In the United States, I am a foreigner.
I was not born there, my parents are not US American* and my mother tongue is not English. When I first got to Georgia, I observed everything because I wanted to stop being a foreigner, at least in little practices. I wanted to understand waitresses when they asked what beer I wanted, I wanted to be clear when speaking on the phone, and I wanted to have friends, since I moved knowing no one.
I have achieve all these, but I am still a foreigner. I do not want to be ‘American’, but I just want them to stop looking suprise when I say where I am from. And then, I got hold of Americanah, a [in my opinion, excellent] book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Although it narrates the adventures of Nigerians as immigrants in the US and the UK, it explained several things I could not pinpoint. For example, the race problem/issue/thing that is going on in the United States which I did not completely understand (and my US American friends had to ellucidate).
How foreign am I in the US? Is it because I have an accent? Kentucky guys need subtitles. Is it because I speak slower than average? I have friends (US American friends) that are worse. At first sight, how can you tell someone just does not belong here? A friend’s daughter says it is the way I do my hair, but it is not VERY different from local girls (she claims my very long hair AND the fact that I use a side line highlight my being from somewhere else).
What is it then? (besides, you know, the official reasons).
*Sorry, ‘Americans’ is just too broad to only refer to ONE country.