Thursday, January 25, 2007

Citizenship tests

I wrote back in July 2006 that I only scored 65% on the "Do you have what it takes to become a citizen?" quiz about American citizenship. There's a UK equivalent online too. Some of the things you're expected to know for the UK test don't seem particularly useful pieces of cultural knowledge, which I would have thought was the point of the test. I scored 85% on it anyway - better than on the American one, although I admit I guessed at the answers to some of the questions that I got right! Maybe I am still more British than American!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Why Some Americans Shouldn't be Allowed to Travel

Okay, there are probably some Brits who shouldn't be allowed to travel either, and these stories are probably apocryphal, but this was moderately amusing anyway:

The following are actual stories provided by travel agents

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Smarties vs M&Ms

The candy known as Smarties in the USA is not the same as the Smarties sold in the UK. There's no chocolate involved at all in the American ones so, really, what's the point? You can buy English Smarties here at specialist stores, though of course you pay a premium for an imported product.

I had always thought I preferred Smarties to M&Ms, but this Christmas I was given both a tube of Smarties and a bag of dark chocolate M&Ms. Now it may be that the Smarties were stale, as I've found imported goods often can be, but I have to say the dark M&Ms were actually better. Except for the orange Smarties of course, because I love orange flavoured chocolate and the orange Smarties really and truly have orange flavoured chocolate inside them! (I always thought that was a myth and that the power of suggestion was convincing me it was true, but the Smarties website confirms it.) Actually, given that the Smarties were in a tube, it's likely that they were rather old as they are no longer sold in tubes in the UK. I guess I need some fresh Smarties to compare against the dark M&Ms. Anyone want to send me some?

I weigh WHAT?????

I'll admit it, I've put on too much weight in the last few years. I have boxes of clothes in the basement that no longer fit. I keep them because I'm convinced that there will come a day when I'll fit back into them. Yeah, right - but keeping them gives me hope that it might happen.

I'm not sure if the weight gain is something that would have happened anyway, or is part of the process of becoming more American. After all, the statistics show that Americans tend to be overweight, so if I'm becoming more American I must therefore be putting on weight. Nah, I think it's just a part of the middle-age thing, the mommy thing (finishing off what's on my kids' plates), and the lack of time to exercise because I'm a mommy with a full-time job thing.

Anyway, I know I'm overweight and have been trying to do something about it. That involves occasionally stepping on the bathroom scales to see if I'm fooling myself in thinking that I might actually have lost a pound or two. A couple of weeks ago I stepped on the scales and got a shock - the numbers weren't anywhere close to what I was expecting. They were way off! In fact, they didn't even make any sense. I was rather annoyed that my expensive bathroom scales, that also check my body fat percentage, appeared to be broken. Fortunately, before I threw them out, I realised what had happened. One of the Little Americans in the house had reset them so that instead of showing my weight in pounds they showed my weight in stone and pounds. Americans don't use stone and pounds, but in England they do, so I was able to 'translate'. Then I tried to reset the scale to measure in pounds again. I couldn't figure out how. Dear husband couldn't figure out how either, and the instructions were of course long gone. Neither of the Little Americans would admit to having messed with the scales and certainly neither of them had any clue how to reset them.

Despite the seasonal weight gain I was anticipating back in October, the numbers on the scale are steadily getting smaller week by week though so it doesn't really matter which measuring system they are set to :-) Maybe there's hope yet that I will eventually fit back into the clothes I've been keeping! They'll be completely out-of-date of course, but that's not the point.

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