An American Expat in Britain tries to find better word to describe her situation

Posted on December 29, 2008 by peacefulyorkshire

yahooavatar15Sylvia left a comment on our About page last week and wrote:

“Hi, I’m a Leeds lass living in the middle of Kansas and I had a very hard time adjusting when I first got here. The women here were a problem for me as they all had the cheerleader mentality and I couldn’t relate to them in any way at all. After 33 years I can certainly hold my own, you just have to get to know people and adapt. I must say that when we went back to London several years ago I couldn’t relate much to the Brits and so I feel like I’m in no-mans land sometimes. Love your blog. “

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I love our readers. Yes, that would be you, lovelies! You not only inspire me but encourage me to think about life in Britain differently.  Y’all are fantastic.

I am writing this from America right now where I am visiting my family for Christmas. Being here as put a different spin on my perception of “fitting in”. I realize the longer that I stay in Britain, the less I fit in America.

SO if the Americans don’t treat me as one of them:

“So, like, you’re like, living where again?” she asks, “Germany or something?”

“Um, its England” I say apologetically, but thinking she has no clue about her geography

She then says “Whats it like over there– do you all wear bowler hats to work?”

And the Brits don’t treat me as one of them:

“In England we don’t say bay–sil we say bahh–sil, says the English waiter, “and I am afraid  we don’t have doggie bags, whatever those are”

Where does that leave me? Where do I belong?

Am I to move to the middle of the Atlantic ocean where I should live on a mega-boat in the middle of the two?

Like Sylvia in her comment above, I feel I am in this middle place (no-mans land) where I am not a Brit, but I am not an American.

The only word for this scenario is expatriate which I know, I know, comes from Latin, apparently. But it sounds more like ex-patriot, a word which sounds like I have given up my American patriotism! A word that sounds like I have turned my back on my fellow country men!

Surely there is a better, nicer word…

Maybe I could say I am an Ameribrit.

Or how about a Briterican? Hmmm…

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What Others Are Saying

  1. peacefulyorkshire November 6, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Well, glad we have sorted out this lil’ conundrum!
    We have officially adopted ‘Shamerican’ as our new term…

    Check it out:

    http://www.shesnotfromyorkshire.com/2009/09/25/shamerican-because-expat-is-so-2008/

  2. Pingback: Shamerican: Because ‘expat’ is SO 2008 | She's Not From Yorkshire

  3. Pingback: When American Expats in Britain Choose Activation over Stagnation « She’s not from Yorkshire…

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  5. peacefulyorkshire January 8, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    I always thought if I didn’t want to live in England anymore a nice compromise could be Ireland or Canada. I love that idea of Australia… a nice combo of the 2.
    how come I didn’t think of that one… Gollee gosh I always love hearing from our readers.

  6. notfromaroundhere January 8, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I could not agree more, it’s like the second you decide to move one way or the other, you become a child of neither place. That said, I felt really at home in Australia the last few weeks, which was quite an interesting hybrid and seemed to me to be “in between” the two cultures in many ways.

  7. yankeebean January 5, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    I’m up for this mega-island right in the middle. We can all gather there and start our own country. Ameribritain, full of Ameribrits. Our currency can be a picture of George Washington eating cake with the Queen.

    Or our currency could just be cake. Mmmmmm… cake…

    Sorry, I’ve gone off-topic..

  8. Karen December 31, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    This post is right on the money! I am also an in-betweener. I am a Brit living in USA for last 20 years. My partner and I went back to England for 18 months in 2000, and I felt so weird there. I stupidly thought I’d fit right back in with my “peeps”, but no way. The Brits think I’m American and weren’t always nice about it either (politics of the time I think were a factor?). We came back here abit defeated. But, we have decided to go back for a year in 2010, so I started loking for blogs and came across this one…thanks. At least this time, I know I won’t fit in, because like you say, I’m “between places of favouritism” (not sure who wrote that line).

    I plan to keep up to date with your posts!

  9. Iota December 29, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    I hate the word expat, but it does fill a need. Expat is better than expatriate, somehow.

  10. Christiana December 29, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Ooooo. I like Ameribrit. I’ve been holding out for a transatlantic bridge…

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