A funny thing I've noticed about LA is that people speak really fast here. It's different on the other side of the pond. The English speak so much more slowly, so much more deliberately. We like to have some dramatic pauses, some theatre. Ok, not everyone but honestly, even if you chew your words you'd still be speaking slower than these guys over here.
English is my first language and I like to think I'm fairly good at it - after all, I was a lawyer. And yet, I come here and I find myself having to concentrate extremely hard to get what anyone is saying. This is not ideal for a first week on exchange at a US business school. I have some fabulous professors here who bear the kinds of battle scars and wear the kinds of entrepreneurial medals you dream about as an MBA and I can't help feeling there's so much I could learn from them if I wasn't so busy burning brain fuel on mentally translating. I know, I know - I'm really putting the foreign back in foreign exchange student.
The worst part of it is that "not getting it" can come across two ways and two ways alone - stupidity or rudeness- and neither of those are very nice. Not yet sure which I prefer, actually. Ah well, I'm sure I'll acclimatise and feel very differently about this in 3 months. Before I know it, I'll be back in London, making my way up the wrong escalator, driving on the wrong side of the road, speaking at super sonic speed and expecting good Mexican food wherever I go.