12 April 2014

Even my cat drinks out of a Pint Glass: Musings of an Expat.

Who am I? I'm definitely an expat, but am I a Kiwi or am I a Londoner? Am I a Scorpio (sun sign) or an Aquarian (moon sign)?
When you've lived away from home for the long time, it's funny the thoughts that float into your head on accidentally long train journeys. Can your heart and your head have different homes too? As an expat this is a question that comes up a lot - "Where do you call home?" Is it where your clothes and bed are, or is it where you grew up?
A Kiwi...
I still prefer flat whites and iced coffee over tea.
I don't think I'll ever fancy baked beans for breakfast.
And Lunch. And Dinner. And with KFC.
Pumpkin and sweet potato are staples of my kitchen.
I will never understand the lack of English street signs. How did the Brits navigate without Google Maps or a husband on speed dial?
A Cup is a standard, amazing measure of 250mls.
I will always support the All Blacks, wear my silver fern with pride and be outraged when Brits support France against us (Rugby World Cup 2007. I swear I'm not holding a grudge. And I don't care that they were being 'strategic'.)
How far is a mile again?
Brunch is hands down my favourite meal.
Mr Kiwi calls me a tootu, a fidgeter.
The walls of my home have images of Whakatane,
I still refuse to watch the weather forecast. I find the 'look out the window' technique to be far more accurate.
Whenever I get lost, I will always pull the 'don't follow the foreigner' card...
To hear Pokarekare ana sung moves me to tears but hearing Jerusalem doesn't. 

...in London
Accidentally, my accent has become English with very little trace of Kiwi.
I automatically stand on the right of tube escalators, but walk up stairs on the left.
I say fivver, 'hiya' and quid.
Curry is our favourite takeaway.
I say Chissick instead of Chiswick, and Lester Square instead of Lei-Ches-ter Square.
I vinegar my chips, brown sauce my sausages, and love a sarnie (sandwich).
Water and milk are calculated automatically in pint measurements.
Live football is great (bar the diving).
I'll support England when the Kiwis aren't playing, and to hear Swing Low Sweet Chariot echoing around Twickenham is one of the most wonderful feelings.
Using English money has become second nature.
Afternoon tea has become my second favourite kind of meal.
Weather is a hot (or cold and rainy) topic of conversation.
I now call pants, trousers.
Catching a train to the supermarket is totally normal.

Does it really matter where we call home? I guess I'll just have to stick with a London Kiwi, combining all my favourite qualities of both countries with a large dose of humour. Let's face it, you have to adapt and adopt - even my cat drinks out of a pint glass. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

However, I still don't think I'll ever understand the off-side rule, or call Lollies, Sweets...
What's your funniest change in attitude?

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  1. I'm still trying to get used to this awkward 'trousers' word. I feel 80 years old when I use it. :)

    Did you ever see the movie 'Joe Dirt' with David Spade? Probably not, you're too cultured for that. ;) But anyway...he says, 'Home is where you make it'. And I think that's totally true. If you want home to be NZ and London, well, it's your right to have two homes! I've got at least 3, I think. :)

  2. Love it! As a Brit that spent months in NZ it's funny to see it from the other side :) I still say (20 years after visiting) truck over lorry, and overseas rather than abroad :D
    Jerusalem has never done a thing for me, and it cracks me up every single time to hear anyone other than a born & bred Brit say Quid!
    Janie x

  3. Really interesting and funny post! I find myself pondering 'home' a lot, I don't have a home in England (where I grew up) anymore, but don't feel at home in France (where I live now) either. I feel quite lost to be honest. I haven't, as yet, taken on any French habits I don't think though, I'm very much a Brit abroad!

  4. Ahhh home!! Now that I am back in Australia, I feel at home, but find I am missing my London home as well!

  5. It is all very tricky. I sometimes think that the things that make us stand out at an outsider are not that important since we are not the outsider they are if you see what I mean.

  6. Great post, Emma! It's been seven years for me over here in the UK & I'm still pretty Aussie, except I have lost my accent a bit & have grown rather fond of public transport.

  7. Brilliant post - it's difficult, although I grew up in the UK, I've never felt really attached to it, especially when I go abroad I think that I could just hop around forever and call wherever home.

    Having said that, I can't believe nowhere else in the world uses vinegar on their chips!

    Hmm maybe...

  8. What a great post! So much I can relate to - might have to do my own version at some point. The pronounciation of places still bugs me! I say it right but each time I think "why have the letters there if you are going to say it differently?"

  9. I still say "Tottenham" as "Tot ten-HAM" because it makes Sam and I both laugh. And brunch is the best of meals. x

  10. My biggest change is maybe getting so used to public transport, and actually preferring it over driving places sometimes! I never thought I'd be that person, but it's so so handy. Also, I will never accept the word rubbish for trash or garbage, I hate it.


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