Monday, June 18, 2012

The consequences of having British people live in your home

As I mentioned before, we had three young English soccer coaches living with us last week. They left on Saturday, completing the seventh consecutive year we have housed coaches as part of Wickliffe's annual British Soccer Camp.

We love having the guys stay with us, and this year's crew of Ben D., Ben B. and James were great fun. Nice young lads, as Ben, Ben and James themselves would say.

And that's the thing about providing room and board to a trio of Brits: Every year it changes the way I talk and act, at least for a little while until well after they've left. Here's what I find happening every time we have these Englishmen in our home:

(1) I say "init" a lot
This is a uniquely British word that's actually a contraction of "isn't it." I don't know if all British people use this word, but it seems the coaches who stay with us do...a lot. It will be a particularly warm day and one of them will say, "It's hot out there, init?" Or, "The food here is great, init?" I've started using this word myself and people look at me funny. "Did you just say 'init?'" "Oh, sorry. Yeah, I meant, 'isn't it.'" It gets a bit awkward, like I'm trying to put on one of those little faux British accents of which Madonna has become so fond.

(2) I'm suddenly aware of England a lot more than usual
You know that thing where we as Americans know next to nothing about other countries and are perfectly happy to live in ignorance when, say, there are full-scale wars and revolutions going on overseas? Yeah, I'm pretty guilty of that myself. But when the Brits come, I pay a lot more attention to what's going on in my ancestral home (well, the home of SOME of my ancestors...I've got a lot of German in me, too). It's nice to have some awareness of British current events that don't involve the Royal Family.

(3) I'm also aware of how insanely much we eat
Portions in American restaurants are massive. Not coincidentally, so are many Americans. Of the 15 coaches we've hosted over the years, I believe every single one has mentioned that their food intake goes up dramatically whenever they're in the States. All you need to know about us is the fact that the smallest sizing available for many Starbucks drinks is "tall." That's right, "tall" is actually small. The largest size, "trenta," is an Italian word for "heart disease."


  1. I heard a British comic on an American talk show and I think the joke was:
    "One out of three Americans is larger than the other two."

  2. OK, that's a good one, Rick. And I'm sure my coaches would have appreciated it!