Posts Tagged ‘culture clash’

The theoretical becomes possible.

June 27, 2013

So, the Supreme Court overturned the Defence of (heterosexual) Marriage Act. I think this means we could all theoretically move to Country A, at least as soon as marriage equality passes in law here. Then our civil partnership could be ‘upgraded’ to a marriage. And then, as far as I understand, the federal government of Country A would have to legally recognise our marriage and we would have a legal leg to stand on if we wished to immigrate.

If I have that wrong, someone please enlighten me.

I read a few minute ago about a binational couple – one was in the midst of being deported when the SCOTUS ruling came out, and the judge immediately stopped the proceeding because, lo and behold, this couple was legally married in a right on state, and therefore entitled to federal benefits…including immigration. Big stuff.

Of course, the rest of the dominos need to fall, the rest of that country needs marriage equality otherwise it is all a colossal head fuck, but still.

This brings real questions about our life up. I have dual citizenship, as do the children. So we could move elsewhere without any legal hassle if we wanted to move back.

But moving to Country A would require such a lifestyle overhaul. I’d probably have to be the one to work while TMD stayed home. We would have to move to a gay friendly state, namely worrying about insurance. Over here, everyone has ‘free’ healthcare. I could break my leg tomorrow and not have to worry about how today for x rays or painkillers. As far as I understand, some states (and most companies) do not allow benefits for same sex partners. Does the ruling stop this? What is the reality of insurance in that country? I’ve never been a real adult there, so I don’t know.

Home education would be protected in the areas we would ever consider moving to. So that isn’t an issue.

But JOBS.

Let’s be real, I know what field I would be ready to step back into….though I’d prefer TMD to do it….but it is an incompatible job for married people with a family. Totally time consuming and all encompassing.

I like our lifestyle here. I think moving across the planet is a huge undertaking, even when you are moving back to a country you have lived before. People move on, things change, and when you have lived abroad since your early twenties, well, there’s a lot to learn.

I’d love to live near my family, but I love living here.

I don’t think my mother understands the SCOTUS ruling or the implications. It’s always been easy to try to fob off the guilt trips, considering my relationship had no legal status in Country A. I have a bit more buffer time until the marriage equality law changes here, but the process has already started and it is only a matter of time. Once we are legally married, and Country A is forced to recognise that marriage, well…..no longer am I an exile. No longer do I HAVE to choose between my wife/family and my birth country.

But you know what, this is my country, too. My home.

No matter where we live, one of us will be far from family. I don’t doubt we would figure things out, probably be very happy in either place. But man, what a lot to think about.

Do you like me inebriated?

March 11, 2013

I don’t blog big style. My old blog got almost too big, with too much exposure, so I started this quiet anonymous blog to function more as an old fashioned diary. That being said, in no way does anyone want to read about my dental nightmares.

Yes, I’ve had a glass and a half of wine. I’ve not drunk in about a year? Yes, I feel it.

And maybe I am turning into a dental hypochondriac. Or a more accurate term might be a dental obsessive. And a worrier. And a I wish I was rich so I could fly to country A and get ACTUAL dental care rather than trying to choose between a shit heap, a place that can’t see me till May, and a third place I know nothing about but will see me tomorrow.

I’m two timing them all. Registering at all these fucking places, making twenty seven appointments, reading clandestine reviews online and judging places by the receptionists’ phone manner.

Sweet Jesus.

And lots going on but this weekly roundup stuff seems to eclipse the need to post about the daily grind, so I suppose the future holds more stream of consciousness rants? Except not drunk. Everything I post is stream of consciousness. I don’t edit or plan or whatever. I’m also not drunk.

I kind of want to read more…shit, I mean drink more….and watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

In other news, I’m finally reading the fifty shades trilogy and am like, what the holy hell. You call that BSDM? I may not play with whips and plastic bags over my head, but a couple of spankings and use of the word ‘sir’ and people are all amazed and sexual?

Jesus Christ, again.

Apparently my mother stopped reading it cause she felt like she was sinning. I will probably keep reading it, but I will say that it is no surprise it is fanfic based on Twilight. Same characters, same style of writing. That being said, I plan on rereading the twilight series next- despite thinking it was pretty much total shit the first time around. Sorry, Tia, sorry, people who like it. I don’t judge you. My favourite storyteller, aside from my grandmother, is Stephen King. Do you judge me?

I’ve had nightmares about dentists for a million nights running. Dental care here is like stepping back in time. Weird little pots of polish and shit. I was like seven when that was acceptable. Where are the ultraviolet lights to clean me? The dentists who don’t shrug off the fact that I can’t chew on my right side?

I don’t expect the fancy shit my Country A dentist offers in terms of ambiance and standard of care. But, like, Jesus.

Sort my fucking tooth out, seriously. And don’t make me rinse with a shitty cup of green liquid from 1984. Okaythanksbye.

goodbye, hello.

July 13, 2012

Last day here in the house I grew up in, yet the first time I’ve posted. Today is a day of hunting down special toys that have scattered under couches and behind furniture, filling in luggage tags, and trying not to swelter in the unrelenting heat. Tomorrow we’ll be back in the land of perpetual rain, where my newfound daily uniform of tank tops and shorts will be cast off in favour of less summeresque gear.

We leave behind a sort of daily life I’d like to give myself and my family – a background life of spacious yards and houses…but the yards. Oh. Trees everywhere, swimming pools, lakes and creeks liberally spread around for all to enjoy. Days of exploring our little forest, or evening bonefires, or hills to ride their bikes down again and again. Gravel roads that stretch for miles and rarely do cars go by.

We exchange it for a stronger community of families that choose to live like ours, I guess, and I guess that’s good….but I miss the trees and water already.

The view from here.

July 1, 2012

20120701-165639.jpg

Give and take.

May 1, 2012

The awesome pajamamommas (go see their blog!) says: I’m curious to hear more about what it’s like to live in a country that’s not the one you grew up in. What do you miss most about Country A? What wierd cultural differences have you encountered? (if you can say without giving away your top-secret location).

Country B does not have tablecloths as people in Country A know them.

It sounds simple, but that’s a pretty profound difference. Something that a whole country of people – jillions – barely think about. But if you want a tablecloth like that here? They literally do not exist. Other kitchen things are that a ‘spatula’ is referred to as a ‘fish slice,’ which grosses me out considerably because, well, I have a little problem with seafood. Remind me to tell you about that sometime.

I guess there are more important things to worry about than kitchen utensil themed linguistic differences, though. Like the people.

People over here are generally more aware of what is going on in the larger global community. Politics are discussed more in casual conversation (my mother found that quite difficult, particularly our family and friends being critical of Republicans!). Our media isn’t as biased or openly, uh, ignorant as many channels in Country A.

People don’t go camping in great big forests, but in wide open fields. This is one of my most difficult things to get over, and I don’t think I’ll ever reconcile myself with it. We have found a few places with trees to camp, but by and large big ass fields seem to be the order of the day. People also often equate trips to the beach with bringing a big windbreak (like a portable wall, seriously) and heavy rainfall.

What do I miss about Country A? My family and friends. Big expanses of land. Huge forests and bodies of water everywhere (where I grew up, you were never more than a mile from running water!).

Generally, though, I prefer it here. I like the history – you can be in a McDonald’s and it happens to be a building older than Country A. Political ideaology is a lot more progressive and liberal. We, as a gay family, have rights here that are probably years away in Country A. This year, in fact, our civil union will probably legally be changed to marriage.

I don’t like that the houses are waaaaay smaller. That closets really don’t exist. That most houses are attached to the houses on either side.

I used to not like the crazy ass driving – cars parked all over the fucking road, and you just weave back and forth over the centre line like nobody’s business. That doesn’t bother me anymore. Nor does driving a manual/stick shift – most cars here ARE manuals. If you can only drive an automatic it says so on your license, like, hey, check out THIS fucking loser!

I guess the odd thing for me is that I’ve lived virtually all of my adult life here. After I completed my first degree in Country A, I had a year in between where I alternately lived out in the middle of the woods – just me, alone, on 500 acres of woodland – and lived illegally with TMD in her dorm room in Country B. Then I moved.

It was difficult having to learn many skills I had previously learned whilst in university in Country A – everything was different. Cheques/checks, bus riding procedures, big ass city subways/tubes, just everything. Rather than being an adventure, it made my first year here rather difficult as we lived in the country’s largest city and I knew no one other than the other people on my MA course, and we were all mature students living all over. I’ve only kept in touch with one person from that course, and she’s probably reading this.

But many of the true adult skills I’ve learned – how to get a mortgage, starting a retirement fund, becoming a professional accredited counsellor – well, those are things that I would have to relearn if we ever moved back to Country A.

At this point, I’ve been here so long that I have to really stop and pause to think of the ‘Country A word’ for certain things. I’ve always felt more at home stepping off the plane here than when I go back to Country A. Again, ask me and I’ll tell you more about that sometime.

The main issue is really my family. I can’t help but think that we are all getting older, and I am cheating my mother and stepdad out of being involved with my children on a daily basis. That we are cheating ourselves out of being involved with them. My sister is the one we have appointed as legal guardian should anything truly terrible happen, yet she’s only met the kids twice.

I’m definitely past the point of thinking of my primary, immediate family as myself and my sister/parents. Now it has shifted to what is best for me, my wife, and our children. It is better for us to live here. Laws protect us here as lesbian women, as home educators, etc. Our lifestyle here matches what we want – to move to Country A would require massive rejigging of how we conceive of our family as working.

Do I miss nice, big gas guzzling environment killing cars? Sure. Sometimes. But do I love the ethos here of walking everywhere? Yes.

Do I love being able to stay home with our children, secure in the knowledge that no one questions we are both the moms and we can educate our children as we wish? Yes. Do I miss my family every day and long to live within a half hour of them, rather than half a world away?

Yes.

This post brought to you by my compelling desire to write, and complete inability to do so. Generous people have given me funny, thoughful, and factual suggestions for posts. Click here to see them, or add your own. I’ll work through them all in time.

Yes and no.

February 9, 2011

Yes, my mom had a stroke on Monday. No, we don’t know why yet. She’s still in hospital. Thank you all for your kindness.

Brian, you may hear from me re:flying home with the babies. For now we wait for results and a plan of action.

Hashtag holidays.

January 1, 2011

If I’ve not said it before, there is something really seriously truly honestly fucked up with this country. Namely, they don’t understand how winter holiday gifts work. You walk into a store and there are special aisles designated ‘Christmas gifts’ and the like.

You know, within a store that is FULL of things to buy. Things that can be wrapped up, bow on top, and given out. Things that are a hell of a lot more useful than the shit that is marked as an acceptable gift.

These include scarf and glove sets, soap sets, chocolate sets. All are very obviously packaged and designed as holiday gifts, and I swear to the baby jesus, these appear to be Country B people’s idea of What To Get For The Holidays. Not that these things are inherently bad, you understand, but I find it so weird that people have to be told what to buy for gifts.

I don’t get it.

I don’t. Sure, you may need to buy for someone you don’t know well (why, though, I’m not sure). Get a nice candle. Or some book tokens. Surely that’s more thoughtful than a purple box with mini soaps? Or is it just me?

Join the revolution. Move to Country B and spend your time informing people that ANYTHING you can buy or make can be considered a gift….and chances are it will have a hell of a lot less wasted packaging, be a lot more tailored to the individual, and just not be so fucking stupid.

#Amirite?

Note: I am not specifically dissing any gifts I have received this year or any year. Just pointing out that the whole thought process behind this marketing scheme is just…..pointless.

Oh yeah. Hope you had a nice Yule or Christmas. And sorry to my Jewish peeps, I missed out on the Hanukkah hellos this year. And happy New Year!

Caught in the vortex of the culture clash.

September 20, 2010

Back in Country A, people are pretty fucking nutty about their teeth. They are whitening, brightening, filing, capping, and straightening. Don’t get me wrong: I like nice teeth. On me or anybody else.

The thing is, here in Country B people are pretty fucking GROSS about their teeth. My dentist at my mom’s house talks for hours every time I go in about how when people from Country B move to Country A, it takes a full day to chip away at the accumulated tartar per tooth. I’m sure some exaggeration is included in that statement, but possibly not much.

Teeth here – in older generations, at least – can be  gray, crooked, rotten. Supagross.

This is no doubt partially due to the fact that dental care is one of the few things not free (along with fucking glasses, which is why I just shelled out for a pair that cost a THIRD of our IVF expenses/half the price of our monthly mortgate. *gag*). When you have a country where all healthcare is free – hell, you can waltz into the emergency room with a spider bite if you feel like it – people resent having to pay for shit. At least I do.

Which is why since moving here my own dental health has gone down the crapper. Nothing noticeable – but certainly not my 6 monthly check up and cleanings. I’ve now got a tooth that I suspect has a cavity, and it’s just so hard and expensive to get dental appointments that I’m sitting here every day, poking my tongue into the tooth and wondering if it will self-heal.

I’ve gone to the dentist here ONCE in the last ten years – well, twice. Once for a ‘check up’, once for a ‘cleaning.’ The check up took 2 minutes – no exaggeration – and the cleaning took about ten.

(Don’t judge me too harshly. I’ve also gone to the dentist in Country A twice since moving here, as I’m a bit snobbish about my teeth and wanted to go to a ‘real’ dentist.)

At the dentist here in my town, they were in ecstasies about my teeth. Seriously. I’m pretty sure the dentist creamed her panties.

‘How are your teeth so nice? Are they just like this, or do you work at them?’

Um, dude, I fucking brush ‘em. You might not see that a lot over here. Oh, and I had braces for 6 months as a child, and retainers for my entire childhood. That’s why my teeth don’t look like a four year old child carved them into a pumpkin:

The dentist was like, ‘You probably don’t have to come every 6 months with teeth like yours. You can just come every year. You don’t even need to see the hygentist for a cleaning if you don’t want to.’

I’m pretty sure my dentist in Country A would have a coronary if he ever heard those sentences come out of another dentist’s mouth.

Me? I was like, ‘What the fuck is wrong with you? I haven’t been to the dentist in like 6 years. I just had a pregnancy where I vomited 20 times a day for four months, and then once a day for five months. I didn’t brush my teeth those first four months because that made me puke more. I also think I have a cavity.’

When you are pregnant – and for a year after the birth – dental care is sort of (mostly) free. My year post-birth has expired, so my little friend Mr. Cavity is probably going to hang around for a little while longer. He’s the black sheep in my apparently perfect mouth of teeth. (Which, I should add, my dentist in Country A would probably draw up a ‘care plan’ for slight discolourations, a rogue crooked tooth, and this cavity.)

And I know that if I need an ego boost, I should GO to the dentist here. But if I want to be made to feel guilty about not flossing, I should go to the dentist that happens to be 3,500 miles away.

A is not really relative to B, literally and figuratively.

September 11, 2010

We-el, my mom has gone back to Country A this morning. We’re not planning to go there again until late next summer, so it will be almost a year till I see her again. And Bear didn’t come along this time, so the next time I see him it’ll be about two years since I saw him last.

Yes, I am unutterably cool for living ‘abroad.’ Yes, you want to ask for my autograph because I have two passports and COME ON, that is awesome.

But sometimes, well, it’s crap.

The only thing Country A has going for it is my family (and more space, cheaper living, and more trees). My parents are getting older now, and the idea that I have lived on the other side of the world for ten years now is a bit sad.

Still, these clumps of time we spend together are very intense and probably full of more ‘quality’ than if she did live nearby, or that’s what I try to tell myself. After all, we shared a bed (which wasn’t as awful as I thought, once she got over her crazy ass jetlag) and without this experience, I wouldn’t have known she would want to play Nintendo DS Brain Training or Simon Says on my phone for half the night (or take three nights to watch Meet the Parents). We giggled and giggled like we were having a sleepover….which I guess we were.

Still.

Today that version of ‘home’ feels a long way away, even as I sit here in my ‘new’ home, in an expensive little flat with my three favourite people (plus one neglected cat).

Bathtime/bedtime conversations.

July 13, 2010

People in Country B spend a lot of time lying to people. But it’s classy lying, done in fun. For instance, TMD once told CurlyGirl that there were no elevators in Country B. These lie-stories are told for sport. Before I got wise to the fact that the rest of my life would be spent being made a fool of by my wife (or, indeed, learning to make a fool out of her – remind me to tell you about the soapnuts), she told me that ‘knock on wood’ was originally ‘touch the tooth.’ You know, that people had rotten teeth replaced by wooden pegs, and would touch them for luck.

Me: I don’t know why she’s crying. She’s not hungry. I think she’s tired.

TMD: And that crazy tooth is about to come through.

Me: I guess it does sound like an angry pain cry. I tell you, that tooth has been on the edge so long that when it comes through it had better be magic.

TMD: It could b-

Me: Or her gums are made of old leather.

TMD: It could be the original incarnation of ‘touch the tooth.’

Me: A wooden tooth, yes, that would be hard to come through.

Cue more angry crying. I walk into the lounge.

Me: You know what would be gross?? If all their teeth in the front were rainbow. Like one red, one orange, etc.

TMD: Ugh. Or maybe they are like Indigo Children -

Me: Hey, I was just gonna say that!

TMD: and their teeth are crystals. Rainbow crystals.

Me: Stunned silence.

TMD: Or what about gemstones?? ‘This tooth is rose quartz, it’s a sign of her creativity.’ That’s so gross. I’d rather they have rainbow crystal teeth.

Me: I need to write this down in my blog.

Me: Type type type.

TMD: Hey, today my hands started bleeding. Out of nowhere – it was like fucking stigmata.

Me: ….


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