Coping With Change In A New Country –
This morning, I went to the shops to get some fresh milk. I walked down the aisle with the glass bottles, passed the kitchen utensils and went by the kiddie’s socks placed right next to the alcohol. When I first moved to Mauritius, I found it strange that pink mermaid socks hung right next to bottles of Malibu Rum, but today as I wandered towards the fridges, I didn’t give it a thought. When I got to the milk section there was no milk. These days, there are so many different milk choices. No longer satisfied with milk or cream, now we get skimmed milk, added vitamin D plus calcium extra pasteurised, organic, lactose-free and added dollops of cream. But when I say they didn’t have milk, I don’t mean that they didn’t have my brand, I mean that there was no fresh milk. This was another thing that I had to get used to when I first arrived on my island. You can’t always buy milk when you want it. In fact, there are a lot of things you can’t buy on a whim because it really does depend on when the ship came in.
Not to brag, but I am an excellent mover. They say that changing countries is as stressful as doing your taxes and I certainly don’t know how to do my taxes. But I have come to realise that my brain has been wired strangely because I do know how to settle in a new country. I have done it seven times now and I’d gladly do it many more times. Just please don’t ask me to call a friend because that’s when I go into a sweat. Change comes easily to me and I have been asked many times how I do it.
In today’s world, we are all expected to be superheroes. We are supposed to be master chefs in the kitchen, sexual beasts in the bedroom and executives in the boardroom while on the weekend we are encouraged to exercise to the extreme, and then we are supposed to have enough energy for our children’s school project and grocery shopping where we buy our low-waste-organic-gluten-just-right-sugar-free produce. Well, I tried all that and after I picked myself off the floor, finished the tin of condensed milk and added an extra teaspoon of sugar to my coffee, I accepted that I just can’t do it all. And then it hit me. There is no place that has it all either.
When you change countries, you will always find the unexpected. There will be things that you were used to that no longer make sense. There will be silly rules and mad traffic and there will always, yes always be some things that just plain and simply drive you mad. But here is the thing, you have moved. You changed countries and probably looked forward to the changes as you packed up your life to start afresh. Strangely it is the small infractions on your psyche that trip you up and slams you to the ground the most. It is on those bad days that I do well. I pack up my superhero costume and sit in a moment of silence and take stock. Am I alive? Check. Will I make it to tomorrow? Probably. Am I having a bad day? Shit yeah. Then I am ok. I give the finger, mumble under my breath, shake my head and feel the bloody anger.
The good news is that once I have identified my nemesis, I only need to hate it once. I only have to expend my energy on it once. After I’ve recognised it, it becomes just like that old school friend who doesn’t realise when to move on, annoying, but after a while just a little bit funny. And if after all, I can’t laugh at it, well there is always that bottle of Malibu sitting next to those little pink socks.