Wednesday 13 February 2008


The "F-word" and drinking and talking about drinking and moaning and talking about the weather and being not very friendly and rather superior about our own culture/food/language/etc.

these are the stereotypes, which sometimes i argue against, but then all my recent 'path-crossings' with english people ~ especially english-people-abroad, has seemed to prove this. it makes me... not want to be English. to be honest. My head is full of this today, after a flight back to England and first mass encounters of 'my people', beginning right from the airport in Sevilla where there were complaints floating into my hears from both ends of the orderly queue.

it makes me want to pretend i am Spanish. This plan will not work though for as soon as i open my mouth, or even before, Spaniards are practising their english skills on me. Is my face that English? Not that there's any reason for it not to be... I just didn't think there was an English "look" - except, by the way, there's also a general opinion that the English are uglier than many fellow Europeans and often pale and chubby. "Oh but not you of course", they say to me when they tell me. Well, you have to say that don't you?!

I've never really "felt" that English. And always felt slightly ashamed of it mainly due to our not-so-glorious past in my opinion - of domination and opression of others. And as an anthropologist I'm inclined to say that nation is a construction blah blah blah. As a Christian I'll never belong here anyways.

So... maybe it's best to look on the good things. Like in comparison to Sevilla I really appreciate the integration of different races and nationalities into our society. I know there's a long way to go but it's a long way ahead of Andalucia where people get away with really racist comments because hardly anyone is friends with anyone who's not white. Where black people (on the whole) only sell tissues at traffic lights or park cars and Chinese people stick to the Chinese supermarkets.

And... today i re-appreciated the 'green fields' as i went on my favourite walk near my house. And curry and apple crumble that mum cooked for tea. And i know not everyone is like the description i started out with. And i like it that we do laugh at ourselves and are in general quite aware of our awkward overly polite (sometimes) complaining selves. So... yeh. I'm tired. There's more, but I need to sleep. Maybe i'll add more tomorrow. Maybe not.


amber donebauer said...

hey kitschkiboo, i really enjoyed that. In particular, I'm with you being stunned at how much the British complain, and it astonishes me that I was unaware of it before. Here I'm living with a Frenchie and Deutschman as you know, otherwise surrounded by mexicans, and the only time I hear a whining sound is when I meet up with other English Language Assistants. It's so boring! Believe me or not, I think I have totally lost the habit since I've been here, pray it never returns... mind if i use your blog as teaching material?! lots of love x x x

Sarah said...

There was a Danish guy of Asian origin who spoke with a west coast American accent in the practical lab today.

I'm glad that you're enjoying your mum's cooking :) (though I read it as curry-and-apple crumble which I thought might taste quite odd. cinnamon-and-apple maybe...)

Hope you have a lovely time at home.

Sarah x

Matthew Parker said...

i also agree - is it because the english want to make themselves feel better all the time? I don't know...going abroad though does make you look at your own country differently and sometimes it's unnerving...x