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Rob Jenkinson's Letters from America #6
by Rob Jenkinson
2006-10-09 10:27:40
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It’s funny, some of the weirdest things get lost in translation over here. Being British and sharing a common language with America, you’d think that you wouldn’t run into too many problems. However, every now and again, you do.

Generally, you’re fine. There are certain rules that should be followed, such as avoiding British slang terms like “bollocks” or “knackered”, as you’ll be met with blank faces. Sometimes you’ll say something that you think is universal (in the English language) and they won’t know what you mean. For example, we use the word “jumper” and they call it a “sweater”. We use both words in Britain, but the word “jumper” is treated as something comical in America.

Anyway, why am I telling you this? Well, it was this that has seemingly broken my back. If you’ve read this column before, you’ll know that I’m looking for a job out here in the States and have a lot of time on my hands. A friend of mine, who is a carpenter, spoke of a big job that he had and could use some help.

Now, in the UK, our houses are made out of brick, so a carpenter is someone who trims the house, makes furniture and builds scenery for theatre and TV shows. So, with that in mind I offered my help, thinking that I’ll be helping him out by grabbing wood for him, handing it to him when he was up a ladder and so on. Imagine my surprise when I turned up to work the next day and there wasn’t even a house there.

“So, what’s the deal with this then?” I asked.
“This is where we’re working.”
“We’re framing the house.”
“What house?”
“The one we’re going to build.”

Over here, a carpenter does EVERYTHING, including building a house from scratch out of wood.

So, here I am, bruises all over my body and pain everywhere. What have I learnt? Well, that I’m weak for a start and that you should really check the meaning of words over here. It’ll save your neck… literally.

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Get it off your chest
 (comments policy)

Sand2006-10-07 13:14:44
And, of course, bum has different meanings in each country

Asa2006-10-07 15:04:17
And fag!

Mike Jennett2006-11-01 00:51:33
And rubber

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