Once again one of my favourite topics: Americans not understanding my English… And I know that there are other Swedish expats out there with the same experience. Is it really a question of us not knowing how to express ourselves in English or is it the Americans who don’t want to understand?
I just booked my tickets to go home to Sweden this summer!! Yippie! However, it was accomplished with a little bit of frustration. I don’t understand WHY Americans have a problem with understanding my [British] English.
First phonecall to AmEx:
An American woman answers the phone, and I explain that I want to book a trip back home from our relocation location, and that it should be paid by O’s company. She seems to not understand me and I try to explain (in several different ways, talking very clearly and articulating well), giving the reference number, contact person, my husband’s name etc.
– Ma’m, I am confused… who is paying for the ticket, should it be charged to your husband’s credit card or is it a relocation?
– It is not a relocation, as we are already relocated, however it is should be charged to the company as we are entitled to one free trip home per year…
– I don’t understand ma’m, it is not a relocation and it should not be charged to your husband’s account…
– Well, it is a relocation, but I am going home for the free annual trip, which should be paid by the company.
– I am still confused, ma’m…
The conversation could continue for a while like this, I can see that we are not going anywhere here… But then the phonecall is disconnected due to internet not working (calling with skype) – thank goodness!! I don’t know what was wrong with the woman… and I hate when they ma’m me! I had the same trouble last year when I called to book my outward bound trip to Puerto Rico. It really surprised me as I am used to being able to communicate fluently in English. 😦
A nice man with an Indian accent picks up, doesn’t call me ma’m and immediately gets what I want to do, takes the reference number and proceeds to book a ticket for me! He was so helpful and didn’t need any further explanations – I didn’t even have to repeat myself once!
Conclusion: Can it be a combination of unwillingness to understand and not being used to foreign accents? But, I bet that I am not the only foreigner who calls the company’s travel services.. It is not the first time though that I notice that foreigners understand each other more easily. And I am pretty certain that if the woman had been British, she would have understood me…
Anyway, I am going home to Sweden and that is what matters! I leave on Wednesday 18th June and come back to Puerto Rico on the 1st August. I will be arriving just in time for Midsummer’s eve on the 20th June and I hope that we can cheat and have the annual cray fish party a bit early this year!
O and I will once again be apart for a long time, but we are meeting up for one week in Spain beginning of July. And then I will be able to show off my new Spanish skills to O’s parents. 😀