Ben.

Dr. Heckle said... [Reply to comment]

I've always wanted to visit England. I live in Seattle (where it rains a lot too), and from what I hear the weather is pretty similar.

I've only heard of Stephen Fry, but not the others.

The stereotypes that I've always heard is that the English are generally well educated, very socially rigid, and somewhat prudish about sex.

For some reason I've always been fascinated by Scottish accents and always wished I had one... Weird huh?

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