A story about this — 5 years ago
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Anne Tyler; I find her books a bit hit and miss. I’m enjoying this one so far, though. Based on what I’ve heard so far, and the back cover blurb, the novel’s about what it means to “belong” in a country, even when you’ve lived in it for a long time. Particularly pertinent for me, having lived in the US for almost 7 years (although not continuously; I’ve been in Boston for 5 years now). For the most part I feel like this is my home; in many ways I’m more comfortable here than in Australia (and just the other day, someone mentioned that they just don’t think of me as an international student, presumably because English is my first language), but I’m also regularly reminded that this isn’t the place I grew up. It’s mainly small frustrations: having strangers understand what I’m trying to communicate, remembering to use American-English vocabulary (I’ve no idea what will happen to me if I ever go back to Australia on a permanent basis, and there’s a whole lot of words that I’ve forgotten which is the Australian-English version, and which is the American-English), having a good intuition of how people think, tentatively checking if things that are acceptable in Australia are acceptable here. Of course, this is what makes the world interesting, and Boston is international enough that I’m not reallythat much of a novelty.