It occurs to me as people wander through the cobblestone streets around my Zürich apartment that I can always tell when an American is coming through way before I can tell exactly what they are saying. It's partly the lilt of their voice or the rhythm with which they speak. It is partly the errrs and the flat a's and the certain way that the voice carries.
There is a particular comfort that arises when you catch a glimpse of "homeland" in the flesh in a place that is still foreign. It's like the smell of cut grass in summer or the taste of blood in your mouth when you cut your finger; familiar and strong and filled with weight.
Sometimes I giggle when I hear Americans and their often boisterous carriage of sound. But now, more often, I feel lucky that I can hear something so familiar right here when I am so far away from that very thing.