Monday, July 27, 2015

I've Heard it Both Ways

One of the things we were counseled to remember when we were preparing to move to England was to be aware of how different the country was from America even though we share a common language...or do we?

If you've read the Harry Potter books or watched any amount of BBC television in your life, you're aware of differences in American and British English.  You might know, for instance, that the trunk of the car is called the boot and a bathroom might be referred to as the loo.  The differences in language and usage (not to mention spelling!) are broader than you might think and can often cause some confusion.  After almost nine months of living in England here's a little of what we've learned. 

One of the first things we learned was that lemonade more often refers to a lemon-lime fizzy drink like Sprite or 7-Up.  Also, the phrase "fizzy drink" isn't one you hear much in the States.  They don't watch movies but do watch films, and they wouldn't see them in the movie theater but the cinema instead.  Pants are underwear, and what you mean to say is trousers.  You don't wear sweaters with them, but when it's cold you will put on a jumperTylenol is Calpol, and you better get quick at converting Fahrenheit to Celsius, though sometimes I hear people call it Centigrade.

When you want to save some energy you take the lift, not the elevator, and if you gain any weight doing that you might measure it in stones instead of pounds.  People in Yorkshire don't usually have dinner or supper, but you might be invited for tea.  If you're having Fish n' Chips, of course you know you're eating fries, and instead of take-out, you might get take-away.  You take holidays instead of vacations, and instead of going-away parties, you have a leaving party.  And for some reason the lunch served at school is called a school dinner.

Around here you don't have lots of things but loadsRain boots are always wellies, and you usually walk up a path instead of hike up a trail.  If you get hurt you'll need a plaster so don't ask for a Band-Aid.

Instead of being sick, you usually feel poorly because being sick means you threw up.  Instead of having a fever you have a temperature, and you don't pass gas, but you might be windy.  If you are feeling poorly you might spend the day in your dressing gown instead of your robe.

When you feel better and need to do the shopping you go to the supermarket instead of the grocery store, and you'll buy crisps and biscuits instead of chips and cookies.  The biscuits will be for your pudding, not your dessert.  If you take your car don't forget to use your indicators (no blinkers here!), and whatever you do don't forget your handbag with your purse in it instead of your purse with your wallet inside.

Speaking of cars, you don't put gas in at the gas station, but you fill up with petrol at the garage.  Your muffler is called a silencer.  Is this confusing yet?

Lots of people walk on the pavement to the shops, not the sidewalk to the store.  They might wear their trainers, what we call tennishoes, while their kids cycle on bikes with stabilisers, and American kids ride bikes using their training wheels.  Kids in England will beg for sweeties while their counterparts in America just want to eat candy.  Oh, and they'll call you mummy instead of mommy.

When it's time to work outside the English use strimmers in the garden, while back home we used weedeaters in the yard.  Your kids might want to have a go, by which they mean take a turn.  And each week you'll need to put your rubbish in the bin bag instead of your trash in the trash can.

Little boys wear braces instead of suspenders, and girls wear their hair in plaits, not braidsOveralls are dungarees, and you go to the sea, not the beach, and Smarties aren't sour but kind of like M&Ms.  If you don't understand someone you say, "Pardon?" instead of, "Excuse me," and probably the most important word in all of the British English language, is PLEASE.

P.S.  I'll probably remember a lot more of things we call by different names as soon as I hit publish on this post.  Maybe next time we'll talk about the exciting world of PRONUNCIATION.

P.P.S.  Courgettes are zucchiniCoriander is cilantro.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Dance Lesson

Ella has always been a dancer.  She likes to hear me tell the story of me being at a youth camp when I was pregnant with her, and as soon as the loud booming music started playing as it always does at youth camps, she started moving around like crazy inside of me. 

She's done a lot of free-style dancing in the living room with KJ, danced along with Fred Astaire and Shirley Temple movies, and she's always paid close attention to any ballet instruction Aunt Katie passed along.  I captured a sweet moment of her teaching Aunt Katie the polka step when we met them in London.

T has always loved watching Katie dance, so I knew she would love having a chance to watch Ella at a ballet lesson, and Mrs. Claire was so kind to comply.  The added bonus was me getting to sit in on a lesson and take pictures, which I hadn't done before, and I loved watching my girl dance, too.

The tap was so, so fun to watch.  I only wish I could dance.

Part of the fun of dance was having a good friend to dance with, and Ella is really going to miss Elsa when lessons start back in September.  I'm sure I will miss giggling girls belting out songs from Frozen on the drive there after school.

I love this shot of all these ballet feet.


I was sad about leaving behind Ella's wonderful gymnastics coaches back home, but I've been really happy she's had a chance to have some proper dance instruction.  She really enjoys it and has learned quickly.  Now I just need to practice my braiding skills so I can make her hair look as lovely as T did!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Latterbarrow Fell

My husband loves planning trips.  I'm glad for him to handle the logistics of our route while I make sure we have enough snacks and reading material for the journey.  KJ's only problem lately is how much he tries to fit into a day.  I mention it because I feel like he had one other item on the agenda for this day, but after our trek up the hill I for one was feeling tired and ready to drive home.  It wasn't a long walk, but it was a steep one.

This climb was one of those where you only thought the view was good when you first stopped for breath and looked behind you.  The reality was that it kept getting better with every subsequent stop.

Who doesn't love those patches of green?

That little dot is my husband at the summit.  When we reached the top we all split up and walked around, enjoying the view from all angles.

There was also lots of family portrait-taking, and KJ took the camera for a while.

On our way up we took the left leaning when the path split into two.  Unbeknownst to us we took the straight-up-the-hillside approach, while the other path was a much gentler slope.  I was very much relieved that we took that way on the walk down because the thought of James in his wellies walking straight down rocks was making me nervous!

Those hills are beautiful, aren't they?

And it really is a wonderful thing to get to share such beautiful places with people that we love.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Visit to Beatrix Potter's House

For our big day out while KJ's parents were here we drove a couple of hours to the Lake District to visit Beatrix Potter's house.  We had tossed around a few ideas about where to take them, but knowing how T loves Beatrix Potter  I thought this would be a winner.  Of course we showed them Miss Potter the night before leaving.

KJ and I visited Hill Top in October 2013, but it was so much more enjoyable visiting with kids!  I highly recommend you find a few children to take with you if you're ever in the area, or just ask for the children's guide, because you'll enjoy it so much more.

Part of the added enjoyment is because the National Trust does such a brilliant job of providing scavenger hunts for children.  When we walked in the kids were each handed a copy of The Tale of Samuel Whiskers and a list of objects to look for around the house that were found in the book.  A lot of the illustrations in that book especially feature nooks and crannies of Hill Top, and it will forever make the re-reading of the books even more fun when you can spot the places you saw in real life.

This is the front room of the house where you will still see the sideboard with Miss Potter's collection of blue and white plates.

The front door and door handle are just the same.

We walked up those stairs and stood on that very landing.  It was such a delight to visit with Ella and James.  Ella sat on a window seat in the bedroom and sketched the fireplace.  It was so sweet.  My only suggestion for improvement would be for the National Trust to put a nice watercolor or pencil set in the shop there, because I would have definitely bought it for my little artist!  Over the winter I read all of the Beatrix Potter collection with James.  They were his bedtime stories of choice for a while, so he was able to appreciate being there, too.

We spotted Mr. Macgregor's wheelbarrow.

When we visited in 2013 I actually spotted a rabbit in the grassy area in that photo.  I kept my eyes peeled this time, but with no luck.

The kids also had a map to follow around the village that pointed out a few other places that made it into Beatrix Potter's books, like the local pub, seen here in Jemima Puddleduck.

The kids are holding up their hands to show the number of the place on the map.

I think this white gate made an appearance in Tom Kitten.

KJ had a walking adventure planned for us when we left Hill Top, but that will keep for another day.