Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Learning to Speak "New York"

It is torrentially downpouring. I woke up to rain pounding my ceiling at about 5:30 this morning, and it has been pretty much constant since then. This rain in the summer thing is still a new concept to me. Where I grew up, rain is a winter activity. It patters down gently at various intervals in January and March, turning the hills a rich green. Summers, on the other hand, are hot and dry. I thought this was normal. But when I expressed my displeasure to the parish administrator this morning (“Why is it raining? Doesn’t it know yesterday was the first day of summer?”), she looked at me like I was from the moon. “We need it,” she replied, “it’s been so dry.” To this, I looked at her like she was from the moon. Dry is not how I would describe the lush, green New York forests or the moss collecting on the roof out my office window.

Miscommunications and misunderstandings like this are familiar to me at this point in my internship, but they still catch me off-guard. I am constantly amazed how things that I take for granted as “normal”, that it doesn’t rain in the summer, for example, are completely foreign here. Sometimes it feels like I’m speaking in a foreign tongue, some alternate form of English that involves such words as “snow-blower” and “dollrags.” Days like today remind me that while this place has become familiar, I am not yet bilingual.

No comments:

Post a Comment