I’ve been putting this off for months, but (as is the way with procrastination), it just gets harder the longer you wait, so here goes with part one of the promised missive.
It’s not been laziness, I promise – more disorientation and being overwhelmed, I guess. You all know me well enough to remember that I like order + simplicity, and nothing about a move of this magnitude is simple or ordered. Last week my brother gave me some sterling advice (you saw what I did there, right?): stop being hard on yourself and take some time to adjust. And I am. Just because we did so much planning and pushed hard to get settled, it doesn’t make adjustment any easier – it just takes time. OK, enough about that.
The fabulous things: earning a salary that covers needs and leaves me room to save a little. Now that we have the essentials, I hope to save even more – it’s been a long time since I could and what a great feeling.
People up North are kind: I’ve been spoiled and looked after by everyone from bus drivers to coffee shop staff and it’s a good feeling. There’s something wonderful about a place where jobs are treated as precious and a bus driver is as vital as a CEO – even more vital on a cold morning when you’re trying to get to work. Coming from a society where we’ve learned to look down on certain jobs as demeaning/a punishment, it’s amazing to see a road crew take itself every bit as seriously as a stock exchange. You can have tailored executive look down his nose at you, but he’ll never reach the imperial heights of a bank building security guard who thinks you might be taking a liberty!
Choices, especially when it comes to toiletries and clothing. No more excuses for me to look like a clean tramp because I can’t find anything that fits. No sir, some store will have something affordable and lovely for short and strangely shaped women, so I have to step up. Which is nice.
Travel: It’s amazing. Seriously. People here complain about train delays and buses sometimes being late, but they’re like diners in a Michelin-starred restaurant being unhappy that the Chateau Lafite Rothschild is one degree too warm. There are buses everywhere and you CAN TRAVEL SAFELY AT NIGHT – did y’all hear that? If the bus lets you down, there’s a cab or a train. It’s ridiculous, really.
Dogs. These are actual family members and pillars of society that you can find anywhere and at any time with their humans. Some even have their own passports and they’re generally friendly. Being a country where biting is deeply frowned upon, you’ll see dogs walking with muzzles. I find it hard to believe that a butterball golden Lab is a threat to society, but he probably curled his lip at a Chihuahua once and now he has to be muzzled. Don’t feel sorry for them – the muzzles are soft and comfortable.
Cats. There are many living in my little street and most stay indoors now that winter has hit, except for two long-haired Maine Coons who relish the icy wind and sleet. My secret plan to befriend them is moving slowly but steadily forward.
Next time: The hard things