Can I get a light?

Brit-speak: Torch

Ameri-speak: Flashlight

My Mom works in a white collar office space in America.  A few years ago a British man joined the office as the IT specialist, at least I think he’s British.  My Mom always talks about how he’s British and lived in Zimbabwe.   Yeah.  Just take a second to ruminate on that.  I have to assume he is an expat twice removed or the prominent criticism of American geographical knowledge needs to be intensified tenfold.  (Still ruminating…..) She did describe a direction once as “North-South.”   Moving swiftly on….

She was having some problems with the old work PC and I can only assume her British/Zimbabwean/American colleague was attempting what a  highly trained IT professional is able to do alone .  Turn the computer off and on again.  Because, you see, he was under the desk messing with some wires and her desk is big (because my Mom is more important than your Mom) so his visibility wasn’t very good.  He got frustrated and he yelled,  “I need a torch.   Can somebody get me a flipping torch?” much to the shock of my mother.

She stopped and wondered, “Is this Britbabwean so ticked off about some crossed wires that he’s going to burn this mother down.  I don’t know how they do it in Britbabwea, but that’s called ARSON here, Bucko (she really would say Bucko).”

He must have seen the concern flash across her face which had clocked him as 10 seconds away from going postal because he looked at her and quickly corrected himself, “Flashlight.  I need a flashlight.”

(Stiiiiiiill ruminating….) But if he really was from the Africa, the undeveloped continent we know it to be (read the tone), maybe he really did use torches to fix PC’s there.

Which now has me considering whether I should start a new list.

S**t people ask about Africa:

Are there PCs there?

Do they fix them with torches?


8 thoughts on “Can I get a light?

  1. Deborah

    North-South!!! I love it!! 🙂 I’ve met people from Zimbabwe (who were truly from Zimbabwe) that do sound (to my American ears) like they have a somewhat British accent, maybe that’s what your mom means…

    1. Living Life as an Expat Parent Post author

      🙂 She would admit that she is directionally challenged.

      I know what you mean, but he’s British. But I did used to say to my mom, “Are you suuuure?” Haha. I think he just lived in Zimbabwe for a while. Maybe he should take over my blog. He seems way more expat than me.

  2. Expat Mammy

    my bestie in Dubai was American and we have an on going argument about the correct words for Biscuits/cookies!!

  3. Stealing Mummys Mascara

    LOL I love the shit people ask! We’re from Britain and the amount of times we got stung with crisps (chips) instead of real chips (french fries) with our meals in America was daft. We felt so stupid! xxx

  4. Pingback: 19-03-12 Love Expats Weekly Showcase | Love All Blogs

  5. Lisa

    It’s crazy how the terminology can seem completely different when we speak the same language. I’ve been in the UK for 7 weeks now and never realized just how different the languages are! I also made a friend from Zimbabwe here. If you’re white or of “mixed race” in Zimbabwe, you have claim to dual citizenship. In case you were wondering. 🙂

    1. Living Life as an Expat Parent Post author

      Aaaaah! Mystery solved, perhaps? When I initially moved over it was to Liverpool. I totally believe that if you can understand the Scouse accent, you’ll be able to deal with any accent in the whole of England, but I still find new phrases or pronunciations that surprise me, they don’t pop up as often, but I’m still uncovering them.


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