I was expecting to feel uncomfortable and out of place when I got to China.
I mean, why wouldn't I? I'm a tall white girl. I don't speak Mandarin. I think Chinese characters are pretty. Of course I would be out of place.
I didn't expect it in Scotland.
Like a lot of Canadians, my family background is from the UK. My mother's travelled here to visit relatives, and I got birthday cards with my name misspelled for years from Wales and England. I look like a good Scottish lass, when you squint right.
So, being completely confused over here? Not so much prepared for.
It's little things, like the vast cornacopia of choices in supermarkets. It's big things, like the fact that there are so many different types of money (did you know that each bank here issues their own money? I didn't.). It's randomly having people from Glasgow start talking to me, in English, and I have no idea what they're saying.
I feel far more lost than I ever did in China, where at least I looked like a lost little foriegner all the time. Here, no one knows until I open my mouth.
I don't mind, of course. The whole point is to experience life in a different culture, to break away from those deep Canadian roots, to explore a city where the street I'm living on is older than Confederation.
But lately it's gotten just a bit more strange than I expected. Halloween was no big deal here (although if you'd like, I can tell you about the turnip jack-o-lantern sitting next to my computer), but there have been fireworks all week. I didn't really think about why, until someone mentioned it to me:Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November...
We all need our rituals, but Bonfire Night being so close to Halloween just struck me as being almost, but not entirely, like home.
So close to finding that way of relating to people.
Ah well. There's no snow here, not yet, so I guess we couldn't have bonded over stories of costumes over thick winter jackets anyway.