Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Tuesday 23/04/13

The main thing to say about America is that, whether I like it or not, I never want to love it. I don’t want to be American. I don’t really want to belong here. I don’t ever want to have lived here long enough and I don’t want to live here convincingly enough for people to think that I’m actually from here. Living here convincingly would be a ridiculous stretch of my character and my abilities anyway, so it’s probably for the best that I feel this way.

I don’t leave the house that often, nothing’s changed there, but when I do, I want people to think of me as an outsider, definitely a foreigner. This is the complete opposite to my intentions when I was in the UK. I lived in England for fifteen years out of my thirty-three in total. I’m going to write this down in numerical form as well, because it makes it seem higher than words, that’s how much it matters to me: 15 out of 33. It really kills me that it’s not half or more, I have to be honest, but it’s close enough.

Well in those fifteen years, from the very first day until the last, I believe that I took it very personally when somebody inferred that I wasn’t British – inadvertently or not. Particularly hazardous areas for that sort of thing were airports and such, where people have a higher awareness of other nationalities. But then, eventually I found a way to combat that. I would travel always with my British passport face up.

Every day situations were easier; I didn’t stand out physically that much as a foreigner in England…until I opened my mouth. Fifteen years later and I still sound foreign there. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake the accent off, despite it getting softer, despite me knowing exactly how things should sound in the accent that I want. My mouth just can’t make these noises. So I’m stuck with this really mixed up indistinguishable hybrid accent of my own that might not say Greek, but it certainly doesn’t say North London either. In the UK, new people that met me used to guess ‘somewhere in central Europe’ but they couldn’t say exactly where. Nobody wanted to pick a country, like Germany for example, because they know what a German accent sounds like, and even though mine had elements of it, it wasn’t it.

Here in America, people are even more lost. Depending on how culturally aware they are, some people will actually go along with it when I say I’m ‘from London’. Other unprompted guesses so far indicate that to some American ears, I sound Australian. Three different people have said that to me just by hearing me talk in public – and I wasn’t even talking to them. (American people will talk to you in public a lot, but more of that later). I’ll take Australian, because it’s closer to having a British accent than you might think. Somebody guessed I was Danish the other day, which puts me back in this very vague central European territory.

Anyway, I think I got sidetracked. My point is: I moved to England when I was 18. I had wanted to be English, to belong to England, ever since I first visited there at 12. And I spent the next decade and a half trying to blend in. Now I’m here, I don’t know for how long to be honest, and although I really like the place and it’s nice to me, all I want to do is stand out. Kinda curious to see how this goes.

I might start writing on here again for the following reasons:

Because I just finished writing my second book so I can finally face a keyboard without the guilt of ‘oh I should be writing for my book right now’

Because the idea of London Preppy in the US amuses me.

Because I’ve missed this a bit.

Because I’m lonely.


Anastasios Stamnas said...

lonely? is that true?
seriously, why don't you go back to greece then and give it a try?

doug said...

Not even any comments, poor lonely LP <33 great post, looking forward to next week's

george said...

that was sad....but i don't want to be condescending....can't wait for your 2nd book

London Preppy said...

anastasios: That's what my dad says, ha

doug: There we go; a couple now. Thank you

george: It's always sad, isn't it? said...

Please start writing here again, London Preppy in America has all the ingredients for hilarious everyday reading. Plus I cant wait to read your views on the plastics that populate WeHo am guessing a mixture of lust and abhorrence.

george said...

you are a happy sad

Ben said...

I'd kinda like it if you posted here more often, but this isn't about me.

Were you less lonely in the days when LP was alive and kicking?

Re: comments - build it and they will come. I think people are in the habit of checking less frequently now because they don't expect updates any more.

Tommy said...

Are you allowed to tell us when your second book is going to be out? Or has that even been decided yet? I'm really looking forward to it.

London Preppy said...

ben: I think I was probably less lonely then, yes.

Yeah, I'm not worried about visits / comments. It makes sense that people have drifted away. It's down to me to update, like you said

tommy: Thanks for saying that. The second book is related to ETTW, although not a direct sequel. It's about the son of Maine and Sadie. Written from his perspective, in his 20s

Dirk Muir said...

I think you should be writing here again. I'm a Canadian in the USA, and I know the feeling of not wanting to belong - and it's even harder, because I sound no different than an American. And London, UK (where I lived only 2 years) is still one of my favorite cities in the world.