Last September, I blogged about our reverse culture shock and wondered how long it would take us to feel at home here. I talked about some of the ways we knew we weren’t at home (and others must have known too!) – see blog entitled ‘Culture shock – in reverse?’.
Now, a year later, we are feeling more and more at home – but what does that look like?
Well, we know our way round a bit better (I now can find all three supermarkets in our home town).
We are tempted to drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road less often (that’s a good thing).
Now we turn our heads when we hear French spoken.
We are aware of fewer gaps in the girls’ spoken English (I even heard one of them talking about ‘the dole’ the other day – until a year ago that meant a mountain top near where we lived in Switzerland!).
We enjoy the ease of having a carry-out (or is it a take-away?).
We are becoming more accustomed to the ‘banter’ that is such a way of life here.
Words like ‘diaper’ and ‘vacation’ and ‘pacifier’ have dropped from our vocabularies (having been added for the sake of ease in conversing with our American friends in Switzerland) – though I must admit I still do think twice when someone asks me if I want to ‘nurse’ their baby!
We are getting used to starting the day later than 6.30am and finishing it later than 9.30pm – though how much of that has to do with having teenage girls?
We are certainly getting used to phoning (not ‘calling’) people and having them phone us later than 9.30pm without automatically thinking it’s an emergency.
It’s interesting how many of these adjustments have had to do with language. I can now use the word ‘coup’ (or is that cowp?) freely in a sentence without having to explain what it means!
But just in case we are tempted to forget our ‘American’ or ‘international’ English, we have had several visitors here to help us keep it fresh. And we have even had the chance to use our French, firstly when Alan and I had the pleasure of escorting the President of Burundi and his entourage at the Franklin Graham event, and then when some Swiss friends visited us earlier in the summer.
Aaaah! the summer! Now, that is something we miss! The weather here is not quite what it was in Switzerland. We are certainly realizing why it is a constant topic of conversation – because it changes constantly. There is an old saying that if you are in Ireland and you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. It’s true that it changes all the time and it’s also true that we get lots of rain (see Alan’s blog about our weekend floods).
But then we didn’t come home for the weather…..