It has been two months since my last five-things post and I felt it time for another. Let’s see what I have learnt since.
Every day I’m shuffling
So several times we had been in bars over December and seen a long board in the side of the bar and wondered what it was.
Turns out it is a bar game called shuffleboard. America still has pool but it doesn’t have darts, so I guess this is kind of the US version of darts. This is also a good comparison as the game is lots of fun, a little silly and is best (and most often) played inebriated by people who are really rubbish at it.
For anyone who is coming out to visit us, you will be forced to play this game. The rules are really simple (you have to roll it to the end without it going off – a bit like curling / skittles) and it’s good fun, so don’t fret.
Take me out
Now the US has a reputation for having massive meals. I previously assumed that Americans managed to stay thin by not snacking as much as the English. Turns out I was mostly wrong. America has lots of sweets and chocolate (candy) but there is a very clever system for dealing with massive portions:
Some restaurants even have it down to a T, like my favourite ‘Mexican’ place – Cafe Mexicali. Their burritos come in foil boxes and are way too big to finish. But after you finish you just put a foil top on the box and you have a ready-made take home box for lunch the next day.
Disclaimer – this assumes you don’t be a fatty (me and Cat’s term for eating all the food even if you feel awful afterwards and continue eating once you are full up).
Welcome to the (jungle) bus stop
I can’t remember if I have mentioned this before, but I was stood at the bus stop in December and all of a sudden noticed some really strange noises coming from a lamppost. Here is a recording from my phone (bear in mind it is about 3 times louder in person and at least 4 times weirder):
I have no idea what these are supposed to be or their purpose, but I guess it’s one of:
- The builders of the Fort Collins transport system are really into Jungle music
- There is a miniature jungle inside every bus stop in Fort Collins
- The sounds are to scare birds / squirrels / bears away
One thing that America has absolutely down to a T is comfort. For example, many cinemas have electronic recliners and moveable side tables to eat your food off of.
Also, if you go to many supermarkets, they automatically bag your groceries for free. Almost every car I have been is has at least 2 drinks holders between the front seats… ok this one isn’t that special but it’s A LOT easier holding a coffee or ice smoothie in a cup holder than between your legs as me and Cat used to in our old Micra!
Language part 2
So I know I have posted about English vs American before, and I know it’s obvious, but even now after living here for 3 months I continue to not speaking the language correctly.
Some aspects of this are just plain annoying. For example I just went and bought Cat a Hazlenut Mocca with marshmallows from Starbucks today. I asked for it and the server had no idea what I wanted, so I had to translate. Whereas Brits prounounce it “Mocka”, Americans pronounce it “Moe-cah”.
How to do it properly apparently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4XcN7-Ocxs
They even have “English muffins“, which we don’t even have in England? It’s like a crumpet but cooked on both sides, definetly not a muffin though, It’s so confusing!
The one me and Cat have been working on most is ‘sorry’. It’s not that Brits are in any way more polite than Americans, but nobody here would do the following:
- Somebody gets in your way as you are trying to get past, you say sorry as you squeeze through as if it was your fault.
- You are ahead of somebody in a queue, e.g. at a microwave to make lunch. You say sorry to apologise for existing and stopping the rest of the queue from eating.
- Yesterday I was playing volleyball in a local recreation league. After making a shot I walked backwards to get out of the way the next shot and tripped over another player falling flat on my back. Did I need to say sorry for causing myself to fall over? No. Did I anyway? Of course, we are British good sir!!!
So we have had to just keep quiet or replace ‘sorry’ with ‘ok’
It’s not all bad though, for some unknown reason American’s quite like the British accent.
I was told today that the way I say ‘chocolate’ sounds lovely. Also Americans absolutely love Downtown Abbey and they have just gotten Bake Off on the US Netflix, so I think it’s just an obsession with polite posh British people.
Still, I never thought my Bristol-twanged accent would be described as lovely!