Monday, April 21, 2008

Living in a Different Hemisphere

If you want to do something that will truly mess with your head try living in the opposite hemisphere long enough to see seasons change. I was born and bred and have alwyas lived in the northern hemisphere where summer comes when it is supposed to and Christmas is in winter. The few times I have traveled I have traveled to other places in the northern hemisphere and there was very little difference from what I knew having lived everywhere from Iowa to Southern California to Boston to Georgia. I could relate. But it's almost MAY now and all the billboards are displaying winter coats and ski equipment and there is a chill in the air even though the days still get very warm. My head sayd I need to go out and buy some appropriate cool weather things to get me through but when I make plans to do it I talk myself out of it because it's almost MAY. And then there is the instinct thing. I do a nesting thing when the weather begins to get cool. I nest and I become far more domestic than I am in the summer and I think about Christmas cookies and Halloween decorations and turkeys. And I find that when I relax and get comfy in my cooler weather relaxing clothes those are the thoughts that come to my mind. AND IT IS ALMOST MAY!!! The first couple of months here it was if I had gone on a vacation to a tropical place that saved me from winter and I had no problem with it but now that I have become a temporary long-term resident I AM SCREWED UP.

A couple of totally random observations:

1. You can not get fresh milk here. It does not exist. Milk is pasteurized and processed beyond anything recognizable and the cartons sit on regular grocery shelves because they need no refrigeration. I don't drink milk. Ever. But more and more I find that the inability to get fresh milk creates a huge craving.

2. They write the numeral "9" here backwards. So the hump is on the right side instead of the left side. It always takes me aback.

3. (And some of the international readers might laugh that I find this odd) When writing out currency in numbers the commas and periods are reversed. This has become a huge issue while training the Chilean guy who is processing invoices because he never can remember. I get a Chilean invoice where the currency is USD or Euros and it's for 39,293.85. On the invoice it is written 39.293,85. That might seem a small thing but if you've seen it one way your whole life and then have to "translate" it it's just very very very different.

OK that's the end of the little culture lesson for tonight. My laundry is done, I am tired, and I am going to bed to read a very bad mystery novel for about 2 pages before I fall asleep on it. Eduardo is in NYC for a couple of days and Sam doesn't get back until Friday so this week is going to be a chore to get through without amusement so I plan to be entirely dull until they get back.

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