Oct 26 2015

Assessment at 1.5 months

by at 7:25 pm

I should say, you haven’t heard from me because we have been carefully researching things in Oxford, like the Byzantine bureaucracy, toilet plungers, electric showers, cake, mini biscuits, college life, wildlife, “perma-gloom,” halloumi, the BBC, dog culture, academic dress, road works, charity shops, and laundry to write about in future. I especially can’t wait until I have enough material to thoroughly cover the topic of laundry. In the meantime, I hope that list put you on the edge of your seat. I know I’d want to read about permagloom.

This morning, however, Seth discovered in our junkmail an advertisement for a family vacation resort called, no joke here, “Sandy Balls.” Now that…was enough reason alone to post something here. Sandy Balls is apparently on the edge of New Forest, which you know, was created in 1079. Ah. So, I must say, there ARE ways of knowing we are not in Kansas anymore. The names that would never be said with a straight face in the US, for one. Also, the fact that British Englishes are hard to understand. I simply cannot listen with a half ear, and while not as exhausting as listening to people speak in French, it is exhausting to do it all the time.

Now, we’ve adjusted to the constant threat of rain (maybe?) and the fact that we have to catch the bus on the opposite side of the road than our feet go to automatically. We’ve already turned our clocks so that it gets dark extra early and are currently watching the leaves go straight from green-on-the-tree to brown-on-the-ground. Our stuff is still floating across the Atlantic supposedly arriving in the UK in two days (and then…could take another 3 weeks to get to Oxford), but we have some furniture basics that we have acquired, some generously lent-to-us kitchen and other supplies, plus we recently caved and will be filling in furnishings with the reliable Ikea assortment (but not GOING to Ikea, no no no). We have been figuring out steadily where to source the food we require. We’ve gotten the big British bureaucratic tasks out of the way, and I have been told that I will even get paid next week. We’ve met some nice people in our departments and through the synagogue. I’m happy to report that yesterday we went to brunch and sat indoors with both Ruben-the-dog AND a cat at our table. In the main, all is well, and we are adjusting probably with more ease than we adjusted to Switzerland. True, the pumpkin spice latte on offer at the Oxford Starbucks does make me feel a little nostalgic for New England, but England England has enough corporate gimmicks to make sure I don’t feel too uprooted and sad. Here, subtle Christmas marketing has been underway for weeks already!

Nevertheless, I am still mopey. Christmas in early October hasn’t cheered me up, though backyard apples and Sandy Balls the holiday resort do make me happy. Moving and mopeyness go together–and that is my useless wisdom. Be generous with your local transplant.

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