Out of the 10,000 or so acts at The Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, of course we came across a fellow expat doing a standup show on Saturday night. Alexis Wieroniey (who jokes that her dad explained how to pronounce their last name as “Wire on knee”) ended up moving to London from America and loved it so much she recently got citizenship. Her hour-long standup act focused on the differences of living in the two countries. I haven’t even lived here for two months, but I related to a few of her points:
- The difference between an American and a Brit receiving a compliment:
- “I like your dress.” American: “Thank you!”
- “I like your glasses.” Brit: “They’re made of poop.” (Needless to say, Brits don’t take compliments very well…)
- “Sorry!” is one of the most over-used words here. Alexis joked about about falling down in the subway and ended up apologizing to a woman near here. “I’m sorry for falling in front of you. I’m sorry for having to make you look at me. I’m sorry for existing!”
- If British people know you’re not from the UK, they always ask you how you like it here, whether or not you’ve lived here nine years and are now a citizen like Alexis. And I just thought we were getting special treatment for being newbies…
It was fun to hear someone else’s perspective on the different cultures, and I couldn’t believe how many other expats were in the audience. I guess it goes to show you, you’re never the only outsider even when you’re 3,400 miles away.
Have you ever lived in another country? What was the funniest thing about the culture differences?