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What British Kids Think of America

My English nieces Amelie, 8, and Maddy, 5, along with their parents—my brother-in-law and sister-in-law—have been visiting us here in America for the past three weeks. It is my nieces’ first time in the Grand Old U.S. of A. They have done a lot of sightseeing, but they've also gotten a good taste of our day-to-day living, which may or may not be considered “normal” American life. In any case, my sweet British nieces have been taking it all in and noting the differences between our two worlds. I thought I would interview them to find out what British children think of Americans.

Me: What do you like about America?

Amelie and Maddy (A & M): We love jet skiing and water skiing. And Disneyland. Oh, and being with family.

Me: What places in America have you liked visiting the most?

Amelie: Idaho. I love Idaho.

Maddy: San Diego.

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Me: What’s been your favorite thing to eat in America so far?

A & M: (in unison) S’mores!!!!!

Maddy: Fish biscuits! (Goldfish crackers)

Amelie: AND those fruit roll up things that leave a tattoo on your tongue.

Me: You don’t have anything like s’mores in the UK?

A & M: Well, we have marshmallows. And we do toast them. We even eat them with chocolate.

Me: So the only thing you’ve been missing is the graham cracker with it?

A & M: Yes.

Me: Graham crackers are sooo American.

Me: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen in America?

Amelie: A restaurant called Applebee’s. And also that you eat hot dogs so often.

Me: Eww. That’s kind of gross and embarrassing. I didn’t realize we ate hot dogs so much.

Amelie: Like, you eat corn dogs and hot dogs in buns and also roast them on a stick.

Me: Hmm. I didn’t realize it, but we do like to consume hot dogs in many different forms. Maybe we should have hot dog-flavored chips. I mean, crisps.

A & M: That’s another thing. You call “crisps” chips, and you call “chips” fries.

Me: Yeah. That’s true. What other things do we say that you don’t?

Amelie: Dude. You say dude, a lot. Also, you call that (a pacifier) a binky, we call it a dummy. And you all drive really, really big cars. There are big cars everywhere. And you have lots of burger places. I even saw one called Fatburger.

Me: Describe America in three words.
Maddy: Disneyland. Hot. Cowboys.

Me: Do Americans look different than English people?

A & M: They are more tan. And their voices are different. They wear tank tops. In England we wear long sleeves.

Me: Yeah, that’s because your weather is kind of blech over there.

Amelie: Yeah, it is probably because of the weather. It’s always warm here, like 20-something, not freezing.

Me: What do you not like about America?

Amelie: Corn dogs.

Maddy: I like it all.

Maddy: Well, there is too much driving. And weird milk.

Amelie: I don’t like the water. It doesn’t taste like it does in England. Actually, I do sort of like the water. Never mind.

Me: What’s different about an American house?

Amelie: You have lots of fans. And flags. You have flags everywhere.

Me: You bet we do! (breaks into song) And I’m proud to be an American! Where at least I know I’m free…

(Girls stare at me looking slightly confused, but mostly annoyed)

Me: How are the children in America different?

A & M: They don’t have to wear uniforms to school. They can wear regular clothes if they want. In England, every child wears a uniform to school.

Amelie: You also say “math” when we say “maths.” And in school, girls only play netball, not basketball. Only boys play basketball.

Me: That’s not cool. Don’t you want to play basketball?

Amelie: Not really. That’s the only thing which girls don’t play, but boys do play. Boys aren’t allowed to play netball.

Me: What do you think of American moms and dads?

Maddy: (gives “thumbs up”)

Amelie: They are good. They are sort of like normal. They act normally. They tell children off like they would in England. But they let their older ones, like Evan, like run around and go outside on their own, have a walk around and things. I don’t really know if that happens in England.

Me: What do you mean by that?

Maddy: Because in England, it is a bit busier, so you can’t walk around on the roads.

Amelie: We don’t have that many freeways that children can run up and down on.

Me: Wait. Neither do we. We don’t have freeways that children can run on. Who did you see running on the freeway? I think you are thinking of something else.

Amelie: Oh, I meant free … like open land. You have more open land to run on.

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Me: Who are the better dancers?

Amelie: Americans. Because you have more songs that I’ve never heard before.

Me: What’s your favorite American TV show?

A & M: Jessie. And we love Teen Beach Movie.

Me: Describe America in three words.

Amelie: Interesting. Fun. Good food.

Maddy: Disneyland. Hot. Cowboys.

Me: Would you ever want to live in America?

A & M: YES!

I loved having my sweet nieces here. We had so much fun. And they made me appreciate some of the things we have in America that I take for granted. Like Fruit Roll Up tattoos. And hot dogs. Thank you, Amelie and Maddy. Bless them. And bless the USA!

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