It's been 9 days since I flew over to the land of the free and home of the brave. I was taken in to the passport control office at MSP airport and grilled for about 40mins by a rotund immigration officer with a brush moustache and a comb over. She asked me all kinds of questions about my plans, my visa application and my 'relationship with an American citizen'. I was polite and honest and after consulting a fellow rotund mustachioed colleague, she deemed me worthy of a stamp in my little book. I have decided to surgically attach this little book to me from now on, having been refused beer yesterday with only my UK driver's licence as ID.
I am still enjoying my unemployment and choose to fill my time with making wedding favours and writing placecards with silver Sharpies in swirly fonts. I have unpacked one suitcase and littered the floor of the apartment with the contents of the other. I have attended one barbeque and one first birthday party. I have seen Batman at the IMAX and for the record thought Ledger is better than Nicholson as the Joker. I like Michael Caine as Alfred, though I have come to think of him as the British Jennifer Aniston in that he always just plays himself. (Insert Michael Caine impression here......)
I live in uptown, have driven through midtown (without stopping if we can help it) and trawled downtown on a Friday night. I haven't seen as many pasty adolescent thighs and breasts on display since the Chicken Out! campaign. I have realised that comprehension of my accent by barmaids and waitresses directly correlates to the length of their skirts, no matter how slowly and clearly I speak. If only primary school teachers moonlighted as barmaids, I'd be crystal clear every time.
I fight the urge daily to buy a notepad and pretend to be a mute so I can just write down what I want and show it to people. I challenge myself in small ways to overcome my fear of speaking out loud by making a little trip to a different cafe each day and ordering for myself, noting the amount of times I am asked to repeat myself and keeping a little scorecard for each establishment: ultra-trendy Winehouse-wannabe barrista? 1 point. free wi-fi? 1 point. good mocha frap? 2 points. Able to order without doing a Fargo impression? 7 points, and so on. I have yet to master a phone call.
I made some new friends on Saturday at Cora's house (I worked with Cora at ODI in London and she strangely lives 45 mins away from me here); Jonas and Genelle, a German/American couple who know Cora through the tangled web that is the LSE (London School of Economics) connection, which shits all over the Kevin Bacon connection as everyone seems to be linked in two moves as opposed to Bacon's gargantuan six. Honestly, ask the next person you see if they went to LSE or know someone who did, I guarantee they will say yes. Jonas and Genelle are getting married this saturday in Minneapolis and live 7 blocks from us. Genelle's favourite wine is Gewürztraminer which is made at the Wambsganss winery in the Black Forest. Jonas watches the Arsenal matches at Brit's pub with his footy team. They are like some euro/yank mirror image of us across the Lake St divide. They're cool.
I was told the other day that because of my voice and the fact that I even know the smallest amount about 'soccer' I could get a job commentating on local sport radio. The same guy told me he thought it was funny that we called soccer football. I agreed that it was hysterical that we called something by the name it was given in the country that invented it. It was at that moment I believe my accent became slightly less charming.
So, my to-do list for the next few days:
1) Complete my inventory of local cafes and produce a deck of 'Cafe Top Trumps' cards.
2) Try to sell my Top Trumps cards to Minnepolis tourist authority.
3) Single-handedly establish a Minneapolis tourist authority with the slogan 'Come to Minneapolis - it's cheaper than Chicago!'
4) Redo the placecards that Casey spilt tea on when he tripped on the rug.
5) Buy Casey a Tommee Tippee mug and laminate all my future creations.
6) Bake a pie (because I can)
7) Laminate my pie.
8) Visit the Minnesota State Fair, where Casey was once paid to be a security guard for the mascot dept, assigned to a purple robot.
9) Take a photo to go with this blog.