First it was half and half, a very confounding experience in which I discovered the 10 million different types of dairy product available for a single cup of coffee - you can read all about that in Half and Half, Coffee Tales in America, but as interesting as it was for me, it didn't hold a candle to the number of Australian expressions and words I could pour out in a matter of minutes, completely bewildering anyone within earshot I'm sure, during my initial appearance to American society.
I came to the US from Roma, a little town in the country, several hours drive from the nearest big city, to Louisville, Kentucky.
There were some differences.
I entered the supermarket and reached for a trolley, passed the lolly aisle looking for chook for tea. I would need a cuppa in the morning and strolled down the beverage aisle, needed bread for sangas, was perplexed when I couldn't find any proper barbie snags for tea on tuesday, or some bikkies for smoko. There were also no custard apples.
On the other hand, the clothing section had some really nice jumpers that would be great to wear with jeans, some pretty cool sand shoes, and I noticed, though not that I ever felt the need for one, bum bags were plentiful, but here in the U.S were called by a name I couldn't ever really catch myself saying in polite society. *blush*
I quickly realized that in speaking to the occasional older person who told tales of depression period menus mentioned eating 'coon', and they didn't mean cheese, at all!
I also learned eventually that a rubber wasn't what I thought it was. At the time I was very grateful NOT to have found out immediately because I would have run out of the office supply store mortified, and very, very red. Needless to say, hubby got a huge kick out of that and didn't tell me at ALL that what I should have called it was an eraser! I had to learn that myself.
I say eraser all the time now.
I am still horrified on occasion that there are names like um... Randy which means something completely different where I come from, and still chuckle every so often when people say 'meds'.. being that it is a brand of feminine product in my world.
I also found out after years of wondering, growing up with Sesame Street and hearing about it often, what a stick of butter was and that snowflakes really aren't as big as they try to make out on that same show either.
Then there are those items that are very much displaced in a car accessory store - boot, bonnet, rear vision mirror...
Though now, living in Texas, I have discovered a number of Texan phrases creeping in to my already renowned vocab, try mixing Australian and Texan together - ya'll want yall's cuppa now or wait until yall's tea time, or godamit, I forgot my money, can't go on smoko now, have yall got a couple dollar notes?... then realizing that many people here speak spanish, then add that to the mix..
hola, como estas? yall want tea now? Si? It probably would be worse but I can't speak much Spanish.
1 day ago