An American Anglophile
Anglophile: (n) A person who greatly admires or favors England and things English (Merriam-webster.com)
It all started off innocently enough. It was the year 1994 and I was eight years old.
Back then I was into my dolls and tea parties. My grandma was struggling to teach me the value of reading. What I began to realize was that reading was not as bad as I originally thought it was. It was in reading the children books of the American Girl Molly McIntire, in which Molly’s father is away fighting in World War II in a far away land I had never heard of called England, and in the fourth story a young British girl is to come stay with Molly and her family. Molly expects her visitor to look like one of the English Princesses, Elizabeth or Margaret Rose. The curiosity was awakened in my mind.
Here was talk about real princesses not just the Disney one’s I already knew and loved. So they were real after all! To make the young English girl, Emily, to feel at home, Molly starts planning her birthday party to be English themed. I was pleased to see that English people took crusts off of their sandwiches. That was and is how I like mine as well.
I was completely unaware that I was about to become an anglophile. I did not even know what an anglophile was! Who ever would have thought that 18 years later I would discover in another book that I am an “anglophile”. Jerramy Fine is an author and a fellow anglophile. It was when I read her book, Someday My Prince Will Come that I learned I too have a title to describe my admiration for the British, that I am not just some freak.
The first time I remember noticing anything to do with England was when I read.
After I read the autobiography of Jerramy, I began to think back. The older I got, more and more of British culture was seeping into my life. I became a fan of the Spice Girls, a fanatic of Harry Potter; my 10th grade teacher hosted an English tea part in class that was my favorite part of class the entire year. I started to read books by British authors like Jane Green and Madeleine Wickham, also known as Sophie Kinsella. On Dancing With The Stars, my favorite judge is Len Goodman who is British and my favorite actor is Robert Pattinson who is also British. My favorite make-up brand that I use daily just happens to be Rimmel London. One day I shocked my best friend and myself when I blurted out that I had to use the restroom but said so in a British accent! Over all, however, the most that has captivated me is the Monarchy. When I was younger, I thought I would grow up to marry Prince William being that he was the ideal husband in my child’s mind. As I grew up, I realized that I would never marry him but I loved learning about him, his brother Harry, his late mother Diana and others of the Royal family.
The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was exciting for me. Leading up to the wedding and after I bought all the magazines about this royalty that I could. I lied to my boss at work saying I needed April 29th off for work for a colonoscopy when in reality, I just wanted to stay up all night with my grandma to watch the royal wedding. Sorry but watching a day of history being made was far more important than spending eight hours at work in a job I hated. Now for 2012, I have the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics to look forward for.
Thinking about all of this leaves me breathless as I realize just how deeply this stuff runs. I never knew there was a word or anything to describe me and my love for British things. I guess in a way, I thought I was weird or not patriotic enough. Don’t get me wrong, I love being an American and love so many of my American ways or history of my Spanish culture but that has never lessened my interest in England and its history.
Reading the autobiography of Jerramy Fine, I found there are other people in the world like myself. Heck even celebrities like Madonna and Lady Gaga are anglophiles. These are people who in ways can relate more to the English people and love their ways. Jerramy is the one who taught me of the word Anglophile like I mentioned before. Her story was entertaining to read but also a mirror of myself and understanding my differences.
So thinking of myself, I realized I really, really admire the British. But I needed to research it so I could gather a better understanding of how it affected me. Doing research about anglophiles, I made a few startling discoveries that I never really realized before. For example, I tend to spell grey with an E instead of A of the American word gray. Sometimes I spell colour the British way as well. Another habit that I have that make’s me stand out is that I eat left-handed with the fork facing down and I am a right-handed person. Thoughts raced through my mind. Confusing thoughts. I had questions about this strange discovery. I have been raised in an old fashioned Catholic home. I know what I believe in but still, my mind wondered if there were other possibilities. If anything could ever make me even slightly believe in reincarnation, this was it.
Some people have theories that when people are reincarnated, some people can remember parts of their past lives. Could this be a possibility of me? Maybe the reason I did a few things differently and had such a fondness for British things was because in a past life I was a person from there. If that were even the slightest possibility, then I know for sure I was a past royal. Perhaps not Queen Victoria, but a Princess at the least.
Now, having lived the life I have, I cannot say that I believe in past lives for sure, but somehow, the idea has an old fashioned romantic feel to it. I have, to a point, become intrigued by the notion that somehow, my past life has seeped out and into my current one. I am trying to accept my thoughts and know I am not the only Catholic to wonder about reincarnation which is a slight comfort. In fact according to Wikipedia, In a survey by the Pew Forum in 2009, 24% of American Christians expressed a belief in reincarnation. In a 1981 Survey in Europe 31% of regular churchgoing Catholics expressed a belief in reincarnation.
Of course there isn’t any scientific proof of reincarnation just religious beliefs especially in Buddhism and Hinduism, though there are several other religions that have beliefs in it as well.
It is amazing to make these discoveries, not only to learn about myself but also to learn for as weird as I feel, I am not alone. I have only begun to research my soul to learn more and more about myself. I have never been one much for drinking hot teas, but two years ago, I decided my grandma needed gifts fit for a queen. Researching online, I found that Buckingham Palace has a gift shop. My grandma loves hot teas herself so I ordered her a box of peppermint and chamomile, along with some lavender hand cream. I fell in love with the peppermint tea. It shouldn’t surprise me that tea from the palace would be something I love. Discovering the new part of me, that was either hidden or unknown, is like finding a treasure as corny as it sounds. There is so much about myself that I do not understand and to make connections is truly wonderful in the path to knowing ones self. I never would have thought that reading a book could be such a lesson in life for me. The autobiography by Jerramy Fine, Someday My Prince Will Come, is one of the treasures in life that I was lucky enough to stumble across.
Whether it is the fact that I learned about anglophiles and myself, or the fact that I looked into something like reincarnation as a part of the equation, an important lesson has been learned. I am not a freak like previously thought. I am just a person who enjoys things differently than most people but not all. I think my appreciation for British things, like accents or authors might not make me unique exactly but it does make me stand out from other people in my life and I like that. I never have wanted to blend in with my friends and become invisible and I think being an anglophile is just enough to keep me separate, and as Ron Weasly from Harry Potter would say, that is “bloody brilliant”.