5 Uncomfortable Things About Being a Brit in America

Thankfully, I do not go around feeling uncomfortable all the time, but there are those few moments where I feel the internal stomach knot of awkwardness, and general cluelessness growing, that makes me ‘umm’ and ‘ahh’ like a stuttering idiot and leaves me feeling rather flustered.

Here are the latest, in no particular order …

You’re Looking for What?

I forget the right words or the correct pronunciation for things, and often have to resort to extremely gawky hand gestures to try and explain what I am asking / looking for. I usually just fluff my way through it … and then pretend I have remembered what / where it is myself.

Cracks in Doors

Public toilet doors here have a big gap down the side and you can see the person on the loo or waiting outside to use it after you. Occasionally you make eye contact with this person just as you have your underpants around your ankles … then comes this awfully awkward moment of deciding if the correct etiquette is to say hello, have a chat about the weather or just carry on like it never happened.



What Do You Call It?

Whilst deciding if I go with the French vanilla or caramel gas station coffee, I got asked, rather loudly, what ‘you Brits call lady parts’ … ummm … ahhhh …! I just about fell into my latte.

I Am Not French

No – really, I am not! I have written about this several times, but I am still being asked if I am French. This does not happen regularly as most people I encounter are well aware of the difference, but I am still getting the very odd few who say they love my French accent. I could not be more English if I tried. No, really!

British Bacon All the Way!

I get asked a few times about whether American or British bacon is best … now this can be a serious issue as bacon lovers, well we are passionate people and the debate could ramble on and get very heated … and in case you were wondering … British is best!

What about you? Ever encountered anything uncomfortable as an expat, traveller or visitor abroad? I would love to hear about it!


30 thoughts on “5 Uncomfortable Things About Being a Brit in America

  1. ldr13 says:

    I can definitely relate to your first one… many miscommunications here! Everyone also has trouble with my name as its not popular outside of canada I’ve learned now that I’ve started travelling. At work they were trying to say it yesterday. I said “its said alanna but anyone with a british accent calls me alawnna” even my boyfriend calls me alawnna.

    Im going to have to disagree with number 5 I miss bacon from back home! I havent been able to find a good cut of maple flavoured side bacon yet but ill keep looking 🙂


  2. Susan says:

    That gap in the restroom door is the worst! I just don’t look out too much, but I do in a quick, sly way to make sure no one is looking in at me! I think women, for the most part, follow the unspoken rules. My husband always complains about how filthy the men’s room is when the women’s room, right next door, is spotless. Your accent is adorable, I’ve heard it on your vlog. I think many Americans just don’t meet very many foreigners and are unfamiliar with accents, especially if they don’t travel a lot. Love your blog!


    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      I try and avoid using public toilets as I find the whole gap in the door thing so awkward – I feel compelled to make conversation, which probably weirds out the person I am making chit-chat with! Just can’t win!
      Thanks for the blog love – glad you like it!


  3. mrsteepot says:

    No way! Can’t believe the toilets are like that!!! In France there’s a lot of mixed toilets, no Ladies and Men’s separated, I still don’t like having to avoid looking at the rows of men peeing as I make my way to a toilet!
    I enjoy British bacon too!


  4. A_Lauren_Abroad says:

    As an American, I am horribly offended by people’s ignorance sometimes. Really, French?! FRENCH?! Why does it matter how you say things?! Also, don’t try and “correctly pronounce” anything. Educate Americans that there are other ways to say things and just politely say, “deal with it.”

    Also, I HATE the toilets in the States and now that I live abroad, I get even more uncomfortable when I go back to visit. There’s no reason for the bathroom stalls to lack privacy. The key is to avoid looking through the cracks when you’re in the toilet and when you’re out of it. If you avoid all contact, then it’s not awkward.


    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      In was just so confused about the French thing, it still makes my head spin trying to figure it out!!! I do try to avoid loo based eye contact but sometimes I can’t help myself as I just feel so awkward I end up looking anyway to prove I don’t feel awkward – lol!


  5. Mary says:

    Ah, so sorry for the awkward moments you’ve encountered, especially the one at the gas station. I am quite curious about your thoughts on this Fourth of July (or Fourth of July in general). Considering it’s history and your experience with being British and living in America, what are your feelings about the holiday?


    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      Gas station one was one of the rarer moments but as it was recent I just had to include it! Haha! The fourth is an interesting holiday and I encounter mostly good humour about the British connection to it when people realise I am one! I think it is a great celebration of the birth of a modern nation – but often wonder about the native American feelings on this as the country is far older for them than 239 years. Don’t know enough about it really so will do some reading around it.


  6. The Expat Blog says:

    People always assume I’m Australian, which is odd because I have the most stereotypical Colin-Firth / Hugh Grant type English accent imaginable…

    I absolutely agree with your second one. What on earth is with the minimal coverage of toilet cubicle doors!? They are about a foot off the ground!


    • Molly @ The Move to America says:

      I have been told too that people think I am Australian, so sometimes I just ham up my very English accent and mimic the Queen – haha!
      The toilet cubicles really don’t seem to provide much modesty to the user – I wonder what the reason is for having them this way?


  7. Anne Gieg says:

    heck, I am in Canada as a dual citizen and often a phrase or two comes out rather strangely – and people ask – I think I recognize that accent – where you from? Australia, New South Wales Australia – a bit of british with an accent – I reply South Africa – they reply – really – Johannesburg or Cape Town – I reply – no Eastern Cape – Port Elizabeth. Wow, why did you leave? I have my reasons.


  8. Melissa Vollenweider says:

    My daughter is spending three months in London soon. We both got a good chuckle from this post. We also agree with you about the bathrooms here. She’s looking forward to the private loos!
    So enjoying your blog!


  9. MummyShire (@MummyShire) says:

    This is funny and I’m sure being asked constantly if you’re french, or trying to find the right words at times must be quite frustrating. I know when we visited recently – I was staying in Chicago – they all thought my accent was so exotic. They must watch British TV programmes like we watch American ones, right?
    I was looking for Porridge in the supermarket and I kept on being directed to Polish Sausage! Seriously…and all because I couldn’t remember the word Oatmeal.
    Those crazy Americans, huh?!


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