What’s it like in England?

“Do they have skateboards in England?”

This is the first question I remember ever being asked by anyone in my motherland, California, about what was to later be my home, England.

It was asked at my alma mater’s football game (above: photo of the sidelines) by an unintentionally hilarious, curious and typical teenaged skater boy who was in the high school marching band with me before I graduated. Bless his little cotton socks.  I have long since forgotten his name or even what instrument he played, but that frankly daft (silly) question has long stayed with me, even now, more than 14 years after it was uttered to the sounds of sputters of laughter.

Truth is, after living here for more than 10 years, I often forget about the cultural differences because, well, I’ve been here for a decade. I mean, my dumb phone screen didn’t wasn’t even in color then!

That 18 year old girl who was asked that question has since fallen madly in love with a Brit with stereotypical dry, sarcastic wit, studied abroad in France and lived with the Brit, travelled Route 66, graduated uni/college, moved permanently to England, dealt with bureaucracy involved with moving country and continent, survived teacher training and found a job, became a victim of the Home Office’s whims and was nearly deported, got married, gave birth to a son, quit her long-term job, left her safe career and is now grappling with an unknown future.

However, every once in a while, these cultural differences I have encountered in my 10 years here come to the surface, often when explaining situations to friends and family back home or when they come to visit, or sometimes just out of the blue.

What questions have you been asked that have highlighted cultural differences in your community?  Let me know in the comments!

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