Life as an expat can be frustrating, hilarious, nerve-wrecking and just plain weird at times. We live in a small medieval town where Asians are rarer than aliens. The 3 of us (hubs, Lil L and I) often leave the locals scratching their heads - nothing to do with head lice but the confusing conundrum of listening to 3 very different accents befuddled most people that meet us for the very first time. The hubby has a strong Kiwi accent which often means that all his sentences end with a question mark? Him: Eh? Me? I don't have an accent? See? No, I mean see here! I've spent the past 12 years trying to teach him the importance of a full stop. ← yeah that little pimply dot there.
But my point is, being a foreigner is great. You're instantly forgiven for dressing a little too eccentric - hat, ripped jeans and leopard print sweats instead of Barbour jacket, wellies and good ol' proper jumper (not sweater) and saying all the wrong things - are we talking about the same type of thongs here? I've since learned that one should never, ever, sully thy name by mentioning the word thongs in refined and cultured gatherings. The Kiwi in me did not realized that thongs are in fact G-strings in England. I've now included the word flip flops into my ever expanding English vocabulary.
Despite the fact that many countries in the world may claim to be English speaking, the reality is we do not truly understand each other. "Say kids, anyone up for a popsicle today?", I asked. "Excuse me Marlene", interrupted Lil L's friend. "What is a popsicle?" What?! Poor poor deprived English kids. The poor darlings. "Oh, ignore my mummy, she's a New Zealander. She wants to know if you would like to have a lolly?" my daughter translated. "Ahhh why didn't she just say so?Your mummy speaks funny", her friend whispered. "She says to-may-toes and waderrrrrr". Giggles all around. I now subscribe to the old Victorian values - children should be seen and not heard.
As a learned and educated individual in England, it is of utmost importance to speak formally and politely to a stranger. An educated English - "Excuse me, if you don't mind me asking, may I know the time please?". An educated Kiwi - "Mate, what time is it?". An educated Malaysian - "What time?"
There's the complexity of describing the meal which one partake after lunch. It's dinner, supper or tea depending on who you're talk to. Who knew that a cooked lunch is also called dinner? The mind boggles. Seeing that I'm a typical Asian which means that I prefer cooked meals, does that mean that I can call my breakfast dinner too? Imagine the incredulous look on the school secretary's face when this rather clueless foreigner argued with her that Lil L simply can't stay behind for school dinners, only lunch.
Now if you don't mind, I'm off to make tomorrow's