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Friday, January 11, 2008

Parallel Universe, or How England is Different from America

(Thanks to Will for the title)


There is something disconcerting about stepping out of a plane in another country and finding all the signs are written in…English. At least for me. The odd thing though, is that while I understand perfectly what the signs mean, they’re never worded how I would expect. Examples: Yield signs that say “Give Way”, and my favorite, an “in case of fire” sign that advises the reader to “if possible, attack the fire with any available appliance”. Hmmm, like a toaster oven?

The spoken word is different here too, and not just the accent. Many words are not pronounced the way they seem like they should be (kinda like French). The rhythm of speech is also must faster, and more disconnected, playing staccato to the legato of a southern drawl.


I recently had the adventure of riding a bicycle through Oxford, and found it extremely disconcerting to be on the wrong (as opposed to the right) side of the road. During this adventure, some interesting discoveries were made, namely that English bikes are backward from American ones. The back brake is controlled by the left hand, as are the main gears. It was much easier to ride after I found this out, since my bike was initially in first gear.

Et cetera…

It seems like there are many other differences too, but I can’t think of them at the moment.

Oh, and for those wondering, they do have peanut butter here.


Andrew said...

Yeah, I really don't understand the deal with people and English peanut butter. It's a little different from the American stuff, sure, but it's nothing to get that worked up about.

Zachary said...

Wow, I can't believe it really took me this long to figure out where your blog was. It should've come to me naturally, that with as much as you like to write, you'd have one out here, but I tend to be a bit thickheaded. Anyways, I'll be able to keep up with your British adventure on here so you don't have to explain all of it to me when you get home. =) Hope you have fun over there, and I'm going to try and get some snail mail off to you too. *bear hug*

Jessie and Katie said...

i just now found your link! i m going to check this out everyday. i m going to live your adventure through your blogs! wheee!! ENJOY!

Beverley Rogers said...

Emma, I've been catching up on your adventures and read everything starting at the most recent...a bit like running backwards. Anyway, I had to stop and laugh out loud at the "toaster oven" fire extinguisher idea!
Keep up the is wonderful.