First Thoughts & Impressions – NYC
As we set up home in Brooklyn not only are Nick and I wanting to get out and explore our new surroundings but we’re also hoping to make the unfamiliar familiar. You might be thinking that surely America can’t be that dissimilar from the UK or Australia, for one we speak the same language but I’ve certainly had my fair share of people asking me to repeat myself in order for them to understand me. I’ve also had people say to me that they’re ‘impressed’ with my grasp on the English language! I’m not sure if that’s because people think I’m from Austria or not?! I’ve even been asked ‘what language we speak in Australia’.
Apart from being misunderstood due to my accent I’ve also learnt that there are in fact different meanings attached to words, words that in Australia mean one thing and here in the US mean another or don’t mean anything at all. Some of the more subtle differences that I come across daily are: bathroom / restroom, jumper / sweater, main course / entrée, hash key / pound sign, just to name a few. Although the culture shock of moving Stateside is not as extreme as if we moved to say Mozambique, Nick and I still have to become accustomed to a whole new bunch of ways of living like: American mannerisms, cross walk and pavement etiquette, tipping, ‘solid’ deodorant, temperature conversions and cooking measurements.
Speaking of cooking measurements, I’ve found that US cooking measurements and differently named ingredients make for a rather interesting trip to the supermarket. Take buying ingredients for a simple cake recipe. A task that generally takes about 10 minutes, can take up to 40 minutes as it involves searching for ingredients that have different names or have the same name but have a meaning that’s at odds with what you know. You are only ready to hit the checkout after consulting not only fellow shoppers but also your American friend on the phone. Then once you get home you realise that the actual measurements are all different too! Needless to say there is a lot of conversion ‘google-ing’ in UK to American baking. But of course, with that being said these things are just apart of the experience of living abroad.
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