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.
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.
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.