After an incident at my office last week, I am now willing to concede that Americans really do speak another language from the UK and former British colonies.  (No gloating, Graham.)  It took me a good ten minutes on Friday to convey to my Kenyan colleagues that I was in need of a band aid.  Not a cloth bandage, but just a simple sticky wrap to put over the blister forming on my toe.  Finally after showing them the offending toe and acting out what I would like to do to it they determined I was looking for an elastoplast.  Elasto-what? According to Wikipedia (the source of most useless knowledge floating in my head) this is a brand name for a sticking plaster or adhesive bandage.  Both generic terms I would never have thought to use to explain the item I needed.  Perhaps I should work on expanding my vocabulary. 

*The name of this post is stolen from the title of my bestie's blog about life as an expat in the UK.  Check it out here.


  1. I'm surprised you haven't also been confused by sellotape

  2. HA HA! Love it! I no longer say I speak English. I speak American and Spanish. Vernon(UK) and I(US)are constantly playing a game of charades when we speak to each other. We have fun with it and I give in and use his words sometimes and he gives in and uses my words sometimes. But he constantly reminds me that I do NOT speak English. :)

  3. Cheerio- I didn't know that's how it was spelled, but I did have a rather long discussion with my Scottish colleague about sellotape and hoovering as a verb for that matter as well. You crazy Brits!

    KimberlyJ- I recently realized that I'm now unconsciously using the British/Kenyan word instead of the American. I no longer rent my apartment, but I let a flat. I don't get off the bus; I alight from matatus. And I don't call people but I ring them, flash them, or pop by. I am also reminded regularly that I don't speak English or even spell it correctly for that matter.