Deadly Women (with Matt Fullerty)


Friday, November 20, 2009

Is it easier to become American than to become British?

This post was recently posted by Michelloui on the Mid-Atlantic English blog. A vision of where I'll be in 3 years?

I'll have lived in the States for 10 years then too!

"In a recent post on She's Not From Yorkshire American yankeebean writes that her grandma is a British war bride who moved to the States after WWII and has lived there ever since. When yankeebean was planning a move to the UK, she asked her grandma how long it took her to feel American and her grandma replied, 'Ten years.' Yankeebean goes on to say she feels she is now at a place where she can accept that she is more comfortable doing the British thing when in Britain and more comfortable doing the American thing when in the States (I paraphrase).

I have reached the half and half mark--half of my life in the States and half of my life in the UK. I can completely relate to what yankeebean says about not fancying a cup of tea in the States but not craving the Starbucks coffee when in the UK. It's as if you have to be in a culture to enjoy that culture's artifacts, you can't replicate it elsewhere as it doesn't quite provide the same sense of satisfaction.

But back to yankeebean's grandma. I was surprised when I read what she said. I have long passed the 10 year mark and I still feel American. I have called this blog Mid-Atlantic English because I have adopted some of the accent and colloquialisms of Britain, as well as the world view, but I have not lost all of my American accent or certain habits that define me as American (stockings by the chimney not the end of the bed, fanatical pumpkin carving, a longing for a Williams-Sonoma shop to open near my house, an appreciation of Eudora Welty). In other words, I am somewhere in the middle, or Mid-Atlantic (original credit goes to my dad for first describing me as such). I don't feel I have become British, but I do feel I have made Britain my home.

Is it me, or is it just easier to 'become American'? Or was it easier at the time yankeebean's grandma moved? Or is this simply individual differences? I'm interested in what the rest of you lovely expats think about this!"
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  1. I think it's easier to become an American especially now that the British Government has tightened the immigration rules, much to my chagrin. You've heard of house swapping, well I'm proposing a scheme for swapping citizenships. Ha! Wonder how that will go over?

  2. Anonymous9:55 AM

    We immigrated from Yorkshire to Australia when I was eight years of age. Since our relocation I've not enjoyed the Australian weather or culture, in deed not enjoyed growing up in Australia at all. Only now I am in the United States with a hybrid accent. Depending on who is asking the question, for the most part they ask what part of England I'm from. I've never lost the British 'clip', but nonetheless have what many have called a 'proper' Australian accent. If indeed there is such a thing. Notwithstanding, my desire to build a life for myself in NYC is not without it's challenges, but tease my American relatives, Americans a cup of coffee or tea cannot master.