When I talk to people, they obviously know that I’m not from around here. And after asking how I am, they ask where I am from. I’m not sure where they think I am from, but they never expect to here “America” come out of my mouth. It’s still entertaining to see the stunned expression, usually followed by an expression about how far away America is.
At my school, the fellow educators want to know where in America I am from. I have told my principal numerous times that I am from Iowa, and have even spelled it out for him because he really wanted to know what state I am from. My first day at that school the administrative assistant called me into his office, where he had Encarta open on the computer. He was ready to open the Hawaii page to find out more about my state, until I told him I was from Iowa-shock! Later my principal asked me (more than once) if my state was “coastal.” Surprised, I said no, and reiterated that I was from I-Oh-Wa. Needless to say, it took a few more times before I think I got the point across. And today I managed to get ahold of a map of the US states and showed him where I’m from.
I guess Iowa and Hawaii sound familiar to Setswana speakers. I’m not quite sure how, but I can almost see it. I suppose if people think I’m from Hawaii, that’s not a bad thing.