Sunday, 9 December 2012

Up too late...

Found another old post that just never got finished...this is from when I was stranded and job-less in Wisconsin in 2010:

I definitely should be sleeping, but so far the phone has rung from Korea about 4 separate times - only one of which was pre-arranged - so I feel a little like this is part of my current job. My current job being job-hunting of course. I have a spreadsheet and everything - never let it be said that I do this stuff half-arsed. Oh, and an interview might (note the cruelty of that 'might') be scheduled for 7am tomorrow. Good times.

So, America. This is what I've been meaning to write about. I have now been in the US for much longer than any time since I was 9 years old. My accent has totally changed: an interviewer today told me I have 'no trace of a British accent'. This was more than a little disturbing. But I like it here. I like it a lot better than I ever thought I did. I mean I wasn't totally self-loathing about being American before, but I feel more comfortable with it now than I can remember. Obviously as a little kid I really was just American - I knew I was 'half-English' but I knew it in the way I knew that my favorite color was purple.

I think my favorite thing about American culture is the willingness and energy put into trying to improve. Misguided though some of these attempts are (ahem... Tea Party) there's an awful lot to be said for trying. I also hadn't realised how much there is to life here beyond what you see in movies and tv. Shameful for an American I know, but I've been seeing the country in 2 week bites for over a decade now - and most of those 'bites' have been confined to small-town Wisconsin. It isn't all Wal-Mart for sure. And honestly I do not understand why Americans think they aren't friendly. I've been told this by a few extremely friendly people, and I really think they need to visit the UK to see what 'not friendly' looks like. I mean really - I knew the Midwest was known for it, but there seems to be an epidemic of people who like to chat to other people. Nice ones who want to say nice things at that. No wonder people started tipping service staff here.
I've been meaning to write about how it feels to live in America after almost 20 years. Everything I wrote before still applies: I'm still learning about things that aren't on tv and movies, and I still have "no trace of a British accent" most of the time (which makes it more confusing when I get idioms wrong - like saying 'done in one' instead of 'one and done'). There are some things I don't love (fast food chains and the healthcare system come to mind), but it's really interesting to live here after so long in other places. And I'm always surprised by how much I fit in: everyone I know is very accepting of my 'outsider status' - even if I eat weird food :)

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