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Flat Ballooned

I always thought the word "flat" sounded very posh. Over here, I heard it used for "apartment" all the time but it just seemed to have a much nice ring to it.

So, when we moved into our place in Belfast, I was so happy to give our address because I was able to tack "flat" at the beginning of it.

I proudly wrote it on all applications. In e-mails to friends, I made sure to write "flat", using the excuse that "that's what they call it here" when really, I was just so giddy to be using the quaint little word.

I am always getting "caught out" here for using the wrong word for the wrong thing. I've written before about the blank stare I frequently get from people. I always panic wondering if it's my accent or the actual word that people are not understanding.

I routinely get frustrated but not in an arrogant-tourist way just in a tired-I-live-here-we-speak-the-same-language-and-you-STILL-have-no-idea-what-I'm-saying way.

But "flat" has always been one of those words I was happy to adopt. It just made my little home seem all that more special.

And I was showing my pride of place when I began to give my address to the lady who stopped me on the street and asked if I'd like a catalogue.

I proudly spelled out my address to her, almost emphasizing that it was "flat" number.

She was such a friendly lady with a sweet disposition. It was the only reason I decided to get it in the first place as I figured she had a quota to fill and it was my birthday so why not give a gift back?

After she filled it out, she clarified:

"So it's an apartment then"

I looked a bit confused.

"Well I guess but..."

No no - it's a flat. It's a luxurious little cutesey posh flat!

"An apartment is in a building," she explained. "We use the word flat for.." and this is where her smile got diplomatic.

I interupted as it seemed she was trying to be nice.

"Oh, well, I'm Canadian and we don't have the word 'flat' we just use apartment for everything and..." I trailed off.

"Well, a flat is....well, an apartment is a bit upper level than a flat. Flats are more...well," with a smile "lower class."

And with a wave of her hand she smiled, proud that she had taught a foreigner the RIGHT way to describe a home. I guess I didn't look like the type to her who would live in a flat.

She wished me a happy birthday and I was on my way.

All these weeks of proudly proclaiming my residence, thinking I was decribing something fancy when it was actually the opposite.

Next time, I'll stick with what I know. Canadian.

***************

As for a birthday update, had a wonderful long weekend, got to chat with some of my bestest buddies, in addition to my mom and my grandma, and went shopping.

Then, a romantic dinner with D. Our 8th year out and still laughing my head off.

What more can a girl ask for on her birthday?

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