365+ Days in the USA
A little known fact about Camp Chi: In addition to being an award winning overnight camp, Camp Chi is a bastion of international cultural exchange. This summer staff and campers will come from over 15 different countries, giving our little corner of Wisconsin a diverse, global feel. Having various languages, accents, cultures and ethnicities is part of the fabric that makes up the Camp Chi experience.
Andrew “Toes” Maslanka, Guest Blogger, is one of the many staff from England who has become part of the Camp Chi community. After spending six summers working at camps in the United States, five of which were at Camp Chi, Andrew is now a permanent U.S. resident, and married to Jessica, an American he met at camp. With humor and affection, Andrew has a unique perspective on American culture and being a “new American.”
Having lived in the United States for 365 consecutive days plus six summers, here’s what I have learned and experienced:
- Crumpets, Jaffa Cakes and Yorkshire Pudding are the hardest thing in the world to describe to an American.
- Ordering tea in the USA is the worst. Looking at you, Lipton Tea and Twinings English Breakfast Tea!
- Baked beans do not exist on a breakfast plate here, and the baked beans that they do sell are so strange tasting.
- Many people do not understand the difference between the UK and Great Britain.
- I’m often asked about how I feel about the UK leaving the European Union.
- I’m also regularly asked if I am from Australia or New Zealand.
- My accent has helped me out of trouble on a few occasions and gotten me discounts in shops/restaurants.
- I regularly have to explain to my family and friends what time zone I live in and get the odd 3am Facebook call from my mom.
- There is cricket in the USA. I play for a team here in Spokane, Washington.
- American English and British English are whole different languages. For example, if I say “cheers” to someone, they have no idea how to respond.
- Jessica, my wife, and I still have a language barrier. She is slowly picking up my accent and vice versa.
- Religion is a big thing in this country, something I was not aware of until moving here permanently.
- Driving 4+ hours has become normal to me. My family doesn’t understand why we drove 31 hours from Chicago to Spokane or when we drove Pittsburgh to Wisconsin in 15 hours.
- Mac and cheese is incredible.
- Americans can’t believe that I don’t like soccer. Explaining cricket to an American is like explaining all the rules of baseball to a British person.
- I miss British bacon every day. #wah
Stay up to date on the latest happenings at Camp Chi and learn more about this summer’s staff by reading Winkle’s Blog.