22 February 2011
Today I've been thinking a lot about being different. Where I come from, that's a condition devoutly to be wished, a prized and sought after THING TO BE. The rat race, the lemmings on the cliff, the sheep bounding over the same fence one after another have got nothing on that one individual that stands out from the crowd.
Me? I hate standing out. Seriously. HATE.IT. I think that's why I went into interpreting as a profession, perhaps on a subconscious level anyway. I like blending into the background. Hmm, maybe that's why the acting-centric drama major I tried so hard to fit into in college became a backstage-crew-centric minor by the time I graduated.
My sister has always been a shining star to my wallflower, and as I'm older and wiser and all that now I know I'm okay with that. I prefer it, to be honest. I know, blogging is a bit egotistical, but I think of it as writing practice more than anything else. We grew up moving around a lot due to my dad's work, and as a result I spent a lot of very uncomfortable and anxious times being "the new kid" who is most definitely "not from around here" and therefore is "different." Not good times. Whereas my sister could (and still can) just roll with it, I backed myself into a safe corner and stayed there, for the most part.
So, back to the topic at hand. I had an incident today at the store that brought home again how I hate being different. If I had a penny for every time a customer in the store asked me where I'm from or made a comment about my accent I'd be rich by now. Rich. Today, though, one customer went a bit too far and, after touching me to get my attention (me no likey outside of Deaf Culture and close friends), apparently ran from the store, all up in a tizzy because he'd met a "real American downstairs in non-fiction!"
Non-fiction...because really, who could make this stuff up?
I remember thinking how I just wished for once I could speak to someone here and no one would know I was anything more than Nancy who works in a bookshop. I am tired of being different. I am tired of being the fish out of water, of being the one "not from around here." I think sometimes that expats mistakenly feel that we aren't allowed that indulgence, that our job is to acclimate and blend and become acquainted and all those other things that come with moving to a foreign country.
Well, to use the language of my "current" people, bollocks to that. I am who I am, and whether I'm a lifer expat or just here for two years, no matter if I'm on a student visa or just gotten my UK citizenship and snazzy maroon passport, I'm still me and me isn't British and isn't ever going to be. Bad attitude? Maybe, but on days like today it's all I've got. Allowed the pity-party or not, it's here. I'm different from almost everyone around me. I don't have close English friends here like I do at home. Home still = America in my mind and my vocabulary.
So, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to sleep now because I've got to go far far away tomorrow to get back to who I really am via an interpreting gig down south. Tomorrow I can be with other displaced Americans before I have to go back to being on display at work in the bookshop.
One last thing: If you can spare a good thought or prayer or whatever it is you do for the people of Christchurch, NZ, please do. The one close friend I do have here in Keighley is a Kiwi expat and I can't imagine how it feels to watch an earthquake of that magnitude cause such devastation back home and be so far away.
08 February 2011
1. I am still employed at The Bookshop. I have a vacation coming up. I am not 100% sure how many hours I have in my leave time total. I want desperately for my last day there to be the Friday before I leave for my vacation, but that is apparently not to be.
2. The Bookshop is in a bit of a state. Recent events (as well as not so recent events) have led to a workplace climate that bounces between giddy euphoria and utter despair, in a workplace that as of late strongly resembles a mix of high school angst and childish backbiting. It physically and mentally wears me out to even consider getting up on time for work these days, so you can imagine how much fun I am on the shop floor.
3. I have now seen an amateur panto in person, complete with metal chairs (which after three hours of constant sitting in start to resemble concrete blocks) and butter flavoured "clotted cream ice cream" at the intermission. I'm still scratching my head over the casting of a woman as the main hero, Colin/Prince Valiant as well as the use of a modified version of the theme from "Friends" as sung by the aforemetioned Prince-ss and the "Gypsies of the Wood." It certainly was different from the Children's Theatre production of the the same fairy tale we did at YHC back in the day.
4. I am experiencing weird memory losses...not the "Holy Moly, who are you and why are you in my house" kind of memory loss, a la Days of Our Lives, but the "I am positive I locked the house though we came home to find the door open" and "I have no memory of putting my phone in my pocket but it has now vanished from existance and must surely have fallen out of said pocket in the taxi" kind of memory loss. It's stress, I'm sure, but it's also fairly annoying and has hit at irritating times, such as the loss of my blackberry on Saturday or my sudden inability to perform basic tasks at work that I've done thousands of times. Seriously. I will stare at the computer for several minutes trying to figure out how to print out a report that I've done loads of before.
5. Did I mention I lost my blackberry? Yeah, that was a hot mess of fun wrapped in a rainbow. We were heading for the panto and the radio in the taxi was playing the Beastie Boys. I reached for my phone to comment about that on Twitter...as you do, of course...and it wasn't in my pocket. I remembered Simon bringing it downstairs and putting it on the sofa and thought...well, there was some swearing there, I won't lie to you..."I've left it at home...I'm going to Prime Twitter Material in the Form of a Panto and I've left my phone at home." I think there was a bit more swearing. We got home and went directly to the sofa. No BB. We got a flashlight and checked the front stoop, the road, and under the cars parked on the street in front of our house. No BB. Simon rang the taxi company. No BB.
Just wanted to add here that we were NEVER EVER suggesting that the taxi driver took my phone. NOT.AT.ALL. The other driver from the same company who spent our ride up from the supermarket telling us that his colleague doesn't steal and then charged us more than normal for the journey can take a walk.
6. I have made a fantastic wonderful awesome friend here (that I will miss when I move) who lent me the BB that she's just upgraded from until we can get something sorted for me. I hope that she and her OH will come visit us in America because I need to keep being surrounded by such awesomeness...plus she's a fellow supporter of angled parking. (Parallel parking fans...well, there might be more swearing so I'll leave it.) Kia Ora, Sue!
Well, so Catch Up turned into An Entire Post. Huh. I would really like for just a few hours to have everything just STOP, but it won't. The house is not going to get itself ready to be sold, our immigration paperwork isn't going to do itself nor will it post itself, and I refuse to continue to be the reason why our collective feet are dragging. I'll get my full stop soon...on a plane home for two glorious weeks.