[Jacky Linares | Contributing Writer]
My parents are the kind of people who get angry with me when I come home five minutes late after curfew; even if the curfew is something like 8pm on a Friday night. They’re overprotective and I was nervous about telling them that I was going to study abroad in England. I mentally prepared myself for the excrement to hit the fan.
However, it didn’t, and they were supportive of the idea. This boggled me for a while. After many cups of coffee discussing this with friends, we have arrived as to why: they realised that I was raised by the British. I’m a Guatemalan-American, California grown nineteen-year-old and British have had a significant hand in raising me. My parents are acknowledging it, and for the first time, so am I.
J. K. Rowling was the one who wrote the books that helped me learn English in elementary school, when my immigrant parents could not. Those books helped me pass my spelling exams in the first grade, when my Spanish-only brain didn’t understand words like ‘socket’ or ‘broth’. When I was learning the word ‘success’, I asked my dad what it meant, and he told me about the Beatles. How they were the greatest band that ever graced human ears, and to reach that level of glory was to be truly successful. “It is be like one of the 4!” he shouted with his heavy accent over Lennon’s voice blaring on the radio.
Later, Steven Moffat’s Sherlock would make me feel better about being called a jerk by my high school peers. I’ll admit that I was acting awful towards them, but Sherlock made me understand that an ‘arrogant know-it-all’ isn’t the worst thing to be. Better than being an idiot who takes a history Jeopardy Review game too seriously anyway. Please.
I could go on. But to sum up how British culture has shaped me, I chose to be an English major despite the many warnings I got about being unmarketable, with a ‘useless degree’ in a bad economy.
I know well enough, that the little that I do know about British culture is the sprinkling amongst the American ideals and education that got shoved down my throat. Stuff like watching Doctor Who and knowing that Shakespeare is a god. This is what makes me nervous about studying abroad. People warn, “Don’t meet your heroes!” This is kind of like that. What if my American humor (because I’m very funny there, I assure you) comes off as rude? Or what if people don’t understand what I’m saying due to my American accent that’s drenched in Californian lingo? And is it true that the British put milk in their tea?
I want to believe that my concerns are petty, and that I just need to keep calm and carry on. Right?
Watch this space for more about Jacky Linares’ experience!