When you confuse the British for the Americans


I grew up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and lived there until the age of sixteen. For everyone that doesn’t know, Dubai has no public school system. The only option available for education is private school.

Most kids in Dubai start school at the age of three. For the first seven years of my educational life, I attended a British school and learned words such as “lift” instead of “elevator,” or “waistcoat” instead of “vest” through British picture textbooks for learning the alphabet.

Then I moved to an American school, called Choueifat, that essentially also taught in the British and American system. Talk about confusing kids.

Anyways, when I moved to Canada at the age of 16, I was mocked because I used words that my peers had never heard of. It became odd when I would ask to be pointed to the lavatory instead of the washrooms. I once asked where to toss my rubbish and got laughed at for ten minutes straight.

In fact, despite being an editor at Imprint, my peers just mocked me for saying “Hache” instead of “Ahche” (for pronouncing the letter “H”). I guess I never stopped using the British vocabulary I learned at a young and tender age.

Anyways my point is, stop discriminating against British words. Like no, don’t laugh at me for saying crisps (chips), rubbish (garbage), footpath (sidewalk), zebra cross (crosswalk), trousers (pants), candy floss (cotton candy), car park (parking lot), full stop (period), petrol (gas) or fringes (bangs).

This is rude. Stop the violence. Stop telling me to use proper English. I am offended, you tosser.

It’s also worth mentioning, in my third month in Canada I got asked: “How do you speak English so well?” It was always awkward to answer with: “I went to school.”

But really, not every immigrant needs to learn English. I got enrolled into ESL (English as a second language) without an English test.

TL; DR: Stop making fun of my mixture of British and American English. Stop asking me how I speak English so well. Don’t ask me if I had a television in Dubai.


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