So, how's London?

Posted on January 10, 2009 by yankeebean

yankeebeanHere’s how it goes everytime when I visit America again:

Them: Hi, how are you??  What are you doing here?

Me: Oh, just visit family and trying to soak up as much American-ness as possible while I’m home.

Them: How’s London?

Me: I don’t know, I don’t live there…

Them: (annoyed-ly) Oh, well, where DO you live?

Me: In York, in England.

Them: (more annoyed-ly) Oh, well, how’s ENGLAND?

Me: Good!  Small and rainy, but good…

etc, etc, etc, etc…

I never go to London… I don’t know anything about it that you can learn on a 2-hour red double-decker bus tour.  Nuff said… :)

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  1. Pingback: American in Britain AND Brit in America | She's Not From Yorkshire

  2. Steve Shawcross August 14, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    The UK is roughly 54 times smaller than the USA: I don’t think British people fully appreciate the vastness of the USA, until they visit it and see how much of the USA is empty space (Grand Canyon for instance).

    In addition to one weather forecast for the UK & Crown Dependencies, there are regional forecasts too on BBC and ITV! A region such as the East Midlands would tiny compared with some USA states.

  3. Steve Shawcross August 12, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Again another good post Severs (I’m starting to sound like a sycophant now [LOL]). I’ve never made the connection between those two concepts.

    I did once overhear an American tourist in Truro saying: “Hi we’re in Cornwall, in London”! Yeah, only a few hundred miles out luv ;)

    I do appreciate that many American urban areas dwarf, even London (and of course America is many times larger than England/Britain¬); so a visiting American may be under the impression built-up areas of England are all part of London, given how densely populated we are and London is probably the only city they know.

    So Severs has a good point in that is ironic how some Americans assume we’d know John Smith who lives in London, when the conurbation has approaching 8 million people in it! I imagine such Americans are just being friendly, and benevolently creating a rapport.

    As Peacefulyorkshire points out, the British can be just as bad. I think people immediately think of those three locations, because they are the typical tourist locations for us– plus they are immersed in popular culture (as is Texas for that matter).

    ¬ The two are not interchangeable, a common myth in the USA– not surprising considering how dominant the England is– or how the English are often ignorant about the UK’s own geography! But call Scots, Welsh, Manx, Northern Irish or Channel Islands folk “English” and you’ll get dark looks (worse if you’re in Glasgow;))

    • yankeebean August 14, 2009 at 9:44 am

      One thing that I still get a kick out of is how the WHOLE of the UK get’s one weather report :) Back home I only got a tiny sliver of an American map – Chicago, a little bit of Wisconsin and a snippet of Indiana.

      I remember when I first moved here when I was 16 – I was STYMIED when the weather was for the whole country all at once. It really put the size difference into perspective.

      A friend of mine that lives in Chi-town had some English relatives visiting for a couple of weeks. The night they landed in the Chi, they were talking about all the things they wanted to do while they were in America. One of the top things on their list was a ‘day trip to the Grand Canyon’ :) More like a 6-day round-trip to the Grand Canyon!

      Guess it’s the same but in reverse, eh?

  4. Severs August 11, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Odd that people who might think London takes up most of England (which, for those particular people, equals Britain); yet they don’t realise that this would make London so massive that you could not possibly know someone “from London”, just by weight of probability.

    Hardly surprising that they make this mistake despite London being the real, actual, very small town that it really is, then? Only 10 million people in the whole of the London area.

    I almost fell on the ground laughing once, when visiting my sister (who had emigrated to the middle of NY state): a shop assistant in Schenectady ascertained that I am from England and then asked if I knew any of the royal family!!! So I asked her if she knew the President. She then looked at me in a way that suggested that I must surely be insane. At this point, my laughter commenced.

    • peacefulyorkshire August 12, 2009 at 8:52 am

      Must be the same rolling on the floor laughter I get when British people ask if I am from New York, California or Florida…because somehow these are the only places they can recall….

  5. Steve Shawcross July 29, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    I think Americans seem to get the impression that because England is much smaller than the USA, that London takes up most the country.

    I think it’s a case that other English cities are heard of/appreciated in USA. If I were to say Birmingham, they’d think I’m talking about Albama! Leeds, Bradford, Bristol would get blank looks.

    Curiouser still is the apparent absence of Wales from Americans’ view of the UK? Americans talk of visiting Scotland, England and (Northern) Ireland– but never Wales? Despite Torchwood, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Anthony Hopkins being well-known in the States. And the Isle of Man or Channel Islands may as well not exist!

    I am generalising when I talk of Americans of course, there are some that are savvy– not all are geographical ignorami [thumbs up]

  6. Mexpat January 16, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    LOL- When I would visit my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) in New York, people would always ask me how Georgia was. Like, just because I’m from the South I have to be from Georgia. I’ve been to Atlanta once! I’d always respond that I didn’t know how Georgia was, but North Carolina was nice!

  7. Karen January 12, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Years ago when I first moved to the States (I grew up in Herefordshire and plan to return), I was asked if I know ‘so and so’ in London, …as if England were small enough for me to know people in London. But, I guess that’s better than the other, really dumb question I got once…did I have to learn to speak “American” when I got to New York? (Yes, that person was extra thick).

  8. island1 January 11, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    I’ve heard rumors that there are cities and even electricity up North but I’ve never been inclined to believe it.

  9. Amanda January 10, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    :o ) Sooo funny. When living in the states, people always asumed I was from London. I’d explain I was from “near York, nowhere near London”!!! I was even once asked if I was from England, London!!!!! It’s good to know it works both ways :o )

  10. Mary Beth January 10, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    ha. that’s awesome. people say the same thing to me…even my immediate family.

  11. Meg January 10, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Haha! This made me giggle because EVERY time I have gone to England on a visit before my husband and I were married (before I moved here 6 mos ago) I get asked about London or asked to bring back souvenirs from London. It’s as if London IS England.

    I don’t live in London either…for the record. :-P

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