What I like about you is…

strawberry shortcake gum

So it’s been three glorious months in the United States. And somehow, despite my staggering foreignness, I have not been kicked out, thrown in jail, or even spat at in the street.

I think this is because I can match (and sometimes surpass) the American enthusiasm for Things We Didn’t Know We Needed. I’ll admit that I spent quality time last week opting Rebecca and myself out of marketing lists for our email, phone and postal addresses – but I do delight in coming across the new and exotic:

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Teaching the language (after I learn the language)

I’m half-way through my class in Teaching English as a Second Language, and I fear I’m losing the ability to speak.

The “TESL teacher” has unkindly acquired the reputation for being someone who (a) has no idea what they really want to do and (b) looking for job anywhere but home.

I’m taking the opposite approach by (a)  knowing exactly what I want to do (one of these days I’ll tell you) and (b) wanting to work where I am right now  (you get to keep hold of your green card that way).

Teaching English to furriners fits perfectly with what I want to achieve professionally in the United States. One small issue is that when you teach English in America, you are expected to teach American English. Which is a little inconvenient for an immigrant like me.

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Saving the world (or not – we’re fine with that as well)

Paper recycling binsIt’s not easy being green. And frog or not, it’s next to impossible to be green in Springfield, Tennessee.

Attending Nashville’s Earth Day event just two weeks after our arrival in Tennessee gave me a taste of how it could be here. Expecting very little, I was impressed and delighted by the diversity and enthusiasm on display. There is so much good work going on in terms of community food, conservation, recycling, mass transit etc. But none of this has made it into the mainstream yet.

Once Americans are sold an idea, like wireless everything or hand sanitizer they embrace it with zeal. But it can be a hard sell, and the concept of “choice” is so hard-wired that nothing must appear forced. I’m seeing far more innovation in the form of a 28th flavor of Pop Tart or yet one more way to consume cheese than a genuine way to save energy or reduce waste.

There are bigger problems we could have, but moving from a small Scottish town that was fully signed up to things such as  curbside recycling, free compost bins, a frequent bus service, to a much bigger American town which doesn’t offer any of these things? It’s a tough transition, but I’m doing my best to avoid turning my carbon footprint into a colossal crater. Continue reading