After staying in a place with a different culture for a while, you eventually pick up some of the language and mannerisms of the people around you. When you move somewhere like France or Spain, picking up the language is generally considered a good thing. These languages enhance your ability to speak to more people, etc. etc.
This is NOT the case in Sudan and definitely not for someone like me. By the time I arrived in the U.S. I was 10 and had grown up speaking ‘Liberian English’ which to the unaccustomed ear, is pretty difficult to understand. I’ll never forget being teased when I was in school in the states (specifically Springfield, Massachusetts) because the other girls couldn’t understand what I was saying when I spoke regularly. Over the years, I would like to think that my English has gotten better although I'm sure 99% of my friends would question that.
So when I’m in an environment like Sudan where a basic greeting goes like this:
Person 1: Hello
Person 2 response: Fine Fine
you can only imagine what being around this type of English does to a girl. A few days ago, as I was greeting someone on the street, the conversation went something like this
Person 1: How are you?
I literally dropped on the ground laughing at myself! I’m going to need more than a few weeks in the U.S. to regain all the English that I’ve lost (or simply never had :)).
Can you imagine what I sound like in Spanish?!?!
On the other hand, one of my favorite Sudanese things that I have picked up is the shoulder tap, tap/half-hug business that they do. It's like a hug, but still keeping some personal space but still very friendly. Oh, and there is also the flicked wrist into a upward palm position, which is used to basically hitch a ride or ask for something. AND there are some great linguistic things such as the overuse of the word 'somehow' (which is why I named my dog that), or the expression 'those of ____.' For example, 'where are those of Erica?' (Which is why my cat is called T.O.C. - Those of cat.'