This is the counterbalance to yesterday’s post. Sometimes I feel a little ashamed of myself: perhaps I would have settled in better if I’d embraced all things American more wholeheartedly. But since a) I never wanted to move here in the first place and b) we’re going back in a year or two, I have been happily using modern technology to pretend that, essentially, I am still living in Britain. Here are my top tips.
1) Tune-In Radio. I have this app on my iphone, and have developed the following habits: listening to the Archers whenever I want a 15 minute break from whatever I’m doing; cooking dinner to the accompaniment of Front Row or The Joy of Six; downloading the Adam and Joe podcast and snorting embarrassingly with giggles on my commute; and (this is the worst), recording The World at One to listen to it an hour later over breakfast. I have discovered NPR, before you say anything, but their breakfast news doesn’t really do it for me.
2) Netflix streaming. Sherlock, Robin Hood and That Mitchell and Webb Look have all provided instantly cheering immersions in a world of British accents. I have made a stab at getting into American TV, but the tendency to air everything I want to see at 7pm (clashing with cooking dinner, qv) is a bit annoying.
3) Skype. I actually prefer Skype calls to normal phone calls, though not the ones to my father who rarely manages to get both sound and visuals working at the same time. And my sister and I tend to miss each other by setting our status to Invisible an awful lot, to avoid Dad’s silent calls. Still.
4) Facebook. I am a long-time addict, but now I also use it to catch up with the British weather and eavesdrop on complaints about TV series I can’t watch and animated discussion of elections I’ve forgotten to register to vote in.
5) Mumsnet. It is slightly ludicrous to get all my pregnancy and baby information from a site that assumes NHS pregnancy procedures and recommends stuff you can’t buy in America (cloth nappies? Karri-Me slings?). But I love it. It endeared itself to me the most the other day after someone posted about using arnica tablets to deal with a Caesarian and before I’d even clicked on the title, 15 people had already scoffed at the idea.