It gets old, hey. Having an accent. I used to think men with accents were the epitome of desirable. They were the unattainable. Humpback? Meh. Humpback with a Scottish accent? I can overlook anything.
I was excited to be the one with an accent when I moved here. I thought, I know America is the anti-Christ but surely my accent is still sexy? People are going to LOVE listening to me talk. It’s going to be great.
I either underestimated the dislike of the American culture or the ridiculing nature of the Australian sense of humor. Long story short, my accent was not hot and it did nothing but single me out as one of those people from the arrogant nation. The nation of loud mouths, big heads and bigger personalities that needed to be recognized. Pre-empt any judging of me not “getting the sense of humor” – I have a very harsh, sarcastic sense of humor. The next bit is not me “not getting it”.
I’ve been here four years but my accent suggests I’ve just stepped off the plane. My coffee shop job has me talking to people every day, and not one goes by where someone doesn’t say – “Nat! MAH-cha. NOT MOH-cha.” or “Carmel? Don’t have it. CarAmel, sure.” It took me a year to even HEAR the difference.
My name is even up for debate. Natasha or Natosha? Every time. Its Nat now, because to be honest, I don’t know how to answer their question. I don’t know what to think of living in a country where I don’t even know how to say my own name anymore.
It WAS cute and funny at the beginning. And then the “sepo” started. Ok, haha. 3 years later? Old news. Hearing people ask Benny Mac how he can handle being with an American, I mean, she can’t even say “fast”! The grocery store people who pretend like they can’t understand me when I say “oregano”. It takes an extra 5-10 min to find my herb. Oh wait, did I just not pronounce that h in herb? Oh wait again, you even say the letter H funny? Don’t you know how WRONG you are saying it? Oh my God, you must get this all the time!
You’re right. I do.
Benny Mac came to the states and everyone that met him had stars in their eyes. Did you just say mate? Let me buy you a drink. Nat- When ARE you marrying this guy? Have you heard him speak?!
Result- “Nat. I don’t understand why you don’t like having an accent. This is great!”
But you know who does like my accent? Children. They love it. They copy me; they pick up my accent within an hour. I’m pretty sure one of the babychino regulars only likes me washing the chocolate off her face because then I call her “Darlin’ ” When children are around it’s the only time I am comfortable with my voice and don’t feel alone.
Is that sad? Is it sad I would rather hang out with the 13-year-old who likes to brag that her change in accent is because of her American friend than the guy at the pub who was going to buy my a drink, but now that he’s heard me speak he’s not so sure?
I miss blending in. I miss not being heard because they’re too busy listening to my inability to speak.
It’s such a subtle complaint. I feel like a whiner. At least I speak the language well, right? I don’t have to deal with racism in the traditional sense. I feel weak, complaining about this. It’s because it IS weak and there are worse things.
There. I’ve vented, my first ex-pat super vent on this blog. Phew.