Thursday, February 23, 2012

Screaming Bloody Murder (sorry to the Brits who read this)

Today I found out that one of the phrases I remember my mom using regularly... after all her clean mouth mandates...  is a swear phrase after all! I was telling my friends about the kid next door yelling and used the phrase "screaming bloody murder," which was the best way I could think to describe what I heard.

I should have seen it coming... when I think about what that means literally it isn't very nice. Apparently it's really bad here!

I especially should have seen it coming because we've been playing a lot of Banana Grams (a game like Scrabble) lately. Sometimes a word I think is a little on the edge but wouldn't find offensive (ex: turd) gets a much stronger reaction than expected from my British friends.

Well... just another example of how, although we speak the same language, there are so many nuances between British and American English. I think I'm mostly fluent in British English but occasionally slip up like I did today.

Yet another reminder to think before I speak... and always a little more when in another culture!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Culture Shock

I think culture shock happens not necessarily when you're in a new culture but rather when you have expectations that things will be a certain way, and then you find what you expect to be familiar... different. I have experienced culture shock just a few times in my life and often forget what it's like. You see, if you decide to expect the unexpected, international life is usually fun and manageable.

A situation the other day caught me completely off guard and I'm still a little shocked at how it affected me. I was in a usually comfortable situation and suddenly nothing was familiar. I ended up breaking down and needing to disappear for a while -- suddenly feeling overwhelmed with grief for the familiar life I left behind.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Packing Light

I just read this blog post after seeing it on Pinterest. I think it is a great description of how to pack lightly -- even when travelling for months at a time.
I'd add that I LOVE my packing cubes which can be found here. They have allowed me to keep things neat and easily accessible when living out of a backpacking backpack for several months. Really, they're wonderful. Here's a picture:
Packing Cubes
I also should admit that I did not pack light for this trip... and although it's somewhat nice to have more things here, it might be nicer to live lean especially when you're not really in your own space.