October 2012 Archives

The Differences between a Bar and a Pub:


While the drinking culture here would definitely send many Americans into A.A. meetings, there are some strange outliers.

One example would be the quintessential British pub. In these establishments you will find such hidden gems as the pub quiz (trivia that would make Alex Trebek's head swim), the locals, and a brew called ale.

And no, my American friends, this drink is not paired with mutton and served in tankards (Unfortunately. Darn you, Hollywood, look what you have done to us!).

The main difference that I can decipher between the American bar and a pub are the hours. Despite the heavy drinking culture, pubs on a Saturday night can close at eleven thirty or earlier.


What I Believe the British Really Do on Their Long Lunch Breaks:


One of the hardest things to become accustomed to here seems to be the hours of operation. Whereas in the US supermarkets and even pharmacies are open 24/7, most here are not and close at about six thirty and they can even close as early as four thirty pm on a Sunday.

Whereas in the US, we believe in the "stuff your face mentality" of a lunch break, the empty desks during the hours of 11am to 2pm show that this can be a bit different here. This is probably because they are all out doing their shopping.


What I believe some people in administration could be doing during their long lunch breaks:


- Learn the Ukulele
- Play three games of Monopoly
- Trim a bonsai


Next time: Scotland

Week 3: Culture Clash

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Part One: Bangers and Mash and Other Ridiculous Names for Food

If we American's corner the world market in comfort food, the British corner the market of the absolutely bland. I can only assume that this is why they have had to come up with some of the most inventive names for food I have ever heard. One example is 'Toad in the Hole'. Gee, that sounds appetizing. Here are a few more that will put you off your lunch:

Bangers and Mash: Sausages and mashed potatoes

Black Pudding: Found out this is not pudding at all but a disgusting mixture of pig blood and other things I don't want to mention

Wet Nelly: Bread pudding

Pork Scratchings: Breaded and fried pieces of pork

Now onto their candy, or "sweets" as they so cleverly call them. I am awestruck by one especially creepy candy called "Mr. Tickles" in which the said candy has extremely long arms to supposedly tickle and hug young children. All I can say to this is: so does Slender Man.


Part Two:
Another Fascinating Interview: Courtesy of Two Lovely Neighbors

What is the best or most influential TV show?
Neighbor 1: Friends.
Neighbor 2: Desperate Housewives!

What are words that I mispronounce?
Neighbor 1: Oregano. It's Or-eh-gah-no
Neighbor 2: Tomato, Apricot and Beautiful

What are the grossest American foods?
Neighbor 1: Sloppy joes!
ME: Ironically just had my flatmate make me some

What do you think our "Uni's" are like?
Neighbor 1: Expensive!
Neighbor 2: Based on sports.
ME: All true.

Do you think American's are more noticeable than other tourists?
Neighbor 1: Not until you open your mouth!

Where do you get your opinions about our culture?
Neighbor 2: Music, movies like Mean Girls

What is one thing you do not like about the United States?
Neighbor 2: How everyone has guns.

What do you like?
Neighbor 2: Everyone seems friendly and cheerful.

AND THE ALL-IMPORTANT QUESTION:
Do you think the U.K. views the United States as growing or declining?
Neighbor 1: I don't really know, but I think they are growing over here as far as entertainment.
ME: *laughs* Good answer!



Up Next: The Differences between a Bar and a Pub, or How British People Have Normalized Alcohol Poisoning, and What I Believe the British Really Do on Their Long Lunch Breaks

Week 2: Academia and the Freshers Flu

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Part One: Freshers Flu

"Freshers' flu' is a term that has grown up on university and college campuses to describe the respiratory tract infections that are common during the first few weeks of the start of the academic year, often affecting a significant number of students and staff" York University.


Birmingham University is a plague house. You can shut your door against your sick flatmates, but you cannot escape this affliction when it is all around you. The professors warn you not to come near, but it is too late and the girl behind you sneezes onto the back of your head. Picture this: Yugh.

Thankfully yours truly battled out this scourge on the weekend, but many of her fellow students were not as lucky. As the clock ticks onward they drop like flies onto their desks, to catch a few moments of sleep before the inevitable coughing begins again.

Part Two: Academia

Vocabulary:
Module - course/class
College - high school

While the U.K. preaches environmentalism, they seem to hate trees. At least, I can only deduce this by the number that had to be killed for my courses. Instead of having only one or two textbooks, reading lists here also include many different scholarly articles each week, along with a couple more for "recommended reading." And since no one has yet to develop a good program for taking notes on an article on your screen, I am forced to single-handedly kill the rainforest.

INTERVIEW WITH A BRIT, NUMBER ONE:

What is the typical American stereotype?
Flatmate 1: Loud and Annoying!
Flatmate 2: Overly friendly and Over-sharing. And you all own guns.
Flatmate 1: And cowboys!
Flatmate 2: Don't worry, we don't mean you personally.
Flatmate 1: Well...
Me: =(
Flatmate 1: Just kidding!

How about a stereotypical American University?
Flatmate 2: Rory on Gilmore Girls (*apparently this came out not too long ago here)
Flatmate 1: Dorms, parties and jocks. And Sororities and Fraternities.

What is one word you hate that Americans say or mispronounce?
Flatmate 2: Risotto, and roof (Apparently I say "ruff").
Flatmate 1: I hate when you guys say trash! (*they do not equate trash with rubbish).

What do you think we eat everyday?
Flatmate 2: Everything boxed that's crap.
Flatmate 1: Ego waffles and crispy everything.
Me: Well they got that one right!

I will do a special "Ask a Brit" section weekly, so send us your questions!

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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