No, British readers, I have not completely lost the plot. You know what a kettle is and I know what a kettle is. I bet almost every British person reading this has one in their house on the kitchen counter-top.

My point is that the same is not true in America. I’m quite sure that in the UK people do not stand in your kitchen and point at your kettle and say “What’s that?”

But this has happened to me here. More than once.

kettleAnd really perhaps this is what is just so tricky about living abroad. It’s not the big things that surprise you – you expect certain things to be different (like where the steering wheel lives on the car or always tipping in restaurants). Instead it’s the little differences that get you every time.

Because here is the shocking news.

Most Americans I know do not have an electric kettle. If they want to make tea they use one of these:


Or, more shockingly, one of these:


I know! Honestly, I can’t believe it – but it is true. And I’m no tea jenny. I’m quite happy with a bag of Tetley’s or whatever. No idea about breakfast or assam and all that (except I know I don’t like Earl Grey). But I do know that you are supposed to add hot water to the bag of whatevers, not put cold water in with the bag and nuke it. And I really do think tea should be hot.

Your thoughts on this dynamic and important issue are welcome readers.

n.b. Tea Jenny is a Scottish term for someone who drinks a lot of tea. I had no idea until right now that it was a specifically Scottish expression. You live and learn.