Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hoos Here?

I'm here, even if no one else is. I'm an expat Virginian, who - for her numerous sins - is condemned to ride out eternity in the UK, having married a Brit at the beginning of the Reagan era in the US. Ex-teacher and political junkie from the Left, am I, and I'm following the sad tradition of Virginia women for embroiling themselves romantically with British men. I even live in Kent, where - thirty-odd miles up the road from me, my ancestor Pocahontas (the first American wife) lies in the ground of the appropriately-named Gravesend. She died here. Thirty miles northwestish and you find the castle once owned by Nancy Astor, a Virginian who became the first woman elected to the British Parliament - no other Brit woman had either guts or gumption. She's buried in Britain too, and I had the privalege of breaking the glass ceiling at the formerly all-male university found in Nancy's hometown of Charlottesville. Well, here's one Virginia girl who's not going to end her days pushing up daisies in the Motherland.

I've suffered perpetual homesickness for over 20 years. I've also suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune of being an American abroad in the Bush era. Before I married and came to the UK, I was an Anglophile. Nothing to tarnish the image of a nation admired like living amongst the natives. There are loads of myths abounding in the US about Britain. Like: The British are unfailingly polite. (They're not ... They're bloody rude. Ruder than New Yorkers, in fact). They're cultured. (They have some of the lowest educational standards in Western Europe. Face it. We have rednecks; they have chavs). Chav is an anonym for Council House and Violent. Chavs make rednecks look intelligent. At least, a redneck is violent and brutal after provocation; with chavs, that's a way of life. And the women are the worst.

And then we have the prevailing assumption that Americans, as a whole, are stupid. This isn't an idea that originated within the last 8 years of the Bush dictatorship. It's something that's been rammed down my cultural throat for over 20 years. Americans are stupid. They're bimbos. They don't know the geography of their own country, much less the rest of the world. Look at'em .. the majority don't have passports. This is true; the majority don't. But the Americans who do and who do manage to travel abroad, aren't often arrested for getting blind drunk enough to piss and puke in public and then to start fights of varying degrees of violence. And, again, that's just the British women.

I've worked as a linguist here in the UK, for diverse companies, since arriving. I speak 3 other languages, in addition to English - Spanish, French and Italian. My job has been to communicate with countries speaking those three languages, for lazy (but otherwise educated) Brits who simply can't be assed. I wish I had a dollar bill for everytime somebody has asked where I was from and then marvelled at the fact that I was articulate in four languages, much less that I was intelligent. I've even been told I wasn't like the 'typical' American. Well, what IS the typical American to these bozos? They meant, really, I'd been here for so long that I was becoming like them. Perish the thought! But it speaks volumes that the view of the majority of people here, from the BBC pundits on down (more about them in a future blog) to the lowest chavs, think that Americans are of sub-standard intelligence.

Well, that's as such my means of a pretty dire introduction. I'm fairly homesick tonight so I'm in a pretty downsided mood. Hope someone pops in out of curiosity to read these ramblings.

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