9 October 2007

"Abroad" is A Foreign Country...

We do things differently here...

I find myself telling family and friends how my new
blogging pals from LA, Davimack and TadMack, are
getting on in Glasgow.

Today took a less than inspirational turn, as
the reality of living in a new culture finally
seeps in. They don't seem to be having a fun time
at the moment.

"there's a little bit of grimness in our cheer", I read,
with dismay.

This may be exactly the moment to share what I know
of how to get through a Northern Autum and Winter
without throwing in the towel (or chewing the rag).

Sunshine becomes a luxury commodity, so it is essential
to find it as often as possible. I'm writing at my back door,
where the French Windows allows the slanting Western light
to shine on me, but not on the computer monitor.
This takes some agility, but keeps one fit.
The sun from the west is the warmest. East facing orientations,
whether in or out of doors
from now on will always seem a bit chilly, even though
the sunlight is bright.

Buy a hot water bottle, before it is too late.
For years I made my living thumping out copy for
Dublin publications, keeping toasty warm by wrapping
feet up in a Foxford rug, hot water bottle almost welded
in place. The only place to get a good quality one, which
will not leak, is in a pharmacy (chemist shop, drugstore).
It may seem a bit more expensive than average, but will last
for years.

Take up gardening, even if this involves helping out
on a new friend's allotment. Some of my best friends,
thirty years after I first came to live in Dublin,
are the ones on whom I inflicted
my company, just to chat, drink tea and have a meaningful
excuse to be out of doors in all weathers.
I'm not an enthusiastic walker and somehow gardening
seems to give purpose to even the most dreary of days.
Reading seed catalogues from now until late February
is one way to keep cheerful.

I have friends who suffer from S.A.D., the
annoying condition that sends one off to sleep
once the days begin to shorten. Many now use
special lighting of the sort found in Finland.
I don't know much about it, but sometimes a
miner's lamp would seem the obvious solution
when rummaging in cupboards in Winter.

This has put me to the pin of my collar.
An increasing number of people take
holidays in the sun, just to have a
break from the unrelenting greyness
that prevails once November sets in.

Now I remember why I bake most afternoons
during the Winter. It keeps me awake.

Laughing at the weather can be cathartic too,
though doing it too often or with too much
gusto can make a body seem, well,
a bit "odd".

(The quote in the Title Bar
is from "The Go-Between" by
L P Hartley.

As many before me, I almost got it wrong.)


Blogger DaviMack said...

Thank you for your advice and kind words. I think that, more than anything else, we're feeling the grimness because we don't have our own belongings, not because of any fears about the culture or the weather. But, of course one must mention one's fears, lest the peanut gallery pester and pester... you know what I mean?

We picked up to move here in less than two weeks - I got my acceptance to the university, and two weeks later we had the bulk of our belongings crated up & on their way over. People expected agony, and were quite shocked that we just ... did it. Now, though, people seem to want to know the details of what bothers us, what makes us worried ... and it's a difficult balance, to state that something is an annoyance or a worry, but at the same time to convey that we're OK with it, you know?

We haven't yet gotten to the point where we're ready to run back to San Francisco, and I doubt that we will.

That said - we'll definitely pick up a water bottle or two! We've a south facing flat, with plenty of sun most of the day (when the sun's out), and we're used to the SF Bay Area with all of its fog, so I'm certain that we'll adapt. Once our things arrive, of course, and once we have a working oven! ;)

10/09/2007 7:04 pm  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

I think I've had most of the experiences you describe when travelling, at one time or another.

There's a certain camaraderie in knowing that everybody is in the same boat.

10/10/2007 4:44 pm  

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