American in Britain AND Brit in America

Posted on October 20, 2009 by yankeebean



Part of being an American woman, and dating or marrying an English man is that one of you will always be living in a land in which you weren’t made.  Or, of course, you’ll opt to jump ship from both your native lands to even the score…

Normally I’m the American in Britain and I’ve gone through all of the exciting, sometimes brain-squeezing adjustments involved.  Whether I like it or not, being an ‘American in Britain’ is a big part of who I am – and how other people see me.  It’s often the way I’m introduced, “This is Yankeebean – she’s American”

But Mr. Nice Guy and I just got back from a 2 week stint in the lovely USA, where he became the Brit in America.  It really brings me back to when I was the new expat in town – I almost couldn’t believe some of the stuff people said to him (especially since, 5 years in, I’m partially Brit-in-America now, too).

A lot of it was about the accent – and many many many of my lady friends in the USA went on and on, right to his face, about how gorgeous he was :D  And I’m not the jealous type so I just kept thinking ‘score one for me!’…

Another common thing is that people would ask him where he’s from, and they would then describe one of their past holidays to London because, to many Americans, London IS England.  Mr. Nice Guy was a good sport about it – even though I could tell he was embarrassed from the top of his spiky hair to the bottom of his man-Sketchers when my friends were fawning over him.  Classic:)

And so it goes!  Either I’m the American in Britain or Mr. Nice Guy is the Brit in America – it’s just the way things are now and, actually, I think we’re getting good at it (finally!  High fiiiiiiiive!!)

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Christiana (Us meets Uk) November 10, 2009 at 4:05 am

    Nick often gets his northern accent mistaken for Australian…which neither of us fully understand. When we lived together in England I was in a tiny village with cows outside the back garden. People would ask how LONDON was, or tell me about their study abroad in LONDON. I kept trying to remind people I was closer to Scotland than London but it didn’t seem to work. sigh.

  2. Pingback: The British are Coming!! The British Are Coming!! « Miss America ~ An American in England

  3. yankeebean October 24, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Thanks Yorkshireyank – I’m glad it’s not true because deep down I love Disney World. Although I still don’t want to die there…

    This Snopes website is AWESOME, though! I kept clicking the ‘random’ button – there’s some freakin’ good stuff.

    Did you know there are some Wisconsin quarters that were printed with an error, making them more valuable? That’s crazy… I want one.

  4. Yorkshireyank October 24, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Snopes on Disneyworld deaths

  5. yankeebean October 22, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    ExpatMum – definitely!! The thing I get the most from sales assistants usually happens when I’m leaving. They put on a HUGE grin and shout ‘haaave a niiiice daaaaaay – seeee yooooo laaayterrrrrrr!’

  6. Expat Mum October 22, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    I often forget about my accent and am surprised when I see people in shops straining to listen to me.
    And has anyone else ever had the sales assistant start speaking to them in their accent? I have to say it’s usually young, slightly effeminate sales assistants, but I’ve had several situations where I’ve suddenly realised they’re trying to do an English accent. Very strange.

  7. Michelloui October 22, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    I remember when i first started dating my British husband. I had already been living in Britain about 10 years so I had forgotten I was as different as some people still viewed me as being. One day he called me ‘exotic’ and I almost choked on my breath. Exotic? A hayseed from the midwest?! ‘Yes!’ He declared. ‘You’re American!’ he declared with emphasis. How refreshing to be seen as exotic and interesting as an American rather than loud and brash. Anyway, if my accent helped me catch this guy, Im pretty grateful for that!! ;)

    And when my husband is in the States (yes, in the Midwest), he gets equal ‘exotic’ treatment, which is nice for this boy from the Eastend. It amuses him I think.

  8. yankeebean October 21, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    I’ve heard that no one can die inside Disney World – apparently EMT’s have to wait until they’re outside the bounds of Disney World to pronounce someone as a goner.

    Whaddaya think? Urban myth? :)

  9. Dyana October 21, 2009 at 10:36 am

    hmmm, i generally here florida stories, not new york. i think disney world as a representation of the us might be worse! :)

  10. Bree October 20, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Agreed, Yorkshireyank. I live in NYC (though moving to London this summer), and no one looks up at the sound of a British accent, or any accent for that matter. Tell your English hubby it wasn’t personal!

    I actually love hearing “London is not England,” and “NYC is not the US”–it makes it sound like they have something in common, and lulls me into thinking that transitioning from one to the other won’t be so terrible!

  11. Rachel October 20, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    This reminds me of the movie Love Actually where the younger single (slightly nerdy) fellow plans on a vacation to the US to “score” with American ladies who love the British accent. And when he actually goes — his dreams come true! Maybe it has been decades of various Mr. Darcys, but it is true. Many of us American women are smitten for the accent!

  12. Iota October 20, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Did he get asked if he knew the queen?

  13. Miss America October 20, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    My Gent is coming to the heart of the Midwest for a two week holiday over Thanksgiving. Thanks for the fair warning :-)

    • peacefulyorkshire October 20, 2009 at 3:34 pm

      Exactly, ladies, in some rural areas your british man in America will cause some hearts a flutterin’. I reckon they never had even seen a real life British person in my lil dusty desert hometown til they met Mr. Chill. At first, one lady thought my Cumbrian man was German!
      Wait, it gets better– then, one Texan man guessed Mr. Chill was RUSSIAN!! hahahaha

      But on the plus side, as Yankeebean said: American ladies get our fair share of attention too when were here in the UK, no? ;) I love it.

  14. yankeebean October 20, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    If your hub wants some attention, take him to the mid west. He’ll be swarmed over until there’s nothing left but a pair of Union Jack boxer shorts…

  15. Yorkshireyank October 20, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Actually, my English husband was quite disappointed during our trip to America because nobody paid any attention to his accent at all.

    I’m from New York City, where almost everybody has a foreign accent.

  16. Meg October 20, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Hilarious! My husband always says he feels like a performing seal when we’re in America because people constantly want him to “say something.”

    I also loved the bit about ‘London IS England’ because any time a friend asks how I am, they’ll mention something about London — and outside of being in Gatwick airport, I’ve never even BEEN to London. I try to compare it to NYC and say that’s the same as thinking if you live or visit the US, you’re going to NYC. It’s just not the same.

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