Today Marks One Month


Everything becomes just a teeny tiny bit more difficult when you move to a different country.

You feel like an outsider (and it doesn't help that you've already felt like an outsider in your home country/-ies). You talk differently. Some slang has to be explained to you, which makes you feel like a baby learning to speak, and sometimes your brain takes a bit longer to process what's being said because you're not used to hearing those specific words spoken in that specific context.

A fag is a cigarette, for instance. When someone is knackered, they're tired. If someone's chuffed, they're happy. A gutted person is sad.

You also suddenly realize you're using words you normally don't. Bin, trolley, litter, crisps, ring (as in "I'll ring her"), jumper, quid, cheers. And calling fries chips.

The doctor's office is called the surgery, the first floor of a building is actually the second floor (I know, so confusing!), sneakers are trainers, a zucchini is a courgette, an eggplant is called an aubergine, a truck is a lorry, cotton candy is candy floss, a parking lot is a car park, a gas station is a petrol station, and so on and so on.

It's not easy, growing up learning English from American tv and movies....

Also, you have to remind yourself to stop calling your trousers pants!

You don't know where to buy a toilet brush or normal cheese, or why doors open in the wrong direction, or why washing laundry is so freaking expensive.

When you go to buy groceries, it takes double the amount of time than before, because everything is in a different place, there are no brands that you're used to buying, you have to keep comparing pounds to euros in your brain constantly, you can't figure out which milk is the medium-fat one (apparently red milk is zero fat, and blue milk is full fat. But in Finland it's the opposite!), and in Lidl you have to be super quick to pack your groceries into your bag before paying for them, or they won't fit on the pay desk because it's tiny! (unlike Lidls in Finland, where we have looots of space to pack away our groceries in our own time)

And if you happen to have this strange habit of taking walks at 3 am, which is completely safe in your home town, you have to realize that you can't do that anymore. Because you might get stabbed in the butt. Which sort of stifles your freedom. Just a little.

It's weird to realize that you've never ever even thought about the risk of getting stabbed before in your life. Which makes me sound really naive and stupid, because that stuff happens all the time! But the only reason I've ever had to fear at night is if a man is walking behind me and I suddenly realize I'm a woman and pretty defenseless if he tried to, say, rape me. But even that fear strikes very rarely.

And while we're on the topic of feeling safe: you're wondering if you're ever going to get used to the constant sirens of police cars and ambulances going off in the background. (Where I used to live, I heard ambulance sirens like once a week or less, and I really can't remember the last time I saw a police car with the blinking lights on in Finland... 2017 maybe?)

Kind strangers talk to you quite often and you're still caught off guard nearly every time. And you're saying "Please" and "Thank you" so often that you wonder if those words even mean anything anymore.

And how the heck does one cross a road? It's a difficult skill to learn, but after 30 days of almost getting run over on a daily basis, you think you've finally got it down. Although you still feel like a badass rogue every time you dash out onto the road dangerously, while silently hoping you'll get to the university without having to call an ambulance for yourself.

Some days you spend the entire evening smiling and laughing and chatting to people, having fun and enjoying being a foreigner. Because it's sort of amazing to make fun of yourself and your own weird culture and just embrace the different kind of strangeness of the people around you. All of us are so weird! Every country is so weird, because humans are so weird! And it's awesome to just connect by telling each other stories about that shared weirdness which is called the human experience.

But some days you get home and cry for an hour either because you're still mourning your beloved baby pet and missing your family, or just crying simply because this new life is so overwhelming sometimes.

You feel guilty for crying though. You should be happy, right!? You're finally here, in Lincoln, after waiting in anticipation for months!

You made so many plans and had such high hopes! Just think of all the daydreams of the amazing friendships that would be made! The memories! The wonderfully English rainy days! And finally tasting fish & chips!

Yet now it's been a month and you still haven't had fish & chips.

What a disappointment.

Yeah?

Absolutely not!

And I've heard that fish & chips is totally overrated, anyway. But there is still time to try it!

I'm still getting used to a lot of things. I'm constantly learning and finding new English culture quirks and interesting facts and things that confuse me.

Yesterday my friend, who's also my classmate back in Finland, said: "It's funny how the two most boring people from the same school ended up coming to the most boring town in England."

I don't have 20 new friends who I hang out with all the time and go out partying with every week.

I haven't been outside of Lincoln much at all. I haven't been touristing like crazy around England and trying tens of different restaurants or seen many super famous English sights.

I haven't gone to a single party (although that's still on my list! I have to try at least one English student party!).


The only restaurant I've eaten at, I've eaten at twice... he he? (when you find something that works, you stick with it, yeah?)

BUT. 

I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything just because I'm not doing this exchange thing like most people.

I'm a slow human.

I like to sit in the university library and pick out piles and piles of books to read when it's raining.

I like to take long walks to Lidl and watch the soft reflection of rain clouds on the surface of Witham River.

I like to spend hours wandering around the outskirts of the city, listening to people chatting about relationships, sucky DJs, stressful deadlines, boring lectures or annoying parents as they pass.

I like sitting in my bedroom, rewatching the office or friends or reading books or writing stories with a cup of hot chocolate.

I like hugging the horses in the west commons, and petting little cats that jump out on the street and nearly scare me to death.



I like to wander around campus, just watching students be students with their macbooks and colorful backpacks and droopy exhausted gazes on Thursday mornings after Quack.

I like to be here, just being.

Maybe that makes me the most boring person ever. (or one of the two most boring people ever, lol)

But I don't mind. I like being boring, to be honest. Almost as much as I like Sainsbury's frozen vegetable pizza. Being slow and boring is fun.

(So PS: please don't expect me to be punctual. I lose track of time constantly and it's embarrassing. I'm sorry, and I'm also not sorry. Clocks suck.)


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