Thursday, October 16, 2014

America v. England: 12 differences

So I know I've made a post before about British slang words, because they're absolutely amazing, but today I started thinking of little differences I've noticed between what is done/said here in America versus what is done/said over there in England.  The list I've come up with only consists of 12 things.  I'm sure I've missed tons. 

1.  Bathroom v. Toilet:  So I might say to someone, "I'm just going to run to the bathroom and then we can go", whereas my boyfriend might say to someone, "I'll just run to the toilet then we can go".  His argument is that rooms with toilets don't always contain baths.  Valid point.  I'll give him that.  However, I still feel like saying bathroom is just a bit more discreet and not as forward and gross sounding as saying "I'm going to the toilet".

2.  Sweater v. Jumper:  I wear sweaters.  Tom wears jumpers.  To me, jumpers are the little plaid dresses I wore at my Catholic grade school.  They looked exactly like this:

 I'm sure you can see why I find it humorous to think of Tom wearing jumpers.


3.  Cookie v. Biscuit:  Biscuits to the English are essentially cookies to Americans.  Biscuits to Americans are more like bread rolls to the English.  Very misleading when you're unaware of this and an English person starts speaking to an American about biscuits and tea, or an American starts talking to an English person about biscuits and gravy.

4.  Fahrenheit v. Celsius:  Americans use Fahrenheit to gauge temperature while the British use Celsius.  I've become a lot more familiar with Celsius now, but it still occasionally throws me off when I've forgotten I've set my iPhone weather to Celsius and I look at the screen and it tells me it's 32 degrees outside in the middle of July.

5.  Automatic v. Manual:  I'm going to have to say the majority of Americans do not know how to drive a manual vehicle.  We learn on automatic and we, for the most part, buy automatic.  I've been informed by my boyfriend that they actually learn to drive using manual vehicles.  From what I've gathered, automatics might as well not even exist over there.

6.  Schooling:  I still don't fully understand the way schools and grade levels work in the UK.  Our grade levels work like this: preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle school, junior high, high school, then college.  We go to college when we're about 18 and this could be a two-year college or a four-year college or university.  English schooling (I believe - correct me if I'm wrong) goes: nursery, primary, secondary, college, university.  They go to college from about 16 years old to 18 years old and then university, or uni, happens after that.  Also, I am fairly certain that most of their bachelors degrees take about 3 years to obtain, as opposed to our general 4.

7.  Tipping:  The first time I ate at a restaurant with Tom in England, I asked at the end how much I should tip.  He looked at me like I was out of my mind.  Apparently, tipping is not commonplace over there.  Here in America, we tip everyone.  Waiters, waitresses, taxi drivers, valet parking, food delivery people, hairdressers, etc.  While tipping isn't unheard of in England, I think it's just generally done when you get exceptionally good service.  Even when you receive poor service in the US, a lot of people still tip.  They just drop their tip percentage from 20% to 10%, or whatever.  Unless I have received AWFUL service, in which case I may not tip at all.  However, not tipping for no good reason is a huge no-no here.

8.  Bacon:  Let's just say that English bacon is basically eating ham.  I'll stick with my crispy American bacon.  No offense, guys.  I've got to admit though, ham-bacon is better than no bacon, so I will definitely still eat it.  Here's a picture of ham-bacon for you:


It's to the right of the toast and to the left of the little butter packet, if you were unsure.

9.  Water and coffee:  At many sit-down restaurants in America, you can ask for a water, be brought a water, and not have to pay for your water.  In England, you can ask for a water, be brought a glass bottled water, and be charged maybe 2 pounds (about $3) for said water.  Also, tons of restaurants in America, upon ordering a cup of coffee, will continue to refill your coffee until you leave the restaurant, but only charge you once.  In England, don't expect refills, and if you ask for another, expect to pay for another.

10.  Football v. Football:  This one may be a bit more commonly known, but when I talk about football, I'm probably talking about that absolutely awful American sport where men throw a ball (note: it's not called handball - why???), run around with a bunch of padding and helmets on, and grunt a lot.  When Tom talks about football, he's most likely talking about the sport where men run around kicking a ball at large nets/goals and greatly dramatize injuries.


11.  Kitchen Appliances:  Apparently Americans have gigantic refrigerators, microwaves, and ovens, compared to English appliances.  I mean, I guess it makes sense, seeing as we buy everything in super-massive-biggie size.

12.  Practicality:  This one just kills me.  Being a Michigander, I have lived through a solid 25 winters of snow and ice.  Lots of snow and ice.  I mean, stupid amounts of snow and ice.  Especially last year.  So let's say I'm going out with friends one night in January.  I'm almost certain you will not find me wearing a mini-dress and stiletto heels.  I'm almost even more certain that you will find me having a laugh at anyone else dressed in the way I just described.  Sure, I might still do up my hair and makeup and find a nice sweater; I like looking good.  But I like being warm, too.  In England, I've found out that it doesn't matter how chilly or rainy or windy it might be, girls are going to be wearing very little clothing, and no guys will be wearing coats, either.  The first time I went up town on a night out with Tom, I was going to bring a jacket.  Turns out that was a very odd thing to do.  No one wears jackets on a night out.  Doesn't matter if it's early March and bitter cold out.  You just don't wear jackets.

Did I get anything wrong or leave any out?  Leave a comment and let me know!!

-teddy x

4 comments:

Thanks for the feedback, loves! x