It’s been a month since I arrived in America and this is what I’ve learned.
1. American’s are articulate. Sure they can be direct but their ability to explain and discuss without resorting to um-ing and ah-ing is impressive. Even kids seem to be able to do this. I listened to an 11-year-old boy interviewed on TV about how he copes with being very sick. He wasn’t just articulate, he was funny and ironic and entertaining.
2. They take a ‘ less is more’ approach to English which I both admire and find annoying. They get rid of silent letters in words (all three in doughnut), leave out prepositions and are confused by commas. From the daily paper:
The dangerous conditions kept a lot of people inside this weekend, but those days off, made for a hefty workload Monday.
And they make up words. What the heck does transformationalising mean?
3. Relying on a GPS to get around in America is essential because road signs are overwhelming.
4. They don’t like small things. Small, medium, large is really large, larger, largest whether it’s a coffee, a burger or a car.
5. Because of #4, Americans need to have a lot of willpower. Even the recipes posted daily on the local news site serve 12 for heaven’s sake.
6. They do like to have choices. My visit to the supermarket will show you what I mean.
7. Going to the movies costs $4. Are you paying attention, New Zealand?
8. There are excellent shows on TV but between the local, national and catchup channels and online streaming, you need a degree to keep rack of them. More choices (see #6). It’s clear that traditional cable TV is dying and providers are getting desperate. One is offering a Oh-God-We’ll-Do-Anything Package to keep their subscribers happy. Speaking of degrees, America has embraced the internet to make it easy to find the cheapest flights, hotels, car rentals etc. Trouble is, there are so many choices.
9. Small town America is alive and well and its residents are polite and helpful and interested in the world. I’ve even had one or two correctly guess where my accent is from.
10. Double denim is a perfectly normal fashion statement. It is acceptable for adult men to wear denim dungarees in public, sometimes accompanied by a business shirt. This is probably not true in larger towns.
Categories: An American Adventure