I’ve been living in the USA for eight months. I still cannot believe I live here, especially in Texas y’all (no, I do not say that out loud)! It blows me away every time I remember. As humans, we settle into new situations and circumstances very quickly as we are so highly adaptable. I’m really happy here, despite having the occasional bout of intense home-sickness. Some days I’d do just about anything to be back home in Queensland, but it only lasts for a few days. Life is pretty much normal here. My husband gets up each day and goes to work, I tidy up and settle into a day of writing or editing work. I chat with friends, people drop in, my husband and I enjoy $1.00 tacos every Taco Tuesday at our favourite taco place, we go grocery shopping or sight-seeing on days off; all the normal stuff people do. My surroundings are different than what I was used to in Australia, but the daily routine I have established just makes everything seem normal.
However, something strange has happened and I only realised it yesterday. When I first arrived, the American accents everywhere were really entertaining. It took me a while to be able to understand everyone and to not be shocked everytime someone spoke and an American accent came out. Making phone calls was so bizarre, as I just could not fathom an American accent answering the phone. It was so strange. Small children in stores speaking to their parents with cute little American accents, and the cashier calling out for assistance on the PA, with an American accent. It was just weird. Now I have come to expect it and barely notice it. But yesterday a news report came up on Twitter, and the reporter had an Australian accent. It sounded so strange. I realised that I am no longer used to hearing Australian accents and I can now hear what Americans hear whenever I open my mouth. I don’t even notice my accent anymore, so when people excitedly tell me how much they love my accent, I say, “I don’t have an accent,’ but I really do, and it’s still novel to many over here.
I asked my husband last night if I still sound Australian and he assured me that I do. I asked if I sounded slightly American to which he laughed and insisted that I do not. How is it that I no longer notice the accent differences but yet I still sound so foreign?
There’s a really lovely lady at the Mexican restaurant that we see every Tuesday ($1.00 tacos my friend), and she loves my accent. The first time we met she exclaimed, “I have no idea what you’re saying but I love your accent! She gets just as excited every time she sees me which again reminds me of how different I sound. When I speak to my Australian friends on the phone I notice how starkly different they sound to me now, and it makes me laugh.
What hasn’t changed is the different words I use to Americans. They think it’s hilarious when I talk about the letter-box, or the boot (of my car), or the power point (I can never remember what they call it here), or the kitchen bench (which they call a counter), or the lounge suite (which they call a couch). My husband and I actually had a full-on argument when I asked him to get me something from the ensuite. Apparently they call an ensuite a restroom or a bathroom. What if I don’t want to rest in that room, or if there’s no bath? Most ensuites don’t have a bath anyway. My husband honestly had no idea what an ensuite is, and I thought he was just being silly.
It’s funny how quickly we adapt. There will always be things I dislike about America and so many things in Australia that just make sense, and I now have to live without. But one of the things I know I’d miss if I left to go back to Australia, is the American accent.