English As A Second Language in the USA?

As a U.S citizen living in New Zealand, my accent is an occasional source for miscommunication even though English is the first language for both countries. We muddle through some how and have some real laughs about it even with business transactions.

Recently I traveled to the west coast in Seattle and Los Angeles. It was the rule rather than the exception that nearly every person I had any consumer dealings with in the entire course of 2 weeks had English as their second language.

At the hotels, taxis, cafes, grocery stores, airports, even the post office; employees communicated with broken English and transactions required real effort to complete. I felt foreign in my own country, something one does not expect at home. Where are all the locals?

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