21 August 2012

All the Questions before the Big One...

So I just want to start out and thank you everyone who commented on my last post (*cough* the two of you). Thankfully there were so many questions from those two people that I have enough to write an entire post answering those questions. As an added bonus, they didn't make me go anywhere to satisfy their far-away curiosity. I've been sick with a head cold this week and found it hard to find the energy to shower much less leave the house.

Alrighty then, let's jump right in, shall we?

QUESTION #1: Well, I know I have more questions, but one thing I wonder is what it's like to be an American in Liverpool. Do people treat you differently? Assume you're related to Tim Howard (Everton)? Do you have a cool factor?

I'd like to state from the get-go that I do not have, and will never have, a cool factor. Looking back, I think the only time in my life I had anything regarding “cool” was when I was a bartender in my very early twenties. And really, I was only 'cool' because I controlled how drunk you got and you paid me money for it.

I don't think there is much of a difference being an American in Liverpool (or the UK) as it is for any other foreigner in this country. People occasionally will ask where I'm from and when I tell them, they will say, “Oh! I thought from your accent you were Canadian.” I blame my Wisconsin accent for the Canadian thing by the way. That is usually how far it will go unless the person asking has been to the States or has relatives in the States and then they will tell me which state they have been\or their relative lives in. It is never a state that I particularly like. If the person is really chatty (rarely), they will ask how I like it here and I'm obliged to say how great Liverpool is but “how about this weather, huh?” Then we will all agree that rain is the substance that will kill us all. The End.

The most interesting story I have in the entire time that I've been here is the time a women on the bus (after overhearing my accent talking to Henry) purposely stopped me on the street after I got off the bus to ask me, “What is a Homecoming Queen?” Like all her life she had been waiting to meet an American to ask that question.

(Sorry I'm ignoring the Tim Howard question – I seriously have no idea who he is.)

QUESTION #2: One question I've asked you before in a previous post was in regard to femininity/attire there. Specifically, the high "skank factor" being the norm, vs an exception (as in the States...sorry any Brits). Maybe, if you're up for it, you could share some insights you've had on gender, and social norms? You know, in your spare time.

This is going to be a really hard question to answer simply because I don't go to clubs or really, go out anytime past 6 o'clock anymore. I can only tell you what I see in the daylight hours and really, I don't think it's THAT much different than in the States. I may have mentioned before that I have never felt comfortable leaving the house in a sweatshirt in the UK like I would back home. At the same time, I don't feel like I have to dress up. But my step mother when she visited had made a comment that she felt everyone was more 'made up' then she was used to, so it's all a matter of opinion.

The best way to break it up is this – people here are going to dress however the hell they feel like, just like back in America. The biggest difference, I feel, is that most people reserve their sweatshirts and fleece coats for rambling in the country. The good people of the UK love a good ramble in the country after all. In every day life, you throw on some jeans\skirt\slacks, a shirt\blouse, and some sensible shoes and call it a day.

I hope that answered your question, though I seriously doubt it did!

QUESTION #3: Do you have gas stations that sell cigarettes, beer, and lotto tickets?

Yep, just like in the States! I don't know if the gas stations (ie: petrol stations) had to adhere to the new rules, but in Tesco, they are no longer able to 'display' cigarettes. All the cigarettes have to be behind a plain white panel\door type thing so if you are asking for cigarettes, you sure as hell better know what brand you intend to buy. This is apparently because cigarette packaging is so fun and colorful that children will surely be sucked into the alluring red triangles of a pack of Marlboro’s.

QUESTION #4: Are all the gas stations open 24 / 7?

I had to ask Andy this as he is in charge of getting the petrol. He said, “I would say most of the major chains are open 24 hours. Independents and rural ones tend not to be.” So there you go.

QUESTION #5: Do you have Fast Food places Mickey D Taco Hell Bugger King Fun places like that or just Pub Food?

McDonald’s, KFC, Subway, Pizza Hut and Burger King, yes. Taco Bell, Wendy's, Jack in the Box, no. They did have a Taco Bell in Spain though. I say with a heavy heart (read: embarrassment) that I miss Taco Bell.

QUESTION #6: What about delivery Pizza Jimmy John or Chinese?

Gail, I'm assuming you mean Papa John's pizza and not Jimmy John's sub sandwiches? They do indeed have Papa John's pizza and we order from them at least once a month (oh god, I'm really showing why I have a weight problem, aren't I?).

They also have loads of Chinese delivery too, though the menus are completely different and I never seem to find exactly what I'm looking for. If we're going to be honest, we all know that Chinese food in America is really just American food served over some rice that we call Chinese. In the States, if I order Chinese food, I'll usually get the Beef with broccoli and snow peas. Here, you order your meat (beef, chicken, pork, 'special' (I still have no idea what type of meat 'special' is), or prawn) and then you choose your sauce (teriyaki, OK sauce, sweet & sour, garlic & spring onion, etc). I've never seen it where they list the vegetables you're going to get with it and half the time I have no idea what all the sauces are. I don't know if the Chinese food is conformed to British tastes like it is in America. I'd guess the answer is yes (having never been to China) but I can't say for sure.

QUESTION #7: What is the food that made Liverpool famous like Milwaukee has Beer and Brats and
Chicago has the Hotdog and Deep Dish Pizza?

Good question! The food that Liverpool is known for is scouse. That is why people from Liverpool are called 'Scousers'. Scouse is a type of lamb or beef stew, very VERY similar to a typical Irish stew with potatoes and carrots. It makes sense, as Liverpool has a lot of Irish heritage being one of the first port of call when the Irish were fleeing due to the potato famine. Look at me! I'm being all historical!

I've actually made Scouse.   I've even made vegetarian Scouse for Andy - it's called 'Blind Scouse'.

If I had another food Liverpool is known for – and this is only going by the number of restaurants I see of this type – then it's fast food chicken. I'm guessing this is due to the famine of students with great late night hunger from the Red Bull cocktail.

QUESTION #8: Did you ever find a proper Dill Pickle?

No, and stop rubbing it in.


  1. Here's some good news for you... there's a Taco Bell that was open recently, in Manchester. It's in the food court of Arndale shopping centre, which is in the city centre.

    1. Oh! I forgot about that Taco Bell. If I ever make it back to Manchester, I will sadly search it out.