Saturday, January 20, 2007

England through new eyes

As I post this, my mother is getting off the plane back in Canada after her 2 week stay here. It was great having her here, as having an extra set of hands about the place to deal with Lena when she was not in a great mood helped us to keep our sanity. Plus, since she's been around my sister's kids a lot, she has lots of recent experience with little ones, so diaper/nappy changes were a breeze for her, among other things.

What was interesting was her observations of England, especially the architecture. Living in Munich, I was pretty blasé about old buildings, although they look quite different from the ones here. But for my mother it was all new and it was interesting to see what caught her eye. Things like the little chimney pots on the top of roofs, or tower rooms on otherwise normal looking buildings. Or the decorative finishes on the roof lines. Things I see, but don't consciously notice. I'll try and be more aware of them in the future and perhaps add a few photos if I see any bits worthy of it.

Another thing that was different for her was her difficulty in understanding several of the different British accents on TV. I don't think she had any problems with anyone face-to-face, but on the TV there was a bigger variety and some of them I have to admit were more than a bit tricky. Something that she probably would have gotten the hang of soon enough after more exposure like I've had. Not being able to understand accents was something the Germans to whom I taught English always complained about. I did tell them that native speakers sometimes have difficulty with them too. I still do as well, on occasion. Fortunately the accents around this part of England are pretty easy to understand, if not always the slang or pop-culture references.

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