Thursday, 21 July 2011

The foreigner

I’ve lived in England since 2005, but it hasn’t been until I moved to Port Nerd that I’ve actually felt like I live in this country. Nerdtown was quite an international town and at least half if not more of the people there were from elsewhere in the world. I actually knew relatively few English people in comparison to other nationalities, particularly North Americans.

Since moving to Port Nerd though, I finally feel like I live in a proper English city. That’s not to say there aren’t people from elsewhere living here; but I encounter more English people than anyone else. I have a desk in a large shared office at the department and I’m the only non-English person in it.

I’ve also encountered more people who are curious about my nationality. Unlike Madonna, Gwenyth Paltrow and other pretentious American twats, my American accent has not changed one bit since I’ve moved here. Granted, I use some British English words instead of American ones on a regular basis, but I do this for the sake of clarity. I live in their country so I should use their terminology in cases where the equivalent American terms may lead to a misunderstanding. That aside, after hearing me speak, the English are often quite curious to find out where I’m from. I’m usually surprised that most of them know New Hampshire exists and at least generally where it is located. And since I currently live in the county of Hampshire, I make a joke about it being only right that I spend some time living in the ‘old’ one since I grew up in the ‘new’ one.

What I find really funny is that most of them are a bit shocked to find that I’m American at all. Several colleagues, my landlord and the service representative I talked to when setting up my home internet connection all thought I was Canadian. I think this has to do with the fact that I don’t have a distinctive regional American accent. My accent is quite generic actually and I tend to be rather soft-spoken when talking to new people which is a contrast to the unfortunate yet widespread stereotype of the loud American.

It all gets even more entertaining when I’m doing fieldwork in Italy. I work on a project that is primarily composed of English and Italians researchers. When I was there in April, I was answering an English grammar question from two of my Italian colleagues (the project documentation is all in English hence the question) when one of them realized I was American and exclaimed happily “Ah! No wonder I can understand you so much better than the others.” That totally made my day. And it gave me something else to taunt my English colleagues with (besides the staples of choking at international sporting competitions, horrific dentistry and having possibly the most depressing weather in the world) when they decide to rag on my nationality.

It’s the little things (euphemistic pun intended) that make living here so much fun.

Later gators.

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ORN: I ran twice last week and done jack all so far this week. Consistency is not my forte.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


There’s 13.5 weeks until the Royal Parks half marathon. Thought I should finally start running again. So that’s what I did this morning. After six weeks of jack-all, I woke up at 6:30 and ran three miles in the rain. It was my first run in Port Nerd.

By the end of it my clothes were drenched and my sluggish movements could only barely pass for running, but I was happy for finally hitting the pavement again. I ran to the big wooded park and back. When I move in September, I’ll be living a lot closer to that park, so I’ll get to spend more time enjoying the quiet paths there than dodging vehicles on the busy city streets. I’m looking forward to it.

Unlike Nerdtown, Port Nerd is rather hilly. If I lived further north in the city, I’d have to deal with San Francisco-like terrain, but where I live it’s a lot less severe—thank god. Bad enough I’m out of shape, but throw in the hills and I feel especially winded and weak.

By the way, the high for today is supposed to be about 60 F (15 C). On Monday we’re apparently going to inch into the low 70s but then come back down to the 60s thereafter. Typical English summer.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Change of scene

The move is complete. I now live in my new city which I have dubbed Port Nerd. Port Nerd is quite different from Nerdtown. It’s bigger and less picturesque (it had the hell bombed out of it during WWII), but it has greater shopping options (especially for someone without a car) and a cheaper standard of living. It’s also on the south coast so there’s usually a nice sea breeze to be enjoyed.

So far I’m happy with the change in living situations. I’m currently in a temporary apartment until my permanent one is ready in September. I’ve left some of my stuff in boxes, because I don’t want to deal with repacking it again in a few months. Since my last apartment was fully furnished, it’s a bit sparse for furniture around here. I’m actually still waiting for my mattress to be delivered (come on Wednesday!) so I’m sleeping on an air mattress. Surprisingly it’s quite comfortable.

I realize most of you (Americans) are enjoying the end of your long weekend, celebrating our independence from the imperialist bastards whose country I inhabit. My English bosses have seen fit to schedule a big meeting for today. How kind of them. So while you all are eating hamburgers and putting sparklers in inappropriate places, I’ll be stuck in a meeting imagining a spectacular patriotic display wherein I escape the meeting, hijack a cargo boat full of PG Tips (that would be tea, people) and set it on fire in the harbor with “AMERICA RULZ, BRITAIN DROOLS” painted on the sides.

A girl can dream.

Happy 4th, my fellow Americans. To my international readers, happy Monday. Try not to kill anyone, mkay.

Later gators.