I wonder if I am the only person who has moved for one hemisphere to another and just can’t work out where on Earth I am most of the time. Let me explain.
I was born in Scotland and lived most of my life there and in other parts of the UK; cold and wet from October to May and slightly less cold but still wet the rest of the year.
I then spent a couple of years in Spain; blooming hot with occasional downpours from April to October and pretty cold with occasional downpours the rest of the year.
Then I moved to South America; scorching hot and bone dry from May to September and scorching hot and very wet the rest of the year.
Is it any wonder I am confused? I clearly remember the day I walked down to the beach in a daze. It was Christmas Day, I was in Spain and instead of being pelted with snowballs, building an outdoor snowman and having to endure Mud, Slade and that song about driving home for Christmas I found myself surrounded by sunbathers and other drunken holidaymakers. It takes a bit of getting used to I can tell you.
Now I look at what is being sold on the internet and find that outdoor easter decorations are all the rage, and I get confused because I can open my windows with0ut the risk of freezing my nose, which just shouldn’t happen in March or April.
Does this happen to everyone who moves abroad? Does your body clock never, ever adjust to being somewhere else? And what about the night sky? Does is ever seem normal that things just don’t look quite the same? And don’t even get me started on the direction the water goes down the plughole.
The money also gets me confused. I find that to work out the “real” cost of something I need to convert dollars to euros to pounds , back into dollars and then divide it by the square root of my aunt Tilda’s birthday.
Things get even stranger when I eat something I used to eat a lot before, like a typical Scottish dish or something else from my childhood. As well as haggis and shortbread I am also a sucker for classic cheesecakes and other sweet desserts but sometimes when I finish a slab, wipe the crumbs and saliva off my chin and look up at the world again I am shocked to find that I am not in my mum’s kitchen.
I think it might be called immigrant dislocation syndrome but the strange thing is that I don’t feel like an immigrant and I don’t really miss anything from my home town, I just can’t avoid expecting to see things which are there and not here.