Expat Learnings

Things I’ve learned as an American expat in the UKoGBaNI #5

Sheltered Americans

Some Americans are sheltered.

That’s right, I said it. The US of A is a really big country and you know what, regardless of where you travel within the country, you will still be ‘Merica. You will speak American English. You will not need a language translation app on your phone. You will see the same chain restaurants and those restaurants will have menus printed in English and you will be easily able to order your taco platter with sour cream on the side or your hamburger without mayonnaise. You will be able to read road signs and drive on the same side of the road as you normally do. You won’t have to go through immigration when you arrive at your destination or when you arrive back home. Your cell phone will work wherever you are without first calling your provider and prepaying for a data plan for use during your vacation.

Yes, there are distinct regions of ‘Merica with their own flair but this, in no way, compares or equates to traveling to a different country (by the way, for all intents and purposes, Canada doesn’t qualify as a different country). Prior to moving to England, I had traveled throughout the U.S. and it took about a nanosecond of living on UK soil for me to realize exactly how sheltered I was and I still am to a very large extent.

Pete and I often find ourselves unintentionally in the company of other Americans when traveling and sometimes those run-ins make me want to crawl into a hole and hide until the Americans pass by.

Dear fellow Americans, when traveling to another country, you do not need to ask restaurant servers and the baristas at Starbucks if they speak English because they will speak English. You also don’t need to wear your passport in one of those wrap-around passport holder thingies underneath 17 layers of clothing because your passport will be safely stored in the safe in your hotel room. And, whatever you do, do not ask for ice in your Coke and if you do and if they don’t bring you enough ice, do not ask for more. And above all, try not to talk so damn loud!

For the next learning in my Expat Learnings mini series, go here. Alternatively, go here to read this mini-series from the beginning.

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