Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Water and butter

The equivalent of me trying to speak AmE 
It's been over a year since I moved to the US, and I have to say that I think I'm pretty well settled, and not just in the circumstantial sense (house, car job). I feel like I live here and, as I've mentioned before, leaving here makes me feel like I'm leaving "home", albeit not in quite the same way as leaving England did and does. I feel settled, and very fortunate to be in that state of mind this early in the game.

Of course, my Englishness is still probably my most prominent feature when people first meet me, and this was never more obvious than today when, in Harris Teeter (like Tesco, but nowhere near as good in terms of range or price), I went to get a sandwich from the deli'. I asked for butter on my bread, rather than mayonnaise or mustard (the two things I was offered), and was met with a totally perplexed (although still friendly) look from the lady serving me. At first I thought it was because of the abomination of not selecting mayo - something that Ben finds hard to understand, too. It seems it's quite normal to use mayo in sandwiches in NC in the same way we use butter back home: to moisten the bread a little. However, I see butter as a bland spread (if it's the unsalted, lower fat variety) so it is a simply functional addition rather than really adding any flavour, whereas mayonnaise definitely has that vinegar tang to it, which changes the taste of the sandwich. Plus you can get egg or chicken mayo sandwich fillings, so then do you double up your mayonnaise, or simply put the filling between the bread and chow down?

But I digress. The lady at the counter was not balking at my choice of bread lubricant, but puzzled because she did not know what I had asked for. Because I cannot - and will not, because I sound ridiculous and a little bit like I'm taking the mickey - say "budder", many Americans don't know what I am asking for. The annunciation of the "t" has a habit of throwing people here, and the following conversation is not uncommon:

Me: Could I have it with butter, please.
Lady: With what, ma'am?
Me: Butter, please?
Lady: What?
Me: Butter. You know, like margarine, but not margarine? The good stuff?
Lady: Oh! Budder!

The same thing happens with "wadder", another word for which it seems impossible for me to soften or fake my accent. It's happened in restaurants more times than I can remember.

But we get there in the end. Once the lady knew I wanted butter, we laughed about whole thing. She then went in search of some, and quickly returned with it. In a bottle.

I've still got a way to go.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

For more years, please...

It's been quite a week!  We spent last weekend out with our beloved Cassie for her birthday (and I sadly lost a much-loved scarf from home during the night); we cooked pork belly at home for the first time (and by "we" I mean "Ben); Obama was re-elected; my Stroud scarf was found and returned to me by the lovely people at Hartigan's pub; I had a hair cut; Ben had an amazing job offer; I bought non-necessary clothes for the first time in a long time; we had a Saturday evening AND Sunday morning together consecutively; and today we saw a bird of prey just casually sat in our back garden. Let's hope this lovely trend of random and happy instances continues for as long as possible.

Without further ado, here's a collage of all the QE happenings in the last week...

Having just cleaned the house for the past 3.5 hours, I'm now exhausted, so that's all the writing I can manage! I'll attempt a proper post this week. Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Four More Years

BBC online coverage announcement at 23:25 EST

The Empire State Building is lit blue to signify a Democrat win

Obama 2012

Thank goodness.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Sunday, 4 November 2012

You may be certain...

Llama 2012

Right now, I cannot wait for the election to be over. Sure, I'm looking forward to the night itself: it'll be my first US election from this side of the pond, and I am eagerly anticipating watching the results come in, discussing it with Ben and our friends and family as the process goes on. It'll also be interesting to compare it to the way it's done in Britain.

Binders Full of Women
I have not enjoyed the vitriol that comes with the Presidential election. People are sensationalist; the bipartisan arguments go too far into irrelevant topics, and too often discussion deteriorates into name-calling and slander. While I am quite convinced that I fall to the extreme of one side in my views (I'm a Democrat because I feel that they are the only party treating people like human beings, when it comes down to it), that does not mean that a) the other party/independent candidates have nothing of value to contribute and b) that I somehow have the right to be rude about the other candidates on a personal level. I am able to say that Mitt Romney seems an inconsistent, disingenuous, and callous politician, but it doesn't follow that I have to express hatred towards the man himself. He may make a terrible President because of those things, but it doesn't mean that who he is as a person is inherently bad.

Painted on a wall in NoDa, Charlotte, NC
Photo taken November 3rd 2012.
It's true that both Ben and I would be very concerned if Romney were to be elected. Not just because of the attributes listed above, but because of what it potentially means about what America values as a population, about what sort of behaviour and prejudices are apparently okay in the name of wealth, individualism, and control. Although people may elect Romney because of the slow progress made with the economy under the Obama administration and a belief that the Republican policies will improve the situation faster, to choose (potential and not clearly outlined) plans for increased affluence when simultaneously accompanied by such bigotry seems incredible to me. You may end up with more money, but women, homosexual people, poorer citizens, and anyone who can't afford $600 or so a month on health insurance will all be taking a huge step backwards. I know that I am speaking from a position of comfort, but I would not take any amount of money, tangible or promised, if it had those conditions attached. I'm not sure I want to live in a country where the majority of people voted that they would.

Overall, though, I'm fed up with the whole thing. I can't stand the bickering; the petty sniping from both sides; the demonstrable lack of awareness of the rest of the world highlighted by media coverage. I can't even vote to make myself feel better! So my go-to trick for dealing with sudden onset election negativity is to watch the Romney vs. Obama Epic Rap Battle video, which I think actually sums up the whole thing rather well, and makes me laugh a bit too much.

That pretty much concludes any Queen's English USA Presidential election coverage until after the 6th. I will probably tweet a little throughout the evening itself, as the states' responses come in, but until then, please enjoy two Presidential candidates getting verbally and physically bitch-slapped for disintegrating the 2012 electoral campaigns into variations of the same turd.