Sunday, May 30, 2010

Brain Power Needed: Please Send ASAP

Even now there are still things that I have trouble with in my day-to-day activity.  It's incredible to me just how much brain power I have to use to keep up with things.  For example, I don't really hear accents anymore as there are so many everywhere.  However, when someone whispers in an accent other than my own (or if I can only hear every other word at a pub) I can't understand the speaker at all.  Nothing.  They might as well speak in Latin, but I still struggle to comprehend.  
I'm regularly reminding myself of the differences so that I can act appropriately: drive on the left side of the road, the driver sits on the right side of the car (when looking out), it's capsicum and corgette not green pepper and zucchini, pronounce the "t" on fillet and the "h" on herbed but shorten other words to "caf" instead of cafe (actually I refuse to succumb to these three differences, but I'm regularly reminded of them), remember the names of the people I meet (at the gym, at work, at the pub, at parties, etc) and the ones I hear in the news including bands, singers, comedians, politicians (old and new as well as the main ones from Australia and England), and don't forget the spelling....urgh, the spelling.  It gets exhausting! 

It wasn't until recently that I realised what a toll it was all taking.  Which isn't a problem, except it means I have a lot more ditzy moments since moving here (not the impression I want to give to my new acquaintences).  For your reading pleasure, and my slight embarrasment here are a few of those instances when my brain was clearly on holiday:
  • When I see a sign that says left exit on the motorway, I automatically move to the center lane. Why wouldn't I?  That's where the left exits are in the States, forget the fact that I'm actually moving to the right. 
  • After 4 weeks of driving I still turn on the windshield wipers when I want to turn on my blinker (the levers are on the opposite side of the steering column here).
  • At a pub quiz night I struggled with the name of the first First Lady of the US.  Any first grader can recall that it's Martha Washington, but I sat there for five minutes doubting myself.
  • At the same pub quiz night I looked at a map of the world and was disoriented.  It took me a few minutes to realise that it's because the US wasn't put in the middle of the map.  Wow.  I blanched at the presumtion.  Even I fall into the "typical American" category at times.
  • I have twice now...twice!...had trouble opening doors.  I don't know what it is.  I push or pull (whichever one I shouldn't be doing to open the door) and then give up exasperated because it must be locked.  Granted, we tend to have more revolving doors in Chicago, but in reality doors tend to open and close the same the world around, yet I've struggled with this ridiculously simple task.
Fortunately I still have plenty to be thankful for:
- Joining three friends to complete a 5K run through the hills on the north side of the city.  We had the help of a good cheering crew
- Trying new things: this week it was archery in One Tree Hill Domain (the U2 song was named after the park, the subsequent TV show was based on the song)
- Beautiful weather for the entire weekend

1 comment:

  1. well hey it can't all be roses, but at least it's a pretty garden! Sounds like you are doing well overall and well better than most of us would!