On my previous post I wrote a very sad poem that elicited lots of soothing comments here and on Facebook. The weird things is that however emotional I may have felt when I wrote the poem, I felt better immediately I had done so. Also, my life did a 180 degree turn within seconds.
I had felt sad on Monday and when I woke on Tuesday I no longer felt sad but the start of a poem was brewing inside me. It lingered from the day before, just like we stay at the window of our departing train, still waving at those we have left behind even though they are no longer in sight.
I already knew that my Tuesday would be different. I had the Shell Spouse Christmas lunch to attend and a millet and roast veg salad to take for the pot luck. So, you see, the only time I had to write the poem was while the veg roasted. I was being picked up by Karin at 10.45.
A busy day is always the perfect antidote to loneliness I find. Meeting new people is exciting, after all, like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates ‘you never know what you’re gonna get’.
One of the first things to thrill me when I arrive at a ‘party’ like this is the doorstep – everyone has left their shoes outside. So I can check before even ringing the bell whether I have arrived first. I didn’t.
Well, apart from being introduced to folk by Doris, the new chair, as ‘our celebrity author’, I also met Ming who runs the careers development team, Valerie who helps with the newsletter and Annabel, who was only visiting, but told me how a dab of teatree oil on her wrists keeps mosquitoes at bay, even in the jungle. I met many more super women too, including Christine, whom I discovered later was a good friend of one my good friends!
Wednesday was worse, or was it better? With Melinda my writing protegee here all morning, then an invitation to a coffee here in the condo where I met Jo, also British, my age-ish who also loves JoJo Moyes and writing and walking in nature. I raced back from coffee to cram in two hours work before dashing off on my third date of the day.
My yoga buddies had invited me to a ladies dinner out in a super Thai restaurant for the female folk who live in our gated community. So, not only did I meet about 9 of my new new neighbours but I discovered that Lucy is a graphic designer and Gabrielle likes to write. I also bumped into Doris and Annabel at the restaurant and recognised this as a watershed moment – I actually knew someone!
Amazing isn’t it how things can turn on a dime?
I shan’t go on to tell you how I had yoga yesterday and coffee with my writing friend Christa in the afternoon before meeting up with Julia, the daughter of an FIGT friend of mine or that I went for a walk with Karin in the botanical gardens today. Nor shall I tell you that we are off visiting friends in Jakarta this weekend. But you get the point.
When you are new in town, culture shock is like a piece of elastic – it can be long or short depending on how things go. On a daily basis you can go from low to high and back again.
Monday this week was one of the saddest days of my life.
Since Tuesday it’s been another story.
Yesterday I saw that on Facebook that FIGT had posted an article from Alison at Ourhouseinaarhuis and asked where we were on the culture shock continuum. Take a look at her blog to see what I am talking about. I can’t find an image to buy online!
Anyway, it’s a sort of gentle curve, like you’d get if you threw a piece of ribbon on the floor.
After reading her piece I’m so with Alison. I definitely want someone who created the continuum to add a stretchy bit towards the start that looks a bit like this:
Sometimes this needs to precede a WAAAAAAH but other times a WWWWWWOW
Guess that’s the name of the game, folks.