A Travellerspoint blog

March 2009

I am forgetting how to talk with good

While getting a lift home with the Ambassador and his wife last Friday evening (yes Dili is that small – Peter and Susan are in choir with us), a conversation about accents and living overseas came up. Susan told us that their daughters had a different experience with accents while attending an American international high school on posting with them.

One daughter, very good at picking up accents, decided after one day that she would just talk like the American girls, since nobody could understand her Australian accent.

The other said ‘I’m Australian and they can take me as they find me!’ (direct quote), and kept on with her Aussie accent. However she didn’t have much of a choice, as she didn’t have her sister’s ability to pick up accents quickly.

When they left – the daughter who became a Valley Girl – no trace of an accent. The daughter who stuck with her Aussie accent – had picked up a distinct American accent which took ages to shake.

People, I’m afraid my accent will be just like Peter and Susan’s second daughter when I leave here, only with a Tetum twist. It’s shameful for a linguist, but I simply do not have an ear for accents. I *do*, however, have an unfortunate way of unconsciously imitating the speech of those around me. In Timor I work most closely with two Timorese men who have very good English – but who speak it with a distinctly Timorese manner. I also work closely with the lovely, Portuguese Teresa, who again has a strong accent.

This means I have to alter *my* strong accent and speak much more clearly than I do in Australia, or to other Australians, because I speak English too fast and too drawly and with too many contractions and idioms for everyone here. I also end up completely dropping words or rearranging my sentences so they are more like the structure of Tetum.

So when I come back and I’ve forgotten how to talk with good – please don’t point and laugh – I can’t help, I am only talk like with people Timor!

Posted by timortimes 17:45 Comments (0)

Happy birthday Kevin!

Wednesday 11th March – 3 months, 23 days

Kev, every time I open up that giant folder of your music that you transferred onto my laptop, I am so incredibly grateful. It’s a great teaching repertoire *and* it saves Matt’s and my sanity!

Happy birthday to one of *the* best blues dancers I know. 

Posted by timortimes 21:57 Comments (1)

First private lesson!

Tuesday 10th March – 3 months, 22 days

Last night Matt and I gave a private lesson to another malae. I do really love sharing swingdancing with other people.

We danced on our porch (lovely slippy tiles) as the sun went down and dusk came over the yard. Makes for more confidence in people new to dancing, I think.

Posted by timortimes 21:46 Comments (0)

Internet is frustrating and dinner is not

Monday 9th March - 3 months, 21 days - and another note on last Friday

Internet is frustrating!

I was essentially out of the office for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last week. I had to put off about four people with the International Women’s Day / Peace Conference excuse: ‘We’ll be able to meet with you after Monday the 9th.’

The internet worked perfectly whenever I was in the office last week.

Now that I need it to check my emails so I can see what we need to do, and have time to do this – naturally, the internet in our office is dead. (Apparently it’s the whole building.) I’d tell the IT technicians, only they’re never in the office (always on training, it seems, especially when they’re actually needed for something).

I do find this difficult about Timor – the lack of internet connections, the unreliability of internet connections I do have access too. I am super spoilt in Australia – working in a job that has an excellent internet connection I can use, and also having internet at home.

Guess I’ll just do like I usually do – pay $6 an hour to check my emails on a slow connection at lunchtime. I’m going to start getting receipts so I can claim this on my damn tax.

In case you can’t tell, I’m resignedly cranky and frustrated about this.

  • **

Dinner on Friday night

Last Friday night we went to Libby’s farewell dinner. Libby took on a six-month Australian Volunteers assignment after she accompanied her husband George over here last year. I’m quite sad about Libby and George leaving, they’ve been really lovely to us. Libby is super fun and George baits me on every second sentence so although I get mad he’s great value.

I really enjoyed dinner, partly because it was just good fun and the food was delicious (grilled fish! Grilled prawns! Decent chippies!), but also because I met a new person from AusAID’s gender unit (I don’t usually say things like this, but we got on like a house on fire, it was great), and another woman who’ll be an excellent contact within Timor.

As well it was just nice to be able to go out and chat with people we know. I’ve said before that I feel it’s been difficult for me to make friends here. I don’t feel quite as concerned about that now. I don’t think it matters if you don’t have many friends around you if there are exhibitions or dinners or drinks to attend, because you meet people at those. But there isn’t much of that here. I’m used to having too many events to go to, I guess (swing dancing 5 nights a week, anyone?).

But now I’ve realized this, it’s easier to accept, and I'm enjoying all the other stuff I can do - or not do - relaxing is always high on my list. So hey, it's fine.

Posted by timortimes 21:37 Comments (0)

Happy anniversary Mum and Dad

8th March 2009

That's pretty much it, I just wanted to say happy anniversary to you both. :)

My parents' wedding anniversary is on the 8th of March - i.e. International Women's Day - which makes it easy to remember.

Posted by timortimes 21:33 Comments (0)

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