Friday, January 10, 2014

A Question Deserves An Answer

Anonymous said... 

Where for art thou Amberance? 

10:49 PM 

Very good question, anonymous. It's been a rough couple of months. Moving to a new country, even one that you love, is emotionally more difficult than it is possible to prepare for. Christmas, which is normally my FAVORITE THING IN THE WHOLE FUCKING WORLD, was mostly a nightmare, and my birthday, which is Sunday and which I would normally have been reminding you all about on a daily basis for the last six weeks is only being observed at all this year to appease StereoNinja, who has made it very clear that my strategy of hiding in the bedroom ignoring him (and everyone else) while failing to engage in any of my beloved hobbies (blogging, my birthday, gratuitous nudity) is no longer acceptable. Having now spoken to a number of people who have already done this, I've had to severely lower my expectations for the foreseeable future, as the collective wisdom of those who have gone before me is that I will continue to burst into tears at completely random intervals due to vicious and overwhelming homesickness for at least 18 months. I don't even want to talk about how miserable I was on New Years, though at least I managed to leave Devon the day before it disappeared into the sea.

I have two papers due in a week, so as I said in November, let me get those written and turned in, and then check back here as I plan to reward myself by writing the next Fifty Shades review and/or going to Prague (oh yeah, I've decided I want to spend a weekend in Prague though I have absolutely no idea what is actually in Prague or why I want to go there - my main motivation seems to be the ability to say "When I was in Prague over the weekend..." - so advice on what I should actually DO in Prague would be lovely). I've been ready to write it for a while actually, but have been putting it off because I felt that I was upset about the wrong things and was trying to adjust my rage to match my logic. It hasn't worked, so I'm just going to write it the way I'm feeling it and then pack my bags for my journey to Hades since I am a terrible person.

Where I am at this very minute is sitting in my living room looking out at the sea. While all you guys in the U.S. have been at the travelling Antarctica Experience exhibition this week (the first time I saw someone write "Chiberia" made me laugh much harder than was probably warranted), the U.K. has been dealing with its own disastrous weather since roughly Christmas, mostly in the form of massive rainstorms combined with extremely high tides and a recent habit of building homes on floodplains. In typical British fashion, this was described on the news in the most hilariously understated way possible as "unusual weather". Living on an island in the Thames as I do, it is impossible not to notice. The field directly across the river from us which is typically filled with sheep first became a lake (which I named Lake Titicacao because tits! and chocolate! and I'm a massive child!) and then a few days ago even that was swallowed up and now the whole thing is just part of the river. Our marina is entirely flooded, the water covering not only the gangway that goes around the outside of the marina but also the first two steps leading up to our garden It is an inch from covering the third, which would leave only two more stairs before we go from living on riverfront property to living in the actual river. There are two roads leading into the island, but only one road that leads away from it, and that road is also flooded, meaning I actually drove my car through the Thames twice this morning. I was lucky I made it through - on my way back, there were two cars stranded on the road who had tried to drive through the river but were too low profile to get through and were now stranded in non-working cars waiting for rescue. If the river doesn't crest today I may be stranded here all weekend. Every once in a while, a helicopter flies over and I imagine them looking down at us and saying "Yep, still flooded." I think I should write a really rude message for them or draw some tits so their day will be more interesting.

Anyway, give me a week to finish my papers and I will write you guys a scathing review about how E.L. James has apparently never been to a bank and being threatened with rape is super romantic. 

P.S. I have enjoyed answering this question. Feel free to send me more questions you would like answers to and I'll answer them in a future blog post. It will be like a conversation!


Stage Your Presence said...

My sister got married in Prague. Its so beautiful there. Its like being in a fairytale - the architecture is amazing. A trip to the castle is definitely worth it. Beautiful views and the Old Town is brilliant to just wander through, with its small streets. Be prepared for cobble stones though. As you can tell I loved it!

Its definitely worth a trip.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to what exactly triggers you to feel homesick. I've moved a dozen times in my life from one end of Canada to the other, with and without family, which often feels like moving to another country, but I've only ever visited the US and no where else outside Canada. I've never experienced homesickness though so I don't know what it's like (possibly because I move so often no where has ever felt like home). Is it just randomly wishing you were back in the US? Missing family and friends? Or is it specifically the differences between the US and UK? Maybe this is a dumb question...

I hope you feel better soon though, and good luck on your papers!

Andy Farrell said...

I reckon the best think about living in this country is how easy it is to pop over to any number of exotic-to-Americans European cities, then feel smug recounting the tale afterwards :D

Of course, since I've lived here all my life, the very fact that it's so easy has meant I've not really felt any urgent need to actually go anywhere, because hey, I can go any time I want, right? Except suddenly I'll be 90 years old and have never left England in 60 years.

*makes plans*

Anonymous said...

44 degrees celcius here in Australia today, nature is bi-polar (and yeah that whole global warming thing). my question - did you ever choose a stripper name? or did I miss the big reveal in one of your posts?

Maya Berger said...

Big hugs! Culture shock and homesickness are the worst.

Homesickness hit me hard about 5 months in (and halfway through my master's course), so hard I couldn't eat or sleep, had near-constant panic attacks and was hospitalised for 2 days. I think, for me anyway, it was the fact that most things in th UK are so similar to North America that the differences, even the little ones, felt like a personal affront.

It can sometimes help to bring familiar, comforting things into your life here. Steve's hockey-watching offer is always there, and the other day I found out that my local Tesco's inexplicably sells Kraft Dinner. Or even if you just want to go for a drink and rant I'm up for that.

Good luck with this and with your coursework! Xo

S said...

To cheer you up, start subscribing to Travelzoo and Broadway Travel. They both do ridiculously cheap European holidays, including Prague. As in £120 for flights and 3 nights in a hotel. The water should go down soon. I hesitate to say this but this weather isn't *that* unusual. We have this level of flooding once every 12-18 months.

Oh, hang on. Question. Okay. What have you learned about Brits/Britain by living here that you didn't learn by visiting?

Crystal Daze said...

I understand the crushing feeling when one moves to another country, you think you are ready and then the crushing feeling of not fitting in, not feeling it, and most of all missing a place badly, that you never thought you would miss that much.

It took me 2 years to get used to my surroundings, the third year was a blast. But i eventually moved to the UK and it is much better, even if I am away from my other half.

Having three homes is hard, but it is worth it for us all to be happy. My only advice is to just make sure you resist the urge to hide away and just get out and explore, keep doing what you love.

As for Prague aka Praha, buy beautiful art from St. Charles Bridge. Visit the castle. See the beautiful buildings known as Fred and Ginger. Visit the Bear in the lake. And if you like morbid things, go visit Sedlec Ossuary - Kutna Hora. it is about an hour outside and the whole interior of the church is made up of bones. Beware of frisky prostitutes.

Enjoy, smile, live.

Hannah said...

I hope you're not having to paddle to get out of your front door and that things seem slightly less hideous soon.
Having never lived outside of the UK, I have no practical advice for dealing with home sickness but can echo Maya's offer of drinks and a rant if you need it.

Anonymous said...

Xenu is pleased that you answered their question. Xenu thanks you for your time and looks forward to your next post. - Xenu

Bohemian said...

Prague? Cool. No wait, I actually hate Prague, but it's in my country so, you know :) Def come over here and enjoy yourself ;)

Anonymous said...

This is a really good website if you are planning to visit Prague. We booked to see a concert through them before we left. I would also recommend Prague castle, the Charles Bridge and the Klementinum.

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

*hugs* Moving country is probably one of the scariest and most painful things a person can willingly go through. You're brave as hell.

HornGillian said...

I've heard that Prague is gorgeous. I would suggest walking around, looking at the buildings, soaking in the atmosphere. That's what I would do. Then I would get bored and do other things.

I moved to the UK 5 years ago (I suspect we live quite close to each other, actually. Maybe we should meet up and be like "...I like Harry Potter." "Me too! Let's go to Harry Potter World!" "OK!") and even now there are bouts of wishing I were back in Australia. It's definitely one of the most difficult things I've done. But I'm so glad I did it.
Basically, keep on being awesome and finding fun things about the UK to enjoy... and let's totes go to Harry Potter land. :)