It's been four years since I first arrived in England and a lot has changed in that time. I've been married, bought a house and started a successful career. All of this while learning about the habits and the customs of the English.
The culture shock has subsided and with each passing year I find the amount of words getting lost in translation dwindling. Instead of 'eggplant' I now say 'aubergine' and u's are creeping into the spelling of words such as 'colour' and 'neighbour'. Even my accent is becoming slightly muddled.
On my commute into work this morning I found myself wondering if perhaps I am turning English. There have been two recent signs that have led me to this theory.
Whilst driving past a pub with my colleagues a few weeks ago I stated, "what lovely hanging baskets." My fellow passengers turned to me in surprise because I, for one, had never expressed an interest in gardening. And for another thing, the statement was such a quintessentially English phrase that I'm sure it sounded quite bizarre to be coming from me.
I don't envisage becoming an avid gardener any time soon, but obviously the English's love of gardening is starting to rub off on me.
|Hanging baskets at The Windmill. Taken by Leonora Enking under a creative commons licence.|
A week or so ago, one of our neighbours decided to put their rubbish bag over our garden wall, which we promptly returned to the street in front of their house. A day or so later, we found the rubbish bag back and once again promptly returned it. This carried on for several days and by Monday last, my husband and I were quite sick of it.
In a strop, I marched into the pouring rain and placed the two rubbish bags right behind the neighbours' car in a passive aggressive attempt at leaving a clear message. In the morning, the bags were back.
My husband wrote a note, asking them to please stop putting their rubbish into our garden and passed it through the letter box. That evening the rubbish was gone and the neighbour came over to speak to me. It transpires that the rubbish wasn't theirs either. It had magically appeared on the path in front of their house and they believed it to be ours. We had both been playing a game of pass the parcel with someone else's rubbish.
They agreed to stop putting the rubbish into our garden and we agreed not to put the rubbish behind their car. The quintessentially English custom of bickering with the neighbours has come to an end. Now, I can focus on the other quintessentially English custom of peering out the window in an effort to discover who put the rubbish out in the first place.
|The front garden, the scene of the crime!|
In conclusion, I could never be fully English but I suppose it's only natural after spending so much time in England to pick up some of the habits and customs of the English.
Q: Do you find yourself picking up habits of your host country?