1. You’re met with a stubborn, if endearing, rhetoric.
I had just flown into JFK from a trip that lasted a little over a year. My flight landed at around 11 p.m., and I walked over to one of the four customs officers before heading to baggage claim. The officers were trading jokes amongst each other between stamps.
“You’ve been gone a while. Where you been?” My assigned officer asked in that lovely Italian, New York accent.
“Oh, a few places,” I replied, already feeling my tongue start to pick up the familiar patterns of speech. “Started with Asia, then did a year in Australia, then Israel and some of Europe.”
“Australia! Why were you there a year?” He asked with a smirk as he flipped through the pages of my passport.
“I was on a working holiday visa–” I tried to explain.
“Hey,” he interrupted. “You’re in America now. It’s called a vacation.”
A final stamp and a “get outta here” and I was being ushered into baggage claim.