Picture by elwarren

Them: Where are you from in Ireland? Me: Chicago.

Posted on September 11, 2012 by yankeebean

So it’s cropped up a couple of times now.  No, more than a couple – it’s happened so many times that I’ve lost count.  I meet someone new and have the standard can-you-believe-this-weather-it’s-far-too-hot/cold/wet/dry chat.

Then there’s a brief pause… and they USED to say, ‘So where in the States are you from, then?’

Me: ‘Chicago’

Them: ‘Ahhh, the WINDY CITY!’ (always said with a certain aire of satisfied expertise, like Stephen Fry reading the correct answer on QI)

But the conversation trend has taken a worrying turn – people have started asking me if I’m Irish.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Irish people.  They are SO. Freaking. Nice.  And they love Americans, which helps :)  I’m just a little freaked out because I love my A-mur-cun twang and I’m determined to cling to it, white-knuckled, until my hard R’s and flat A’s relent and settle back into my head.

Does anyone else get this?  I’ve lived in the UK for eight years now, so it makes sense that my accent is fading from shiny-new-American to shabby-expat-mid-atlantic.

I still cringe sometimes when I hear the half-arsed Ameri-English-love-child accent that comes out of my mouth.  But, hey ho, you can’t win ‘em all!

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What Others Are Saying

  1. london p November 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Glad you will be staying there.

    • yankeebean November 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      Huh? Am I missing something?

  2. Pingback: 10 things that still annoy me about England after living here for 8 years | She's Not From Yorkshire

  3. Christina September 14, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Hi Taylor! I actually came here on a working visa. Can I tell you that you are very lucky?! I WISH I didn’t have to work when I first got here. Even if you’ve visited before, it’s entirely different living here. It’s definitely culture shock – America and Britain are waaaay different than you’d think! So take the time to get comfortable with the differences, learn your surroundings (your town, local attractions, etc) and get yourself set-up (learning to drive on the left-hand side of the road, taking the driver’s test – you can stay on your Anerican DL for a year and then it’s invalid, but the test is really hard so start studying and learning with an instructor, getting a cell -mobile!- phone, setting up house, figuring out where you can get that one American food that you simply must have, etc). If you still have time after all that, travel!! It’s so much cheaper and easier to go Abroad from here – especially if you use discount airlines like Ryan Air and hostels to stay in. Or, if you want to stick closer to home, get an annual pass to the English Heritage Trust – you’ll be able to get in free to cool historical places all over England. Finally, look into the job that you want to get when you can work. I came over as a social worker and the laws, policies and procedures are SO different! I would have much rather had a few months instead of days to study the differences. It made working here really difficult for me because it was so different. Luckily, now that I’m married I have 4 step-children who I am the only mom they have so I’m a full-time housewife right now. LOVE IT! So much better than working! :0)

    • yankeebean September 14, 2012 at 11:16 am

      Awesome advice, Christina! Thanks :)

    • Taylor September 14, 2012 at 3:19 pm

      Awesome advice, thank you!!

  4. Taylor September 14, 2012 at 2:43 am

    This made me laugh. When I get the “so where in the states are you from?” and I say Miami, they freak out and ask if I know the Kardashians. I wish I was kidding.

    I haven’t moved to the UK yet, but I am in October, so I can’t really say how my accent my will change. I’ll keep you posted!

    On a different note… I know you said you had the Fiancé Visa, under which you can’t work until you’re married. So being that I’m in the same position, I was wondering, what the heck did you do to keep yourself occupied until you could legally work?! I feel like I’m going to go crazy not being able to work when I move, and I didn’t know if you had any insight for me.


    • yankeebean September 14, 2012 at 11:13 am

      First and foremost – CONGRATS on your engagement! :) Very exciting, indeed!

      I lived in the UK for 6 months (Aug-Sept 2005) on a Fiancé Visa and managed to keep myself pretty busy in the end. Here’s a breakdown of how:

      1) I volunteered – It came in handy in the stop-me-from-crawling-the-walls category and it’s always a great way to meet people (There’s some great comments about how to meet new people in PeacefulYorkshire’s post ‘How do you find people in Britain who make you happy when you’ve just moved?

      2) I took classes – I thought my 6 month forced hiatus would be the perfect time to learn how to speak Spanish and to learn how to tap dance. I’m pleased to report that both activities are completely fantastico.

      3) I helped people I know – I constantly asked if anyone needed help with absolutely ANYTHING. I helped more people pack, clean and move house than I can remember in that six months.

      4) I planned a wedding – I didn’t start planning until about 3.5 months before the wedding because of the interesting challenge finding a venue at such short notice. It was constantly on my mind and kept me nice and busy on the days when I wasn’t volunteering, speaking spanish, tap dancing or helping friends.

      How about the rest of you lot? Any good advice for Taylor?

      • Taylor September 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm

        Thank you so much!! I know most people would love the 6 month time to not work but I feel like I’m going to go mental! It’s good to know you found lots of things to do in that time!! :)

      • yankeebean September 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm

        To be fair, I DID spend some of that 6 months going mental, but I still do that now even though I’m working :D

  5. Christina September 12, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I’ve just recently started subscribing to this blog and think it’s great!! I’ve lived here 2.5 years and am now married to an Englishman (a Man of Kent) so I’ll be here for awhile. I’m from Washington State and everyone here always assumes I’m Canadian for some reason. My grandfather says I’ve developed a bit of an English accent, but I’m with Meg – I think his hearing just isn’t that great! Plus, like her, I also have adopted English words and inflections so that probably confuses everyone back home! I’m wondering if anyone else has a problem with telling the difference between American and British accents now that they’ve been here awhile?? I’ve noticed that when I meet an American here I don’t necessarily realize that they’re American until my husband nudges me! =o)

    • yankeebean September 13, 2012 at 11:06 am

      I absolutely do that! When we meet someone new, my husband will come out and say ‘So, where are you from’ before I’ve even realised they’re not from the UK.

      But bizarrely, I’ll notice if someone is Geordie or Scouse or Northern or Dorset. But not American??

  6. Pepper Ann September 12, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I have a strong Southern Texas accent- but people have either said I sound like Dolly Parton or like your post- somewhere in Ireland.

    • yankeebean September 13, 2012 at 11:04 am

      Aha! Excellent – I’ll stop being so completely stymied when people ask me now that I know it’s more common…

  7. Meg @ Ameringlish September 11, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    My grandma claims that I sound “very British” now. I think it’s more to do with the fact that she’s over 90 and doesn’t hear so well these days :) I feel like, having moved here at 31, my accent is pretty set. My word choice has changed, and perhaps inflection too, over the past 2.5 years, but I can’t still put on my Texan twang and I will NEVER stop saying y’all! :)

    • yankeebean September 12, 2012 at 10:04 am

      Glad to hear I’m not the only one! I also wonder if it’s because a lot of Americans are not so hot at recognising accents. It’s happened a couple of times that my American friends confused Australian and British accents.

      My Grandma gets nervous before we visit because she can barely understand a word Mr. Nice Guy says :)

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