34 responses to being British you’ll never stop hearing as an expat

There are some responses to being British that will never cease. Despite being on this earth for many decades, for some other people, your novelty has just begun. Imagine walking into Walmart and seeing E.T. just wandering around buying cheap bananas – you’d be floored! But to E.T., he’s just being E.T., and there’s nothing unusual about that. I like to imagine that’s how it happens when people find out where I’m from. Suddenly I’m all new and sparkly.

I’ll preface this list by saying, Americans will find this offensive and snobbish. The fact is, we don’t know any other way to be. I happen to actually love talking about my birth country and heritage, and I am fascinated by the differences between my two worlds. The issue here is that owing to by Brit-ness, all these rebuttals to the responses to being British are said with an undertone of annoyance, and I can’t change that. I will admit that some of these are said to me on a near daily basis, and yes, there might be just a little bit of bitterness there.

Overheard responses to being British

  • “Where are you from?” – Classic. I sound different. I am now flagged for conversation.
  • “Let me guess…” – It’s a fun game to each new person I meet.
  • “I’m going to say…. Sussex?” – This is one for the real anglophiles – they pick a random county just to show they know the names of random counties.
  • “Are you from Lonnn-donnn?” – They really ham up the “Lonnnnn” and “Donnnn” for maximum thrill.
  • “I noticed you had an accent.” – You want a medal? You get a participation award at best.
  • “What brings you here?” – Sometimes I stick to the story. Sometimes it’s bears.
  • “What do you think about Knoxville?” – Cue comments about the weather.
  • “I’ve always wanted to go to England.” – Then do it, right now. Go.
  • “Do you watch Dalton Abbey?” – No, darling, I live it.
  • “What do you think about the Royal Family?” – Nice try, secret service. I’m not confessing that easily.
  • “How long have you been here?” – It feels like much longer, after talking to you.
  • “What do you think about American food?!” – I don’t have the heart to tell them that burgers exist in England.
  • “Do you go home much?” – Yep, actually, every evening. Try and work that one out!
  • “What do your parents think about you moving away?” – Ok, that’s fair, I’m a horrible child.
  • “Say bottle!” – How cute, you’ve seen Love Actually. Tip: Don’t do it, it just enables them.
  • “Do you think we sound funny?” – Yes, especially when you say Lonnnnnndonnnnnn.
  • “Can you do an American accent?” – Yep, momma’s sure got a purddyyy mouth.
  • “Have you heard of Chesterstownshirebridge Upon Hampton Thamesborough?” Or some variation of a terrible made up town, because….
  • “My mom’s sister’s old babysitter used to date a guy from there.” – Oh, Steve right? Yeah he’s alright.
  • “Why Knoxville, of all places?!” – Alright, I thought I was the one to be accidentally bashing our beloved place of residence.
  • “Who do you support?” – This means football, but out of context it can be answered in many fun ways.
  • “Why not [insert the other Premiership team they know]?” – Because they kill kittens. It’s a widely known fact in England.
  • “Did you watch the Euros/World Cup?” – This will normally be followed with clarification that it’s really called football and not soccer.
  • “Have you watched American Football?” – Or as I like to call it, “rugby chess”.
  • “I love British TV” – This is one of the responses to being British that I can’t knock – we know how to make compellingly shit TV.
  • “You sound like….” – Someone not British, and not at all someone who I actually sound like, normally.
  • “You used to own us” – and other historical references, some of which I have to pretend to understand. Seriously, Americans have an amazing comprehension of our history. Knew I should’ve paid more attention in class.
  • “What do you call this?” – Why does everyone carry coriander and courgettes on them all the time?
  • “Keep talking/I could listen to you talking all day” – Ohhh you clearly don’t know me. Give it a month…
  • “Have you tried Southern food?” – Yes, and it was the most culturally shocking day of my life, no lie. Catfish tho….
  • “Do you find it tough to drive on the right here?” – I find it tough to drive anywhere here. Thank god for Waze.
  • “What do you think of Obama?” – I’m always scared to answer because I don’t have the political savvy to continue with literally any of the conversations they’re hoping to have with this one.
  • “Do things seem much cheaper here?” – Yes, and it’s refreshing. I don’t know what the cost of things are now, but back in 2011, I spent 8 quid on a single glass of wine at a basic, no frills pub in Weybridge. Eugh.
  • “Are you gonna move back?” – Normally this is after a 10 min conversation with me, so it’s fair.

Full disclaimer; I love Americans, and I love Knoxville. I also like the attention given to me because of my special snowflake heritage, for it is that heritage that allows me to be this bitter about things I like.

Overall though, these responses to being British are not too bad. The only time I really get mad is when I’m trying to do something like purchase my groceries, and the person won’t actually do their job because they’re too busy asking me questions about my accent. Other than that, I’ll continue to smile sweetly and answer politely, while my friends look on in amusement.

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