Gordon Brown lost the election, but he’s still the Prime Minister. Wait… what?

yankeebean

This was the first election that I’ve been privy to in the UK (although I couldn’t vote in it which is still annoying me right this very second).

The whole process was deliciously British!  Including classic like:

  • Even though Labour and G-dog-Brown lost, Gordon Brown is still the Prime Minister for the moment – who in God’s name made up that rule??
  • BECAUSE G-dog is still ruling the roost, there’s been lots of mention about the UK’s unwritten Constitution.  I asked Mr Nice Guy how that worked, but he didn’t really know.  How do we know what the rules are if there’s no written constitution?  Wikipedia provides a nice clear explanation, but I still find it pretty stymieing.
  • At the core, politicians are all very similar, no matter what country they’re from.  A week after arguing with (and slagging off) Nick Clegg in the political debates, David Cameron is now trying to politically seduce him into forming a government.
  • There was a political scandal about people not getting to vote because the queues were too long!  The fact that the scandal involved queuing just seems so right somehow.  (Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s redonkulus that people were cut off – you know it was all the Lib Dem-ers, too – young, hip and late.)

I’m completely gutted that I couldn’t vote – I haven’t applied for citizenship yet (don’t have a spare 750.00 quid laying around).  Who knows, maybe I’ll get to have my say in the next one…

"Political conversations are a lot easier these days!" says one American woman living in Yorkshire

yahooavatar15Thank you, President Obama!

Now that old Bushy former president G.W. Bush is out of the White house I’m no longer listening politely, yet cringing with shame on the inside. Why? I haven’t had to listen to countless “did you hear what Bush did this week?” conversations at dinner parties. Oh, and at tea-breaks. And while driving with cabbies around town. Oh, and with the Tesco’s cashier. Maybe you have noticed that too? Instead the jokes seem to revolve now on Gordon Brown these days as he picks his nose on a Youtube video, smiles oddly when announcing MP tax allowance cuts and then disables any viewer comments. But that’s another story.  Now back to the point of this post. President Obama has celebrated his 100th day in office this past week, and  even my co-worker Fran is not saying that she thinks that Obama is going to be assassinated anymore. Thank goodness.

Now here is where you come in. For the last 100 days we kept a (non!) official poll to ask you if you would consider moving back to America now that Obama is president. The inspiration for such a question? Well, I know that I have been much more tempted to up sticks and move back to the US. I felt that things could be different there with a new leader–and some of you did too! Well, at least 16% of you.

The other 48% of you said that you are happy living in the UK (tea anyone?) despite him in being in office.

20% polled were already IN America.

16% polled wanted to wait and see how things progress. (Do y’all still feel that way?)

To leave you to celebrate your May Day Bank Holiday weekend I have found this BBC clip, 100 days in 100 seconds. Now how sweet does that pup Bo look?

An Englishman, an American and a German walk into a pub…

yankeebeanLast night I went to the pub with Mr Nice Guy and a very good friend of ours that’s visiting from Germany.  It wasn’t your average Friday-night-pub-jaunt, and I actually thought it was really amazing and eye-opening experience.

I’ll call our German friend Anna, and she’s an amazing person that’s very comfortable with herself and likes to have a good debate.  But when chatting with her, there’s never even a hint of conflict.  She has an amazing gift to talk about potentially irk-some things without ever sounding accusatory.  It’s an art… she’s a genius…

Over three hours we discussed a handful of wars – WWII, the Cold War, the American Revolution – we discussed the effects of the Berlin Wall, Barack Obama (and the election process), and more and more and more and more…  Oh, and we also talked about other less meaningful topics like mixing electronica with music from the 1930′s and crochet (it wasn’t just a giant history-fest)

And while discussing politics (and a little bit of religion), never once did the atmosphere congeal into discomfort.  No one was ever offended or upset by what was said.

One of the main reasons, I believe, is that none of the criticism was directed at ‘you’.  I’ve lost count of the number of times that people have replaced the word ‘America’ with ‘you’ when we’re talking politics – ESPECIALLY when talking about the war in Iraq.  And I wonder (although I didn’t ask) if the same ever happened to Anna while she was living in another country.

But there was no accusation, no arguing, no tension… just talking, debating and learning.  It was AWESOME…

Tricking the English

yankeebeanI first moved to England when I was 16 years old with my whole family (in fact, that’s how I met my husband, who I’ll call Mr. NiceGuy).

My brother and I used to see what random facts we could make up and convince English people were actually true. It was an AWESOME game and you wouldn’t believe some of the things that people believed.

Once my brother convinced a group of his friends that ‘United States of America’ was prounounced ‘ooo-NIHT-ed STAAH-tase of aah-mare-EEE-caah’

And once I told some knob-head in the pub that I wasn’t allowed to date British men because they teach American women sex secrets that only American men can know about and understand. And he BOUGHT IT…

I know I know, it’s a little mean, but I was only 16…

I must admit, I’m still tempted to try it sometimes. For example, I was tempted to tell people that the it’s againt the law to vote in the American Election outside of US territory. So the US government provided absentee voters with ‘Voting planes’ that pick us up and fly us over America air-space to cast our vote legally.

But I didn’t tell anyone that… I swear…

St. Obama, can you fix my son's visa?

yahooavatar15So, now that Obama has won, the questions aren’t:

Whoareyougoingtovotefor/didyouvote/whowillwin blah blah

Now the comments go like this at my 10:15 tea break:

English Person with Cup of Tea: “I bet you are so happy that Obama won, huh?”

Me: “Yes, thank goodness”, nodding my head politely.

E.P.W.C.O.T: Now I sure hope he is going to do something about (now fill in the blank from these choices:)

the Economy!

the War in Iraq!

the War in Afghanistan!

Peace for the Middle East!!

World Peace in general!

Helping the environment!

Giving Americans a better reputation!

My son’s Visa application problem !

Me: “I hope so too!”, enthusiastically smiling. But really thinking he’s not YOUR president. Get your own! Change Britain’s patriarchal system and you could have one too!! How do I know if he is going to solve all the world’s problems? Bugger off (oh wait that last thought is too British!) he’s not a miracle worker! Quick, drink your tea!

I then look at my watch, smile politely, rinse my tea cup and walk away to go back to my harp teaching.

Obama-mania is here to stay

yahooavatar15I think that Obama must be the most famous person in the world today. It is indescribable how the world can change overnight. Do you feel it too?

Even BBC Radio 1 is playing rap songs dedicated to the man!

For the first time EVER I walked to work today wanting to shout “I AM AMERICAN” — amidst the smoggy purple Acomb buses, shitty rain clouds, and scowls on fellow commuter’s faces. “HAVE HOPE “, I wanted to scream.

As mentioned in an earlier post Fran found me at the 10:15 am tea break as predicted.  She cornered me with her big boobed figure and said:

“I think that he is going to be assassinated”.

Offended and annoyed I offered, “THAT’S a horrible thing to say, why would you say that?”

“Because Kennedy was” she said, as if she can predict the future.

“Well lets hope not” I said wanting to know how someone can be so insensitive. On the first day of hope Fran said that first??

My gosh, English people can be so weird some times.

The Great British Pub

avt_kapyork_large11Ok, I commented on yankeebean’s election post that there are wonderful things to celebrate about being in Britain.  This is my attempt at warding off homesickness while I observe the election happening back home. 

I love the British Pub, for so many reasons.  Mostly, I love that the British adore their cultural icon so much.  Their enthusiasm has rubbed off on me. 

I love that:

You can immediately tell from the first step inside whether you are welcome or not and whether the pub is your kind of crowd. 

Customer service has little place in most pubs.  In fact, being ignored is part of the experience.

Every once in a while you find a landlord who wants to make witty remarks to twist around everything you say to make you look like an idiot or a slag.  (and it is always the time when its the last thing I want to pretend to laugh at)

You are guaranteed to be called Love or Loveah (this is my attempt to spell the little extra syllable sometimes added to the end of Love)

Under no circumstances am I to order a whole pint of anything.  Until last weekend I thought this applied to beer and then to my fiance’s horror I ordered a pint of diet coke. 

Many pubs are in beautiful old buildings kept in varying states of repair.

Some pubs are even haunted – as is the case of so many in Yorkshire.

Some pubs have become posh foodie havens where one can turn up one’s nose at lager and packets of crisps in favour of whole baked Atlantic sea bass stuffed with couscous and fresh Italian herbs then drizzled with a light white wine and lemon sauce. 

And last but not least… no matter which pub you are sitting in you can always get a cup of tea.

However, I have one very big problem with the British pub.  You can always find football on tv.  In a future post I will dwell on the fact that football season lasts about 48 weeks a year.  We have sky sports now but I used to spend many a Saturday and Sunday in the pub watching football.  Each weekend I had a growing resentment toward this use of my time and I decided that pubs should be legally required to alternate football weekends with ballet weekends.  How nice it would be to sit down with my fiance and a nice half pint of Yorkshire Terrier and watch Coppelia with fellow ballet supporters.

Missing the Election

avt_emiliabethj_large2One thing that has occurred to me in the past year or so (this is my 4th year in the UK), is that I get homesick when I’m missing things in the USA.  I don’t mean ‘missing’, like thinking-about-things.  I mean ‘missing’ as in, I-wasn’t-there-to-see-it-happen.  It starts with the family tradition of going out for breakfast every Sunday… then birthdays that you wish you could help celebrate, and the 4th of July, and even Election Day.

History is going to be made today in America, the country I have no choice but to love.  We will (hopefully) have the first black president of the United States.  OR the first female nut-job, I mean Vice President in the US.  This is a BIG DEAL… and I feel like I’m missing it.

Here’s a question for all my fellow American ladies in Yorkshire.  Is it embracing more British things that makes us feel more like a fit in the UK?  Like Marmite and dry sarcasm?  Or is it missing-out on more American things that makes us feel like semi-outsiders in the US?  Like Election Day and fireworks on the 4th of July?

I’m going to start watching the coverage of the Election at 11:15 on the BBC.  And I’m going to watch as long as I can, until I pass out from exhaustion.  And I’m going to watch history being made from thousands of miles away.

And although I won’t be surrounded by Americans, shouting American things, I am going to feel VERY American watching my country’s history being written right before my eyes.

2008 USA Election

yahooavatar15Most frequently asked question I get from English colleagues “Who do you think is going to win this election?”. I am all knowing because I American. I should know, right? Colleague  then proceeds to tell me they like (fill in candidates name here) for this reason or that as if they have a say in the manner and can cast their own vote.

Then the big question comes : “who are you going to vote for?” I find it all annoying because its none of their business who I would vote for. I have one colleague named Fran who is obsessed with the election and I hide from her in the corridors. Only because Fran only wants to chat about how handsome Obama is and how he should win/ and the polls say this/ and did you see the BBC today? Blah blah blah. For the record Obama is my man, but I dont want to talk about him all the time just because I am the only American for miles around!

Many colleagues on Wednesday will be wanting to talk to me at my tea break, because they want to chat about the election. I’ll be sipping my tea and it willl go something like this:

“can you believe (fill in blank) won?”

I will just nod my head, smile, finish my tea and go back to my harp teaching. I will be glad when all the election hoop-la is over.

But I do hope tht Obama is the man. But I will keep that to myself on my tea break because I am tired of talking about it.