How One American Became an Anglophile

I haven’t always been the tea-drinking, Boden-shopping, Bond-watching Anglophile that you see before you. In fact, my first 19 years were spent in relative ignorance of British culture and customs.

My knowledge didn’t extend beyond Princess Diana’s latest designer dress and what I could gather from “Are You Being Served” reruns on PBS.

the cast of are you being served

The cast of Are You Being Served

But everything changed my junior year of college when I took part in a study abroad program in the U.K.

It was a sheer whim. An opportunity to try life in a different English-speaking country for a year. Why not? I closed my eyes and made the leap across the Atlantic. And that, as they say, has made all the difference.

It wasn’t love at first sight. I had quite a heavy case of culture shock the first month or so. Bad meals at touristy TGIF-style restaurant rip-offs. Cold weather (well, at least by California standards). Accents I couldn’t code-break. Colorful money that took me far too long to count. I was a stranger in a strange land, alienated by the unrefrigerated eggs and the five channels on the telly.

unrefrideratedeggs

Eggs on shelf of UK supermarket

These were first world problems of the highest order. I spent weekends at the cinema, watching anything American for a little piece of home. “Clueless” was a godsend.

But slowly, things changed and took shape. I met people, made new friends and the longer I stayed, the more it felt like home. I discovered the beauty of a good pint in a cozy pub. Played conkers. Learned to say “post” instead of “mail,” and write “colour” instead of “color.” I found delight in adding milk to Assam tea. I met my husband.

The rest is history.

It has been 17 years since I first set foot in Britain. We’re living in California now but we still visit often and we bring our children back to that special place across the sea that brought us together.

Trish Marsom is an American Anglophile who spent over five years in the United Kingdom before moving back to California where she now lives with British husband and their two children. Her blog is her quasi-love letter to the country of milk floats, Cerne Abbas and Knickerbocker glory. Visit her blog Britrish.com.
 
 

Comments

  1. says

    Trish- your post took me back to a happy place. I spent a junior semester in England as well. And though I lived in a house full of Americans, I enjoyed the day to day tasks and experiences…riding the Tube, milk delivered in glass bottles to our door, going to the neighborhood laundrette, getting my photos developed at the chemists, a pint of cider at the Old Rising Sun…. Good times!

  2. says

    I will be visiting Trish’s blog!
    Funny, I never thought about warm eggs. Do supermarkets still sell them that way? I’ll have to look, when I next visit. As for conkers and cozy pubs… yes, I can see the charms of those.

  3. says

    I studied in England for a summer while I was in university, too. I don’t remember unrefrigerated eggs or milk being delivered in glass bottles, although I lived in a dormitory/classroom building for the study center I was part of, and there was a Sainsbury’s right round the corner. I remember the first time I did my grocery shopping there and realized I had to bag my own groceries (luckily I saw others doing it when I was in line so I didn’t have a scene when it was my turn)! I remember finding several English foods that I really liked, and being disappointed at not being able to find them in the U.S. I remember having sandwiches and lemonades (never drank much beer or cider, though) at the local pub while reading for a class, and remarking how different English pubs are from American bars, even ones that claim to be “real” English pubs. I remember how rainy it was, even in the summertime (I live in California where it’s very dry all summer), but how tea shops were so conveniently placed that you could duck into one easily whenever it started to rain. I’ve never been able to go back for a visit, but it’s on my wish list!

  4. Monica says

    It’s been 28 yrs ago that I last visited the UK, everything I experienced there, from food, people, countryside has stayed tucked inside my heart. I still drink tea, make my own scones with clotted cream & jam. Watch BBC/PBS here in Las Vegas, I believe I should live there, for just one year. To wonder around the countryside, stop in at the Pubs & visit stately homes/castles. The B&B’s there are so welcome homey. I think I should have been born there, I love it so much!

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