Thursday, August 1, 2013

The New Norm

(Backdrop: Written a week ago on a notepad app on my phone while sitting on a train from Charlbury to Essex after staying with a dear, though sick friend I know from the Land of Tanz... thus illustrating the "New Norm" concept to a T...)

I haven't had a lot of chance to blog recently, and on the other hand, I haven't made time. The funny thing is, blogging has always been a way for me to process what's going on in my life. Some things get shared, others don't. But a big part of my processing is transitions, which I seem to do a lot of in my life these days.

On the other hand, transitions these days are becoming the new norm. I've found a system where I tend to need 3 days in a new place to feel more fully like myself, and then, while I'm still learning things... At least I'm not so much in a blur. And for that I'm thankful. Day 1 is disorientation, day 2 I start to notice everything I hate and wish I wasn't there, and day 3 I start to even out, feel like myself, and enjoy everything and everyone. I'd love to get the process down to 3 hrs instead of days, but at least it's not 3 months!

With transitions being normal, and having the chance to go back to many places where I've been before... It's all a bit ... Normal. Not usual, or easy per se, but the differences between places and the unusualness of my experiences no longer seem noteworthy. And that's the problem. Because my normal... Doesn't seem normal to most. And my usual is not so boring to read about, probably. But it's easy to think so from my end or forget there's anything new to mention.

In the past few weeks I've been BACK in Nairobi, BACK in Kandern, BACK with old friends from 2 yrs ago, BACK in masters classes with professors I've had before. BACK in a town I know.  I've met more people and learned new things and stayed in a new place, discovered the extent of my clothing wornness and remembered that half the things on my Amazon wishlist order are actually available in many stores... but many things seem normal.

Now I'm in England, visiting friends and trying hard to focus on writing a couple of papers to finish off the classes I started in March. I'm realizing that the new royal baby (wait, she was pregnant??) is a bigger deal in the States than it is in England. I'm realizing just how much history is all around me. I'm learning how to read timetables for the underground and have had great teachers to help me learn things along the way. I've started saying things like pram and push-chair (stroller), and referring to a child's actions as "cheeky." I thought I was pretty well-versed in British-English, but I'm ever-so-much-more aware of my lack of understanding, my lack of vocabulary, my weird accent (though supposedly I don't have much of one?!). I could identity an Aussie from a Kiwi, but I couldn't tell you the difference between someone from Scotland or Ireland. I need help putting a postcode into the computer (which part, exactly, is the address??) and though I feel like I'm pretty well-traveled, I'm also feeling a bit lost. But I've been thankful to have some great teachers, understanding hosts, and a couple of weeks in the same place to at least figure things out a wee bit!

I'm growing. Learning. Expanding. Changing. I have a reference point for so many books I've read by British authors and no longer feel like I'm going to end up in Narnia when I get on a train. I'm stretching. Processing a lot. And somehow, I'm not getting a lot of paper-writing done along the way!?!

But I am thankful. Thankful for good friends, new and old. Thankful for the chance to see new places, have my horizons (and thus, my ability to teach and share and guide children) expanded. Become even more global in my understanding and realize once again how limited each of our perspectives really are. And somehow, face yet another set of transitions that will bring me back "home" to the Land of Tanz!

1 comment:

  1. I am claiming some credit for helping you distinguish a kiwi accent from others! Transitions are our life until the day we are really home forever.