newyorksubalien has evolved. New city, new life, new blog

newyorksubalien has evolved. New city, new life, new blog.

Yes, I’m still socially-insecure and still deemed too primitive a life form for a bank account. I still can’t say ‘water’ correctly and voice-recognition software still doesn’t understand my number 8.

Meanwhile Superalien is still as super (at least in my eyes), Male Mini-Me is taller than all of us and Mini-Mum has returned to the home of the Mini, only popping back from London to sleep, be fed and help balance out testosterone levels.

But in my new home of Chicago, I can at least lay claim to my own subgroup. I’m now Chi-rish as in Chicago Irish. Apparently the hyphen is important so as not to be confused with Chinese Irish or the town in Armenia. But I’m trusting my readers not to be churlish and to forgive these, my (hyphen-less) Chirish chatters…..

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pants in the bedroom but still can't get my head around the balls

It all began with pants in the bedroom.

For those of you born and raised on this side of the pond, there’s nothing too unusual about that. But for Windy City blow-ins like myself, the use of the word "pants" in the bedroom had previously been restricted to non-legged undergarments as in “the dog’s got your pants again – that’s what happens when you drop them on the floor”.

But last week I caught myself asking Super if he wanted me to take his pants to the dry cleaners. What’s worse, he understood. It was then I realized that the conversion from Irish to Chirish was well underway. I’m even getting used to seeing "realized" spelt (spelled) with a “z”- and can say “zee” rather than “zed”.

I’ve written before about how sharing the same language hasn’t meant conversations with the locals don’t get lost in translation. Our first summer, we did the obligatory trip to Navy Pier and I tried to buy water from a hot dog stand. The conversation went like this. 
"Two waters, please”
“Two orders of what?” 
This was repeated several times until I realized I had forgotten the “pretend you have a piece of fluff at the back of your throat which you are trying to regurgitate” method. I also tried to hand out Hallowe’en rubbers to trick-or-treaters this year – until I remembered they are called erasers.

But I do now go to the grocery “store” to buy “produce”, with the emphasis on the “pro” rather than the “prod” – perhaps that’s a clever ploy by the locals to stop you doing just that with the avos and peaches. There they laugh at me when I say I don’t need a bag as I’m just going “down the road”. Although to be fair, with a Northern Ireland accent, even my British friends laugh at me when I say that. Sidebar, if you meet someone from Northern Ireland, get them to say “How, now, brown cow”. Better still, google Liam Neeson talking about his role in a cowboy movie and you’ll get my point.

I talk about my kids being in 10th Grade or being a sophomore (still had to check how to spell it ‘though) and I’ve even discussed an upcoming Manchester United "soccer" match. But that leads me to one thing I am still struggling to come to grips with – all the balls, be it foot, base or basket.

Now this I appreciate is a true crime in Chirish-land where if there is more than one team in a particular sport, you must decide for one or the other. Actually this is in a way similar to my wee corner of Ireland where you have to be either Protestant or Catholic. To the extent, that when Super discovered he had Jewish ancestry, our local 90-year old farmer, in all sincerity, asked him “But are you a Catholic Jew or a Protestant Jew?”

My inability to sort out the balls is so bad that I have to use my own mnemonic tricks to remember who plays what. So (in my mind) it goes “cubs” rhyme with “clubs” so the Cubs are baseball, “bears” make me think of “barefoot” so the Bears are football, “bulls” go with “balls” so that leaves basketball. 

The Blackhawks I have no problem remembering as we moved into our new home just before they won the Stanley Cup. The cheering that night made me first think of football games in Brazil while the window-smashing and police sirens later took me back to my wee corner of Ireland. I haven’t worked out anything yet for the White Sox so needless to say if asked which baseball team I support, I’m for the Cubs.

Plus it took me a while to see their team logo says ‘Sox” – sorry, back to the bedroom again!