Finding America

Me and Tarah

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When we flew across the Atlantic from London to Maryland in August 2012 I remember this conversation very clearly as we took a break between inflight movies.

Husband: (clears throat) ‘Of course, you know the World Cup is on when we’re out in the States.’
Me: (feigning interest) ‘Is it? Oh, how lovely…..’
Husband; ‘It’s in Brazil, so for us the timings are much better for watching the matches.’
Me: ‘Are they? Cool.’
Me: ‘Was this one of the main reasons you wanted to come and live in the States…? So we can watch the World Cup at more convenient times?’
Husband: (accompanied by mock horror and a smirk) ’No, not at all…. Good though, isn’t it?’
Me: ‘Yes, darling, I can’t wait.’

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m rather excited about the World Cup, and I was under no illusions that coming to the USA would mean an escape from the onslaught of football talk, football on TV and a football-themed life. 

The reasons I like the World Cup:
  • It’s in Brazil this year and I bet the opening ceremony is going to be amazeballs.
  • I do really like watching England play, even though it is generally a very painful experience.
  • I enjoy having a little sweepstake and the final is always more exciting if your sweepstake team is in it.

Three things. Just three things, mind you.

Since March we’ve been scheduling our calendar around the World Cup games and I’ve received many raised eyebrows and loud exhalations of air when I’ve suggested even a slight deviation from the schedule or compromised the watching of a game when trying to arrange an event.

So, I thought, sod it. It is what it is and I can enjoy it (I shall, for sure), but I shall also make my own World Cup Widow fun and activities whilst I’m the USA.

This is my list. Feel free to pick and choose for yourselves.

      1. Make friends with some gay folk. There are many reasons for this.
a.       Gays are fun to hang around with. Full stop.
b.      Some gays like football and will have football parties. You know that these parties aren’t going to be all boring and just about watching football – they will have a cookout and dancing and nudey-hot tub sessions, so they will be super-duper fun, and no one will care if the USA or England wins or loses by the end of it.
c.       Some gays will not like football and they will undoubtedly be happy to take you shopping at Marshall’s or Kohl’s, or even Nordstrom, if you’re lucky. 

2. Book the Christmas vacation – and make it Brazil. Tickets will be cheaper for December and you can suddenly announce it in front of all his friends during half time:

‘Darling, I got you something!’
‘Tickets to fly to Brazil!’ (Wave a piece of paper around, or better yet, a picture of Rio.)
His mates will all go: ‘No way, you lucky bastard!’
And you will say: ‘Yes, we fly 23 December! And I paid with your credit card! How exciting is that?!’

And, because he is with his mates, he will not want to make a fuss or create a scene. Job done.

And then party like it’s December 2014 in Brazil J

Actually, you can get away with announcing quite a few things when his mates are around as, if your other half is like mine, he tends not to respond negatively to my inane suggestions in company.

3. Buy a big hat and pretend you’re a rich British aristocrat. There is no other reason to do this, other than it’s something fun to do when the game is on.

Really go to town on the British accent. Order or make tea and be all lah-dee-dah, and poo-poo  lemon and sweetener, get a proper milk jug and dunk in a Custard Cream.  Keep being posh and drink tea and say posh British things during the game.

4. Write a letter to a prisoner in the USA. Tell them about your World Cup sentence and liken it to their jail term. Who knows, they might write back. You can always invite them along to Brazil in December.

5. Move things around the house when the game is on. This is a super entertaining thing to do, because you get a right kick out of it when they’re looking for their socks and they find, for example, wooden spoons and plastic spatulas. The only downside to this is that you do have to move things back eventually, which is not so fun.

It also takes the smugness out of this recurring conversation we have EVERY day:

Husband: ‘Where’s my…[such and such]?’
Me: ‘In the [thingymabob], where it’s always been.’

However, it’s especially fun if your husband has mates round and you swap the beer in the fridge for, for example, your make up or bras or even pantyliners. See – confusion and hilarity will ensue.

6. Play World Cup bingo with yourself (not a euphemism).
Every time a country, word or phrase is used, pour yourself a large G&T and shout ‘Cheers!’. Then the game is DEFINITELY much more fun.     

      7. Make up Daily Mail-type stories about the players. An example might be: ‘It was just reported that Gary Cahill slept with a goat.’ Or ‘Adam Lallana has three testicles.’
These stories will then get passed round and you can pat yourself on the back when you see the story on Twitter. (Although, in retrospect, it’s a bit mean and slanderous to make up stories about innocent people, so just tell the Americans about Wayne Rooney’s true and rather worrying misdemeanor and see if they actually believe that one.) 

      8. Speak in an American accent when the USA are playing. This will be quite annoying. Even better, slip between various States and regions if you can. And, when one of the British lads asks you for a top up on the crisp bowl, make sure you say back something like: ‘Oh, y’all want some potato chips, do ya? Comin’ right up, honey pie.’ Don’t let the accent slip through the entire game. Ever.

9. Keep asking both Brits and Americans the difference between football and American football and soccer and rugby. Do this a lot and pretend you really care. And then when they’ve explained it all in detail, tell them you actually still don’t get it, but thanks for their time, and you prefer tennis instead and can’t wait for Wimbledon.

10. Or…give up the widow-ship and sit down with a beer and watch the game. Sometimes, you know, that’s the best thing of all, and maybe the least expected from both sides. (Although I imagine I will partake in no. 2, because I think that is a rather excellent idea!)

Happy World Cup, whatever you do! (And ‘Come on, England!’)

About the author: I'm Claire and I'm a British housewife writing about American bits and bobs. I've lived in Columbia, Maryland for 18 months and I like to write about all the things that confuse, amuse and bemuse me about being in the USA. I like to observe and compare our quirky traits, personalities and oddities because there are many and they are endlessly fascinating. From breaking into mailboxes, to choosing the Spanish option at the checkouts; from polarised poverty and wealth, to getting my head round guns and the glamour of politics; from my mission to crush stink bugs, to the American obsession with pulled pork; and from the wonder that is the PTA, to American attitudes to nudity - I write about it all! You can find my blog at


  1. I'm confused Claire surely the world cup would be right up your alley? I mean there is enough eye candy to stock a candy store in it isn't there? I suppose you mean you don't wanna watch every blimmin match....still look on the bright side at least there's no time difference so he won't be watching it at night.

  2. Yes, they are rather smashing some of them! I like the USA chappy with the dreads the best! :)

  3. Same here, I like the world cup this year because its Brazil. I don't know, I just simply like them ahaha
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