How to Talk to Someone with a Foreign Accent


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Having lived in England for 15 years I got used to the question- usually accompanied by unnecessary levels of enthusiasm- “Where are you from?”

The conversation would usually go like so:

Stranger: “Your not from around here!”

Me: “Weeeeellll I do live about 15 miles down the road but not originally.” (thinking “drop it drop it drop it”) or alternatively if I’m in a hurry:  “No I’m from America, but I’ve been here 15 years with my husband.” and if I strike lucky its followed by skipping the conversation to to **

Stranger: “Oh cause I have family in Canada/Vanvouver/Ireland/America.”

Me: “Oh that’s nice.” (drop it drop it drop it)

Stranger: “Yeah so what part are you from?”

Me: “I’m actually from California.”

Stranger: ** “WHAT??? What on earth are you doing here?”

Me: “Well my husband is British and this is where we settled.”

Stranger: ‘You are crazy. Do you miss the beach? Is it weird when it rains?”

THERE… that is the moment.

The moment I HATE the most am the most uncomfortable with. I was born and raised in California. I didn’t set foot on a beach before I was a ten. I lived NO WHERE NEAR A BEACH! Like 200 miles away. I did however grow up with snow every winter on the doorstep. Yes our summers were hot but our winters were cold and no we didn’t surf… ever. Or roller blade by the beach…  Or see Hollywood stars… Or your second cousin twice removed who lives in Santa Barbra. I developed a fantastic British accent which I pulled out of the bag when I was shopping and I really couldn’t stand to have to talk about my origins… yet again.

So here I am: home-sweet-home and the conversation goes like this:

Stranger: “Hey are you Australian?”


xx Jo

4 thoughts on “How to Talk to Someone with a Foreign Accent

  1. I have to confess that I have been thisclose to being That Person. One of my instructors last semester is a nurse-midwife from Wales. I almost asked if she knew you because hey Wales is really small, right? But I stopped myself. Good thing too because now I’m pretty sure you weren’t even in Wales, right?

    It’s not like when people find out I’m from here and ask if I know such and such. This town is so small that usually I do. 🙂

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