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“Keep well clear of that boo-ee up ahead”. At least that’s what it sounded as if the river pilot was saying. This was my first visit to American shores back in the spring of 1980, and I was on the bridge of an aircraft carrier in what turned out to be a very short lived career in the British Navy. We were being instructed to watch out for the buoy that we were rapidly bearing down upon, but of course being British – I had always pronounced this maritime object “boy”, and so was somewhat taken aback at this rather strange way of saying it. In fact I confess that I secretly found it hysterically funny, and spent the next five minutes trying very hard not to laugh. Unfortunately this wouldn’t have been a quiet snigger in the corner, but as was my usual practise¬† – would have involved a great deal of loud snorting that would have been difficult to hide.

Having been married now to an American for 12 years, and living here in The States for two and a half, I have become used to the fact that we are as George Bernard Shaw once famously said – two countries separated by the same language. There are things that people on both sides of the Atlantic do that drive me crazy, and many that make me laugh out loud, and its is some of these that I hope to share with you here. As Trans-Atlantic cousins, Brits and Americans are I’m sure often blissfully unaware of some of the ways that the other goes about their every day life. A rich tapestry of history and culture has moulded us in very different ways, and I often say to friends that I would have expected these differences had I chosen to marry into a family from Japan – but not from those who supposedly speak English too.

There is much we share in common, but it is the differences that have always fascinated me. Sometimes the reasons for those differences can clearly been seen in the way our two countires have evolved – but often there is no apparent ryhme or reason for them. If I tend to focus upon those things that seem absurd or laughable – it is done from the stance of someone who has a deep and abiding love for both places and their people.

I love living here in this oasis in the desert – and really like the people who have made me so welcome….

Whenever¬†I write anything in a personal capacity that isn’t official, I always choose to spell the English way. I hope my American family, friends and readers will bear with me on this …..

As the citizens of a third country of which I am also rather fond would no doubt say – vive la difference !

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