Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Whilst I traveled, by plashy brink of weedy lake...

Hey, Sis! Over here!

"Whilst, whilst, whilst, whilst, whilst!"

There. Got it out of my system.

My little sister has just taken me to task for my poser-y use of various British-isms, including using the word "whilst", spelling words like "specialise" with an "s" instead of a "z", adding a boatload of "u"s to words like "colour" and "glamour", and generally being a prattish put-on.

"After all," she said, "you did speak American English for 44 years. It shouldn't be that hard to switch back."

I lied and told her the spell check on my word processor was still set to British and was going to stay that way until I finished my dissertation, but who am I kidding?

She's right, even if she only has one kidney. Not that there's anything wrong with being one organ short of a full set. We can't all be perfect, can we? (And that's the Queen's Royal "we", in case you're wondering.)

So I'm just gonna click reset on the ol' computer, and I'm going back to Americanisms, for real and for ever. Until I change my mind again.


A few weeks ago I was feeling sad that, since leaving Johannesburg, I'd never seen another jacaranda tree. I believed, mistakenly, that jacarandas only live in Gauteng province, and mostly in Pretoria, for that matter.

It would be pretty nice if only the great stuff about South Africa stuck in my mind... but unfortunately, although there are images like this:

F1000006 jacaranda, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

there are a lot more images like this:

F1000008 fence, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

So, Southern California, where have you been all my life?

IMG_7443, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Jacarandas are everywhere, and they're just as beautiful in the northern hemisphere as in the southern. Perhaps more beautiful, because you can enjoy them without palisade fences or razorwire cluttering up your view.

IMG_7600, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

So much for unnecessary nostalgia, then.

Anyhoo, the trip to So Cal was all about this one:

IMG_7570, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

and her All Singing, All Dancing, Explosive and Totally Amazing Show,
Aphrodite: The Extravaganza.

We had front-row seats arrived just in time and barely found a spot to alight, due to a multitude of problems involving the application of sunscreen. Whatevs.

IMG_7581, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

There she is! The blonde.

In addition to three years of university tuition and loads of airline flights, we also paid for that double lei draped around her neck. Thirty bucks. But how often do you graduate from UCSB? Right, once. We hope.

Anylei, the $30 was totally worth it, because it enabled her to say, for at least three days following, "I just got leied the other day. Har har har. Get it? Get it? Do ya? Do ya get it?"

IMG_7592, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

For this, we paid out-of-state Cali tuition? *sigh*



Hannah Rose said...

thanks for only putting up the ugly photos of me so that I don't get an inflated ego.

expateek said...

You're cute all the time, doll-face.

Anonymous said...

I have your language problem in reverse. I am British but live in the Middle East and unless I change everything to include 'z' I end up with a page full of red lines. I have started calling mobiles GSM and the motorway a highway!

Jocelyn said...

She's gorgeous! I'm sure, much to your horror, a lot of people would like to "lei" her. EEEK.

Madame DeFarge said...

Congrats on the graduation, the assiduous use of correct spelling and finding the right trees. These are all fine things and should be encouraged.

david mcmahon said...

Jacaranda was very common in India, where I grew up. Great news about the graduation.

English Rider said...

I used to be good at spelling but the U.S,-Brit thing alone would have confused me, without the years spent in France making huge mistakes when words that are spelled and pronounced the same have totally different meanings. (Amongst language challenged ex-pats, they are known as false friends). I too love Jacarandas. How can they not make you smile?

Tennyson ee Hemingway said...

we have jacarandas in Australia too. and i'm always spelling things the 'proper' way. hee, hee.

Denise said...

I have the Brit to US thing going on. My husband used to say, how did you spell it in England? I used to be able to answer. Now after 33 years I am confused! Great post, congratulations to Hanna Rose and congratulations to you. Also congrats for making POTD over at David's Blog.

Willow said...

I live just down the road a ways from UCSB and have been enjoying the jacaranda trees. They are late blooming this year. Usually they bloom in May but they were waiting for you to come.

Anonymous said...

When I was travelling in the States someone always said to me 'Oh I just love your accent' til one day I was compelled to say...'well thank you, but you see I don't have an accent, but you do.' Smiling broadly of course to take the sting out of the quip. Who is to say where when how or why the spelling of English changed-your way really is easier simpler and makes more sense.

primavera123 said...

I'm an American expat, too, and I have the same problem now that I've come home - calling a trash can the "rubbish bin", saying "cheers" instead of "thanks" or "half four" instead of "four thirty."

Cheffie-Mom said...

Congratulations on the graduation and congrats on the Post of the Day mention from authorblog!

Expat mum said...

I have the problem that sometimes I write for American readers and other times for Brits - I never quite know what to do.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Hi, Just found your blog. Nice to meet you and congratulations on the graduation!

Jacarandas are one of my favorite things about Southern California. 'd never seen them until I moved here. Glad they were in bloom for you.

I'll be back again soon.

Christine said...

Canada is a British colony so I guess I have had to learn to spell the British way. Congrats to your daughter.

Hannah Rose said...

Thank you for all the various congratulations!!!!!

Iota said...

Whilst is indeed a lovely lovely word.

Do you say dreamt instead of dreamed? And leapt instead of leaped? I like those ones too.

expateek said...

Wow -- so many comments!

Eternally Distracted -- GSM! Now that's a new one. I do find I weirdly slip back and forth, ending up with a vocabulary mix that makes no sense at all. I'll come visit over at yours... never been to the Middle East. I could use a virtual holiday!

Jocelyn -- yes, I try not to think about that too much.

Mme DeFarge -- thanks, and your lovely comment is encouragement of the very nicest kind!

David -- now I guess I'll have to get to India to see the jacarandas there... My travel bug is insatiable. Thank you again for the POTD mention!

Rider -- don't get me started on French. I love the language but spelling it? Phew. Those dictees were murder in French V.

ee -- the "proper" way? Looks like I'll have to come to Australia now too, if only in order to pummel you.

prima -- I still say "cheers" all the time. Who knows what people think? Probably better fix the "half four" thing... no American knows what to make of that one!

cheffie -- thanks to you and Denise for the heads-up on the POTD. I didn't realise it until you guys mentioned it. I'm to'ally chuffed!

expatmum -- I agree. Audience is everything. I was wondering if my Brit readers don't notice my "poser-y-ness" -- if it sounds normal to them and only the Americanisms stick out? I should alternate "zeds" and "esses" and see if I can drive everyone nuts!

Denise -- yes, and spelling goes out the window too, as you get older. I find I've seen it wrong so many times that "right" doesn't always look right anymore. Total confusion.

Willow -- aww, you're just plain sweet to say that.

Moannie -- I love that comeback, regarding accents. I think it's funny that so many Brits will say "We love your American accent"... I always think I sound so unsophisticated and hokey.

Joanna -- welcome to the blog, and thanks for visiting. And you're so lucky to live in such a beautiful place. I'm envious.

christine -- O Canada! The best of both worlds? Probably. Nice to hear from you again, I missed you.

iota -- oooh, "dreamt". What a lovely word. It seems so much dreamier than "dreamed". Like fairy tales and magic carpets.... probably because of E. Nesbit and The Five Children and It....

Hannie -- I'll say "congrats" again too. I'm so proud of you!

Brit Gal Sarah said...

I refuse to change to the american spelling, well except at work that is heehee, but then as a Brit I'm excused!

Congrats on your lovely grad, the lei was well worth the joke and the piccies.

And those trees are really magnificent, I would miss them too if I'd ever actually lived near them.

expateek said...

Oooh, Brit Gal! Thanks for visiting! And so glad you enjoyed Chicago. Your photos were marvy. You've done a lot more in Chicago than I have; you've shamed me :-)

Suzy said...

There are jacarandas all around my place but when those flowers pelt your car, you have to get them off before they discolor the car. And my car is the same color as the flower!