It’s a perennial issue. How does one best fit in when you are not from where you are? We all attack the matter in our own ways.
I try to go about my business without making a spectacle of myself. Still, one does have to open one’s mouth. The other day, when we were walking the hound, a woman fellow dog walker we’d bumped into and chatted briefly with several times recently, apparently felt confident enough to ask me where my accent was from.
On Facebook a few years ago, I posted a short video I had shot of my wife having a laugh chasing our dog around our house in Christchurch. Our hound loved to steal newly delivered mail off the floor after the letter carrier had been pushed it through the letterbox. My voice was naturally all over it.
Hearing me in the background, one of my cousins, who lived in New Jersey and whom I had not seen since I was a teenager (but with whom I had become Facebook friends), commented that I had sounded “so English.”
I commented back to her that that would have been news to my wife. “When I start speaking fast,” I joked, “she says I start to sound like Jerry Seinfeld.”
In turn my cousin came back roaring laughing – insofar as anyone can laugh loudly via Facebook, of course.
One thing I’ve learned is that most people speak “softer” here than in most of the U.S. – especially compared to New York – and I have always tried to “mimic” that. But don’t kid yourself. If you are not from somewhere originally, you will never 100 percent “fit in.”
My overall take is always to appreciate that as long as I accept I will never entirely “fit in,” that it doesn’t matter. I aim simply to try to be respectful of how others live, and not to try to impose my own standards on someone else. However they do “it” back “at home” is irrelevant: I’m not “back at home.”
Another thing to do is always to try to enjoy varied, local beverages :-)
So you know, there is NO alcohol in that, okay. It’s a pleasant soft drink that I haven’t found on a supermarket shelf in the U.S.; at least not in New York. Great to sip while writing. :-)
Have a good Tuesday, wherever you are….