Sunday, October 23, 2011

"WOW! You just said 'y'all'! (2 months in)

October 2011

So now I’ve spent 2 months in the USA, and whilst my list of things I’ve learnt is a lot smaller that after 1 month, there are still things that I am getting used to and experiencing. For one, I still don’t get crossing a road. Sometimes cars stop, other times they don’t. Different crossings have different right of way laws, and sometimes people stand in the middle of the road and blow whistles at you. So confusing! I’m sticking to the (so far, but not sure for how much longer) fair safe of simply just sprinting across the road…

I’ve also started watching the BBC TV series “Stephen Fry in America” which is fascinating to watch, as much of what he says about America and its culture I can relate to from my own experiences. If you haven’t seen it, I would highly recommend watching the series as it very entertaining. I'll apologise now, as I reckon I will be quoting and referring to a lot of his series as examples of what I’ve done and seen. It’s also great to watch a programme with a good, proper English voice in it!

So the list of things I’ve learnt this month:
  • Fosters does exist here in the USA. I found it in a supermarket type place. But it comes in two sizes – huge and fucking huge.
  • You get charged to make and receive texts and calls here. I hate the fact that some calling me cost me money. It doesn’t make any sense.
  • Adverts (commercials) for medicines (drugs) are pure hilarity. Every time I hear one it makes me chuckle. They spend 30 seconds telling you the wonders of the drug in a dreamy like way, and then 5 minutes telling you the side effects and how its bad for you in a very hard voice you would associate with a stern teacher. Absolutely fantastic to listen to!
  • Cheese is shocking here. All plastic and peeled out of a packet. It’s really not that nice at all. And it even looks crap, all plastically and horrible!
  • Picking up local dialects and words is a lot easier than I thought. Although this doesn't mean I understand people anymore often at all!
  • The size of food portions here mean boxes are sometimes offered as standard at restaurants. I mean to my logic, why put so much food on the plate and then offer a box? Why not put a little less food on the plate in the first place?! Fancy restaurants with huge plates and no food on them would really suffer here that’s for sure.
  • Pepsi and KrispyKreme Doughnuts originate from NC. I have been asked repeatedly if a) I’ve ever had a KrispyKreme (the answer being yes many times) and b) if we have them in the UK (the answer being yes, hence the yes answer to the first question). I do think they taste a bit different here though…
  • Oral sex is illegal in NC (I mean, really?!)
  • When asked if you want “a shag”, don’t think you’ve got lucky (or not depending on who it is I guess…). A shag is a dance, and not what British people associate it to be (that’s sex for you Americans). Anyways, apparently there’s a place called the “Shag Barn” in Chapel Hill somewhere. I definitely did a double take, thinking other things that would go on there…
  • Americans like to change what they call food to reflect their constitutional freedoms and world image. For example I heard a cracking story of the changing of the name ‘French fries’ (as in chips) to ‘Freedom fries’ back in the time of the attempt to go to war in Iraq, because the Bush Administration didn’t like the French’s lack of support. And so not wanting o be associated with the French they changed the name of fries. Only in America.
  • There are only three letters in the American alphabet: U, S and A.
  • Spunk as in “being spunky” does not mean what it does back home at all. I got laughed at a lot for that one…
  • It is illegal to sing off key in NC. Seriously, don’t try it.
  • I genuinely have become a convert to American Football (now I understand the rules!) - I love going and watching it. Though it will still continue to never have anything over Rugby…
  • Memorable quote (can’t remember who said it though unfortunately): “it seems weird that people in other countries have Facebook”. Oh dear! 
It seems amazing that I’ve been here two months now – it’s gone so quick, yet also so slowly. It certainly feels like I’ve been here a lot longer, and the next two months till I get to go home seems to stretch out in front of me. I guess I’ll just have to keep craicing on and keep busy and not do any work as per usual!

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