Friday, January 9, 2015


Hi everyone! I'm back in the U.S. (boo) but my trip to the UK and beyond has caused me to ponder a bit about myself. (don't worry, this post wont be nearly as existential as it sounds...maybe!)

I took a class at my university in the fall entitled Global Literature (it sounds really easy, but actually it kicked my butt) and we talked in great detail about where people are from and how that influences their life experiences and in turn their writing. Almost all of the authors we studied were born in one country and lived in countless others for a multiplicity of reasons. My newfound knowledge regarding cultural identity and how it affects basically everything about an individual combined with my recent travels (in this context, primarily my UK travels) has sparked my curiosity about how I define myself and the way I talk/think/eat (yes eat, sounds weird but it will make sense soon)

My passport says I'm American.

My heart says I'm British. Despite the fact that I don't have an accent.

My parents tell me I'm French Canadian and Native American.

My name denotes that I'm Irish (Shannon) and Welsh (Griffiths).

My brain informs me (and then everyone else that asks) that I live in New Hampshire but I'm originally from California.

When I went to England the first time to study for 3 months, I felt awkward and out of place among the Brits. (well, I still feel that sometimes even now...but definitely less so than before) Despite the fact that we speak the same language, the language barrier is still a thing between Americans and Brits. It took time for myself and my American friends to feel truly comfortable in conversation with our British peers, and personally I occasionally still feel self-conscious about my "accent" when I speak around Mike/his family and friends.

However, this trip to England was different. I was fully immersed as I spent three weeks with Mike and his family/friends, the American influence that previously had acted as a sort of comfortable counterbalance for the newness of British culture and lingo vanished. However, I felt confident in my ability to discuss football (not soccer) on a very basic level with Mike's dad, order food and pay for it without feeling like an idiot and having to rummage through my purse for ages wondering which coins I should use (that's wallet for all the Americans reading this), and eat food in public without putting down my knife and fork every five seconds (in the UK and Europe the norm is to hold your knife and fork the entire time while you're eating, unlike in the U.S. where we pick our knife up to cut our food and then put it down again and so on) 

*cue existential questions about identity now*

I know I don't have a British accent and I wasn't born in a borough of London like Mike was, but I've spent enough time in England now that I feel like I belong there. I want to belong there. Perhaps it is my Irish and Welsh heritage that contributes to the strong magnetic pull that I feel towards England. Or, possibly my obsession with Harry Potter. Maybe it's both. I know that the connection that I feel is strong, but is it enough to say that I'm British because I feel British? Because I lived there for 3 months? Because I adore their way of life and their food? Because the person that I love is British?

I'm not a British citizen, but I might be in the future. wink wink Either way, my experiences in England have shaped the way that I view myself in a way that wasn't possible before. When Mike and I went to New York City last summer, we went into H&M and I spotted the most perfect shirt: a flag, half American and half Union Jack. I persuaded Mike to buy it, mostly because it was sweltering outside and he needed something cooler to wear but also because it was so fitting for us. Now that I think about that shirt, it not only represents Mike and I's relationship, but my relationship with England. My heart is there in more ways than one, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

until next time,


  1. This was a beautiful post! I'm only 17 so I've never done any prolonged periods of travelling or living abroad, so I could never imagine that people feel that way but you've really explained yourself well in this post. I think it's perfectly possible to feel allegiance to more than one country at a time and you shouldn't feel strange for it! I hope you do get the chance to move here in the future, if that's what you want :)
    Megan x

  2. thank you so much :) i love england and i would love to live there someday, it has my heart <3 my boyfriend lives outside of london so if everything goes as planned, it's a real possibility :) x

  3. Great post! I would love to go to London some day <3 And I know what you mean about now really knowing how to identify. I think its weird for Americans because we are American but then our families also often belong to so many ethnic groups. Sometimes I don't really feel like I even have a culture because it feels like Americans just sort of are. If that makes sense?

    Well anyway I hope you get to return to London soon! And stay warm through the rest of this winter! I'm from Michigan so I feel your pain.

    XO Katie @


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