My daughter has pink eye. Apparently, that is not a commonly used phrase here, so when I texted my friend to tell her this ailment might impinge on our planned play date, she had to ask me what it was, saying that the only thing she could picture was an albino gerbil.
This is a problem I encounter frequently. Even though I’ve spoken English my entire life, since living here, I often feel like I’m speaking a foreign language. Diapers are nappies; underwear are pants; pants are trousers. If you’re quick with facts and figures, you’re clever, not smart, but you can look smart if you’re dressed well. If your child doesn’t feel well, he’s poorly, but if he’s sick, he’s actually thrown up. It can be dizzying, and half the time, I feel like I’ve inadvertently insulted someone with one of my Americanisms. Or, at the very least, utterly confused them, and probably myself along the way. Missy has already begun correcting my English: “No, Mommy, it’s time for a nappy change.” (Yeah, still not potty trained, don’t ask.) “No, Mommy, throw it in the bin (not trash).”
My year-long job search has been the most glaring example. Not just unfamiliar terms and phrases for concepts and systems I feel I should have a better grasp on by now, but an entire nonsense language of acronyms and abbreviations for those terms (not unlike being thrust into the world of infertility and fertility treatments): TAQA, QCF, GCSE, NVQ, PGCE, LSA, EWC, KS3.
Albino gerbils abound.
Want to participate? Check out Mel’s post to find out how.