Sunday, March 29, 2009

My accent means I am always noticed

An Australian in Leeds is not the same thing as an Australian in London, I am a bit of a rarity here. Not so rare, but not that usual. This means I am noticed more than I’d perhaps like. Shop assistants, taxi drivers, callers at work all can’t resist commenting on my Australian-ness. Sometimes even I get bored with my answers about where I am from, what Sydney is like, what I am doing in a cold place like Leeds.

It’s not that I am ashamed of being an Australian, in fact I am a passionate supporter of who Australians are, but sometimes I just want to be Megan.

It’s a little hint (and I know only a hint) of what it must be like to be a very noticeable minority.

I guess no one really things they have an accent. At the markets here, I stood beside an Irish twenty-something man who was getting served before me. As the young sales assistant handed back his change, she asked where he was from. I don't remember where he said, but she then went on to say she'd always wanted an accent. 'But you do', he said, 'it's just not Irish.' She looked at him quizzically, then she laughed and decided he was teasing her. 'Don't be silly, I don't have an accent,' and then giggled some more. He walked away very bemused that she wasn't aware that her broad Yorkshire tones were an accent.

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