Where in the World is Rebecca Today?

Personal Blog

I have Arrived

I know that’s a funny title…arrived where? And I’m sure I’ll get even more funny looks when I respond with “England”, but there you have it. Last week, I realised that I am embracing the United Kingdom and even though I’ve been calling this place my home for the past year, I finally feel like I mean it.

It’s for a really stupid reason, though. No one asks me where I’m from any more. I don’t get “Are you [Canadian/American/Irish*]?” , “Where are you from?”, or “Are you enjoying your visit?” when I go out or travel. Possibly because I walk with purpose. I can navigate myself through King’s Cross, down into the tube, and across town to catch another train out of Paddington or Waterloo with little fanfare. I know where to find the pricey high street goods for less. I know which pubs are poor quality chain restaurants and which ones are genuinely good. My go-to fast food is fish and chips. I drink tea, and actually now prefer tea over coffee. My kitchen radio is set to Radio 2, except between 12 and 2 when I switch over to Radio 4 or BBC Lincs. People stop me in Lincoln, Derby, London, Leicester, etc. and ask me for directions. I walk everywhere and only consider asking Tim to drive me a mile to the co-op if it’s raining or dark.

I’m sure I’ll always have an American accent, but what sets me apart from visitors is the language I use. Yes, America and England are two countries separated by a common language** But it’s those linguistic differences that make me feel like I have arrived (Tim also says that my tone of voice is quieter and the only times he can tell I’m a Jersey Girl are if I’m on the phone with Jessy or Erin).

I remember my first trip to the UK in 1997. We were all fresh-faced high schoolers ready to visit a foreign country….and half of the group trekked to McDonald’s for Lunch. We thought the signs that said “To Let” were misspelled signs for “toilet”, and we didn’t understand the funny looks we got when we asked for the bathroom. Few of us would have been able to tell you that pants are worn under your trousers, suspenders hold up your stockings, and braces are what hold up your trousers.

We went home from that trip, full of memories and British words. Oh, we thought we were so cool if we asked a teacher if we could go to the loo. But now? I actually cringed when an American friend who has never left the country used words like loo and lorry. Tim laughed at me and told me that that was me 5, 10, 15 years ago…and he’s right. But living here, actually living here…it is what it is. It’s not always glamorous, it’s certainly not easy, but it’s my life. And I love it.

*Yes, Irish. Don’t ask me WHY, but I apparently sound Irish to some people…
**Thank you, George Bernard Shaw

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