Author Topic: Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.  (Read 36141 times)

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Offline vnicepeeps

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Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.
« on: May 13, 2004, 02:13:06 PM »
As we prepare to make the jump to the UK and as many are now about to go the other way  . . . I thought it might not be a bad idea to think of things that might come as a shock to the UK partners coming to the USA.

Homesickness strikes everyone and little things can seem big and while I know there are tons of Brit Expat sites I figured this is not such a bad idea. I just know that it can be just as hard for a UK spouse coming to the USA as it is for us going there.

Here are a few of mine (note some might be southern).

*People get tipped here in the USA.

* Many states will not let you take your drivers license test in the rain. ::)

* Footie games are on at odd hours of the morning if at all, and cricket is hard to come by without paying a good chunck of cash.

*We really do say, "Have a nice day!"

*Be prepared for homesickness at the 3 month and 6 month mark.

*You will almost certainly need a car (unless you live in a place like NYC). Our public transport is spotty and non-existent in most places.

*You will find many people that love your accent and some that think of you just as a "fur-in-er."

*Be prepared to feel like a kid.  It will be the small things that you are so used to doing from driving to self scan checkouts that will throw you for a loop.

*Please try to refrain from saying  you need a fag badly.  Some people know what it is and in some parts it might get you in trouble. ;D

*The whole street layout is wacky and depending on where you live the traffic circulation signs can be just as bad or worse than the UK.  We like our numbers not town names here. (Note ATL has really bad signage....)

*Do not eat fried chicken, ribs, pizza with a fork and knife. 

*It is okay to eat toast, a sandwhich, chips/crisps on a paper towel.

*Our detergent is quite strong so please RINSE!

*Do not try to be strong and not put on bug repellant.  The mosquitoes will get to you....I don't care how strong you think you are.  Be prepared for a possible allergic reaction to the bites.  Claritin (OTC) works great to reduce the swelling from bug bites and other allergic reactions.

*Make sure you have good insurance -the medical bills can be staggering without it.

*We celebrate EVERY little holiday not by having a day off, but by taking up two aisles at WalMart with nics-nacs and junk for said holiday.

*You will not have more than two weeks holiday until you have worked at one place for 5 years.  In some cases these two weeks will not be able to be taken together.  Things like Easter Monday do not exist here.


That's mine for now  . . .

The wiring in our brain is not static, not irrevocably fixed.  Our brains are adaptable. -Mattieu Ricard

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn. -Benjamin Franklin

I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions. -D.Day

Offline balmerhon

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Re: Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2004, 02:47:30 PM »
The cars and SUVs really are that big!

You can park you car at the 'shops' without having do major maneouvreing to get into the bay.

In general, there's no such thing as a 'local'. Pub culture as you know it does not exist here.  :(

Yes, you can use the hairdryer in the bathroom!
When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life. ~ John Lennon

12yearsandcounting

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Re: Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2004, 02:54:16 PM »
If you are approaching a stop sign, and even if you can see for miles that it's clear, you still must STOP.  And then proceed.  And if the car in front of you stops, and it's clear, you STILL have to stop.  There is no such thing as yeild. 

55 is the speed limit.  60 is speeding.  65 is speeding.   70 is driving like a fricking maniac.  75 will scare your in-laws and they will never get in a car with you again.

If a pedestrian is crossing the road.  They aren't going to stop.  You have to stop.  If you don't stop, then you will probably hit them.  Pedestrians don't do that waiting in the middle of the road thing like they do here. 

Offline vnicepeeps

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Re: Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2004, 03:00:14 PM »
I have to add that the speeding rule applies to many places, but not the interstates (motorways) in Atlanta and the New Jersey Turnpike where 55 (the legal limit) will get you run over.  75 to 80 is more acceptable.  ;D  As is crossing 5 lanes of traffic when you forget your exit.  Or leaving your turn signal on for miles or just not using them at all.  (Sorry mild rant hijack here -I know the USA is bigger than Atlanta!)

oh and

*MOT is not always needed in many states.  Yes we do allow "those" cars on the road.

*There are a lot of latest year model cars about.  We love our cars!

*In many cases the riding lawn mower is your friend.  Our yards tend to be rather huge and most weekends will involve mowing of the grass if you live in suburbia.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2004, 03:04:11 PM by vnicepeeps »
The wiring in our brain is not static, not irrevocably fixed.  Our brains are adaptable. -Mattieu Ricard

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn. -Benjamin Franklin

I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions. -D.Day

Offline peedal

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Re: Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2004, 03:08:08 PM »
The speed limit thing is definitely regional - even within the same state!

Main highway in Fort Myers, Florida - seems like NO ONE wants to go faster than 10 miles under the speed limit.  But get out onto the interstate - 10 miles over the speed limit is still too slow!  ::)

How about this - going out for breakfast, whilst you won't be able to get a "full English" - is a VERY GOOD THING!  (I'm thinking Denny's and Bob Evans here!)   ;D
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

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12yearsandcounting

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Re: Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2004, 03:15:35 PM »
A long line of cars with their lights on is a funeral line.  Don't cut in and don't over take. 

Alot of funerals are open casket. 


Offline vnicepeeps

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Re: Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2004, 03:17:35 PM »
*It is law to stop and wait for school buses if they have thier STOP sign out (they are really that color yellow). Do not pass them even if you are on the opposite side of the road.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2004, 03:19:36 PM by vnicepeeps »
The wiring in our brain is not static, not irrevocably fixed.  Our brains are adaptable. -Mattieu Ricard

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn. -Benjamin Franklin

I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions. -D.Day

12yearsandcounting

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Re: Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2004, 03:31:48 PM »
Odd number highways go North-South.  Evens go East-West.

Turnpikes are toll roads.

Yes, we do love our nicknames.  Grown men are called Tink, Buddy and Chick.  There are women whose names are Beanie and Squeek.  No, we don't find it particularly amusing. 

'Trailer trash' is an insult.  So shut up and don't say it again in front of some 400 lb man named Buddy.  OK?

Offline peedal

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Re: Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2004, 03:34:42 PM »
*It is law to stop and wait for school buses if they have thier STOP sign out (they are really that color yellow). Do not pass them even if you are on the opposite side of the road.

Coincidence - I just explained this little law to Phil the other day.  We were watching something where people were passing on the other side of the road from a school bus and I was looking to see if the little "stop" sign was out on the side - then I had to explain why.  ::)
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Offline vnicepeeps

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Re: Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2004, 03:37:40 PM »
*Despite there being plenty of parking spaces for some it is important to drive around the parking lot in an attempt to find a space right in front of the store.

*We drive from one store to the other even if it seems like you could walk there.

* To dail the UK it's 011-44 +(area code-the zero)+phone number

*Strangers will talk to you and people will get more personal faster.  It is not uncommon for someone you really do not know to ask where you are from, what do you do and how much do you make (tacky still but many people do this.)
« Last Edit: May 13, 2004, 04:00:38 PM by vnicepeeps »
The wiring in our brain is not static, not irrevocably fixed.  Our brains are adaptable. -Mattieu Ricard

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn. -Benjamin Franklin

I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions. -D.Day

Offline peedal

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Re: Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2004, 04:12:21 PM »
Dial 9-1-1 for emergency services - but ONLY for emergency services.

Dial 4-1-1 for telephone/address information queries.

Tip the bartender or you will die of thirst.

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

- Benjamin Franklin

Offline arcticwolf

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Re: Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2004, 07:00:42 PM »
Brit here liking sausage and maple syrup but must have pancakes! Advice from a Brit with fiancee living in the US but moving to the UK (kas nut) If your planning to live in the US and want a car from home to make you feel more at ease get a mini, especially in CA, you'll blend right in. Most Americans ARE more friendly than we are, it's a sad truth :) If americans mention 'the war' then chances are they are NOT talking about WW 1 or 2, read your american history before moving! Oh, and if you find a 'traditional english pub' don't be annoyed if people working there are american, it is their country after all  ;D

Oh, one for Americans, not sure if it is the same there but in the UK dialing 9-1-1 will also put you through to the emergency services, just don't test it!  ;D
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Offline arcticwolf

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Re: Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2004, 07:31:02 PM »
How can anyone say brown sauce is horrible?? bacon sandwiches, chips (fries),  cheese sandwiches...i could go on forever, i was lost without my brown sauce when i visited Kassie :)
I love you Kassie,
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Offline vnicepeeps

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Re: Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2004, 07:54:06 PM »
That whole brown sauce made me think of Marmite.

*you can find marmite in the USA.

The wiring in our brain is not static, not irrevocably fixed.  Our brains are adaptable. -Mattieu Ricard

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn. -Benjamin Franklin

I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions. -D.Day

Offline Shahbanou

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Re: Things about the USA your UK spouse should know.
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2004, 10:27:25 PM »
What is this a Marmite haters club? it's great stuff. I am not someone who has to eat it all the time but I do like it - especially in a cheesy-mite sandwich and it is full of B12 so very good for preggy and soon to be preggy women. Anyway I am glad you can get it in the US now. What I would really miss though are the regional cheeses - cheshire, wensleydale, caerphilly etc