Hello! This week’s post isn’t as poetic as the last; this is just a little reflection that I thought you might enjoy reading.
So, one of the first things people notice about me is my accent. I have an American and British twang to it. This is for a few reasons but it is mostly because I have moved countries three times in my life. A summary of my homes:
- Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A little note: I am fully Northern Irish, my parents and their parents were all born and raised in Northern Ireland.
- After 3 years of living in Belfast, we moved to Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA. (about an hour South-East of Boston) We moved because my Dad was going to Harvard and after a year he started working at Harvard.
- Two years passed and we had to move back to Belfast because our Visa ran out. We stayed in Belfast for a year until we moved to Scotland for Dad’s work.
- Currently we are living in Edinburgh and have been for 7 years. But we still go back to our old house for the Summer and February vacations.
British people say that my accent is predominantly American and American people think that my accent has a British twang, but that I also have some American in it. This is probably because I kept some of the American accent after moving back to Britain because of my age. Supposedly, people develop their accents by the age of 8. But as well as that, coming back to America often helps me keep it up, because I catch people’s accents. It’s funny, but I do.
We’re on vacation right now, back in Massachusetts. Every time we come back here; I remember living here. One of my funniest memories of living here is, in fact, my accent change compared to everyone else’s in my family:
My brother and I had been on a class trip to see Lobsters at a restaurant (Lobsters are well-known for being eaten in New England.*) I remember being really creeped out and scared of them, then as soon as I got a toy lobster – Lobsty – they seemed slightly less scary. Who could be scared of a fluffy, red Lobster with big eyes? Back to the story, after we went to see the lobsters and came home my mom filmed my brother and I talking about what we had seen that day:
Mom: “What did you see today?” *insert Northern Irish accent here*
Me: “A lobstah!” (That is a Boston accent in case you were wondering.)
My Brother: “A lobstur.” (That is a Northern Irish accent.)
I have proof that I was catching accents at a very young age. My brother isn’t as American as me but he has got a little twang to his accent.
I have a lot more to say about the confusions between different words (the biggest one, I think is pants-trousers.) A lovely memory of Preschool when we first moved to America:
I was talking to all of the girls and one asked, “Do you have a trunk?” I had no idea what a trunk was (it is the “boot” of a car) so I racked my little brain to try and imagine what a trunk was, I wanted to say yes but I couldn’t lie to them. Then, I had a stroke of genius, I imagined an inflatable slide that was grey and had floppy ears and big eyes at the side and for the slide part, a trunk – the trunk of an elephant. What else could a trunk be? I was slightly jealous that all of these girls had one except me. Later, I realised that it was the “boot” of the car that they were talking about and I felt really stupid. A lot of these differences made me feel stupid.
As I remember these memories and reminisce about simpler times, I realise that I haven’t changed that much, I am and always was a British and American girl. I used to get annoyed when people picked me out for being American, in Britain and British, in America. But now, I have accepted that I’m both. Both are homes to me. I love them both. Because, despite the accents and difference in some words and the weather, here and there are very similar. That’s probably why I can never choose between them. So, I’ve heard people ask me, what’s better Scotland or America? I can’t choose. And I hope I’ll never have to.
*Massachusetts is a State in New England.