As the year comes to an end, so do my bagelisation columns. I can hear you sobbing already – I understand, I’m sorry, all good things come to an end etc. etc. Drink some tea, re-watch Downton Abbey and, although you will never be able fill the deep absence which I know this news will leave in your heart, know that you can have too much of a good thing and that solace can always be found – no exceptions – at the bottom of a teacup.
And so, here in my last column about being a Brit in New York, is a list version of my application to the Official Are You a New Yorker board. At heart, I am a New Yorker. It’s just that I am a New Yorker that can appreciate a good scone and might always feel the overwhelmingly need to apologise for things that aren’t my fault. Sure, I have panic attacks when I notice my lack of refinement, but it’s totally normal that I cry every time I say jelly instead of jam. Right?
- Do you even Venmo though? Yes. Yes I do.I no longer think Venmo is a typo for venom (although autocorrect still does) and, in fact, I even have a Venmo account. I often say, before the cheque (please note the use of cheque and not bill) has even arrived that I will Venmo everyone. Even when I owe nothing. I will tell everyone I will Venmo them. Because I have a Venmo account. And I will apologize (for owing nothing, of course). I even know what Venmo is; I can use it as a verb. Anyone need Venmo-explaining? I’m your gal. Veni vedi Venmo.
- I tried a savoury muffin. With apple butter. And I enjoyed it.Is there really anything else to say? Muffins in England are only sweet and I had never even heard of apple butter. Now my meals all include a muffin and apple butter out the jar. That’s basically all I eat. But I think the apple butter counts as a fruit, so it’s all good. I’m getting at least one of my recommended five per day.
- I understand what ‘undeclared’ means I was really quite surprised how many undergraduate students were so cavalier about the fact that they were undeclared. My assumption was that this was to do with immigration status. 2017 doesn’t really seem like a good time to be casual about immigration.As it turns out, it just means undergraduates are still undecided about their major. And major, in the American sense, has nothing to do with the army. It’s like learning a whole new language. But I’m doing my homework. I even understand the grade system. Kind of.
- I fold my pizzaWhen I fall off the vegan wagon (which is really pretty often in New York because the food here is really something else…let’s pretend Chipotle doesn’t exist and discuss Levain’s peanut butter dark chocolate cookies instead), I fold my pizza. I don’t know how to go back to an unfolded life. I used to be there with my knife and fork, because that is proper. The properness has been beaten out of me by pumpkins. Though I suppose, if you think about it, the folding of a pizza is food origami. It’s an art. It must be treated with respect.That pizza slice better be the size of my face, cost one dollar, and be easily foldable. And God help you if you’re not just getting a slice of cheese. Vegetables belong to Sweet Green; excess cheese and nothing else on late night pizza. Pizza can’t be topped. Double meaning intended.
- I love Seamless more than I love most people I use Seamless as a verb, much in the same was I use Venmo. I probably use it a little too much. Sorry. But I’m preparing for when I am away this summer. If I overuse Seamless now, I won’t get withdrawal symptoms. Right? RIGHT?Most nights (read: every night), this is me: “Have you seen this? Seamless have free delivery. They always deliver on time – like they’re seamless about delivery. Doesn’t that seem funny? That they’re seamless, well they seem seamless, and they’re called Seamless. You seem less and less interested in my Seamless discussions these days…can you hear me? Seriously, could you seem less interested? Why don’t we talk about Seamless more?”
- I can successfully use (and even understand) American English words/expressionsI know what simple syrup is. I even ask for it. I know what hokey means. I know what campy means. Most importantly, I have said the following without a trace of irony: “Pop the hood for a hot minute would you? My tater tots are in there.” Three Americanisms, right there. Can I get a fist bump over here.
- I have inadvertently started spelling incorrectlyLooking back on notes from a class a few weeks ago I saw that I wrote the word ‘recognised’. I had inadvertently spelled it with a ‘z’. I excused myself from the class I was in and worked through an existential crisis in the restroom. I realized I said restroom (not bathroom) and had another crisis. I just registered the fact, as I type this, that in the previous sentence I typed realize and not realise. Another crisis, please excuse me for a hot minute.
After the whole realise/realize debacle, I texted my friend Z. I realized, as I was in the restroom, that in my head I pronounced it ‘zee’, rather than the British ‘zed’. I could only start breathing properly again once I had a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks and started to watch a baseball game.
And so, there it is. The only thing that’s left is for me to embrace is the potato chip chocolate bar that is, apparently, a thing of enlightenment rather than an abomination, and I should be getting my approval in the mail any day now.
The only Britishism left in me is “queue”. Not because I can’t say “in line”, but because I refuse to say “on line”, which is singularly New York. The rest of America agrees with me and at least say “in line”, which is somewhat acceptable. My resistance stems from the fact that “on line” doesn’t make sense and party because it reminds me of the whole “on the line” idiocy from The Internship which even Owen Wilson couldn’t pull off. The rest of America agrees with me and at least say “in line”. On line is where I draw the line. I mean queue. That’s where I draw the queue.
NB: article written whilst eating several bars of potato chip chocolate. Led to panic attack as realized (and another one) I said potato chip not crisps. But then my acceptance came in the mail and I said “in line” and it didn’t seamless half bad. Piece of cake (read: pizza).
American English love and farewells,
That girl who used to be a Brit but gave it all up for bagels and apple butter
Karishma Jobanputra (good luck trying to pronounce that) is a first year MFA fiction student from London. She graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in Law and, realising it was nothing like Suits, decided to pursue writing. Although primarily a fiction writer, she also attempts to write poetry and has had articles published online at The Guardian, KettleMag UK and The Boar (University of Warwick).