Monday, June 30, 2008

English

Evan and I were sitting on a bus stop bench last week, talking -- as we often do these days -- about our impending move to the States.

"When we get to New Jersey, you and Daddy and Julia are going to have to show me everything," Evan reminded me for perhaps the eight dozenth time. His face was sweetly anxious, his high pitched voice decidedly British in its apprehension.

I wrapped my arm tightly around him and pulled him closer to my side. "We will, don't worry," I assured him, just as I've done so many other times in the past several weeks. "There are lots of wonderful things about New Jersey that you're going to love, and we're all really looking forward to sharing them with you."

Evan nodded solemnly. He'd heard this many times before and had clearly just wanted me to say it again. But this time, a new concern had occurred to him. "And if people there don't speak English, what will I say?" he asked as the worried look spread back across his features.

I tried to turn my amused smile into one of reassurance. "Oh, don't worry honey," I replied as gently as I could. "They speak English in America." The older English woman who was sitting beside Evan on the bench let out a snort. "Of a sort," she remarked dryly.

Evan looked confused. I automatically laughed, wondering guiltily as I did so whether I was being disloyal to my American roots in my amusement or whether my reaction was actually more American than anything else. And then we climbed about the big red bus and rode off up the left hand side of the street, Evan musing silently about the puzzling cipher that is America and me about the one that is England.

6 Comments:

Blogger Suburban Hippie said...

Give Evan an extra hug from his Auntie Gretchen, okay? Because he is nervous. He will, of course, be fine. Lucky boy has awesome parents and a formidable big sister. So, you know, he's covered.

The "of a sort" remark made me laugh my ass off, because I have always thought that about American English. This is partially why I'm such an insufferable Anglophile.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Iota said...

How rude. At least you won't have to deal with that kind of comment in America. People are much too polite!

9:56 AM  
Anonymous steve said...

...plus, he's got friends here to ease the transition. : )

12:46 PM  
Blogger E said...

In New Jersey they speak something closer to English than Vermonters do...Aiuup

10:02 PM  
Blogger Rebecca Ramsey said...

Hey Rebecca!
I love your blog! And this post brought back such memories!

Before we moved home from France, my 4 year old kept saying, "But I don't want to move back to Africa."
His brother and sister kept answering, "Sam, it's AMERICA, not Africa!" They tried tempting him by telling him that in America, restaurants have little windows cut in the sides so that you can just drive up and they'll pass you food right into your car!
Sam gave them the eye and said, "You're making that up!"

We did deal with reverse culture shock, but now we're at home again.

I look forward to reading more posts!
Becky

2:41 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

This was priceless in every way. Loved the "of a sort" comment. So glad you are recording these moments.

11:09 PM  

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