“Where are you from? Your accent is so cute!”

I moved to the US – Los Angeles – from Stockholm at age 22. I had grown up in small-town, small village Sweden. A place where being blue-eyed and blonde is kinda everyday, and you pay attention to how people talk, because they may be from elsewhere. As I always was, as I had lived in three other places (mostly within an hours drive) before settling on what was my hometown for 10 years.

How you talked mattered, and not really in a good way. When I moved (not intending it to be for 23 years), I was a bit worried that now I would be the one talking funny, knowing the barriers that created.

Except, when I got to LA, I got the above. Always with interest, occasionally with a disclosure of the various precentages of scandie or german or navajo they themselves were. I found it very welcoming and relaxing. Talking funny was exotic and interesting and alluring, not something odd and weird and inferior.

There’s a woman at my university who has similarly moved around the world, with a stint in the US at the university level, roughly my age. She mentioned the same thing, but she found that this made her feel outside and apart, and it annoyed her that people asked and commented that way.

It is so interesting that the same behavior can give such diametrically opposed reactions. Whereas it made me feel included, it made her feel excluded.

About asehelene

... because if I'm in a room with a second person, I want to be reasonably sure I'm the crazier one.
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