Our Global Differences series presents real voices of people from across the globe telling us about their own countries, and the differences between these and the UK.
In this month's post on global differences, we hear from Thomas Post, an Engineer from the USA.
Name: Thomas Post
Job / Profession: Engineer
Home country and town: Buffalo, NY, USA
Native language: English
How long have you been in the UK?
I moved to the UK in 2000. I've been here since then, less a couple years in West Australia.
What was your first impression of the UK? My mum is from England and we used to regularly visit from when I was a baby. So I don't really have a 'first' impression. But when I first moved to the UK, it initially just felt like another summer holiday to Grannie's. Until school started, anyway.
What did you find was the biggest difference between here and your home country? The biggest differences for me started when I started school. I'd been lucky enough to go to a very good public school when I was in the USA. I had a small group of decent friends, did well in school, and had a fair few hobbies/extra curriculars.
In the UK, I ended up in what was the second worst school in the country at that time. So I went from being a quiet nerdy kid but fairly enriched, to being a quiet nerdy kid but suddenly being the centre of attention, much of it negative, but with no real friends and no access to any extra curricular stuff or hobbies. Unless of course I wanted to play football and/or drink in the park - I didn't.
What is the biggest misconception people in the UK have of your country? People don't seem to realise how big the USA is. When I get asked where I'm from, people will rarely know "Buffalo", but "New York" will get their attention. After the inevitable follow up question I'd then have to explain that New York is a state and a City, and Buffalo is an 8 hour drive away. New York State is larger than mainland Britain.
What’s the one place you’d say we have to visit in your country? It's such a huge country it's impossible to narrow it down.
The USA has somewhere for everyone, no matter what interests you. I've enjoyed everywhere I've visited in the USA.
If I had to choose one place, rather than being annoyingly vague, I'd say that Denver/Boulder, Colorado areas are beautiful. Acknowledging that every place has issues that need addressing, this area has access to a huge variety of beautiul outdoor environments. If you like to be outdoors at all, you'll love it there. Boulder is infamous for being populated almost entirely of elite athletes. Everyone is beautiful and shredded, drinking the latest in fad teas, and largely welcoming of tourists. Any time of year it's just a huge outdoor playground with access to all the latest in hipster needs.
What’s the one dish or meal you’d really recommend? Where I'm from specifically, Buffalo, is the home of "Buffalo Wings". There is a huge difference between bad, ok, good, and excellent hot wings. The sauce is based off Frank's hot sauce, a cayenne and vinegar based sauce. "Buffalo" sauce is 1:1 mix of Frank's and melted butter. That's it. No such thing as too much sauce. Serve with blue cheese dressing, celery sticks, and your preferred beverage.
What’s your favourite word in your own language? What does it mean in English? English is, unfortunately, my one and only language. I've learned a bit of French, Japanese, Italian and Spanish at different points, but never much more than conversational. Some of my favourite things about the English language, are the historical linguistic nerd rants and 'memes' about the absolute state that the English language is. One, drastically inferior to the original path that led there, states that, "English isn't a language, it's three languages stacked on top of each other wearing a trenchoat." English's Latin, Germanic, Saxon/French roots (along with a spattering of other adoptions along the way) explain much of the idiosyncracies of the language, but don't make it any easier to learn for people learning it after learning a first (sane) language! And as an extra little English language 'fun' fact, the longest sentence that can be said in one word is, "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo." ENGLISH!
PS. I am a firm advocate of the Oxford comma
Is there anything you want to ask Thomas about the USA?
Leave us a comment and we'll get back to them.
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