nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic

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Looking forward to coming back

We have just returned from our first foray out of the US, across the border to Canada. Six days in a twilight world that’s not American and not British, but a pleasant hybrid of the two. I discovered Tim Horton’s – a crossbreed cafe somewhere between Dunkin’ Donuts and Greggs the Bakers. I ate the Boston Cream doughnut, a custardy, chocolate covered delight. I struggled with Canadian vowels, where ‘mud’ rhymes with ‘could’ which you discover you buy your toddler a Canadian board book, so you have to adapt when you read it. I scrutinised Canadian currency with its nod to Britain with the Queen’s image firmly ensconced on the coins. And the weather’s just like NW3, all wet, a bit warm but mostly boots and rain coat weather. Kind of comforting. I thought it was telling that I looked forward to returning to NYC with its 30 degree heat where it is warm enough in the evening to stroll around in a t shirt and shorts (not that I have unveiled my knees to NYC yet). I’ll tire of the heat and humidity soon, but for now, it’s good to be back.

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Cheese danish

So my trip to a local cafe went like this:

“Waddaya want?”

“Hot tea, please”.

(I have learnt to ask for hot tea, as opposed to iced tea.)

“Cheese Danish?”

(He looks confused.)

“No. Hot. Tea. Please.”

(The server looks pleadingly to his co-worker.)

“She wants tea. Hot tea.”

(The co-worker looks bemused, just like me.)

“Ah. OK.”

(He’s happy.)

“Yes, hot tea.”


(I’m happy.)

I point to the packets of tea behind him. I am relieved to see earl grey (gray here) as an option. I am more relieved to see him put the bag into the cup and then pour the water on. A proper cup of tea.

Really. Since when does ‘hot tea’ sound like ‘cheese Danish’. And more importantly what is a cheese Danish?

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New York lexicon part 1

So far I have learnt that coriander is called cilantro and rocket is called arugula – very Star Trek. Paracetamol is known as¬†acetaminophen, so when we were looking for a Calpol equivalent, we originally thought that paracetamol didn’t exist here. Double cream is known as heavy cream, which makes sense. There are a few words I already knew, but now have to use them without remarking on them, such as stroller (buggy), diaper (nappy) and mom (mum). There are no lifts, only elevators; no shops, but stores and no queues in those stores as you are ‘on line’. I am learning to drop the ‘t’ from words, such as water and eighty. Instead I now try to say wa-der and ei-dey,¬†with an emphasis on the second syllable. And I have also learnt from a recent visit to a beer shop that a container which holds 2 pints of beer is called a growler!