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Shamus

DV-2019

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18 hours ago, oscar said:

When I tell my secretary at lunchtime that I'm:" going out to the shops"... she cracks up and finds it hysterical.

Ok, so I don't get that one? What are you supposed to say? 🙂

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Well, they feel saying "going to the shops"  Tends to sounds so British.  Americans tend to be more specific and say " I'm going to Duane Reade to pick up a few things.   ( Duane Reade is a pharmacy chain in NY similar to CVS )

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8 hours ago, FranetteM said:

Ok, so I don't get that one? What are you supposed to say? 🙂

They also tend to say “store” rather than “shop”.

and btw if someone asks you for your “autograph”, they are not being funny or cute, many use it interchangeably with “signature”.

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On 8/2/2019 at 8:30 AM, Malamute said:

I have found that people really enjoy a different accent - and in all of my work environments, there has been not just acceptance of it, but appreciation.  Diversity is highly valued in most US workforces - companies have a big focus on it.  I once presented to a group along with some of my colleauges (who famously gave me an English>American dictionary as a joke gift), and said something like 'nought to 100' instead of 'zero to 100' - and I saw my colleagues crack up.  I later asked them whether I should focus on using the US lingo - and they all said 'NO' - they all understood what I meant, and it was refreshing to hear things differently.

That said, I have changed much of my vocab (post has become mail, queue has become line, lift has become elevator and so on) just because that is what you hear all around.  Subtle changes to accent too - as SJ272 says, with the 'Rs'.  Don't however, try and cultivate an American accent - it will come off as phony - and is totally unnecessary.  

This is so right!

Unless you have a VERY heavy accent, I wouldn’t stress about trying to change it too much. As Malamute said, more often than not Americans absolutely LOVE hearing a different “exotic” accent. Forcing yourself to sound like an American never works, you more often than not, just end up sounding like Gru from Despicable Me, and even if you happen to nail the accent you’ll almost certainly trip up on the American words, phrases or names. Best stick to what you’re comfortable with and own it! Make it your own and embrace your “foreignness”.

Whenever I have mentioned to friends, colleagues and even complete strangers that I forget just HOW different I sound and that I probably should work more on sounding more “local”, they quite literally beg me not to. They really do love hearing the different “exotic” accent and love that we use different “fancy” words for almost everything! I’ve had at least half a dozen people ask me to record voice mail messages for them to impress their friends. My wife’s entire office and nearly all of her 30 staff members now naturally say things in conversation like “dodgy”, “crap”, “rubbish”, “lovely”, “just now”, plus a litany of random Afrikaans words and a whole bunch of very British ones too. I’ve even noticed that the vocabulary of our friends and colleagues has improved dramatically over the years and in some cases expanded. It is truly quite amazing what a little bit of diversity can do.

Most important though, is just being understood. 99% of that is just using the American English words instead of the British English words. You simply don’t realize just how many words are different, until you have to actually use them to be understood. I used to think American English was only slightly different, maybe 30-50 words and then some slightly different spellings eg. “z” instead of “s”, “color” not “colour”, “aluminum” not “aluminium” etc. Not even close! In some ways it really is a completely different language. The weird thing is that growing up with American TV, Music, Movies and media we already know almost all of these names and words, we just never used any of them.

The best part of having an accent is that you get a LOT more slack and people are generally a lot more forgiving, receptive, understanding, and considerate. It’s like playing stupid, instead you still come across as intelligent, only different. I once got out of a traffic ticket because I sounded foreign and the officer cut me a break because I accidentally said kilometers instead of miles. Hahaha! Also, whenever i’m dealing with people in customer support, banks, information desks, reception, on the telephone, etc. and don't quite know the procedure, need help, or just have a question, I just say something in my best South African accent like, “Excuse me. You might have noticed, but l’m not from around here... and I really have no idea how this is supposed to work...” and they laugh with genuine delight and more often than not make a concerted effort to explain things in great detail, go out of their way to be as helpful as possible, and often cut you some serious slack, when they’d normally cut off or shut down the average customer. It really is like a secret weapon in many cases.

Your accent will naturally change over time as you learn to stretch out your words and slow down your speech. The hard ‘g’s and rolling ‘r’s will soften, and the quick and flat “a”s will become more accented and drawn out with time and you’ll start to naturally pronounce many words and names the American way, especially the American ones, which you’ll use more and more. So much so that your South African friends and family will start commenting that you “...sound so American!”

I realized just this on our recent visit to SA this April. I was talking to my daughter on a swing in Durban (where I grew up) and the mother next to me turned around and asked me where I was from! The exact same question I get almost every single day (sometimes 5 times a day) in the US. That’s when I realized than I now officially have an accent without a home, as I like to say. I sound foreign to Americans and I sound foreign to South Africans. Hahaha!

In short... just be yourself. Embrace your accent and incredibly unique foreignness. Unless you are intending to act in Hollywood or host a TV show, going full Charlize Theron is just a complete waste of time, effort and money. If anything, it might even work against you, as you’ll often be treated like every other American. Unless they already personally know another South African, the vast majority of Americans effectively have absolutely no preconceived ideas or stereotypes associated with South Africans. Especially negative ones! Unlike, they do for so many of the other larger  immigrant populations that they might otherwise perceive in a negative way. This lack of preconceived ideas tends to make them more accepting, welcoming, friendly, and genuinely curious towards us. And that goes a really long way in most cases.

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1 hour ago, Heidi556 said:

[at]FranetteM  You are probably at your interview now, let us know how it went!

Sadly still a week (of stress) to go. So Heidi, how did you decide on which products to try and farm in USA? Is it intended for local use or export? Is any of these trade war rediculousnous influencing your decisions?

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[at]FranetteM How I decided on products, I first looked for a place that suits nut production, Hawaii is it. Also California for Almonds, and Texas for Pecans. Hawaii imports everything, apart from mac nuts, coffee, and maybe fish. And imported goods will already be ~20% more expensive from freight, and if imported from other countries, even more expensive from excise and freight. So it is a captive market if you produce locally. But it has down sides, farm labour is $10 an hour (compared to SA R18 an hour = 800% of SA rate), and land is a bit expensive. 

 

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12 hours ago, Heidi556 said:

[at]FranetteM How I decided on products, I first looked for a place that suits nut production, Hawaii is it. Also California for Almonds, and Texas for Pecans. Hawaii imports everything, apart from mac nuts, coffee, and maybe fish. And imported goods will already be ~20% more expensive from freight, and if imported from other countries, even more expensive from excise and freight. So it is a captive market if you produce locally. But it has down sides, farm labour is $10 an hour (compared to SA R18 an hour = 800% of SA rate), and land is a bit expensive. 

 

At minimum wage - which is the lowest you may, by law, pay - you will still be paying around $10.87 an hour this year (you have to pay 1.45% of the minimum wage as the employer over to Medicare, and an additional 6.2% as social security tax) - but the minimum wage is rising to $15 per hour over the next couple of years, so that makes it $16.14 per hour.....and that is still minimum wage (farming is a LOT harder than other minimum wage jobs, so it will be a hard sell at that rate - you will likely have to offer a few $ above that to attract and retain any workers).  Hawaii also has the lowest unemployment rate in the entire USA - companies really battle and compete to find workers - so the actual going wage is much higher than the minimum wage and many have to offer other benefits to have a chance of getting workers - e.g. paid time off, medical insurance etc.  Even hourly Starbucks workers get that.  I would double the wage calculation part of your equation at least, to be realistic.  Workers are fickle for just 20c more an hour at that price point.

Good luck with the nut farming. 

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^ my daughter was working in a coffee shop part time when she was in high school, she was getting local minimum wage which I think was $15/hour, with tips and after deductions she was usually taking home around $20/hr. So agree that if that is the type of thing a farrmworker has as alternative- which it is in Hawaii for sure - $10/hr will be a hard sell. You just can’t translate wages from SA for many reasons, for example, cleaners here (in my area) generally get around $20/hour, sometimes even up to $25, but bear in mind that unlike SA they mostly have their own cars and lets just say their housing conditions are a lot better than average in an SA township (so rent is much higher in rand terms too).

Poor in the US and poor in SA, or a working class lifestyle in the US vs SA, are totally different things.

 

 

Edited by SJ272

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[at]Malamute Minimum wage is a number used to compare input costs. Sure it is practice to pay more, as I do in SA, and to contribute to UIF and Medi and other funds, and that it increases every year. It is a number used all over the world, no matter how harder, or labour supply, unloaded number you will find in any primary industry business plan  

There are actually six states with a lower unemployment rate that Hawaii, July 2019 data from Bureau of Labour Stats. 

Edited by Heidi556

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 Talking about Hawaii A colleague of mine (He was the one that does not like the schools in his neighborhood)   lived in Hawaii when his father was serving in the military many years ago. Well, he is contemplating moving to the Island of Molokai. He is taking two weeks vacation in September to look for a house or a smallholding. The first step is to take his laptop and see what it's like to work from there. Luckily as a work from home employee, he can do that.  The cost of living is cheap on the island but there is not much there in the way of shopping or entertainment and very little in the way of medical doctors. There is a small hospital but for anything serious would have to go by ferry to Maui or Honolulu. He hopes to save money there.   

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Molokai?! We did a snuba trip out there from Maui.  I guess if you like isolation it’s a good place. Not something I could do. Beautiful, for sure.

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I enjoyed this, nicely put together. Thanks for posting.😄

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