I was born and raised an Army Brat, and I thought I’d recognized all the quirks that go along with that. Some of these highlights include:
- The ever-present dilemma of how to answer the question of where I’m from. The only thing I’m adamant about at this point is that I’m NOT from Florida. If my entire immediate family wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be either. I despise the heat/humidity combo.
- I was born in Germany. Along with the look of surprise, Americans have told me that I speak English with no discernable accent more times than I can count.
- When I lived in Frankfurt, I had to convince Germans I was actually an American. (Sadly, I’ve lost my German fluency…)
- My accent. No one can place it. I’ve been told I sound Midwestern, southern, from Orange County, California. It changes depending on who I’m talking to. I’ve picked up British accents and German accents and North Carolina twangs. I can’t do it if I try, but I’ve often had to explain that it just happens and I’m not poking fun or being an ass. This happened just the other night…
- My educational level was questioned as a kid when I moved from Fort Polk, Louisiana, to Fort Devins, Massachusetts, where I attended a public grade school for 6 months. It was automatically assumed that kids from the South were far behind their Northern counterparts. Boy, were they surprised.
- Constantly having “itchy feet” syndrome, which means the longest I’ve been able to live anywhere as an adult before wanting to move on is right about 2 years. That’s about the average time I spent anywhere as a kid.
- I get bored way easier than I should. I figure this is because of traveling so much as a kid and experiencing new places and cultures on a regular basis.
This brings me to my latest discovery…
An inability to remember what slang is used where. In Yours Truly (an announcement about that coming soon), Izzie is from Atlanta. Where I went to college and where I moved back to for another couple of years after living in California. It’s not like I don’t have any experience with Southernisms anyway, because my mom’s from North Carolina. I’ve been picking away at the sequel to Yours Truly, and I had to text my lovely friend Ellen, who is Southern born and bred, to ask if Southerners say, “Whoa there, Nelly.”
That’s Midwestern, apparently. For the record.
I still haven’t come up with the Southern equivalent, which is driving me nuts. Any Southerners want to weigh in?
***Not sure why the caption for the image won’t show up, but it’s used courtesy of Liz Henry. The image is clickable.