…signs of “re-entry”to my native habitat from a long absence:
1. I can’t find my car keys anywhere…they’re somplace “safe”. Oh boy, those keys are so safe it took days and days to recover them.
2. Nice friends are phoning to say hello on my cell phone. This is so great. Except that I never had people phoning me in Europe so I never had to retrieve messages. I can’t remember how to retrieve messages from a blackberry. My IT department has no sympathy for this and suggests I read my manual. I can’t find that either. Even when I “google” it. Things are desperate.
3. I have to resist the urge to join in strangers’ conversations on the street. Because I’m so happy I can understand them, that’s why! They’re not speaking Dutch, German, Norwegian or any of the other many world languages I, sadly, do not speak or understand.
4. I can’t remember if my dog gets fed once or twice a day. Does anyone know?
5. My loving husband, and currently unmotivated IT department, phoned me three times in half an hour on our first day “apart”. After a couple of days of trying to cope with our “to do” lists and managing our former lives, we’re reduced to emails at odd, jet-lagged hours and occasional hello’s/goodnights as one of us (me) falls into bed at a toddler-sized bedtime.
6. Grocery shopping is different! Who knew there were stores this big, with so many choices and large sizes of commodities!! After half an hour of “overwhelm” I leave with several bags, $200 added to my credit card, and still shaking my head about what I didn’t buy.
7. I had my first decaf americano misto in “my”local coffee shop. They remembered my face, but not my drink. They used to. I was there that much. And…dare I say it? Coffee in a paper, take-away cup had a….shall we say, cardboard (gasp) quality to it. Another thing to shake my head at. Have I changed that much?
8. Now this is a sad comment on what I was up to in Europe. Did you know in Europe the customer always puts the chip credit card into the machine and can do so before the clerk tells them to? Here, clerks like to handle my card and if I put the card in too soon, it cancels the transaction! Who knew??
9. I am hoping no one in my family wants to do anything with collected points on grocery loyalty cards, borrow a book from the library or other unsundry things with all the extra cards I took out of my wallet in anticipation of being overseas. They’re also someplace “safe” inside my house (I assume) but they are shy and do not want to be discovered yet. The keys, happily, did reveal themselves. My IT department found them…kind of scary that he knows how my mind works that way…
10. Did you know it is possible for 6 geriatric (ok, that’s stretching it, but certainly retired) Europeans who were in my house to drive 30,000 kilometers in my van over a summer?? I’m shocked! I thought Europeans thought 100 km was a long way. In all my ferrying of children to and fro and taking (clearly not as far a trip) a car trip or two in the summer all I can drive is maybe 24,000km in an entire year. That’s nuts. What on earth were they doing in my van? I know one group drove to Banff and back. Another said they were going on an Alaskan cruise but maybe they drove there and back instead?? I don’t know. Today’s job is to get the poor van to the nice mechanic….