Friday, September 15, 2006

Cruise Director

I have to admit I’m getting pretty excited. Three weeks from today, my oldest friend (in terms of years of friendship, not age, I hasten to add) will be arriving for his first trip to New Zealand. It’ll also be the first time that anyone from back home has visited since 1999.

It’ll be a big adventure showing my friend around my home. I’ll be playing tourist a bit myself, actually, since we’ll be visiting a few of the places I haven’t seen, either. Some photos from that adventure will show up here, of course.

Many of the people I know in
America are put off coming to New Zealand by how far it is and how long it takes. It can also be an expensive trip. I fully understand that, since it’s restricted the number of trips we’ve made back to the US, too.

Even so, it would be nice to have more visitors. After living so long in New Zealand, I sometimes just don’t notice the things I used to, so it’ll be interesting to see the country again through someone else’s eyes.

It’ll be interesting, too, to see if my friend’s visit will give me an accent recharge. For some reason, Kiwis now seldom realise I’m American unless I tell them. I have no idea what they’re on about, since the accent I hear in my head is the same as it’s always been.

Some have suggested it’s because I’ve picked up Kiwi slang. Others have suggested that I sound Canadian rather than American (and these days, sometimes it might be best to let them think that…). Some have even suggested that I sound a bit like a Southlander, where their pronunciation of the letter “R” is more like my own. I doubt that, somehow.

There’s some Kiwi slang that I simply won’t use, like the word “mate”, for example. I just think it sounds really silly when a fully American-accented person uses the word “mate” like a Kiwi (keeping in mind that the accent in my head is as American as it ever was).

Still, I’ve adopted a lot of other words and phrases, many of which will no doubt pop up in this blog from time to time (if you don’t understand something, post a comment). I’m also aware that some of my pronunciations have shifted; that hard American “R”, for example, has softened somewhat, at least in some words (like my own name).

Still, I’ve been here long enough, and picked up enough Kiwi slang and inflection that at least some of the time, under the right circumstances, I just might pass as something of a local. In some ways, I am a local and, I have to admit, I enjoy showing people around my home.

1 comment:

Jason in DC said...

I hope you have a good line up of guest stars just like in the Love Boat when I arrive.

And it is a long way 20 hours on a plane. But I'm sure I won't have any trouble getting there.

Looking forward to seeing you in just 2 weeks.