Alastair Cameron's Letter from America

News, views and opinions from the one kiwi expat sent to New York University on a Fulbright Scholarship to study his masters of law.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Many a Cross-Cultural Moment

Everyday in New York City heralds some kind of cross-cultural learning-curve, for while I like these Americans a lot, they do some strange things and have some funny pass-times. The last couple of weeks in particular threw-up some interesting lessons.

The first came last Tuesday during my office hours at the Journal of International Law and Politics (an NYU Law School journal for which I am one of several Graduate Editors). One of the American girls working on the journal asked me to explain cricket to her. I agreed, but only if she promised to explain baseball to me. The diagrams below are the result of our pact...





I now understand why the baseball players never seem to hit the ball but still get to run. I think I could watch a match and more or less know what was going-on. And in spite of my rather sub-standard diagram, I think Beth (the American) came away with at least a rudimentary understanding of cricket. (
For the purposes of this blog, let's ignore the irony of me, of all people, explaining the rules of a major team-sport to someone else).

And to keep with the sporting theme, last Wednesday I went to a basketball match at Madison Square Gardens. Two matches, actually - Duke v Drexel and UCLA v Memphis - both semi-final matches in the National Intercollege Tournament. Duke beat Drexel and Memphis beat UCLA, meaning that Duke went on to play Memphis in the final. Duke won for something like the eighth year in a row.

I went along with my friend, Kevin, who is a long-time Duke fan. So we were routing for them in the first match; it was all pretty-much the same to me, but I was happy to take a side. Me and basketball have never been the closest of acquaintances, but it was definitely more exciting being there in person. In the cavernous MSG, and with the very enthusiastic crowd, I have to confess to genuinely enjoying myself. So much so that Hamish and I are even planning to take-in an ice-hockey match while he's here at the end of the year.





Some photos just to prove I was actually there...

And finally, November 24 was Thanksgiving, that all-American holiday. (And it is a "holiday", as opposed to a "vacation", which is when you take time off work to go on a trip or something.) I was very lucky to be invited to two celebrations. A Kiwi-Aussie-Irish lunch at David and Barrie's (Kiwi friends who live here in New York), and a true-blue American dinner at my friend Darren's (whom I met when I first came to NYC nearly four years ago to the day).

Lunch was superb. The turkey was perfect, which is no mean feat when you consider the size of those birds! The accompaniments were exquisite, and the desert, sticky date pudding, was divine. Take a bow David & Barrie!

Dinner was also a masterpiece. More turkey, with all the traditional trimmings - cranberry sauce, stuffing and mashed-potatoes, and the piece de resistance, pumpkin pie for afters. I was more than sated by the end of the evening (if it's even possible to be more than satisfied to excess, that is).

And Darren, following his family tradition of the guest carving the turkey, gave me the honour. See below for proof...note also the large marguerita...





The Lunch Crowd & The Carving

So I'm heading into the exam period shortly, but I will no doubt need some respite from the rigours of American Constitutional Law and European Union Law, so I might find something else to blog about. There is, of course, the WORLD PREMIERE of King Kong this Monday that I happen to be attending...



5 Comments:

At 3:05 pm, Blogger Dean Knight said...

all that sports stuff... how butch!

who would have thought?! *grin*

 
At 8:24 pm, Blogger Red said...

Congratulations. I tried to explain cricket to a group of Americans and a rather bemused Botswanan and was very unsuccessful. But then that might be due my sharing Bernard Shaw's views on the game.

 
At 9:34 pm, Anonymous Beth said...

I don't know what's more embarrassing for me: trying to teach baseball or trying to learn cricket...

 
At 4:47 pm, Anonymous Bernard J said...

Hey Alistair have a great christmas n all that. Have to say well done with the cricket stuff - its all very cricket as the English would say. Have put some holiday snaps on spaces.msn.com/members/lilaclife. I see H from time to time at the gym working his little heart out pumping iron. Ha. Catch ya and lots of love. B

 
At 9:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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