Thursday, 21 July 2011
I’ve lived in England since 2005, but it hasn’t been until I moved to Port Nerd that I’ve actually felt like I live in this country. Nerdtown was quite an international town and at least half if not more of the people there were from elsewhere in the world. I actually knew relatively few English people in comparison to other nationalities, particularly North Americans.
Since moving to Port Nerd though, I finally feel like I live in a proper English city. That’s not to say there aren’t people from elsewhere living here; but I encounter more English people than anyone else. I have a desk in a large shared office at the department and I’m the only non-English person in it.
I’ve also encountered more people who are curious about my nationality. Unlike Madonna, Gwenyth Paltrow and other pretentious American twats, my American accent has not changed one bit since I’ve moved here. Granted, I use some British English words instead of American ones on a regular basis, but I do this for the sake of clarity. I live in their country so I should use their terminology in cases where the equivalent American terms may lead to a misunderstanding. That aside, after hearing me speak, the English are often quite curious to find out where I’m from. I’m usually surprised that most of them know New Hampshire exists and at least generally where it is located. And since I currently live in the county of Hampshire, I make a joke about it being only right that I spend some time living in the ‘old’ one since I grew up in the ‘new’ one.
What I find really funny is that most of them are a bit shocked to find that I’m American at all. Several colleagues, my landlord and the service representative I talked to when setting up my home internet connection all thought I was Canadian. I think this has to do with the fact that I don’t have a distinctive regional American accent. My accent is quite generic actually and I tend to be rather soft-spoken when talking to new people which is a contrast to the unfortunate yet widespread stereotype of the loud American.
It all gets even more entertaining when I’m doing fieldwork in Italy. I work on a project that is primarily composed of English and Italians researchers. When I was there in April, I was answering an English grammar question from two of my Italian colleagues (the project documentation is all in English hence the question) when one of them realized I was American and exclaimed happily “Ah! No wonder I can understand you so much better than the others.” That totally made my day. And it gave me something else to taunt my English colleagues with (besides the staples of choking at international sporting competitions, horrific dentistry and having possibly the most depressing weather in the world) when they decide to rag on my nationality.
It’s the little things (euphemistic pun intended) that make living here so much fun.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ORN: I ran twice last week and done jack all so far this week. Consistency is not my forte.