Tag Archives: living in america

Moving Abroad with Children – What Do My Children Think of Their New Home in America?

It is difficult to know what my children really think of their new life in America. They seem happy and my 8-year-old says she enjoys school. I know she misses her friends but I sometimes wonder whether she really fits in with her loud American classmates who chatter endlessly about One Direction.

We have recently allowed her to have her first laptop so now for the first time she can check email on a regular basis. In some weird late at night moment, I decided to email her some questions about life in America to share here and asked her to think of some questions for me that she could post on her blog. I’m still waiting for those but here are her thoughts.

  1. What do you like best about living in America?

The best thing is the fact that I have my own bathroom. (Yes she does spend a lot of time in it, a taste of things to come I fear).

2. Are there any things that annoy you here in America?

Adverts ie. bla bla bla very fatty pizza 🙂

3. If you could bring one thing from England to America what would it be?

My friends  (ditto).

4. What do you miss most from England?

I miss my old school.

5. If you were to go back to England, what would you miss from America?

I would miss laughing when people try to do a British accent

6. Are American children different from English children and if so how?

Children are different mainly because of the words they use i.e. perenthusees.

7. What advice would you give to someone moving here?

Be prepared for the adverts.

What I found interesting about her responses was her focus on the immediate, day-to-day aspects of life. I expected  places we had visited or new activities to feature in her answers.

I tried asking my 4-year-old the same questions. We had to spend additional time talking through the questions and she was keen to see what her sister had said before answering but she gave some interesting responses.

As expected the things she misses most are friends and her old playgroup. When asked whether children were different here she thought for a while before saying

They don’t know how to share. All the children in my old playgroup shared their things but none of the children here do.

She found it very difficult to say what she liked about America because she couldn’t think of anything she  likes to do here that she can’t also do in England – she likes learning to do cartwheels with her imaginary friend, playing nail salons with her big sister, making up shows and playing Mastermind.

Preserving British Culture #1 Adjectives

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I was reading an article from The Guardian entitled ’My 2 Alien Life Forms’ ,in which the author Emma Beddington, discusses her experience of raising children in Brussels and her realisation that they have little understanding of British language and culture.  One would assume that raising children in an English-speaking country would not be too different from home. Your kids will more than likely grow up with a different accent and some new words for things but on the whole it’s not that different is it?

Having only been here a short time I realise it is. There are many things about living in America that give my children amazing experiences but there are some things that I  hear them do or say that set my teeth on edge.

This is the first of a number of posts outlining some of the ‘British’ things I would like to preserve.

Adjectives

Mum, R is talking American again!

This usually means my 3-year-old has said the word ‘Super’.  This seems to be the most over-used word in American English. Meals are ‘super-sized’, kids get ‘super-tired’, cars are ‘super-fast’ and people get ‘super-excited’ about everything.  When I hear the local children describe things, the word ‘super’ appears time and again, as if it’s the only adjective they know.

My 3-year-old has begun to correct herself when she uses it. We talked about it at the dinner table this week.

My friends say that they swing super high on the swing

I know, but we could say something more interesting like really, high or extremely high.

Or very high, … or up to the clouds.

That’s a good one, we could use similes – do you know what a simile is? * addressing my 8-year-old.

Yes it’s when you compare something to something else, like I swung as high as the sky.

Yes that’s it so what else could we say? …..

This became a fun game and seems to have worked to help them think about what they say.

There seem to be certain words that have become such a regular part of American English that they are perfectly normal.  To an outsider like me it simply looks like a lazy use of adjectives.

Yesterday I stood in a queue at a festival whilst my kids made a toy. A mum, who had clearly had enough, came to collect her child. The child wanted to decorate her toy but her mum said,

let’s decorate it at home, there aren’t many  pens here.

Her daughter showed her the toy she had made

That’s awesome

she said her tone of voice clearly portraying how unimpressed she was.

To American kids everything is awesome or super. Everything they do is greeted with ’good job’, I’m certain these words can have little effect.  I love the way the American’s encourage their kids with constant praise, I just wish they’d use a little imagination in their use of adjectives sometimes.

It has taken moving away for me to realise how rich the British vocabulary is. If you ever hear me use the word super, feel free to throw rotten vegetables at my head.