Welcome to America!

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I’ve been to New York before, twice as it happens; but I’ve never come with more than just a few spare pairs of knickers, a clean shirt and my makeup bag. No. This week I’m here to find a home. My findings so far:

The weather changes rather a lot. I seem to have been alternating between shivering and sweating profusely. (Don’t ever believe your mother if she delicately reminds you of the little rhyme, “Horses sweat, men perspire but ladies merely glow.” It’s either bollocks or I’m a horse.).

The local supermarket alternates between Aldi and Waitrose but with an American accent. It is also called a grocery store. The staff are either incredibly helpful or utterly terrifying in equal measures.

Every tiny and limited amount of space is crammed full with beautifully presented produce and more choice than you can shake a stick at. I don’t know if I’ll ever truly need to eat dandelion leaves or miniature kale but they make it look so delicious that I’ll be sure to give it a go in due course, once I’ve worked out where the Granny Smiths are …

The Colonel sent me out to go and get some provisions (that’s another word he appears to have adopted). It took me over an hour and I came back with two very shiny apples, a pack of Polish ham and some goji berries. I don’t know what goji berries are, but apparently they promise eternal youth. This solitary outing cost me our budget for two days and consequently I haven’t been allowed out on my own since.

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

On our first day in New York, I learnt how to cross the road. That is to say, I learnt how to cross the road without either being arrested or run over.

In London, when you want to cross to the other side, you choose a relatively quiet moment in the traffic, randomly step off the pavement and with a few smiles and apologetic hand waves arrive safely on the other side. Not here. No.

Firstly, you only cross on the zebra crossings. I like this rule. I like things to be black and white. If only in the U.K. they would adopt this stance on drink driving. How about just saying absolutely no alcohol rather than a rather questionable amount which differs between body type, sex and how much you’ve eaten. So basically if I’m an overweight man who’s just eaten a pizza with extra dough balls, I’m safer in the car after a glass of wine. I’m getting off the point as per usual, but you get my drift.

Back to the roads .. Secondly, there are no buttons to press when you want to cross the road (saves on children’s arguments as to whose turn it is) and there are no beeps telling you when it’s safe to start walking. You have no control and have to pay attention. There is however a lit-up picture of a big red hand instructing you not to move under any circumstances, and when its time to cross, a picture of a white man who appears to be running. I’m not sure that running is necessarily required, but I’m not going to argue with this instruction, so run I do.

The problem occurs when people start moving across on the red hand when no traffic is in sight. This confuses the rules in my head. I therefore spend rather a lot of time looking baffled and starting to cross (at a run of course) and then changing my mind. This in turn, confuses everyone around me. I felt yesterday like a piece of toast being pushed down into the toaster when the power wasn’t on … I just kept on popping back up again. Unfortunately the other pieces of toast behind me bumped into me and that upset everyone. Being shouted at in an American accent is quite disconcerting, “What the fuck lady? You can not do that.” As established earlier, I’m clearly not a lady and my response to them merely confirmed this further.

I’m sure I’ll master this soon.

Katie xx

Errr, any advice? Help me ..

48 thoughts on “Welcome to America!”

  1. 😂😂😂 How funny! Looks like Australia something between England and America. We have goji berries here too, dried but I never buy them. Don’t know if I should. And yes, they call here everyone womanly look “ladies” or even worse “madam”. How am I am a madam? Do I really look that old? 😂😂😂 I have been in America bit I did remembered only one thing a Mexican cafe where I never supposed to walk in. Honestly, I have been running back then because I was scared that everyone who has been in that cafe going to kill me. 😂😂😂

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    1. Oh wouldn’t that be lovely! I got a bit overexcited when I heard an English accent … I they were sitting outside in a bar and I so wanted to go and talk to them. That’s really sad of me I know, but it sounded so familiar! I’m getting there slowly and I just love so much about it all out here! Wow it’s amazing, if a bit scary!!

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  2. What you need to do is find a luggage or sports shop, sorry, store, take a bum bag to the counter and ask what it’s called. Then, after the assistant’s response, run out of the shop giggling like a schoolgirl. That should get your reputation as an eccentric English lady off to a flyer!

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    1. Oooooh you’re so naughty! Thankfully my son told me what it was called, and yes, I’m really sorry, but I do get seriously giggly!! There’s so much to learn here … I think it might take me a little time.

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  3. Advice? Erm move back. Or to France where no one stops for pedestrians red hand or white sprinter… Have you fallen in one of their potholes yet and surfaced in Narnia? That’s a joy. Or been told it’s just a couple of blocks only to find out that’s not just sodas (which i thought were fizzy water but then I’m so old school) that are supersized. I’ve visited countries that are smaller than some of their blocks. Enjoy, other than June thru September when ‘outside’ was designed by Hieronymous Bosch when he felt he needed a hotpod hell for the yoga generation – stay indoors.

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    1. Oh help! So what’s soda then? Is it not fizzy water?? The roads are a bit on the bumpy side aren’t they and they have this habit of leaving open cellar doors where they store barrels and things. Health and safety is different here! In London there would be a man in a fluorescent jacket with a clipboard, and four orange cones around the cellar door – I’d probably still fall in though. Any other suggestions?!! Help me!

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      1. I found that queuing is a more serious business there. Here we queue and then try and subtly sneak a few spots, like waiting on a bus or tube. There, if there’s s queue, you’ll start your own little Cold War if you sneak past anyone. ‘Hey Bud…’ two of they most terrifying words spoken in an American accent.

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      2. Now that’s very good advice! I’m generally not one for trying to creep up the queue, but should I be in a hurry I’ll definitely NOT queue creep … I’ve heard some of the arguments here and they’re loud and terrifying! Thanks

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  4. I am a jay-walker …bad habit from being a stressed banker in London City. In Germany you can get arrested for crossing so randomly. And in France you risk life and limb as the French drive fast, fugled by fags and espresso. Good luck with your search. We get the feeling the USA might pull us over one day. Who knows.

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      1. The French I think eat well but not often. They save themselves for public viewing but eat frugal at home. Mind you we always loose weight in France…i think the way food is made is different. Bread for example doesn’t make you bloat.

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  5. Hello, and welcome to America. My first piece of advice for you is to always remember to walk and drive on the right side. No left side walking or driving. And, yes you have figured this out for yourself, the weather can change in a heartbeat.
    All the best to you. I hope you decide to stay .

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    1. Oh thank you so much! Yes that’s a good point walking on the right… thankfully I’m not being let loose in a car for a while as I struggle with driving in the U.K. at the best of times; roundabouts are particularly problematic (!) but all that aside, I’m thrilled to be moving and very excited. Thanks so much for your kind words and do give any more tips/advice … I’m a very grateful recipient! Katie

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  6. Welcome to America, Katie!! I did a study abroad in England for university so I’ll give a few words of warning.
    -Employees in shops will often bother you and ask if you need any help even if you didn’t ask for it.
    -Strangers will say how much they love your accent.
    -Asking, “You alright?” may make an American confused. They would more than likely think that you were truly wondering about their wellbeing.
    -All the chocolate sucks compared to the beauty of Cadberry, Milka and all those lovely sweets.

    The best of luck to you in your American adventures x

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    1. Oh thank you so much! I love your tips … I think I’m confused by everything at the moment! Despite the road system being simple, I keep getting my north and south mixed up and the subway is baffling – I genuinely think I’m pretty thick!
      So it’s best not to ask anyone if they’re alright? Ok … that’s worth knowing! As for buying chocolate, golly isn’t it all so expensive?! I think I shall have to eliminate it from my diet completely or else I’ll be broke. Thanks, Katie x. Ps any other tips will be gratefully received. 👍 💕

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      1. You’re not thick! You’re adjusting to a new place which takes some time 🙂 The New York subway is a bit complicated. Some many lines and places and stops!
        Yes unless you’re actually concerned about them. “How are you” and “what’s up” would be better options.

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      2. Yes, the subway is slightly throwing me and I’m loathe to stand and study the map for too long whilst scratching my head as then I’ll surely just look like a lost tourist again and it’s a scary place down there! But I have to say, it’s soooo fast. It’s a brilliant system! I’ll practice saying “what’s up” as well … I think “how do you do” might be a tad formal perhaps. 🤔😉 Thanks so much – any other tips gratefully received! Katie

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  7. I’m in Texas which is technically the USA but still thinks it’s “like a whole ‘nuther country” (from an ad campaign, said with the drawl). I visited New York a few times but nothing lately. So I probably can’t offer you much practical advice, except to ask some British folks who’ve been there a while or find tips from the same on the internet. One thing I think might be a challenge is New Yorkers are known for their directness, which I suspect could be rather startling for an Englishwoman. I find it refreshing, because here’s it’s all smiles and fake kisses and barely touching hugs and “bless your heart” whilst the knife goes in your back. Surely you can find some bicycle people to help you adjust, if you have access to a bike I don’t know. Anyway, I’m excited for you for your adventure and hope you’ll write more about it. Fish out of water stories are great fodder. Not clear how long or why you’re there, actually. Best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely right, the directness is startling! I love the fact that anything goes, and if I ever thought I was quirky, that’s nothing compared to everyone else. The cost of things in NY is huge so we’re going to have to watch our pennies. We’re here for three years and I think it’s going to be fantastic… you have the most amazing country! Thanks so much for the suggestions my Texan friend! X

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  8. I’m finding myself wondering that if they only have the no beeps and only lite up hands etc telling you when to cross how an earth do blind people manage? Just wondering because that is who the beeps are for hmmm there must be something for them surely. Sounds like many adventures ahead 🙂

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    1. Oh my goodness, I hadn’t even thought of that. I have absolutely no idea. I’ve not seen anyone with one of the sticks so I just don’t know. This is a good point – I’m going to ask my friends that today. Will keep you posted!

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    1. Oh yes, one’s own rules are the only ones to stick to! Thanks so much 😊. I also like zebra crossings in England …. knowing that you can step onto one and drivers really will screech to a stop (unlike in France where I have never worked out of there are rules or not). X

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  9. I also just moved to America from Europe!! It’s quite a change, isn’t it?? Some differences are humongous! I’ll be writing about my ‘findings’ on my blog…. Americans are an interesting bunch!

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  10. As far as the whole “horses sweat, men perspire, women glow” thing, I’ve always heard it as “ladies and dancers glow.” My mom and grandma would often add “they may glow in buckets, but they glow.” So, I invite you to consider yourself glowing in buckets. 🙂

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