Thursday, August 14, 2008

My 1st Couple of Days

To be honest folks, I haven't had a very pleasant couple of days. I do want to make it clear that this is not because I have discovered any great dislike for the people or places of Rockwall, TX. It is in fact because I have a horrid headcold. I have no idea how I would have coped with the jet lag, but my body is pretty worn out trying to cope with the loogey as well.

As I said the first night here we went to the next-door burger joint, and I see I got the spelling wrong - it's Whataburger. I ordered a #5 (bacon and cheese) and was served a #4 (chicken). I didn't complain as it seemed a combination of my kiwi accent and the poor guy's lack of understanding of the system. I guess he was new.

The next day we met at 11am to go to Walmart. There seems to have been a big deal made about this store in the past but I can't say I was particularly impressed. Perhaps our local Walmart is relatively small, but it just seemed like a large-scale 'The Warehouse.' Other Kiwis will understand what I mean I guess. We quickly scurried about buying fruit and veg, meat and salt, laundry powder and whatever else we could think of without first making a list. We gave ourselves half an hour before we had to meet up again, but (cats again) we left about 45-50 minutes later.

Our next stop was "Best Buys" and again for the Kiwi's this is like a Noel Leeming or Bond & Bond. And here might be a good place for a diverting little story.

Greg is one of our group who was actually born an Australian. We like to tease Greg and say he comes from Tasmania. It's kind of like teasing a South Islander that they come from Gore. No offence Gore ;-)
Greg's main priority as soon as he knew we were going shopping was to buy an electric jug for his instant coffee. In the appliance section of Walmart he was unable to find an electric jug. He found a perculator, but this wasn't good enough - he wanted boiling water for his instant coffee!!

After much discussion across accents and lingo, it was established by the lovely people at Walmart that what Greg wanted was a kettle! But alas, such a contraption as an electric kettle has never been heard of! He was to buy one which would go on the hot-plate of his stove, that was all he needed. Not good enough for our loveable Tasmanian, electric it must be!

Now we arrive at Best Buys and guess what? You know it! He went through the entire rigamarole again with the staff there. Again it was established that Greg must be out of his mind to want something which doesn't exist. Finally by the end of the day he caved in to the pressure and bought a stove-top kettle from Walmart when we went back for some cheap cell phones.

Right, now I've gone on about this in quite a drawn out fashion so I won't sport with you for much longer because the long and the short of it is - we went to another store today, and.... there were electric kettles for sale. But Greg's already made his purchase. Ha ha ha ha ah ha ha ha oh oh oh oh ho hoho. Bloody Tasmanians!

Right, sorry about that. I just wanted to share. Poor ol' Greg. He's a harmless soul and he just wanted his coffee.

Back to the post though. There's no point going over all our actions step by step because I imagine that's just boring so here are some impressions from my point of view.

I found I was intimidated by the idea of talking to Texans. We've been told so often that we speak too fast for them. I almost don't want to open my mouth and give it a go! I think I've done pretty well so far as I'm concious of speed and the fact that Kiwi's are very lazy speakers. (We tend to slur our words to get them out faster.)
For the most part the people here have been really friendly. I'm still undecided as to whether this is a superficial thing or genuine across the board.

We concentrate so hard when driving to keep right, and for the most part it works. I only drifted to the left after a 3-point turn on a deserted street and got distracted by conversation. However there are so many little things right/left that we don't think about.
In the supermarket car park we automatically walk down the left thinking it's out of the way but forcing oncoming traffic to drive around us. *IN* the supermarket we push our trolleys to the left to pass others instinctively - just as they go to their right which really doesn't work as we end up on the same side!!

We expect tax to be included in the price.

I might not lose my Kiwi accent as fast as I thought I would, as we are very much a group of Kiwis. I'll keep you posted on that one.

Okay I can't think of much more to tell you for the moment. I passed the theory for my drivers licence but I'm not ready to sit the practical, a few of us are doing that tomorrow. Please feel free to ask me lots of questions - I'm not too sure what to write about just now. I have some photos of the little unit I'm living in - perhaps I'll post them up next.

Love, JLS.


kiwi mother said...

Hi Again! Sorry your cold has made you miserable. Hopefully it will have improved by morning. Good luck with your driving practical! Sounds like you are having fun (?) finding your way around! I guess one becomes used to driving on the opposite side of the road and steering trollies the "correct" way around the supermarkets? Are you finding the weather hot? Also, have you received any txt messages from me? I just put 00 1 in front of the number you gave me and hoped for the best!! Lots of love xxoo (zhoum my verification!)

Ju's little sister said...

Yes I've received your texts, thanks. I'm not sitting the practical for a while yet, not too confident right now. Aced the theory though.

Yep it's hot, and it's cold inside any confined space - cars and buildings all have aircon. This is set too cold for me!

I'm not sure about having fun just yet, mostly it has just been tiring.

Ju's little sister's aunt said...

Boy, does that bring back memories for me!! I remember I wanted to but some wool to do some knitting. I asked in the shop (store) (in Rhode Island) for some 'wool' and received a blank stare. We ended up discussing 'yaaan' (me) vs. yarrrrn (him) and I bought 'pins' to knit with (I thought they were for sewing!) It's a real voyage of discovery.
Americans are VERY patriotic and many cannot see the world in any other way! they are loud and joyful about their place in the world.
You will get the hang of driving on that side of the road - just make sure you are on a freeway or have traffic comiing the other way to keep you on your side. that ability will never leave you - it is imprinted in my brain even now.

It took me years to figure out why I kept bumping into others when going through doors and up the aisle in the supermarket. You are very clever JLS to figure it all out so soon.
Of course you will have a cold - different bugs and all those hours on the planes!

Anyhow - sit back and enjoy the ride! it is literally a 'once in a lifetime event!"
I am loving hearing how things are going!
I too had a lovely kettle - it even whistled when the water was hot! it didn't turn itself off though!

Love you xoxoxoxo

Raelha said...

Hi jls! I'm finally back. I'm sorry to have been away for so long.

In Texas eh? How's the driving coming along. It didn't take me too long to get used to the driving in Spain although I had real problems with the handbrake - I kept trying to take it off with my left hand and when it wasn't there I'd try and move off anyway and then wonder why I'd stalled. The most confusing part was going back to the UK for a friend's wedding but in the Spanish car. I had a huge hangover the next day and when I drove out of the hotel carpark - it was rural with no traffic around - I couldn't for the life of me figure out which side of the road I should be on. Even stopping for a couple of minutes to think about it didn't help - my head hurt too much. In the end I just continued cautiously until I found other traffic.

Hope the cold gets better soon.

Raelha said...
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