aka culture shock, or what I’ve noticed is different about England.
Now that I’m out the other side of the 4 month downswing I can go back to looking slightly more objectively at this whole experience. Or perhaps go back to actually communicating about it, rather than metaphorically holding my breath to ensure I don’t burst and make a stupid decision because of that 4 month downswing period.*
So, things that are weird:
- Rabbits, and foxes. They’re not vermin, they are cute, protected, under threat species. As I walked past our local car sales yard the other evening there was a rabbit on the lawn, feeding on the grass. I had to stop and conciously restrain myself from chasing it away. There are foxes in the wood behind our house, and the silhouette of a fox is used as a symbol for a nature conservation organisation. Seeing that logo was rather startling, as my associated emotions were completely wrong.
- Squirrels. They’re cute, but they are vermin. At least the grey ones are. We don’t have red ones here. There was one in the cherry tree behind our house, but the local cat killed it (then feasted on it for a day)
- Blackberries. They’re everywhere (can’t wait to go blackberrying on the common, maybe tonight), and they die back in winter, and are a vital part of the ecosystem. Not a noxious weed. Ditto willows.
- Personal space. It’s much, much smaller here, which is a bit confronting at times. I’m getting more used to it, even to the point of touching knees/thighs with strangers on trains, and more militant about crashing into people who get in my way.
I’m sure there’s much more, but that will do for a start to this category. I should start an “Amazing stuff” category as well, and talk about clouds.
*It’s fairly common that the first 6 weeks-3 months in a new country are exciting and shiny, and the period after that until about 4.5-5 months is just horrible, where it’s all tough and mundane and ordinary and confusing and ‘why did I ever want to come here’. Then by month 6 it all beomces normal, neither massively high, nor massively low, just stable life. If you can get through to month 6 then it’s all OK.