Always A Bit Of The Outsider

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It’s a perennial issue. How does one best fit in when you are not from where you are? We all attack the matter in our own ways.

I try to go about my business without making a spectacle of myself. Still, one does have to open one’s mouth. The other day, when we were walking the hound, a woman fellow dog walker we’d bumped into and chatted briefly with several times recently, apparently felt confident enough to ask me where my accent was from.

On Facebook a few years ago, I posted a short video I had shot of my wife having a laugh chasing our dog around our house in Christchurch. Our hound loved to steal newly delivered mail off the floor after the letter carrier had been pushed it through the letterbox. My voice was naturally all over it.

Hearing me in the background, one of my cousins, who lived in New Jersey and whom I had not seen since I was a teenager (but with whom I had become Facebook friends), commented that I had sounded “so English.”

I commented back to her that that would have been news to my wife. “When I start speaking fast,” I joked, “she says I start to sound like Jerry Seinfeld.”

In turn my cousin came back roaring laughing – insofar as anyone can laugh loudly via Facebook, of course.

One thing I’ve learned is that most people speak “softer” here than in most of the U.S. – especially compared to New York – and I have always tried to “mimic” that. But don’t kid yourself. If you are not from somewhere originally, you will never 100 percent “fit in.”

My overall take is always to appreciate that as long as I accept I will never entirely “fit in,” that it doesn’t matter. I aim simply to try to be respectful of how others live, and not to try to impose my own standards on someone else. However they do “it” back “at home” is irrelevant: I’m not “back at home.”

Another thing to do is always to try to enjoy varied, local beverages πŸ™‚

Old Jamaica Ginger Beer. [Photo by me, 2014.]
Old Jamaica Ginger Beer. [Photo by me, 2014.]

So you know, there is NO alcohol in that, okay. It’s a pleasant soft drink that I haven’t found on a supermarket shelf in the U.S.; at least not in New York. Great to sip while writing. πŸ™‚

Have a good Tuesday, wherever you are….


  1. Fitting in is always tough. Even if you’ve moved away, and then move back, you’ll find you’re stuck in a weird hazy area between the two. Things have changed so much from your original ‘home’ while you have changed and adopted mannerisms, ideologies, and culture from your new home. I suspect you might talk a bit about that in your books. Is Ginger beer like Root beer?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s true. You get stuck in-between to some extent. Sweden must be even more of a “culture shock?” My uncle has said that, over the years, I’ve become very “Anglicized”.

    I’ve found also that when I am away from the U.S. too long, even though so much is “global” nowadays, and TV is everywhere, a lot of new “pop culture” stateside goes right by me. I find myself feeling like a bit of an idiot. “So, uh, who’s she?” (When the entire country is talking about “her.”) Oh, and you’re absolutely right: ahem, I do get in a thing or two about all that in my novels. πŸ˜‰

    Ginger beet is a light-colored concoction that is a bit like root beer. But it’s less sickly sweet. It’s (I think) more refreshing. πŸ™‚


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