Stuff People Ask Me (or SPAM)
1. Would you ever pack it all up and move to the U.K.?
Sure! In a minute if I could pack that fast. I’d also like to live in Paris, Tuscany, and Savannah, Georgia. I’m game to live pretty much anywhere. But England or Scotland would be lovely. The only thing is, I wouldn’t want to live there forever. I’d only do it for a set period of time.
2. Why are you so in love with England? Don’t you like the U.S.?
Anyone who asks me this doesn’t know me too well. While I admire British culture, I am an American through and through. Heck, I majored in American studies in college, not British literature (although I will admit I only switched majors to get out of taking Chaucer with a particularly harsh professor). Few things stir me more than the sight of the American flag as I pass through customs at Logan Airport or the sound of The Star Spangled Banner before a baseball game at Fenway. Perhaps the one thing that fascinates me most about the British is how oddly similar yet profoundly different we are. I also love the English landscape and wonder if there’s not some genetic pull that attracts me to the country … after all, my father’s ancestry from both parents is all British/Scottish and my mother’s maternal ancestors are British/Irish.
3. Would you give up your U.S. citizenship to become a British citizen?
See answer to question above. My U.S. passport would have to be pried from my dead hands. By the way, my British grandparents became naturalized American citizens in the mid-1900s and I don’t know how they did it. Honestly, I have great respect for anyone who can make a decision like that. Nationality, to me, feels as ingrained as my sexual orientation.
4. Can you do a British accent?
You really don’t want to hear that. For some reason, the only accent I can do is when I’m around my mother-in-law, who has a very soft, pleasing southern U.S. accent. I start to mimic her after a few days and I worry that she thinks I’m making fun of her, but really, it’s contagious and the minute I get back home, the accent goes away.
5. I’ve never been to England. I hear it’s expensive. Do you have any tips for getting there cheaply?
Go there off-season, like January through March, when flights are less expensive. In January you get the sales, February is like April here in the northeast, and March is even better weather-wise. (The Brits reading this are wrinkling their foreheads with this madness, but they do not know what North American winters are like if they haven’t been here.) Travel with a friend (or two) so you can divide costs of a hotel room or car rental, which will be your next biggest expenses. Stick to a city like London where public transportation is abundant and you can rely on the rail system to get you out of the city. I have more tips here for traveling to London on the cheap. But go — especially if you’ve never left the U.S. Visiting England is a good introduction to international travel — plus, unlike Germany, Italy, or Andorra, everyone speaks English there. 🙂
6. Don’t you think the monarchy should be abolished?
England’s not my country, so I don’t feel like my opinion on that matters. I do like that the monarchy has been around for eons, that the British do monarchy like no other country, and come on — the Queen is how old? And you want to fire her? I’d be very sad to see her ousted. But if the British people decided the monarchy system is too outdated, too expensive to maintain in the future, I’d certainly understand. I just hope it doesn’t happen in my lifetime because I still get a little thrill seeing the royal standard flying above Buckingham Palace and there would be something wrong about turning that place into a museum or a — gasp — hotel.