I've talked a lot about differences between Americans and Italians, but after being here over a month (!) my roommates and I are starting to see the differences between Americans, more specifically, between the five of us.
I am the only Midwest girl in our apartment. Shannon and Marina are both from California, the Bay Area (San Francisco). Stephanie is from Nashville, Tennessee. Rosanna is from Scranton, Pennsylvania (yes, like in The Office).
The first difference we noticed was Stephanie's use of "y'all" which occurs multiple times each day. Stephanie also hates time and loves to stretch out her mornings with long showers and slowly getting ready for the day. If we go out, she would rather sit and talk to someone than go crazy with the drinks.
Rosanna doesn't have any catchphrases, but she does love to talk. She comes from a traditional Italian American family, which means there is always talking at her house, and she hates when it is quiet. When she is signed in on skype, she gets multiple calls at once. Her boyfriend, parents, brothers, friends and cousins all call her at the same time so she's always putting people on hold to take another call.
Marina and Shannon's catchphrase is hella. When the rest of us first heard that, we weren't sure what to think. Apparently it's a Bay Area thing that started out as "hell of a" as in "There were a hell of a lot of people there." Then it became "helluva" and now just "hella." So they'll say something like "That pasta is hella good." It's hilarious.
At first it seemed I didn't have a catchphrase either, but the other night my roommates all laughed after I said I was going to make my zucchini for supper. Not because of the zucchini...because I said supper.
I never realized "supper" was such a Midwest concept. Everywhere else everyone eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the Midwest we have breakfast, dinner, and supper. I mean, at home dinner and supper are usually interchangeable and we say lunch, but when my grandparents or the residents at work say "dinner" I know they are talking about the meal they eat at noon and "supper" is the one they eat in the evening.
So now every time I say supper they laugh at me and tell me it's cute. They also laughed when I told them about cheese curds. One night we were talking about our favorite comfort foods at home and when I said cheese curds they all got disgusted looks on their faces. They have no idea what cheese curds are...I told them I felt bad for them since they had never experienced them.
I've been continually updating my photo albums online so check back when you can...I rearranged everything this weekend so the albums make more sense. Here is the link: http://picasaweb.google.com/rachel4kaiser/