5 Things Brits Living in America Find Bizarre

Whether in Asia or Africa, it is expected that there will be differences in the culture and way of life to that of your own, due to the distance and language barriers, and admittance that you may not know a whole lot about that certain place without our dear friend Google. The UK and USA hold a lot of similarities, but we have learned that although we in the UK, may speak the same language (most of the time) as our American friends over on the other side of the North Atlantic Ocean, that doesn’t mean there aren’t crazy contrasts from our way of life back home that we never could have anticipated.

1. The Food

The mere size of the food is insane. On week 1, it’s amazing. Buffets everywhere you turn. Hell yeah we want 8 grilled cheeses for dinner! Of course we want a litre of Sprite with every meal! You bet we need a cookie, brownie and an ice cream! But come week 3 it’s getting a little overwhelming. The American way of offering every unhealthy food choice under the sun is making our skin scream for mercy and the button of our jeans desperately try to maintain our dignity.  Not to mention drinks; they’re huge, too. The bottles of coke look like they’ve been inflated compared to ours, and there’s soda machines everywhere. It’s bizarre, honestly bizarre.


2. Texting

Now in the UK, we’re all about the ‘x’. For those who do not know it’s not an ‘ex’, it’s a ‘kiss’. You politely pop one at the end of a message to a girl whose notes you’re asking to borrow, or plant a few on the end of a text to your mum, or break the button on a note to your boyfriend. We also love to use it sarcastically, to represent that “jokier” side that sometimes letters on a screen don’t quite communicate. If we put a kiss, we expect a kiss back. Messages without a kiss seem blunt, and leave us wondering what we did wrong. Apparently the ‘x’ does not translate into American.  They do the occasional ‘xoxo’ hugs and kisses, or nothing at all. Nothing. Nada. Honestly, I can’t.


3. Driving

Obviously driving on the other side of the road is WEIRD in of itself but the actual road is SO wide and SO straight. We aren’t used to such a luxury back in England, where the straightest bit of road lasts about 4 seconds and you’re so close to the other cars you could high five them through the window. Also, there are zero pavements, sorry, ‘sidewalks’ to be seen. Don’t Americans walk anywhere? The cars themselves are bloody massive. We’re used to the confined space of a Fiat 500 and then we hop in the back of one of our American friend’s cars and it’s bigger than our nans house. Same with the parking spaces. Massive. So big in fact that we actually might be able to park inside the lines on the first attempt. Unlikely, but we could try.


4. Toilets

Now we’re all for an automatic flush, but we much prefer the ones where you waft your hand in front of the sensor, as opposed to the American ones that start flushing the second your arse leaves the seat. Unlike us, the Americans seem to be used to this and don’t let out a yelp of surprise/fear everytime this happens. They seem serenely immune and unbothered. But we are bothered, and guess what else bothers us? The unnecessarily small doors and gaps in the walls. Why? WHY? We Brits don’t want to see each other on the toilet! Do Americans want to see each other on the toilet? Why is this a thing? ANSWER US!


5. Money

We just cannot work it out. Firstly, the pennies are pretty much the same as ours, same bronzy color and size. Distinguishing between the two is critical as combination of currencies in your purse is a horrendous chore for you and the shopkeeper to sort out as you try and buy your second blueberry muffin before class starts. Secondly, the ‘dime’  is worth 10 cents, but looks identical to the English 5p. Their 5 cents is a larger silver coin. Why! Why would their 5 cents be bigger than their 10 cents? Because they’re American that’s why, and they do whatever they like. We Brits do however, enjoy ‘quarters’. They make fantastic sense, much more sense than a 20p coin from back home. And it does make us feel very rich indeed when we have a fat stash of notes, even if they are just $1 bills.



Although we’ll never quite understand how fries are chips but chips are crisps, America has a very warm and friendly atmosphere, and we’ve never been met with such welcoming arms. We feel settled here, in our home away from home. The USA is the kooky Aunt in the family, similar to us but with slight and unpredictable differences that over time we’ll adapt to, and learn to love and admire (except the toilet gaps, they will always be weird).