I arrived in Ohio almost a month back now on the 3rd of January and so how am I finding it here? What are the people like and what are my experiences of them?
Firstly. I love it here in Ohio and the States in general although my total experience so far is of Ohio only. I am told Ohio is in the Mid West but it looks like it is in the East to me, right to the West of Pennsylvania. Directly to the North is Lake Erie and Ontario Canada. That means we can get some pretty cold weather here and I am learning the meaning of new weather terms such as Lake effect snow. I am also having to work out the temperatures in Fahrenheit again for the first time probably since the 1970s.
Today has been cold … very cold with the wind chill factor … about -9C. Brass monkey weather and a salutary lesson was learned by me. “Don’t forget your hat and gloves.” This from my lovely Kit. But well I looked at the sun shining outside the nice warm cosy apartment and replied. “Ha. They are for wimps. My coat will be fine.” My destination was less than a half mile away, the residents centre where I usually sidle off to for free coffee and cookies of an afternoon. I set off on my walk heading directly into the wind. And learned a lesson. If an Ohioan tells ya to wrap up … you damned well wrap up. I am sure my eyeballs froze along with my saliva. The wind on my face was so cold it gave me ‘ice cream headache’. By the time I reached the centre I had lost feeling in my extremities. But hey the coffee restored me along with the free cookies. Walking back later wasn’t quite so bad as I now had the wind behind me. Tonight by the way is supposed to be down to -15C. I will not be going out.
The residents centre? Oh yeah. I paid my first visit there today in a few days to pick up my electronic key card. That means I can use the facilities here 24/7. And the facilities are great. There are two gyms. One includes tanning beds. Tomorrow I head off to the gym to try out the treadmill and some other contraption that looks deadly but I hope will transform me into a Charles Atlas lookalike within a month. Kit thinks it may take a little longer than that though. Not sure how to take that? And who knows I might even try to get a tan sometime in fact dammit I will. We also have a private cinema, a billiards room and swimming pools (not open at the moment obviously as they are outdoors) and even a computer room in case my laptop ever goes tits-up.
Since I have arrived here apart from noticing the cold I have also experienced the language. Yea I know the obvious ones like not asking if you can have a fag (I don’t anymore by the way. Been almost three months now since the last one) and remembering to call a handbag a purse. But there are so many others I have stumbled across. Not just in words but also in pronunciation. Listening to TV and wondering what a Hoonday is? Some kind of new car make? Nope, in the UK we call them Hyundai’s pronounced High Un Die. I have to remember that a central heating boiler is a furnace. Knickers or undercrackers are displayed in-store as ‘intimate apparel’ … honestly. I took a photo to prove it, although in hindsight maybe an interest in photography around the aforesaid display could have been misconstrued. And I mustn’t ask for the loo but the Rest Room. I get countless moments of mirth with Kit after a visit with that one. “Hope you had a good long rest babe?” never ceases to amuse my small mind and bring a grimace to my other half’s face. Also lorries are trucks, car boots are trunks and hoods are bonnets. I also think the tyres here are all worn out as they are tires.
I suppose that the one that brings me the most confusion though is ‘route’. In the UK it is pronounced root to rhyme with suit. Over here it is pronounced rout to rhyme with out. When we are out and driving I get surprised when Kit seems to start talking about woodworking, the same with the radio traffic news. In the UK routing or to rout is a woodworking term for a rotating cutting tool. And so this causes much fun as we rout along route 70.
But enough of American/ English pronunciation for today. There will be more on this I am sure and I need to use the rest room before I go to bed ….. to rest. Night all and Buenos noches.
(C) Stan Rogers 2010