I have fallen in love with everything American. Now, if you think this is a strange thing to say, you’re right! Before I saw visited the US, I was completely put off by all its stereotypes: the loudness, the fatness, the gullibility, the propaganda, the fear-mongering, the consumerism, the sickening patriotism. Believe me, I was not a fan! But somehow, while wandering the streets of the vertical cities, and spending hours enjoying Starbucks selection of 3 green teas and the free wifi in Barnes and Nobles, things began to change.

One thing that people in SA don’t really know: American people are awesome! They are friendly, and incredibly open, honest and upfront. They are welcomming and warm and accomodating, and no, I’m not just talking about the hotel concierges! Everybody that I met, on the street, at the hostels, at the conference, were awesome. I have to say, as warm, friendly and accomodating as South Africans are reputed to be, Americans do give us a run! I felt completely at home…

American culture is another funny thing. Its not something unique to any group, and no group excludes it. Whether Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic or an immigrant, everybody in some way or other, subscribes to this culture! Its in the way they talk, the language, the accent, the words..Its the walk, the swagger, the posture, the sway. Its their actions, reactions, moods, laughs, tears even. And its incredibly easy to pick up, believe me!

I hadn’t even noticed I’d changed, but after a week in Chicago, this fact bluntly hit me! It was the hottest day ever and I was due to meet Prince Charming at our hotel on the outskirts of the city. As you remember, he was on training just out of town, coincidentally! So after spending 20 mins madly waving and screaming for cabs on the street, my two bright pink suitcases in tow, I arrive in my yellow taxi at the hotel. Yet another coincidence, as I get out of the cab, I look behind me to see Prince Charming get out of the cab right behind mine!

So let me paint you this picture. Were outside one of the nicest hotels Ive ever stayed in, there are porters everywhere carting our luggage around, and the concierges fake smile bearing down at the front desk..And then there’s me, fresh from the hostel, in tiny denim shorts, rolled up even shorter to show all of my thighs, and a tight, black, VERY low cut strappy top and sneakers. And I run up to this tall, handsome man, screaming “babe” and literally tackle him!

Hmm…must have been a sight…but the thing is, I really began to blend in. Walking around in tiny shorts, sunglasses, a Venti Starbucks on my hand and talking about the “hawks” winning the Stanley Cup, I surprised myself!